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PHILADELPHIA — The Phillies are stockpiling starting pitching before Spring Training opens in two weeks.
The club announced on Wednesday that it signed left-hander Matt Moore to a one-year, $3 million contract. A source also told MLB.com that it agreed to a one-year, $4 million contract with right-hander Chase Anderson. Philadelphia has not confirmed the latter pact.
Moore, 31, went 6-3 with a 2.65 ERA in 15 starts last season in Japan, striking out 98 and walking 26 in 85 innings. Anderson, 33, went 53-40 with a 3.94 ERA and 4.54 FIP in 166 appearances (160 starts) from 2014-19 with the D-backs and the Brewers, but 1-2 with a 7.22 ERA in 10 appearances (seven starts) last season with the Blue Jays. Both will compete with Spencer Howard, Vince Velasquez and others for the final two spots in the Phillies’ rotation behind Aaron Nola, Zack Wheeler and Zach Eflin.
Moore could be a nice comeback story for the Phillies. Once considered one of the top three prospects in baseball, alongside Bryce Harper and Mike Trout, Moore went 17-4 with a 3.29 ERA in 27 starts with the Rays in 2013, making the American League All-Star team and finishing ninth for the AL Cy Young Award. He went 29-17 with a 3.53 ERA in 63 appearances (61 starts) from ’11-14, but he suffered an elbow injury and required Tommy John surgery in April 2014.
Moore, who was teammates with Phillies general manager Sam Fuld in Tampa Bay from 2011-13, was 25-39 with a 5.13 ERA in 118 appearances (90 starts) after the surgery. He pitched 10 scoreless innings in two starts with the Tigers in early 2019, but he suffered a season-ending knee injury. He signed a one-year deal with the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks in December 2019.
It is a small sample size, but Moore’s average fastball velocity in those two starts with Detroit (92.9 mph) had been its highest since 2016 (93.4 mph). Moore maintained his velocity in Japan, occasionally hitting 95 mph on the radar gun.