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Roster preview: Tyler Moore

Jan 19, 2014, 10:10 AM EST

Photo by USA Today Photo by USA Today

Age on Opening Day 2014: 27

How acquired: Drafted in the 16th round, June 2008

2014 salary: N/A

2013 Stats: 63 G, 178 PA, 16 R, 37 H, 9 2B, 0 3B, 4 HR, 21 RBI, 0 SB, 8 BB, 58 SO, .222 AVG, .260 OBP, .347 SLG, .607 OPS, 1 E, -5.3 UZR (at OF), -0.6 UZR (at 1B), -1.2 WAR

2014 storyline: Moore enters 2014 with a very good chance to be a key bench player for the Nationals. They saw what he could do two years ago and still have confidence in his future in Major League Baseball. But Moore will probably have to assert himself early in the year, as the Nationals could easily start him out on a short leash. Bench production was such an issue last year and Mike Rizzo has been aggressive in improving their reserve unit. Just this past week they checked in on free agent Mark Reynolds. If Reynolds was signed he would have filled the role Moore is expected to hold down. If the Nationals were serious at all about Reynolds, it could mean Moore is under at least some pressure to perform or else they could have a replacement in mind.

Best-case scenario: There’s no secret that the Nationals do not have a long-term plan at first base, at least in terms of a future starter on their current roster. If Moore were to have a big 2014 season, there is no reason why he couldn’t make the case for himself to be that guy. He proved he was capable of contributing to a playoff team in 2012 and showed flashes of everyday player potential. He took a step back last season, but he will have another very good chance to prove his long-term worth this year. Moore would have to keep his average up despite inconsistent at-bats and once again be the home run threat he was two years ago.

Worst-case scenario: Moore’s 2013 was a disappointment, but it can always get worse. Worst-case scenario for him would probably involve his average dipping even lower than the .222 he posted last season. If that were to happen, he’d probably be sent back to Triple-A and at 27 that’s the last place he wants to be.

Most-likely scenario: What Moore did in 2012 (.263 BA, 10 HR, .840 OPS) is probably the most realistic expectation for him. He was excellent off the bench and a capable starter when guys went to the disabled list. That’s really all the Nationals need him to be this season, and another year like he had in 2012 would make a decent case for him to be a starting first baseman. He could make the Nats’ decision at first base very difficult next offseason, and that’s a problem they would love to have.

  1. Eugene in Oregon - Jan 19, 2014 at 10:46 AM

    If the Nats are serious about starting Ryan Zimmerman 10-15 times at 1B (and assuming Adam LaRoche hits well enough to remain the regular 1B and start roughly 150 games), where does that leave Tyler Moore in terms of getting any sort of chance to prove he can be an MLB first baseman?

    In 2012, Mr. Moore got most of his PAs from LF (103 vs. 35 from 1B and 31 as a PH). Ditto last season, when his LF/RF PAs (114) more than doubled his PAs from first (46). And he was only used 18 times as PH (and only record one hit in that role). My point is not about his hitting, though, but that the team used him primarily as a fill-in OF, which is clearly not his best defensive position. I know there were more opportunities to start in the OF because of injuries, but I can also recall instances in which he seemed like the logical choice to start at 1B (e.g., against a tough LH pitcher), but management stuck with Mr. LaRoche. But maybe that was just Davey Johnson?

    In any event, I continue to have my doubts about whether the Nats really see Mr. Moore as a long-term option. He’s certainly a valuable (potentially, at least) asset to keep on your roster, but I would not be surprised if we see him moved before (perhaps even well before) the start of the 2015 season.

  2. micksback1 - Jan 19, 2014 at 10:52 AM

    This has to be Tyler’s break out, if not wel….

  3. Hiram Hover - Jan 19, 2014 at 11:02 AM

    Moore returning to his 2012 offensive production seems to me like a best case, not “most likely” scenario.

    He had about 170-180 PA each season, but put up 127 wRC+ in 2012 and an abysmal 64 in 2013. His power (ISO) fell by 50% as did his walk rate, and his K rate went up from a not very good 27% to a really bad 32.6%.

