Reliever Matt Moore had a tiny but meaningful role on the 2023 Miami Marlins. The Cleveland Guardians placed him on waivers with only two weeks left in the regular season. Even knowing he wouldn’t be eligible to pitch for them in postseason games, the Marlins needed help simply getting to the postseason and were willing to pick up his remaining salary.
Moore had a 0.00 ERA and a 3.26 FIP for Miami in four relief appearances. That included a scoreless inning on September 30, which was the win that clinched an NL Wild Card spot.
Moore was an elite prospect coming up through the Tampa Bay Rays organization and spent most of his career as a starting pitcher, making the change to a full-time reliever in 2022. He was great for the Texas Rangers that season with a 1.95 ERA and five saves. He had a high strikeout rate in the new role (10.09 K/9), but also struggled with walks (4.62 BB/9).
Moore spent most of the 2023 season with the Los Angeles Angels. Overall, combining all three of the teams he pitched for, he posted a 2.66 ERA and 3.73 FIP and the K/9 was still high at 10.25. One key difference was his walk rate went down significantly to 2.56 BB/9, the lowest of his career for a full-length season.
Moore uses his secondary pitches to get hitters to expand the strike zone. He ranked in the 98th percentile among MLB pitchers in chase percentage this season.
The move to the bullpen has also boosted Moore’s fastball velocity. Even as a 34-year-old, he averaged 94.0 mph with his four-seam fastball, which was his highest velo since 2012.
New Marlins president of baseball operations Peter Bendix began his career with the Rays in 2009. Moore was drafted by the team in 2007 and stayed until 2016, so they definitely crossed paths in Tampa Bay.
Moore received a one-year, $7.55M deal last offseason. His asking price should be similar this time. The only issue with re-signing him would be filling up the Marlins bullpen with five lefties. That would make Steven Okert a likely trade candidate to keep things balanced.
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