Everyone knows the Royals have to move Mike Moustakas in the next few weeks to get some kind of compensation for him after bringing him back this season. He has reportedly attracted interest from the Braves, Phillies, and Cardinals, but according to MLB.com reporter John Paul Morosi, the Yankees may be interested in Moose as well, but as a first baseman.
Morosi confirms the interest from the Phillies and Cardinals, but highlights that the Yankees are looking to upgrade the right side of their infield. An injury to Gleyber Torres has forced Neil Walker to play more second base, with Greg Bird playing first base. Bird is hitting .200/.306/.419, but is just 2-for-21 against left-handers. Overall, they are getting the second-worst production in all of baseball at first base, by OPS. They are getting solid production at third from rookie Miguel Andujar.
Mike Moustakas is hitting .258/.312/.472 with 16 home runs in 82 games. Moving to Yankee Stadium might be particularly attractive for Moose since they have a short porch in right field, just 314 feet away. However Moose has hit just .175/.200/.404 with four home runs in 16 career games at new Yankee Stadium. He has played just two games at first base in his professional career.
Moose is earning just $5.5 million in base salary plus incentives and a $1 million buyout on his mutual option for 2019. The Yankees are about $19 million under the luxury tax threshold, so they should be able to absorb Moose’s contract without going over, although the Royals could make it easier by agreeing to pay the remainder of the salary in exchange for getting a better prospect haul. The Yankees have a very talented, deep farm system, ranked second-best in baseball by Baseball America.
It was previously thought that the market for Moustakas would be slow, but it definitely seems like the market is picking up. With a crowded market at third base, with Manny Machado, Adrian Beltre, David Freese, Matt Duffy, and Josh Donaldson all potentially hitting the market, Moose may find a better market at first base.