The Los Angeles Angels announced the signing of left-handed relief pitcher Matt Moore to a one-year contract worth $7.55 million. In a corresponding 40-man roster move, RHP Davis Daniel (right shoulder strain) has been placed on the 60-day injured list.
Moore transitioned to the bullpen with the Texas Rangers prior to the 2022 season and turned it into one of the most productive seasons in his 11-year career by posting a 1.95 ERA, and a 2.98 FIP, while striking out 27.3% of batters faced.
The 33-year-old ranked among AL relief leaders in innings (5th), ERA (8th), strikeouts (8th) and opponent batting average (14th, .187). His 1.95 ERA also finished as the third-lowest for a reliever (min. 70 IP) in Rangers history, behind Jim Kern (1.57 ERA in 1979) and Tanner Scheppers (1.88 ERA in 2013).
Moore’s breakout season as a reliever was fueled by a drastic change in pitch usage. Still headlined by his four-seam fastball, which held batters to a .179 batting average allowed, Moore increased his curveball frequency from 15.3% in 2021 to 38.2% with the Texas Rangers last season.
Opposing hitters logged a .242 slugging percentage off of the curve, and without diving too much into his changeup, it’s one of the best in Major League Baseball.
His only blemish comes in the form of the free pass, which he allowed a 12.5% walk rate (4th percentile) and remains an area the Angels pitching staff will need to address.
A native of Fort Walton Beach, Fla., Moore was originally selected by Tampa Bay in the eighth round of the 2007 Draft and made his Major League debut with the Rays in 2011.
He was an AL All-Star in 2013 and has totaled 268 career games (164 starts) across parts of 11 MLB seasons with the Rays (2011-16), San Francisco Giants (2016-17), Rangers (2018, 2022), Detroit Tigers (2019) and Philadelphia Phillies (2021). In 2020, Moore made 13 starts for the NPB Pacific League Champion Fukuoka Softbank Hawks.
Will Matt Moore get a chance to close games for the Angels?
Without a clear-cut closer option, manager Phil Nevin has multiple arms to cycle through if indeed he wants to deploy one by committee or based on the matchups.
Moore will turn 34 during the 2023 season, but as he transitions to a new chapter in his big league career, he will have the opportunity to close out games for the Angels if his production remains at a high level.
Estévez is the early favorite for saves, but ultimately they may turn to a closer-by-committee.
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