The Tampa Bay Rays have lost one of the key members of their starting rotation. Matt Moore will have season ending Tommy John surgery next week. In a game against the Kansas City Royals on April 7, Moore left late in the game with discomfort in his elbow. Originally, the Rays had placed him on the 15-day disabled list, but after a catch session on Monday, the team determined he would need to have surgery and miss the rest of the season. Moore went 17-4 with a 3.29 ERA last season, and was elected to play for the 2014 American League All-Star team. Moore was set to be a key player in the Rays’ deep starting rotation.
This comes as a relatively large blow to the Rays, who had hoped that their strong starting rotation would be the key to a playoff run. The Rays had just put Alex Cobb on the 15-day disabled list with a left oblique strain. This means that for at least the next two weeks, the Rays will be without two of their top three starting pitchers. Cesar Ramos and Erik Bedard, who had just recently lost out on the race to become the Rays’ fifth starting man, will take over the two vacant spots in the roation.
The 2014 season has certainly not started out in the way that Joe Maddon and the Rays had anticipated. The Rays were expected to have one of the best rotations in the majors, but are now left with much less than they had hoped. The Rays’ lineup is certainly not anything to scoff at, but is hardly the kind of offense that can carry a team to the playoffs. This is not the type of team that is going to score five or six runs every game. The Rays were hoping that their strong rotation and bullpen would be enough to offset their lack of an explosive lineup.
As disappointing as this news may be, things could certainly be worse. The Rays were expected to deal ace David Price in the offseason, but surprisingly kept him for one more year. Had Price been traded, the Rays would have been looking at an even more depleted starting rotation. Although Moore will miss the rest of the season for sure, there is still hope that Cobb could come back as healthy as ever in a couple of weeks. If this happens, and some of the Rays’ younger starters can step up to the challenge and prove themselves, the rotation could still be salvaged.