The Los Angeles Angels are seen as a likely pursuer of free-agent third baseman Mike Moustakas.
They had been interested in retaining Justin Upton, who had an opt-out in his deal, and that has been taken care of; on Thursday, the club announced a five-year, $106 million extension with the outfielder, locking him up through the 2022 season.
Moustakas is a good fit for the Angels, as they are losing Yunel Escobar to free agency and will need a third baseman, and from Moustakas’ perspective, he probably wouldn’t mind going home to Southern Califormia (he set high school home run record in the Los Angeles Valley).
The Angels, with right-handed hitters Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Upton, might like to balance out their lineup with a left-handed hitter, too.
The 29-year-old Moustakas is coming off a fine walk-year, hitting .272/.314/.521 (a career-best slugging percentage) with 38 home runs (another career-high, shattering his old high of 22) and 85 RBI (another career-best). He was named an All-Star for the second time and posted a 1.6 bWAR, his third-best career mark.
The Angels had a better year than many would have likely expected, especially when you include the injury that sidelined Trout for two months, but still finished below .500 and missed the postseason for the third straight year and seventh time in eight seasons. Moustakas’ possibly-former team, the Royals, also saw a slide following their run of success that included two AL pennants and a World Series, finishing with the same 80-82 record as Los Angeles and also missing the postseason.
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