1 reliever the Angels need to use differently

Apr 3, 2023; Seattle, Washington, USA; Los Angeles Angels relief pitcher Matt Moore (55) pitches to
Apr 3, 2023; Seattle, Washington, USA; Los Angeles Angels relief pitcher Matt Moore (55) pitches to / Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Late in the offseason, the Los Angeles Angels signed Matt Moore to a one-year deal worth $7.55 million. Moore was the second free agent the Angels signed to help the bullpen, joining Carlos Estevez.

Giving a reliever $7.5 million even for one year should mean they're one of the better relievers in the 'pen. Moore certainly is that following his breakout season, but the Angels are not treating him as if he is one of their better arms. That needs to change.

LA Angels need to use Matt Moore differently out of the bullpen

On Opening Day, I thought the Angels would turn to Matt Moore for the bottom of the eighth inning with the team up 1-0. As you know, the Angels turned to Aaron Loup and lost that game. It's easy to second guess, but given how uneven Loup's 2022 season was, that was a bit surprising.

Moore ended up not being used once in the three-game series in Oakland. The other two games were routs, so that makes sense to not use him in those spots.

What baffles me even more than what happened on Opening Day was how the 'pen was used last night. Reid Detmers departed after 4.2 innings pitched and Ryan Tepera got the final out. That was fine with me.

The Angels then went to Matt Moore for the sixth. He'd face Sam Haggerty (switch), Tom Murphy (R), and Cooper Hummell (switch). Moore as a lefty not facing a lefty hitter is odd, but facing the bottom of the order in the sixth inning certainly felt odd.

Moore got off to a very rough start this spring, allowing nine runs on 12 hits with four walks in 8.2 innings pitched. Not good at all, but it's just Spring Training. Last season he had a 1.95 ERA in 63 appearances and 74 innings pitched. I'd say that's dominant.

Moore being seemingly demoted in his role because of a rough spring is something I don't agree with, especially with how the Angels have used the rest of their bullpen. Carlos Estevez allowed nine runs in 7.2 innings pitched. He walked 10 (!) batters and opened the season as the closer.

Jose Quijada allowed seven runs (six earned) in 5.1 innings pitched. He pitched the eighth inning with the Angels up by three (still a save situation) and he faced A.J. Pollock, Haggerty, and Murphy.

Quijada faced practically the same hitters as Moore in a higher leverage spot despite having a worse season in 2022 and being just as bad in Spring Training. Loup hadn't been used since Opening Day but was bypassed in this situation, so what's his role now? Is the left-handed reliever pecking order really Quijada, Loup, Moore? I'd have it flipped.

If the Angels felt Moore would be a low-leverage guy, why'd they give him $7.5 million? Could someone like Austin Warren or Jacob Webb not have gotten those three outs Moore got yesterday? If they signed Moore to be a high-leverage guy but bumped him down because of Spring Training, why did the other relievers who struggled just as much or even more than Moore see their roles changed?

There obviously isn't much to complain about since the Angels have started the season 3-1 and the way the bullpen was used worked last night, but it's just not how I'd do it in the future.

Next. 3 Angels overreactions from Opening Day weekend. dark