Matt Moore Trade Rumors: 3 Teams Who Should Pounce on the Young Stud

Joel ReuterFeatured ColumnistNovember 14, 2012

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - SEPTEMBER 22: Pitcher Matt Moore #55 of the Tampa Bay Rays pitches against the Toronto Blue Jays during the game at Tropicana Field on September 22, 2012 in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
J. Meric/Getty Images

It's no secret that the Rays have an abundance of starting pitching talent in their organization, and conversely have a number of holes on the offensive side of things.

The natural reaction is to expect the team to trade some of that pitching to shore up their lineup, and according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, they may do just that this winter.

Sherman lists James Shields, Jeremy Hellickson, Jeff Niemann and young stud Matt Moore as all pitchers whom the team could move if the right deal came along.

While all of those arms would net a solid return, the most intriguing name there has to be that of 23-year-old Moore, who entered last season as the No. 2 prospect in baseball according to Baseball America.

He joined the Rays' rotation to open the season in 2012, and after going 1-2 with a 5.71 ERA through his first six starts he settled in and went 10-9 with a 3.34 ERA the rest of the way to finish the season 11-11, 3.81 ERA, 175 Ks, 177.1 IP over 31 starts.

Those numbers are terrific for a rookie, but his 2011 minor league stats are a better indication of what he's capable of: he went 12-3 with a 1.92 ERA, 210 Ks, 155 IP between Double-A and Triple-A.

The team's asking price will be incredibly high to land Moore, but for a team positioned to be a contender now and for the long haul, there may be no better option on the market.

Here's a look at four teams who may be willing to put together the type of package needed to land Moore:


Arizona Diamondbacks

Trade: Rays send SP Matt Moore to Arizona for RF Justin Upton

The Diamondbacks have dangled right fielder Justin Upton on the trade block more than once, and they will likely be open to hearing offers for him again this offseason.

Arizona is slated to have a trio of young starters in their rotation this season behind Ian Kennedy and Trevor Cahill, and will get Daniel Hudson back at some point, so they already have an abundance of starting pitching.

However, while Wade Miley, Trevor Bauer and Tyler Skaggs all have terrific upside, Moore has a higher ceiling than any of them, and that may be enough reason for the Diamondbacks to pull the trigger on acquiring him.

They could then trade one of the above mentioned trio to fill another need.

For the Rays, Upton would be a huge addition to an offense that has little to speak of, aside from Evan Longoria and Ben Zobrist. Still only 25 years old, Upton had an MVP-caliber season in 2011 and has all the talent in the world.


Milwaukee Brewers

Trade: Rays send SP Matt Moore to Milwaukee for C Martin Maldonado, 1B Hunter Morris, 2B Scooter Gennett, SP Ariel Pena

The Brewers don't have much in the way of proven starters behind Yovani Gallardo, but they have the offensive firepower to make a run at the postseason if their starting pitching can carry its weight.

While the trade wouldn't bring the Rays much big-league experience, it would give them three position player prospects capable of stepping in and shoring up major holes right off the bat.

Maldonado hit .266 BA, 8 HR, 30 RBI in 233 at bats last season when he filled in for the injured Jonathan Lucroy, and would immediately be the best catching option in Tampa.

Morris (.303 BA, 28 HR, 113 RBI) and Gennett (.293 BA, 5 HR, 44 RBI) both turned in solid seasons at Double-A and should be ready at some point in 2013 to step in and fill a pair of big holes in Tampa.

Pena, who was acquired from the Angels in the Zack Greinke deal, went 6-8, 3.93 ERA, 140 Ks, 146.2 IP at Double-A last year. He has an overpowering fastball and slider combination that should allow him to continue to rise quickly through the ranks.



Texas Rangers

Trade: Rays send SP Matt Moore, SP Chris Archer, OF Brandon Guyer to Texas for SS Elvis Andrus, 1B/3B Mike Olt

Whether the Rangers would be willing to give up the duo of Andrus and Olt for anything remains to be seen, but if they were, this would certainly be an appealing package for them.

After a season that saw their rotation in flux, Moore could step in and join Yu Darvish and Matt Harrison atop the staff. Archer would provide terrific depth, and could certainly push Martin Perez for the No. 5 spot in the rotation, while Guyer would provide a near big-league ready bat in what could be a thin outfield.

In return, the Rays are shoring up a huge hole at shortstop and getting a table-setter with great speed in Andrus.

Olt, who is blocked in Texas by Mitch Moreland and Adrian Beltre, would step in as the starting first baseman and would likely hit in the middle of the lineup, where the Rays would hope his minor league power numbers would translate to the majors.