Specter of Matt Moore Tommy John Surgery Looms for Rays

By Robbie Knopf

In 2013, the Tampa Bay Rays hoped that Matt Moore would break out in the style that David Price did in 2010. He did win 17 games, but that did not happen as expected. Nevertheless, we gave Moore a mulligan and hoped for big things this season. Instead, his season is already over. Matt Moore elected to have Tommy John Surgery late last night and will be sidelined until at least April of 2015. Moore visited Dr. James Andrews, and Rays fans hoped things would be OK. But it is really possible to have an uneventful visit to Andrews? Moore had this to say.

"“What was coming out, it’s a shame to have to be shut down right now, but it just wasn’t comfortable,” Moore said. “Being stuck in the position I am right now, where it’s not exactly comfortable but it’s not exactly completely broke, it’s kind of one of those things that you know it’s going to get worse. If we had to have our best guess, that was what we would say — it’s going to get worse.”"

Moore’s ulnar collateral ligament only had a small tear, but that did not even make a difference. Even if the injury was not so bad now, eventual surgery was going to be inevitable for Moore. Now, at least, he gets it out of the way now and can worry about coming strong after his injury. The Rays will miss him, but now they simply need to find a way to survive with him gone.

The Rays have been extremely lucky with Tommy John Surgery in the past. Several prospects–most notably Taylor Guerrieri, Jake McGee, and Grayson Garvin–have undergone the procedure, but you have to go back to 2009 to find the last major leaguer (reliever Jason Isringhausen) and then there is something else that is absolutely insane. According to the Tommy John list by Jeff Zimmerman of Baseball Heat Maps, you have to go back to Seth McClung in 2003 for the last active Rays pitcher to undergo Tommy John Surgery. Jeff Niemann and J.P. Howell did need operations on their shoulders, but the Rays’ incredible group of starting pitchers never once lost a player to Tommy John Surgery. The Rays had an unbelievable stretch of luck, and now it has finally over. The Matt Moore Tommy John Surgery gives the Rays’ 2014 hopes a serious hit, and it has to give Rays fans a perspective about just how fortunate they have been to not experience this before.