The Royals officially welcomed Mike Moustakas back to the deal, after reports he had signed a one-year, $6.5 million deal. The agreement stunned the baseball world, who had predicted a player of Moustakas’ age and ability to land a five- or six-year deal worth up to $100 million.
The deal has aroused scrutiny to teams that passed on Moustakas even though there was a need at third base, and at agent Scott Boras, who seems to have badly misread the market. Adding to the scrutiny on Boras comes a report from Kansas City Star columnist Sam Mellinger, who wrote about the frustrating off-season for Moustakas this week.
A week earlier, Royals officials all but dismissed the possibility. Moustakas turned down a so-called qualifying offer worth $17.4 million. Early in the offseason, according to league sources, he and his agent Scott Boras turned down a three-year deal from the Angels worth around $45 million.
Moustakas was believed to have preferred to return to his native southern California, and Dayton Moore even publicly said recently that Moose made it clear a return to Kansas City was not a high priority for him. In hindsight, he should have jumped on that deal.
But you can understand why he would have turned it down at the time. Moose is just 29, pretty young for a free agent, and coming off a career-year in which he slammed 38 home runs, tied for seventh-most in all of baseball. And that was playing half his games in Kauffman Stadium. As Mellinger points out, Moose hit more road home runs than Aaron Judge, Cody Bellinger, and all but two hitters in baseball. Moustakas should have expected a much more lucrative deal in a normal market.
Did the Angels really make such an offer though? ESPN’s Buster Olney throws some cold water on the suggestion.
The Angels have confirmed they never made a three-year, $45 million offer to Mike Moustakas, as has been reported.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) March 10, 2018
Do the Angels have incentive to deny this report? Well, maybe. They ended up signing infielder Zack Cozart to a three-year, $38 million deal, and they may not want the appearance that he was Plan B, or that they went with him because he was cheaper.
Boras also denied the report.
“There was never a multi-year contract offer made to Mike Moustakas by the Angels or any other major-league team,”
Mike Moustakas did Not receive a single offer all winter until the #Royals welcomed him back— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) March 10, 2018
What we do know, is that Moustakas did turn down the $17.4 million Qualifying Offer from the Royals, and at most, will make about half that this year. Again, no one should have expected him to accept that offer at the time, but the move cost Moustakas a fair amount of money.
Scott Boras addressed this bizarre off-season today at Royals camp as the club introduced Moustakas.
Scott Boras: The system failed Mike Moustakas. There should be more demand for an All-Star with a World Series ring who has proven himself, he said.— Rustin Dodd (@rustindodd) March 10, 2018
Here’s Royals GM Dayton Moore talking about Mike Moustakas’ return: pic.twitter.com/GmGGTxlui1— Rustin Dodd (@rustindodd) March 10, 2018
"It feels great to be back home." - Mike Moustakas #Royals— Josh Vernier (@JoshVernier610) March 10, 2018
Whether it was the market, stingy teams, or malpractice by Scott Boras, the Royals will be the beneficiaries by getting an All-Star caliber player at a ridiculously low salary. Welcome back, Moose.