Lefty Matt Moore, who bounced back from injury in a respectable 2021 season for the SoftBank Hawks of Japan’s Pacific League, has ended talks with the four-time defending Japan Series champs, according to a Tokyo Sports report on Wednesday.
Moore, who will be 32 on June 18, had one of Japan’s more effective changeups and did well to miss bats over 78 innings in his first NPB season. According to Delta Graphs, Moore was seventh in swinging strike percentage among the 53 pitchers with 70-plus innings.
He completed his season with seven hitless innings en route to the win in Game 3 of the Japan Series, which the Hawks swept for the second year in a row.
Moore, whose 2020 season with the Tigers was wiped out by an early injury missed two months after suffering a left calf muscle injury in July. He was non-tendered in December although the Hawks were keen to keep him and had been trying to bring him back. The Tokyo Sports report said the pitchers’ agent had suspended talks and that he would seek a major league deal for 2021.
Tokyo Sports is probably Japan’s least reputable outlet, but that is largely because it is the No. 1 forum for former players wishing to dump on active managers in encourage job openings in uniform for guys now sitting in press boxes.
This report, however, has the ring of truth to it, with Hawks officials telling local media that bringing back Moore was one of their offseason priorities.
The Hawks are now only the second Japanese team in history to win four Japan Series in a row, following the Central League’s Yomiuri Giants, who won the national title nine straight years from 1965 to 1973.