    Most likely I think is that he settles in somewhere bwn those two performances, which would not qualify him long term as more than a bench player.

    One problem with platooning Moore with ALR – Moore has actually been worse against lefties than righties – combining the 2 seasons, he’s got a 77 wRC+ vs lefties, and 114 vs righties.

    ALR had a bad 2013 largely bc of poor performance vs lefties, but over his career has a 91 wRC+ vs lefties.

  4. Section 222 - Jan 19, 2014 at 11:19 AM

    Good thing I read the first line of HH’s comment before starting to comment myself, or I would have owed him a drink. I’m afraid we’ve already seen Tyler Moore’s best season. He’s 27 now and doesn’t seem to have much of future. Unfortunately, he’s like Corey Brown — had a lot of promise based on minor league performance, but never could make that next step against major league pitching. And he doesn’t have the speed or defensive skills of Corey Brown, so his value to the team is diminishing by the year. If he couldn’t build on 2012 last year, what makes us think he’ll do it this year?

  5. micksback1 - Jan 19, 2014 at 11:20 AM

    maybe Mark knows, what has Tyler been doing off season, what leagues, etc..

  6. micksback1 - Jan 19, 2014 at 11:21 AM

    Sec222 and HH may be correct

  7. scnatsfan - Jan 19, 2014 at 11:53 AM

    Oh Tyler, please stop teasing us. Show us you belong.

    Interesting multiple reports on Nats being interested in Balfour. If he signs someone is on their way out of town.

  8. unkyd59 - Jan 19, 2014 at 12:09 PM

    So, Ken Rosenthal is saying that the Nats are interested in Grant Balfour… A little Rizzo smokescreen? Or has signing closers become a compulsion, for him? I could see if he were left handed. He also mentioned trading Storen… Id sure hate to see Drew anywhere else…

    • nats128 - Jan 19, 2014 at 12:25 PM

      http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/grant-balfour-washington-nationals-reliever-drew-storen-rafael-soriano-tyler-clippard-011914

      Heres Rosenthals writeup. Makes some sense that the Nats could sign a FA and then get value in a trade for Storen. I like it however I think its a longshot.

      • veejh - Jan 19, 2014 at 12:33 PM

        Not sure how this helps other than freeing up a little money on a guy who’s health is questionable. I say stay pat.

    • dcsportsfan2277 - Jan 19, 2014 at 1:33 PM

      Why do the Nats continue to mess with Storen’s head? I would take Storen over Balfour any day! Rizzo seems to have given up on Drew. Does he know something we do not? I expect we will see a Clippard rant soon!

      • NatsLady - Jan 20, 2014 at 7:42 AM

        Rizzo has been on the fence about Storen for years–remember the rumors of the Storen for Span trade in 2011?

  9. sjm308 - Jan 19, 2014 at 12:24 PM

    I just know one thing. I do not want to see Tyler Moore in left field (or any outfield position) this season!

    Like Mr. Oregon, I have doubts about Tyler if they really are going to move Zimmerman over for a dozen games or so. I guess this will all get sorted out in spring training but I am thinking that final option is what will make a big difference. I realize he is old but if he is playing everyday at First base it will show management what we have for next year if nothing else.

    If Moore is optioned, that would open a spot for Jamey Carroll or some other player who has shown the ability to actually catch a ball and maybe pinch hit.

    Not sure what is going on with Balfour but wouldn’t you want Clippard or Storen over him? Just wondering.

    Go Nats!!

  10. Doc - Jan 19, 2014 at 12:25 PM

    Lots perms and combos to consider here with TyMo. ALR is gone by next year, or sooner.

    More pertinent to TyMo hanging around is Matt Skole’s performance at AAA in ’14.

  11. Jw - Jan 19, 2014 at 1:13 PM

    Tyler Moore
    Best case scenario: AAAA
    Worst case scenario: Japan
    Likely scenario: AAA

  12. Sonny G 10 - Jan 19, 2014 at 1:17 PM

    The telling thing for me is TyMo’s age at 27. He is definitely running out of time. He must show us something this year or he’s probably not going to be a part of the Nat’s future. I am rooting for him to do well.

