It wasn’t the most exciting of moves, but we’re used to that by now. The Detroit Tigers shored up their pitching depth on Tuesday, inking 29-year-old lefty Matt Moore to a one-year contract. Once upon a time, Moore was one of hot young starters in the game for the Tampa Bay Rays. Injury cut him down in 2014, and he has been somewhere between decent and downright bad ever since. While there isn’t much hope of a reversal in his fortunes, the Tigers appear to have a different role in mind for him.
Moore did make R.J. Anderson’s list of potential comeback candidates in 2019 for CBS Sports, though Anderson doesn’t sound any more optimistic than we are. Still, Moore is coming from the AL West to the AL Central, and a more friendly pitching environment. That might help. The real question is what role he ends up playing.
As Anthony Fenech writes for the Free Press, Moore will have a chance to make the starting rotation this spring. However, Lynn Henning of the Detroit News places him more as a likely sixth man, who fills a role akin to Blaine Hardy’s work in 2018. The Tigers signed former Cubs pitcher, Travis Wood, last winter to fill a similar role before he went down with a season ending injury in February.
Presumably, the Tigers intend to use Moore as a middle reliever with the ability to pick up a start here or there, as opposed to giving him a rotation spot. He’s basically cheap insurance in case of injury to another starter. Still, the move raises some questions about the fate of some of the other lefties on the roster, namely Blaine Hardy, Daniel Stumpf, and Ryan Carpenter.
Meanwhile, Tigers beat writers and bloggers alike are nodding to ourselves thinking of all the possible game recap headlines this signing makes possible. Hope for good times and headlines like “Moore than the Indians could handle” instead of, “We can’t take any Moore!”
Curtis Granderson is the Man
There are few players in the sport as well liked and respected as former Tigers center fielder Curtis Granderson. He is a past recipient of the Roberto Clemente Award for his character and philanthropic efforts. On Tuesday, the Players’ Association awarded him the Marvin Miller Award as Man of the Year for the third time. The 37-year-old beat out Paul Goldschmidt and Mike Trout in the voting. The Players’ Association also displayed a sneaky work-around by voting J.D. Martinez Player of the Year, and Mookie Betts as AL Most Outstanding Player.
Around the horn
Tigers assistant general manager David Chadd was featured on MLB.com’s Executive Access podcast. He discussed his career in scouting, winning the World Series with the Marlins and Red Sox, and some of the principles he developed along the way. Meanwhile, Mario Impemba may be out as Tigers play-by-play man, but he’s still in the running for Michigan Sportscaster of the Year. It would be nice to add a little kicker to the résumé, no doubt.
Michael Baumann of The Ringer takes on the bizarro world of MLB free agency over the past few seasons, and the impact it is having on veteran players. MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred tried to walk back a campaign contribution, and in the process brought to mind their successful lobbying for the rather odious Save America’s Pastime Act back in March. Manfred also announced a new partnership between major league baseball and MGM in a step anticipating the eventual spread of legalized sports gambling. In the process he offered a startling quote, considering his long-time complaints about pace of play. Things are about to get weird, guys.
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred says slower pace of play of baseball is an advantage in gambling as “it gives an opportunity to be creative with respect to the types of wagers” that could be made in between plays.— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) November 27, 2018