Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

news

MLB News

Moustakas headed for a Kansas City reunion?

MLB.com

Coming off the best offensive season of his career, having belted a franchise-record 38 home runs for the Royals while recording a career-high .835 OPS, free-agent third baseman Mike Moustakas has been the subject of Hot Stove rumors for much of the offseason but has yet to find a destination.

Moose back to the Royals?
Moustakas' market has dwindled this winter, particularly after the Angels signed Zack Cozart with intentions of moving him to third base and the Giants traded for veteran All-Star Evan Longoria. With the Yankees also seemingly out of the running, Moustakas' options appear at this point to be limited to the Braves or Royals.

Coming off the best offensive season of his career, having belted a franchise-record 38 home runs for the Royals while recording a career-high .835 OPS, free-agent third baseman Mike Moustakas has been the subject of Hot Stove rumors for much of the offseason but has yet to find a destination.

Moose back to the Royals?
Moustakas' market has dwindled this winter, particularly after the Angels signed Zack Cozart with intentions of moving him to third base and the Giants traded for veteran All-Star Evan Longoria. With the Yankees also seemingly out of the running, Moustakas' options appear at this point to be limited to the Braves or Royals.

On Thursday, MLB Network insider Jon Heyman predicted a Kansas City reunion in a post for FanRag Sports -- particularly if first baseman Eric Hosmer finds a new club for 2018 via free agency, and thus opens up the Royals' potential spending dollars. Royals general manager Dayton Moore has already been on record as saying that Cheslor Cuthbert has the inside track for the team's third base spot, with Hunter Dozier providing competition, but Moustakas -- a face of the franchise for many years in Kansas City -- may be too hard to resist should he remain available and willing to return at a comfortable price point. -- This report was first posted on Feb. 15.

Moustakas to Yanks unlikely
There is "virtually no chance" the Yankees would sign Moustakas because doing so would result in the loss of multiple Draft picks and $1 million of international bonus pool money, a source told MLB.com's Mark Feinsand. MLB Network insider Jon Heyman reported earlier that New York would be open to signing Moustakas on a short-term deal, but that it was a long shot for the same reason.

Because the Yankees exceeded the luxury-tax threshold in 2017, signing Moustakas (or any other free agent who received a qualifying offer) would also cost the Yankees their second- and fifth-round Draft picks in 2018, along with $1 million from the upcoming international signing pool.

:: Free agent buzz ::

Hot Stove Tracker

Moustakas would certainly round out one of the most dynamic offenses in baseball and provide a third left-handed power bat to go with Didi Gregorius and Greg Bird. The 29-year-old set a Royals franchise record with 38 home runs last season, and a shift from pitcher-friendly Kauffman Stadium to short-porched Yankee Stadium could raise that total further.

Without Moustakas, the Yankees may turn to prospect Miguel Andujar at the hot corner. Andujar hit .315/.352/.498 between Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and received a brief look in September.

The Yankees have been hesitant to offer multiple years to free-agent third basemen, as Todd Frazier opted to sign with the crosstown Mets instead of returning to the Yankees on a one-year pact. Not only do the Yankees believe strongly in Andujar and Gleyber Torres, the No. 5 prospect in baseball, they have also been connected to Orioles superstar Manny Machado, who can become a free agent at the end of the season. -- This report was first posted on Feb. 13 and updated later in the day.

No clear front-runner in market for Moustakas
Third base has turned out to be an unlucky position for Moustakas to occupy in this year's free agent landscape. The Mets filled their third-base hole by signing Todd Frazier to a two-year, $17 million deal weeks after the Angels signed Zack Cozart with the intention of moving him to the hot corner. The Giants traded for Rays star Evan Longoria to man third base by the Bay, while the Braves have shown little interest in any of the marquee free agents this winter.

A return to Kansas City for Moustakas also appears unlikely. Royals general manager Dayton Moore told reporters Tuesday that the team is "prepared to go with Cheslor Cuthbert" at third base, with prospect Hunter Dozier lined up to provide competition there this spring. Kansas City has focused much more of its attention in bringing back fellow star Eric Hosmer while it transitions to a younger roster moving forward.

As Spring Training nears, the Yankees present an intriguing landing spot -- particularly when one envisions Moustakas' left-handed swing aimed toward the short right-field porch in the Bronx. But general manager Brian Cashman appears steadfast in his commitment to remain under the luxury-tax threshold, particularly with superstars like Josh Donaldson, Bryce Harper and Manny Machado potentially available on the free agent market next winter.

Other suitors could emerge as the market continues at a glacial pace. In the meantime, Moustakas' power remains available, with the potential to make a serious impact in the right ballpark in 2018. -- This report was first posted on Feb. 7.

Mike Moustakas