  13. Joe Seamhead - Jan 19, 2014 at 1:22 PM

    The league’s pitchers adjusted to Tyler Moore. The kid can crush a fastball in the strike zone. So, don’t throw him a fastball in the strike zone and problem solved from a pitcher’s point of view. And you can’t hide him anywhere on the field. I’d like to think that the 2014 Nationals are way passed the point of career AAAA players.

  14. David Proctor - Jan 19, 2014 at 2:51 PM

    The news of us being interested in Balfour is very interesting.

  15. Section 222 - Jan 19, 2014 at 3:05 PM

    The Balfour news is kind of bizarre. Sounds like an agent whispering in Rosenthal’s ear like they did with Mark Reynolds. Storen’s value needs to be rehabilitated before they can think about trading him.

    I doubt there’s much chance that Soriano finishes 62 games this year. Not with Clip and Storen available to close too.

    Sure hope he’s right that Rizzo is still looking for a bench bat though.

    • David Proctor - Jan 19, 2014 at 3:28 PM

      Bill Ladson confirmed Nats interest in Balfour, FWIW.

    • Jw - Jan 19, 2014 at 3:33 PM

      They could always sell high on Clippard.

      • Section 222 - Jan 19, 2014 at 3:48 PM

        That makes more sense, since you could argue that Balfour plus prospects is worth more than Clip. Nonetheless, I sure hope they don’t do it. Maybe the Balfour “news” is part of Rizzo’s negotiating strategy with Clip.

      • David Proctor - Jan 19, 2014 at 3:56 PM

        It really doesn’t make sense for a contender to trade their best reliever in Clippard. I get selling high and all, but I don’t see it.

        Balfour is an upgrade on Storen, even when Storen is right. Balfour’s ERA the past 4 years: 2.28, 2.47, 2.53, 2.59 for a total of 2.47 over 254 innings. Now, it is worrisome that you’re replacing a 26 year old with a 36 year old–unless you’re able to also get a decent prospect for Storen. So the fact that this has come out makes me think that some team has given Rizzo an offer for Storen that Rizzo likes. It did come out a while ago that the Cubs wanted Storen to be their closer. Maybe talks heated up there? I dunno.

  16. Eugene in Oregon - Jan 19, 2014 at 5:28 PM

    To bring the thread back to the original post (sort of), if the Ken Rosenthal story is correct that the Nats are kicking the tires on Grant Balfour while simultaneously looking to trade Drew Storen AND add another impact bat, that bat would probably replace Tyler Moore on the 25-man roster. Particularly if it were a player who could play 1B, 3B, and both OF corners (paging Mr. Baker?). And a Storen/Moore package might well generate a decent return from a few teams. Just speculating, of course.

  17. Sonny G 10 - Jan 19, 2014 at 5:53 PM

    Remember how I said with Rizzo, the window was always going to be open? Well, trading a 26 year old for a 36 year old is a good way to slam the window closed, even if you get a couple of good prospects. If the prospects don’t work out, then you’ve made negative progress. I am not interested in making a run for the world series and then rebuild. I want to make a run for the world series every year. EVERY YEAR, Rizzo. You hear me!!! I’m really going to be p*ssed if you deviate from that strategy!

    • David Proctor - Jan 19, 2014 at 5:56 PM

      “Well, trading a 26 year old for a 36 year old is a good way to slam the window closed, even if you get a couple of good prospects”

      Actually, I’d argue the opposite. Trading a 26 year old reliever with 3 years of control for some prospects makes plenty of sense if the return is right. We’d have to see what the return is before we judge it. And, of course, prospects may not work out. But Drew Storen may never rebound, too. You upgrade with Balfour in the near-term while investing in some prospects for the long-term. Makes sense to me.

