The trade deadline is just a few weeks away, and the Yankees still seem to be lacking a clear game plan. General manager Brian Cashman said that he hoped the Yankees would declare themselves one way or another—either by playing poorly and falling out of reach of making the postseason, or by playing well and showing that they can be contenders. Unfortunately, the Yankees are still hovering around the .500 mark, making it difficult to decide if they should throw in the towel and trade off someone like Aroldis Chapman, or fight on and try to make improvements via trade.
If the Yankees do decide to buy Cashman has said that he would go after a starting pitcher, and the team is said to be interested in Matt Moore. The lefty was drafted by the Rays out of high school, and made his MLB debut in 2011. He has a career 3.98 ERA and 4.13 FIP, averaging 8.44 K/9, 3.84 BB/9 and 1.05 HR/9. Moore did undergo Tommy John surgery near the start of the 2014 season, and he has not pitched quite as well as he did prior to the surgery. Through 102 and one-third innings pitched this year, Moore has a 4.57 ERA and 4.54 FIP, along with 93 strikeouts. His walk percentage (6.8%) is down from his career average, though he is on track to surrender more home runs this season than he ever has before.
One of the most compelling things about Moore is that he is signed to a reasonable contract. Moore is signed through 2016, with team options worth $7 million, $9 million, and $10 million available from 2017-2019, respectively. The contract also includes buyouts for those options consisting of $2.5 million, $1 million, and $0.8 million in case of injury or ineffectiveness. Although he struggled in May (7.26 ERA), Moore seems to have righted the ship in the meantime, posting a much better 3.72 ERA in June. Despite that bad month, Moore is still having a better season than Nathan Eovaldi, and has been comparable to Pineda (with less strikeouts and a lower ERA).
On the other hand, Moore is a hit-or-miss starter and the Yankees already have several struggling starters including Eovaldi, Michael Pineda, and Luis Severino down in Triple-A. It might be better to stick with the pitchers that they already have, especially now that Chad Green is in the mix. The Yankees could also still try to make internal improvements by turning to someone like Luis Cessa or Dietrich Enns.
Aside from the fact that the Yankees already have plenty of meh starters, it is also difficult to imagine Moore being a difference maker in terms of the Yankees going on a postseason run. It would be one thing if the Yankees only needed help in the rotation, but the offense has been mediocre at best, and the team has had a difficult time getting any consistency from their middle relievers.
If the Yankees are dead set on attempting to improve the rotation without going after an ace, then Moore might be their best bet. However, it is very unlikely that anything comes of the Yankees’ interest in Moore, since the Yankees and Rays have only made two trades ever (Yanks purchased Nick Green in 2006, Rays purchased Carlos Corporan in 2016).
Do you think it would be worth it for the Yankees to go after Moore if they decide to buy?