Mike Moustakas is the third best offensive free agent available this offseason behind J.D. Martinez and his long-time teammate and fellow first-time free agent, Eric Hosmer. The third baseman, who returned from a torn ACL suffered in May 2016, had one of his best offensive seasons in 2017, hitting 38 home runs, which set the Royals’ franchise record and finishing with an .835 OPS.
Moustakas, the second overall draft pick in 2007, didn’t show much rust during his comeback season in 2017. One issue was his walk rate which was a bit lower than his breakout 2015 season and another was that his defense wasn’t as sharp as usual but that could be a product of the knee injury and his recovery from it. Other than that, he had a solid 2017 campaign that should attract a few suitors around Major League Baseball.
MLB Trade Rumors predicts a payday of five years/$85MM for Moustakas. 2018 is his age 29 season, so a five-year deal certainly isn’t out of the question. So which teams could use a third baseman who hits for power? Here are 3.
San Francisco Giants
Before the 2017 season began, the Giants were given a 66% chance to make the playoffs by Fangraphs, they were projected to win 88 games and baseball pundits believed that they could possibly sneak into the playoffs. Unfortunately, things didn’t exactly work out that way. Instead, 2017 was a disaster. They finished with a disappointing 64–98 record—their worst W-L record since 1985 when they finished 62-100—and a last-place finish in the NL West Division. So naturally, they’d want to improve their team heading into 2018.
Last season, the Giants finished last in the Majors with 128 home runs which could be attributed to both their lineup and to their stadium. They just so happen to have a hole at third base so why not slide Mike Moustakas in there? You may be thinking, “Don’t they have Pablo Sandoval?” Like I said, they have a hole at third base. Moustakas is better than Sandoval, is slightly younger, and his bat has a lot of pop.
Plus, it could be fun to watch Moose try to hit some balls into McCovey Cove.
Los Angeles Angels
Moustakas is a SoCal boy and returning home could be a good thing for him and for the Angels who currently have Luis Valbuena manning third base. Valbuena was the quintessential 2017 hitter: double-digit home run total, low average, and a high strikeout total. He hit .199/.294/.432 with 22 home runs in 117 games. Moustakas would be an upgrade.
Another thing Moustakas would do for the Angels is adding another power bat to a lineup that features Mike Trout. The Angels keep trying to get poor Trout back to the playoffs and they keep failing miserably. Albert Pujols hit 23 home runs last season but he’s turning 38 in January and you can’t expect him to rebound and to hit for more power. It’s not out of the question and stranger things have happened in the past (see: Barry Bonds) but the Angels shouldn’t count on it. Signing Mike Moustakas would be the cure but it could be a big step in the right direction for their lineup.
New York Mets
This one would be considered an “out of the box” pick, but it could work. Why not bring Moustakas to New York to play third base at Citi Field? The Mets could shuffle around Wilmer Flores and Asdrubal Cabrera and say goodbye to Jose Reyes. Because let’s be honest, David Wright is more than likely never going to play meaningful baseball again.
Every time it looks like he’s coming back, he gets injured and this past season, he had two surgeries in a month, for a torn rotator cuff and for a back injury. Before the season began, Sandy Alderson was asked about this very thing and he claimed that the Mets were at the point where they thought that Wright wasn’t done. But now, two surgeries later? The prognosis for his career is very grim.
Enter Mike Moustakas! He can hit balls into the Coke Porch, he can make nice plays at third and he is six years younger than Wright. He can man the corner at Citi Field for a while. The Mets should think about it.