  18. David Proctor - Jan 19, 2014 at 6:02 PM

    Bill Ladson reporting that we’re still in the market for a backup catcher and it’s likely to come via trade. I’d hope we can do better than a backup catcher for Storen, though it may be two completely separate issues.

  19. sjm308 - Jan 19, 2014 at 6:16 PM

    Just read the Rosenthal article and I keep thinking about all the stuff all these national guys write that turns out to be totally wrong. That being said, its still interesting because Rizzo is usually in stealth mode on lots of his deals.

    I really do not want to lose Storen but Clippard is not mentioned as the player being moved and Drew is. I just don’t understand why you need another closer when you already have three??? and they are all younger then Balfour. How will Balfour fit into a system that does not have him as the primary closer? How will Soriano react to the obvious ploy here to keep him from finishing 62 games and getting that 3rd year and 14 million?

    I know we all say “In Rizzo we trust” but I have problems with this deal if it really does happen. Talk me down people.

    • David Proctor - Jan 19, 2014 at 6:26 PM

      “How will Soriano react to the obvious ploy here to keep him from finishing 62 games and getting that 3rd year and 14 million?”

      This is a non-issue. Soriano’s career high in Games Finished is 58. He’d have to have 62 for that option to kick in. Balfour was a setup man for most of his career, so that shouldn’t be a huge issue. Most of the closer jobs have been filled, so he may have to settle for being a setup man. But this job is enticing because it’s virtually certain the closer job opens next year–and he’d be the guy in line to get it.

      As for why Storen and not Clippard, that’s pretty easy: Clippard is dependable. He’s been among the best relievers in baseball. Even when Storen is on, I don’t think he’s as good as Clippard. They must fear Storen won’t rebound–and thus won’t be ready to take over the job again next year. And they’ve made clear that they like Clippard in the 8th inning, not the 9th.

      But again, this may not even happen. I will say this: I hope it happens now that this information is out there. Because the last thing we need is Storen’s apparently delicate psyche harmed by this news.

      • Jw - Jan 19, 2014 at 7:19 PM

        Not sure why anyone thinks Storen has a delicate psyche. Clippard is the one who got upset when they sent Storen down. Storen took it for the opportunity it was, upped his game and was back fairly quickly.

      • David Proctor - Jan 19, 2014 at 7:22 PM

        I don’t subscribe to that particular line of thought–but it seems to be a common sentiment. They believe Storen’s awful 2014 was a result of NLDS Game 5 and the Soriano signing.

      • David Proctor - Jan 19, 2014 at 7:28 PM

        er, 2013.

      • unkyd59 - Jan 19, 2014 at 8:54 PM

        This is not “news”. It’s speculation, by a national reporter… Rizzo seems to love using these guys to disguise his aims… I almost feel like hearing a “story” like this bandied about is an indication that Drew is indeed to be counted on for the future. Storen is a Rizzo Guy, and he doesn’t give up on his Guys. I think he’d need to be blown away by an offer, to let him go, and you’d think Clip would bring a nicer haul… this offseason, anyway…

      • unkyd59 - Jan 19, 2014 at 9:14 PM

        To be clear, I like the back end of our ‘pen just fine… I wouldn’t prefer a 36 year old Balfour over Clip or Store

    • Eugene in Oregon - Jan 19, 2014 at 6:33 PM

      Okay, off the ledge, please. First, as you note, much of the speculation — here, in the press, wherever — never happens. Second, from what I know (admittedly not a lot), of all the closers out there, Grant Balfour more likely than most closers to adapt to the set-up role. Third, odds are — as has been discussed here before — that Rafael Soriano would not be finishing 62 games regardless of what happens with any other closer or quasi-closer.

  20. dgourds - Jan 19, 2014 at 6:48 PM

    I like Tyler, but if I had the chance to sign mark reynolds, I’d do it in a second. Not only is he an excellent power hitter, but he’s also a very capable 3rd and 1st baseman. I hope we get him. What a bench with mcclouth, reynolds and Hairston. There are some clutch dingers off that bench. With Espinosa and that group, we can well cover injuries at any position.
    I also think Balfour is a good pick up. I wasn’t aware of Soriano’s $14million 2015 vesting option if he finishes 62 games. Also, I just don’t trust Soriano. The more solid options we have at the back of the pen, the better!

