Mike Moustakas may have played in his last home game on Wednesday, as the Royals embark on a roadtrip that will take them through the July 31 trade deadline. He slammed his 20th home run of the year this week, which puts him sixth among all third basemen. And according to at least one source, he could be generating some new interest on the trade market.
KC #Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas, who has 20 homers and 61 RBI, is drawing tremendous interest. Six National League teams and three American League teams are in discussions with the Royals— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) July 25, 2018
We had previously looked a who was reported to be interested in Moustakas and what they might be willing to give up. One such team was the Atlanta Braves.
I keep hearing the #Braves as a team that's monitoring Mike Moustakas closely.— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) July 25, 2018
But not long after that.
I checked further on this. The #Braves interest in Moustakas is minimal at best. They're happy with Camargo at 3B, and the deadline focus remains pitching. There's also the question of how Moustakas would adapt to a bench role. Barring an injury in Atlanta, there's no fit. https://t.co/s7ou8XFmNO— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) July 25, 2018
Which makes sense, considering that going into Wednesday’s games, incumbent Braves third baseman Johan Camargo was out-hitting Moustakas, with a wRC+ of 117 to Moose’s 107. A potential Moustakas trade could allow Camargo to be a super-sub, playing all over the infield, but that would still cut into playing time for Moose, making him a semi-regular. And it doesn’t seem to be worth giving up a decent prospect for a semi-regular.
This seems to be the case for all the rumored destinations for Moustakas so far this summer. Boston already has Rafael Devers. Philadelphia has Maikel Franco. The Yankees even considered Moustakas for first base, but already have Greg Bird there. Moose may be an upgrade over these players, but not a major upgrade.
Who would Mike Moustakas replace?
In fact, if you look at all the teams in contention, most have gotten pretty good prediction at third base. The two exception seem to be the Arizona Diamondbacks - who were missing Jake Lamb much of the year - and the Boston Red Sox.
Production at third base from contending teams
Could we see Moustakas headed to Beantown soon? Well, maybe. The Red Sox are also looking for bullpen help, and could make that a higher priority.
Perhaps teams will have to be creative to fit Moustakas - who won’t cost much in terms of salary and offers good post-season experience - into their roster.
The Royals will have to hope teams want Moustakas badly enough to move other pieces around, because the third base market still seems small to me. But who knows, all it takes is one injury to create an opportunity.
“Dayton’s not just gonna give Moose away. I don’t know if Moose is gonna get traded or not to be honest with you, but Dayton’s not just gonna trade Moose to trade Moose.” - #Royals manager Ned Yost.— 610 Sports Radio- KC (@610SportsKC) July 25, 2018
The Royals may want to stand their ground publicly to give themselves leverage, but honestly, they need to take what they can get. We have less than a week before we find out what that might be. Stay tuned.