Phillies add veteran lefty Matt Moore to their starting pitching rotation

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Jim Salisbury
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Phillies add a veteran lefty to their starting pitching rotation originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

The Phillies continue to add pitching depth. Their latest addition also addresses a need for left-handed starting pitching.

According to sources, the Phils have an agreement to sign lefty free agent Matt Moore. Once he passes a physical, Moore will receive a major-league contract. His 2021 salary will be $3 million, according to The Athletic. The major-league deal indicates that the Phillies are confident that Moore will be in their starting rotation in 2021. The team did not have a lefty make a start last season.

Moore, 31, pitched in Japan last year. He was an All-Star with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2013 but struggled in the majors with San Francisco and Texas in 2017 and 2018. A knee injury limited him to just two starts with Detroit in 2019. He made 15 starts in Japan last season and recorded a 2.65 ERA and a 1.118 WHIP in 85 innings.

Even as he worked on signing catcher J.T. Realmuto and continues to work on filling a hole at shortstop — a reunion with Didi Gregorius remains a possibility — Phillies president of baseball ops Dave Dombrowski has made it clear he's looking for pitching depth, likely in the form of bargain veterans. Earlier this week, the Phillies signed veteran right-handers Bryan Mitchell and Ivan Nova to minor-league deals. They will both get a look in big-league camp.

Heading into camp, the Phillies starting rotation includes Aaron Nola, Zack Wheeler and Zach Eflin in the top three spots. With Moore likely to hold down one of the remaining two spots, Spencer Howard, Vince Velasquez, Nova and possibly lefty Ranger Suarez will vie for work at the back half of the rotation. Velasquez has worked in the bullpen in the past and could again in 2021.

Pitching depth will be hugely important in 2021 as teams look to protect arms after last year's shortened season prevented pitchers from building their normal workloads.

Jake Arrieta, now a free agent after pitching for the Phillies the last three seasons, will throw for teams in Texas on Friday. The Phils will take a look, but that's not unusual. They send a scout to just about every free agent showcase.

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