ST. PETERSBURG, FL—The Tampa Bay Rays and left-handed pitcher Matt Moore have agreed on an eight-year contract, with the first five years guaranteed. The contract includes club options for the 2017, 2018 and 2019 seasons. The deal is worth a maximum value of approximately $39.75 million including $14 million guaranteed.
Moore, 22, will donate a portion of his contract to the Rays Baseball Foundation, the team’s charitable foundation that supports youth and education programs in the Tampa Bay region. Moore joins Evan Longoria, James Shields, Ben Zobrist and Wade Davis among the current Rays under multi-year contracts who donate to the Rays Baseball Foundation.
“Matt is one of the most talented young players in baseball and exactly the type of person we look to build around,” said Rays Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman. “For us, making a long-term commitment to a player is not only a question of his ability, but also his work ethic, competitive drive and character. Matt excels in each of those aspects and we’re thrilled that he’ll be part of our core for many years.”
During the 2011 season Moore ascended from Montgomery (AA) to the major leagues, making his big league debut on September 14. He appeared in three games (one start) for the Rays in September, going 1-0 with a 2.89 ERA (9.1-IP, 3-ER) with 15 strikeouts and three walks. The lefty went 12-3 with a 1.92 ERA (155-IP, 33-ER) in a combined 27 starts for Montgomery and Durham (AAA) and ranked second among all minor leaguers in ERA, strikeouts (210) and opponents’ batting average (.184). The 210 strikeouts set the organizational record for a Rays minor leaguer, breaking his own mark of 208 set in 2010.
In the 2011 American League Division Series, Moore started and won Game 1 against the Texas Rangers, throwing seven shutout innings, and became the youngest starting pitcher ever to win his team’s first game of the postseason. He also became the first rookie pitcher since 1978 to start and win his team’s first game of the postseason.
Following the 2011 season Moore won the Spink Award as the Topps Minor League Player of the Year and was named to Baseball America’s Minor League All-Star Team. At midseason he was rated the top pitching prospect in the game, and No. 3 prospect overall, by Baseball America. Despite his July 22 call-up from Montgomery to Durham, Moore was named the Southern League (AA) Pitcher of the Year and a midseason and postseason Southern League All-Star. He threw a nine-inning no-hitter for Montgomery on June 16 at Mobile.
The Edgewood, N.M., resident was selected by the Rays in the eighth round of the 2007 June Draft out of Moriarty High School. In five minor league seasons, he has made 99 appearances (94 starts) and compiled a 28-21 record, 2.64 ERA and 700 strikeouts in 497.1 innings.