The Royals signed Mike Moustakas to a one-year, $6.5 million deal, surprising much of the baseball world. Moose can earn $2.2 million in incentives with a $15 million mutual option for 2019 that has a $1 million buyout. How did the baseball world react to this stunning development?
Sam Mellinger at the Kansas City Star writes about Moose’s frustrating off-season.
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.
In most offseasons, a man with his track record — franchise home run record, playoff success, world champion, good defender, terrific teammate — could’ve signed for $60 million. Maybe more. This wasn’t most offseasons, and after Moustakas turned down the Angels the bigger offers never came. The Yankees reached out about a short-term deal, but those talks didn’t go far.
Rustin Dodd at The Athletic writes that Moustakas kind of fell into Dayton Moore’s lap.
The Royals did not plan this offseason. Nobody could account for what happened to Moustakas. Yet all winter, general manager Dayton Moore did not wish to close the book on this class of free agents. He pursued Eric Hosmer to the end, losing out to the San Diego Padres when ownership balked at the price. Club officials kept weekly tabs on Lorenzo Cain, walking away when he landed an $80 million deal from the Brewers.
The Royals did not wish to overspend with their pitching staff full of question marks. But they did see value in their homegrown players. When the bottom fell out of Moustakas’ free-agent market, Moore sensed a bargain.
Jeff Sullivan at Fangraphs writes about how this could have happened.
Moustakas is a Scott Boras client. A big factor, I believe, is that the right market just didn’t exist. A certain amount of that is just bad luck. No one can perfectly forecast how an offseason is going to play out. Yet it’s also Boras’ job to come up with the best forecast possible. So I think another factor was relatively poor representation. I think Boras generally deserves a lot of credit, and, clearly, he’s developed a strong reputation for finding money for his players. But in this case — in this particular case — it appears Boras misled Moustakas on what would be reasonably possible.
Carson Cistulli at Fangraphs thinks the Royals are getting tremendous value.
What all this information suggests is that Mike Moustakas probably should — to the extent that anyone should — be earning something just shy of $20 million in 2018. He won’t be, though. He’ll be earning probably $6.5 million, as noted above.
Craig Brown at Baseball Prospectus Kansas City doesn’t think this will hurt the rebuild.
I’ll continue to cling to the idea this is still a team in transition, but another one-year signing doesn’t delay the rebuilding process in the least. You can bemoan about not playing “the youth” all you like, but that doesn’t change one important fact which is there’s simply not much talent in the upper reaches of the farm system. There may be a steady player or two yet to be uncovered, but there’s certainly not a transformative, impact talent that is necessary to elevate this team back into postseason conversation in the near future. Dayton Moore loathes the idea of tanking more than anything (except apparently, porn) and while he faces a major rebuild that will likely take four to five years, he’s still determined to wring every win he can out of his organization. Maybe that’s the wrong play, but there’s absolutely no guarantee losing today will mean winning tomorrow.
The Royals are rebuilding, but they've demonstrated beyond any doubt that they're not tanking. Signings of Jon Jay, Moustakas, Escobar, etc. probably don't get the Royals to the playoffs, but they are value signings that do make the '18 Royals better. #oldschool— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) March 9, 2018
Moustakas doesn't really do much for a 2018 Royals team that just isn't going to be very good, but at 1/6.5, it's really hard to not bring back one of the 2015 heroes for the short-term.— Dan Szymborski (@DSzymborski) March 9, 2018
Royals long-term rebuild is just getting started. But 2018 team is a whole lot better now than it looked a few weeks ago at a very modest cost.— JJ Cooper (@jjcoop36) March 9, 2018
The baseball world is amazed at how little money Moustakas signed for.
Some players who will make more than Mike Moustakas in 2018:— Alex Putterman (@AlexPutterman) March 9, 2018
The Royals are paying Travis Wood $6.5 million this year and that's how much Mike Moustakas has guaranteed in his deal.— Nick Shlain (@electricsnuff) March 9, 2018
Craig Calcaterra at NBC Sports thinks this means free agency is broken.
Every single one of those teams’ decisions not to pursue Mike Moustakas, in a vacuum, is defensible and even reasonable. That the Royals were able to get him so cheaply is totally logical if you take it all on a step-by-step basis given the prevalent conditions in the market.
Those conditions are a function of a broken system, however. A system which exists because the Major League Baseball Players’ Association negotiated a series of Collective Bargaining Agreements that have harmed its membership. A system for which now Mike Moustakas is the most prominent poster boy and greatest financial casualty.
But does this make the team a contender?
Projections for the best guess Royals 2018 lineup.— Shaun Newkirk (@Shauncore) March 9, 2018
~12.5 wins, roughly equal to the 2001, 2003, and 2012 Royals. pic.twitter.com/m1lTnlLtL4
What does this mean for Cheslor Cuthbert?
The #Royals have given a vote of no confidence to basically all of their young position players. They clearly don’t think these guys can play.— Brandon Kiley (@BKSportsTalk) March 9, 2018
His teammates were happy.
Just read the news......current mood pic.twitter.com/AovqswfYR9— Drew Butera (@drewbutera) March 9, 2018
And fans were pretty pleased.
The best part about Moose signing with the Royals is that's one more year to put off having to hear another fanbase do the Moose call (which when that happens my heart will shatter into all the pieces ever)— Magolor (@MagolorMudkip) March 9, 2018
And Scott Boras is taking a bit of a hit to his reputation.
Boras: “Mike, I’m sorry to tell you the market just didn’t develop.”— Ross Martin (@PCBearcat) March 9, 2018
Exclusive image of Moustakas’s negotiations pic.twitter.com/ls2UzTyLXh— Kevin (@Kevin_Agee) March 9, 2018
Do you approve of the Mike Moustakas signing?
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