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Royals checking Phillies prospects for potential Moustakas trade

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We are now in July, and you can expect more trade rumors involving Royals players as their season continues to spiral down the drain. Mike Moustakas is the most likely player to be dealt and we already heard last week that the Cardinals were possibly interested in acquiring the All-Star third baseman.

Now comes word that the Philadelphia Phillies, who have found themselves back in contention after years of rebuilding, may be interested in the slugger as well. According to Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports, the Royals and Phillies have already had trade talks.

According to a baseball source, Phillies and Royals officials have had discussions about Moustakas and Royals scouts have been peeking in on prospects in the Phillies’ minor-league system in advance of a possible deal.

Current Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco has had an up-and-down season, losing his starting job temporarily, and going on a tear recently to improve his numbers. Overall he is hitting .256/.300/.440 with 10 home runs in 72 games. The 25-year old has hit over 20 home runs in each of the last two seasons, but overall has a 94 OPS+ in his career.

Infielder J.P. Crawford could replace Franco when he returns from a hand fracture in about 4-6 weeks. However he does not have the proven track record of Moustakas and the Phillies may want more of a sure thing as they are in a very tight National League East race. The Phillies have also been linked to Orioles star Manny Machado and Rangers veteran Adrian Beltre. Moustakas is hitting .258/.313/.471 this year and slammed his 16th home run of the season on Saturday night.

The Phillies have one of the best farm systems in baseball, ranking sixth by Baseball America. They have a number of outfielders and pitchers ranked high in their system, but also have a lot of young Major Leaguers on their roster who may not be part of Philadelphia’s future, such as Franco. The Phillies may be reluctant to part with top prospects for a “rental” like Moustakas, and with a number of available third basemen to choose from, it could be a buyer’s market. On the other hand, the Royals could get the Braves, Cardinals, and possibly the Angels interested in Moustakas in an attempt to drive the price up.