The summer is heating up and so are the trade rumors, with Mike Moustakas expected to be a hot name this trade season. Moose could be a target of the Braves, the Phillies could become players, and an injury to Evan Longoria could make the Giants bidders if they become more competitive.
But as Mike Moustakas found out last winter, the market for his services may still be slow. MLB reporter Ken Rosenthal gave a pessimistic account of the trade market for Moustakas in a video report for FOX.
Rosenthal cites a rival executive who says the Royals won’t receive the value of the draft pick they would have received had Moustakas left via free agency last winter - a pick Rosenthal puts in the “30s”. The Royals would have only received a pick that high - after the first round - had Moustakas signed a contract worth $50 million or more. Moustakas received very little interest last winter, with reports that he turned down a $45 million offer from the Angels. Still, had Moustakas signed any kind of contract by this year’s draft, the Royals would have received a pick after the second round - a pick somewhere in the 70s.
Rosenthal reports that a slow month of June may cost Moustakas, as the slugger has hit just .182 over his last 22 games. He has also shown an inability to hit lefties, batting just .227/.255/.352 against them this year. Oddly, Rosenthal points to the $3 million owed Moustakas over the last two months of the season as a hindrance, although that seems to be a very low price for an established slugger, certainly cheaper than other third basemen that could potentially hit the market like Manny Machado, Josh Donaldson, or Adrian Beltre.
It does seem as if the market has moved away from (a) sluggers who bash home runs, since everyone can seemingly hit home runs; and (b) rentals like Moustakas who are eligible for free agency at the end of the year. Moose is also a low on-base percentage player in an era in which teams seem to value that stat. There were also whispers about teams being concerned with his physical fitness.
Still, he is a player in his prime that has hit well for four seasons in a row. He has shown his knee is healthy after missing much of the 2016 season. He plays solid defense, is an excellent leader in the clubhouse, and his salary is an amazing deal for any team. The Royals shouldn’t expect a Top 100 prospect or anything for his services, but there should be teams interested. And if there aren’t, well the Royals need to aggressively shop him to get something as compensation.