The Royals have re-started talks with free agent third baseman Mike Moustakas, according to FanRag reporter Jon Heyman. Heyman does not indicate the two sides are close to a deal, but writes “there seems to be some hope.”
Update: It is a done deal.
Mike Moustakas' deal has a $5.5M salary in 2018 with $2.2 million in performance bonuses. There is a mutual option for $15 million in 2019 with a $1 million buyout.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) March 9, 2018
It has been a very strange off-season for the 29-year old who set the single-season franchise record for home runs last year with 38. Moustakas made it clear returning to Kansas City was not a priority at the outset of free agency, hoping to return to his native California. But when the Angels went with Zack Cozart at third, and the Giants traded for All-Star third baseman Evan Longoria, the market dried up. The Yankees stayed curiously quiet, eventually trading for Brandon Drury, and the Mets and Braves both sat on their hands as well.
The non-existent market raised red flags with Moustakas’ agent, Scott Boras. Boras addressed those concerns this week, accusing teams of failing to field competitive teams
“The teams are coming, and Moose is going to be playing baseball,” Boras said. “But I don’t control time, and I don’t control competitiveness. The question is when do those teams want to commit to winning, and of course I think he’ll be playing, yes.”
Last week, Dayton Moore left open the possibility to a reunion with Mike Moustakas, but emphasized the team was not interested in multi-year deals. Moose had been expected to receive a four- or five-year deal at the beginning of the off-season, but may have to settle for a one-year deal to allow him to test the market again next season. Next winter, he will be up against star third basemen like Manny Machado and Josh Donaldson, but unlike them, he cannot be given a Qualifying Offer, and thus teams will not have to forfeit a draft pick to sign him.
That also means that if the Royals bring Moose back, they will get no draft pick compensation at all for his services. If Moustakas signs a $50 million deal or more with someone by the June draft, the Royals would receive a pick after the first-round. If he signs a deal worth less than $50 million, they still receive a pick after the second-round. Forfeiting that pick may be a big deal for a rebuilding team like the Royals.
Wrote about Mike Moustakas. More I think about it, more I think a Royals reunion might happen. Still a long shot, but I think it's more possible now than a week or two ago. https://t.co/TJHc9b2eAI— Sam Mellinger (@mellinger) March 8, 2018
Of course, they can always use Moustakas as trade bait this summer, offering him to a contender suddenly in need of a slugging third baseman, with only half a year’s salary to pay. The Royals would have to bank on Moose staying healthy, continuing to be productive, and they will have to hope the market still values sluggers, as signs point to home run hitters being valued less and less as hope runs are so ubiquitous.
The Royals have said they want to get 500 at-bats for young third baseman Cheslor Cuthbert, and bringing back Moose could put that in some doubt. Dayton Moore raised the possibility of using the DH to find players some at-bats, and Cuthbert could move to first base to allow Duda to sit against lefties.
Bovada released odds today on which team is most likely to sign Moustakas, with the Royals at 8/5, behind the favorites, the White Sox at 6/5. Perhaps bringing back Moose is a gamble, but it is one that could pay off for Dayton Moore.
Should the Royals bring back Mike Moustakas?
This poll is closed
Yes, on a multi-year deal
Yes, on a one-year deal