Originally posted on Fox Sports Florida  |  Last updated 12/9/11
In a thin pitching class for free agents, the Tampa Bay Rays have opted to sure up their pitching in the present and future, by signing top prospect Matt Moore to a five-year, 14 million contract, according to ESPN.com. The deal could go for as long as eight years and as much 37.5 million with multiple club options, sources told ESPN, and follows the Rays' usual pattern of trying to lock up their top talent early while players are still relatively affordable. Moore, 23, sparked attention at the big-league level late last season, when he struck out 11 in five innings against the New York Yankees after a September call-up. He also allowed just one run in 10 innings in two games against the Texas Rangers in the American League Division Series. Inside the game, Moore's name had already been mentioned as one of the sport's top young pitching prospects. He went 12-3 with a 1.92 ERA combined for Class AA Montgomery (Ala.) and Class AAA Durham (N.C.) last season. He struck out 210 while walking just 46 in 155 innings. After the spurt against two of the American League's top teams, Moore will no longer be considered a prospect next year as he's expected to join the rotation, helping to form a talented, young set.
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