Tampa Bay Rays Need Matt Moore More Than Ever

Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Rays have won 90 or more games the last four out of five seasons, including a 90-72 performance in 2012.This past off-season saw the Rays parts ways with former All-Star pitcher James Shields and Wade Davis.

The Rays had a surplus of pitching depth that allowed them the flexibility to make the deal for one of the games top prospects in Wil Myers.

However, if the Rays are going to be successful in the tough American League East, they are going to need prized pitching sensation Matt Moore to take it to another level in his sophomore season. Moore will be leaned on heavily this season with the omission of Shields in the rotation.

Moore, a former eighth-round pick, had a respectable rookie season, posting an 11-11 record with a 3.81 ERA and 175 strikeouts in 177 innings pitched. Moore finished seventh  in the American League, allowing 8.0 hits per nine innings in his rookie campaign.

The Rays rotation will be anchored down by perennial Cy Young candidate David Price followed by Jeremy Hellickson, Matt Moore, Jeff Niemann and Alex Cobb. With the jury still out on Niemann and Cobb, the importance is that much greater for Moore to nail shut and solidify that third spot in the rotation.

Only time will tell, but there is no question Matt Moore has the talent and ability to be one of the most dominating pitchers on the planet. Now he just has to go out and do it.

Clayton Richer covers the Toronto Blue Jays for Rant Sports, follow and interact with him on Twitter @MLBHotCorner

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