    • David Proctor - Jan 19, 2014 at 6:50 PM

      Mark Reynolds has signed with the Brewers

    • scnatsfan - Jan 19, 2014 at 8:35 PM

      Not that it could happen now but Reynolds and Espinosa in the same lineup would guarantee 5 ks a game between them

      • Eugene in Oregon - Jan 19, 2014 at 10:07 PM

        And they could do it in three ABs.

  21. sjm308 - Jan 19, 2014 at 7:35 PM

    Thanks to all of you. Nice to realize that Balfour has been a set up guy and so that won’t be an issue. I did understand that it was a huge reach for Soriano to get that 62 games and with his demeanor I don’t think it will be an issue either but I wanted to at least cover all my questions. I did have Storen as our closer after this year because I think he did bounce back after his return from AAA but what do I know.

    • Sonny G 10 - Jan 19, 2014 at 8:50 PM

      I agree with you, Coach.

      • letswin3 - Jan 19, 2014 at 11:10 PM

        +1

  22. Faraz Shaikh - Jan 19, 2014 at 7:37 PM

    I really wish for Moore to succeed enough so he can take over 1B for good. That basically means ALR must either suck or get injured for Moore to get enough chances for that to happen. Not sure I want that.

    When Fister trade was announced, I thought Clippard was part of the package. That would have been more fair return than what Detroit got. I am not in favor of trading Clip and signing Grant who will cost even more and not close. Besides those injury rumors (true or not), makes no sense to sign Grant.

  23. Section 222 - Jan 19, 2014 at 7:56 PM

    Not sure why anyone thinks Storen has a delicate psyche? Oh my. Read the comments here for the past year. According to many, including Clip it appears, Storen was upset that they brought in Soriano. And that’s why he was awful until he was finally sent down. Of course, some also think he has a delicate psyche based on his Game 5 meltdown. Either way, more ink has been spilled about his “makeup” that just about any other player on the Nats.

    I’m not a psychiatrist, nor do I play one on TV. I just know I’d rather not rely on him for the future. Maybe he’s turned it permanently, and maybe he hasn’t. But if Rizzo wants to bring in a proven closer and deal Storen for a valuable future piece, I’m fine with that. Thanks for the analysis of that exchange DP. I’m still doubtful that it will happen, but it wouldn’t break my heart or anything if it does.

    By the way, how is Balfour at holding runners?

    • Faraz Shaikh - Jan 19, 2014 at 8:08 PM

      he is very good at staring down opponents and cursing at himself, if that helps.

      • David Proctor - Jan 19, 2014 at 8:19 PM

        I’m not a fan of that whole thing, but it would be amusing to see him face the etiquette police down in Atlanta.

      • Faraz Shaikh - Jan 20, 2014 at 9:32 AM

        then he should definitely play in AL East. Screwing Baltimore would be another reason by having a dominant season for Rays or another AL East team.

    • Jw - Jan 19, 2014 at 8:59 PM

      Again, it’s Clippard who seems to get upset when bad things happen to Storen. Perhaps we should give Storen’s delicate psyche a name. How about we call it Mr. Goggles?

      • David Proctor - Jan 19, 2014 at 9:04 PM

        Clippard might get upset, but he’s able to pitch effectively still. When Clippard puts up an ERA over 4, we can do that.

      • Section 222 - Jan 19, 2014 at 9:39 PM

        We could also call it “stare at the catcher for 30 seconds while the guy on first steals second.”

  24. Sonny G 10 - Jan 19, 2014 at 8:57 PM

    I really enjoy the different points of view here. Helps me to keep my head on straight. :)

  25. davecydell - Jan 20, 2014 at 1:04 AM

    Please, Rizzo, Trade T Moore.
    Next to your love of Davey Johnson, it will be the biggest mistake you ever make.

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