Andrew Friedman simply does not mess around. According to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN, the Rays are poised to ink studly starter Matt Moore to a five-year, $14 million dollar deal. With club options and the like, the deal could grow as big as eight years and $37.5 million. Wow.

This, as Jonah Keri notes, is the Evan Longoria contract for the guy the Rays hope becomes the pitching equivalent of the Rays best player. The Rays get all of Moore’s arbitration years plus two years of his free agency for a very, very team-friendly price.

Did Moore give it up too easy? If he’s this good, he could easily earn $14 million dollars in one of his arbitration years, ala Tim Lincecum. Why would he trade in these potential earnings so easily?

Oh, right. That. The Rays offered a pitcher with basically no big league experience fourteen million dollars. Guaranteed. That is the kind of insurance policy you can’t get at Lloyd’s of London.

The Rays make another deft move and a player hits free agency during his prime with a tidy savings already in his pocket. That isn’t a bad deal when you consider the rate at which pitchers crap out due to injury or just not being good enough.

The player gets paid and the team gets lean. It’s the Tampa Bay Way. Extra 2%, indeed.

Comments (17)

  1. This is a great deal for the Rays.

  2. Lock up Lawrie now!!!

    • This would seem to make a lot of sense

      • It really would (despite my excessive exclamation points). If teams will spend this kind of money on Cuban and Japanese players who have no ML experience, why not we willing to spend it on a guy who’s come through your system and you know even more about?

        • They only pay imports because they have to, just like the don’t pay young players when they aren’t forced to at union gunpoint.

          • Yes, and the cost for those international players is exorbitant (but that’s another discussion – as is the new draft slotting rules – blech!).

            It does make sense for teams to pursue these types of deals (the Matt Moore/Evan Longoria) model in some cases though. You’ve got a ton of information about a player. You feel good about what they will accomplish and you want some cost certainty.

            This seems to me to apply to BL… n’est pas?
            Assuming the Jays FO doesn’t know something we don’t know…

            Injuries are always a concern, but they are a concern for all players.

          • I agree with IMW, if a club is prepared to offer big bucks to players coming out of the Cuban or Japanese systems or out of High School NCAA as very early draft picks, as the Blue Jays and others have been, why not work to ink commodities that you know a little better, whether through your minor league farm system or through some small sample size big league experience. It seems the prudent move to make these sorts of deals when you can afford to watch fifteen million dollars disappear than you can watch a player in their prime leave at their first opportunity.

            The obvious answer, however, as to why Lawrie and others aren’t being inked to these sorts of deals is because they are being advised not to accept them; that if they can’t negotiate a bigger deal to buy out their arbitration years they could wind up getting a Lincecum arbitration settlement, as Drew noted. In other words, if a deal seems like an absolute steal for the Jays to sign Lawrie (or any other young prospect), than it’s possibly not in the prospect’s best interests to agree to it.

            When Longoria signed his deal fifteen games into his career (or whatever), the world was aghast at how foolish the Rays front office was to take such a risk on such an unproven commodity. But they’ve been proven right, and Longoria has no doubt fired his agent

            • Somebody tweeted that through arbitration Tim Lincecum will have made more than $40 million bucks. That’s a lot.

              Also, no Boras client will accept a deal like this because it goes against everything he stands for. Waiting for the bigger payday is a risk but that’s the name of the volatile investment game, isn’t it?

          • Good call, Kevin. Another factor may be that Moore got a relatively small signing bonus, around ~100K, which while nice, buys no long-term security. If you’re Lawrie, who signed a $1.7 million signing bonus, you can afford to take a few more risks but if you end up being out of baseball in a few years, you’ve still done rather well for yourself.

        • Yeah… good from team’s standpoint. Only good for the player if he think he’s gonna get hurt or is going to suck. :P

  3. Brett Lawrie needs this deal.

  4. One of these days, a move like this is going to blow up in TBs face. One could only hope anyway. One of these days Alice.

  5. I guess my biggest question is that if this is an attractive deal for the player…why don’t more teams do this? This deal is a bit of a risk for the team, and rich teams obviously can afford to wait and pay their guys big $$ when you’re more sure they are good…but wouldn’t this be a steal for Shelby Miller, Mike Trout, Bannuelos?

    Even if you “miss” on a guy like Delmon Young, its not a lot of money and he might even be worth that deal or at least isn’t as big of a drain as some bad deals.

  6. Phenomenal front office. Even if this blows up in their face, it equates to less than a year of CJ Wilson. If it pans out the will have a quality starter (or more) at 5M/year average over the next 8 years.
    This is precisely why I fear the Rays more than the Yankees or Sox.

  7. If things work out in their favor with Moore, the Rays will get 7 yrs out of him at 37.5 mil and if they exercise their future options on Longoria (which barring injury they will) will have both of them locked up for a total of 82 million combined over 17 years or 4.82 million / year combined. Obviously Longoria’s contract started and ends earlier and he gets paid more, 11 and 11.5 million in his last 2 years, but you get the point. Providing Moore pans out, the Rays will have 2 franchise players locked up long term for slightly more than 5 years of CJ Wilson, just to put it in perspective.

  8. One fucking Bautista bomb and it’ll put this kid in his place. Fuck Matt Moore. Fuck the Rays. Go Jays!

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