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The market for Moustakas seems to be heating up, but is there an obvious landing spot?

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The market still seems murky.

Minnesota Twins v Kansas City Royals Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images

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.

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.

But not long after that.

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?

Player Team AVG OBA SLG PA HR wRC+ fWAR
Player Team AVG OBA SLG PA HR wRC+ fWAR
Mike Moustakas KCR .247 .309 .466 408 20 107 1.7
Johan Camargo ATL .261 .357 .441 283 10 117 1.8
Rafael Devers BOS .242 .292 .417 383 14 86 0.7
Greg Bird NYY .231 .326 .462 181 8 113 0.7
Maikel Franco PHI .275 .320 .478 319 15 108 1.2

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

Team OPS Rank
Team OPS Rank
Indians 1.046 1st
Rockies .957 2nd
Astros .906 3rd
Cardinals .843 5th
Cubs .836 6th
Athletics .834 7th
Nationals .830 8th
Yankees .805 10th
Brewers .790 12th
Dodgers .779 13th
Phillies .778 14th
Braves .771 15th
Pirates .726 17th
Giants .726 17th
Mariners .711 20th
Red Sox .675 26th
Diamondbacks .667 27th

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.

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.