Team will pick up left-hander's $9 million contract option for next season
By Jonathan Hawthorne
SAN FRANCISCO -- A seemingly predictable morning turned into a pleasant surprise for Giants starter Matt Moore on Saturday. Anna Orlando, Moore's girlfriend, was perusing social media when she stumbled on news that the Giants would pick up the 2018 option on his contract.
Moore had already missed a call from his agent earlier in the morning. He quickly picked up the phone to call again. The left-hander, who's posted a 5-14 record with a 5.39 ERA this year, had a $9 million club option for 2018 with a $1 million buyout.
"It makes me very happy. ... It definitely did take me by surprise," Moore said. "It was something cool to kind of see because it's probably a month and a half before they even have to do anything."
The news of Moore's 2018 status came when general manager Bobby Evans told the Los Angeles Times: "We'll pick up his option."
"It's a big tip of confidence coming my way from the front office, just understanding that this isn't who I am," Moore said. "They're planning on being much better and a lot more competitive next year. And it means that I'm going to be a part of that. Internally, I've been able to keep chugging along. ... This is something very nice. Obviously they didn't have to do this. It was a nice surprise to wake up to."
Moore has experienced a recent resurgence on the mound. He owns a 3.76 ERA over his last six starts plus one relief appearance. His season ERA ballooned in June when he posted an 8.88 mark over five starts.
But the lefty, whom the Giants acquired from the Rays in a midseason trade last year, is on pace for one of the worst statistical seasons of his six-year Major League career. Moore conceded it's not been the season he expected from himself.
Moore posted a 4.08 ERA in 12 starts with the Giants last year, including a near no-hitter Aug. 25 and an eight-inning gem Oct. 2, both against the Dodgers. He also struck out 10 and allowed two runs (one earned) in eight innings of Game 4 of the National League Division Series vs. the Cubs, who rallied against the Giants bullpen to eliminate San Francisco.
"Obviously it doesn't have to be this early for him to announce something like that," Moore said. "It is nice to have the confidence that this is something that's very temporary -- the type of season I'm having isn't expected here on out."
Moore's 2018 standing was one of two question marks in the Giants' rotation heading into the offseason. Johnny Cueto is the other -- though he's recently indicated he expects to be back in San Francisco and decline the opt-out clause in his contract. With Madison Bumgarner atop the rotation, followed by Cueto and Jeff Samardzija, Moore is the logical fourth starter.
"We want him. He's a big part of our future," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "Hopefully that does send the message. I'm sure glad because I think a lot of Matt. Granted, it hasn't been the best year for all of us. I think it's fair to say for him individually. But I think some of his more recent outings, we've seen the Matt that we know."
• Bochy said Hunter Pence (lower back spasms) is questionable to play in Sunday's series finale.
But Bochy expects both Pence and Gorkys Hernandez (sprained left wrist) to be fully available Tuesday after Monday's off-day. Hernandez took dry swings before Saturday's game.
Jonathan Hawthorne is a reporter for MLB.com based in the Bay Area. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.