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Boras confident Moose will be signed soon

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.

Boras quiets whispers of post-Opening Day signing
As we enter the middle stages of Spring Training, it's beginning to look more and more possible that some of baseball's top free agents, including Moustakas, could be sitting at home on Opening Day.

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.

Boras quiets whispers of post-Opening Day signing
As we enter the middle stages of Spring Training, it's beginning to look more and more possible that some of baseball's top free agents, including Moustakas, could be sitting at home on Opening Day.

While Moustakas' market has remained slow, his agent Scott Boras downplayed the idea of the third baseman remaining unsigned beyond Opening Day to MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi.

"Moose is an All-Star third baseman with near-40 home runs in the prime of his career. We expect clubs with winning goals to sign him," Boras said.

In addition to Boras' comments, a separate source indicated that the White Sox have had a dialogue with Boras over Moustakas and fellow client Carlos Gonzalez. That news backs up past reports that the the White Sox could be a landing spot for Moustakas, with a need at third base just as they hope to enter the winning phase of their rebuilding cycle. -- This report was first posted on March 7.

Moustakas might be strong fit for White Sox
Could an accelerated rebuild be on the horizon in Chicago? The White Sox are moving toward the back end of their multi-year rebuild, and weren't expected to pursue high-profile free agents for another year or two. But with a wealth of talent still available just weeks before Opening Day, perhaps they might strike if they believe they can get a deal.

MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi reported Saturday that should the White Sox make a significant signing soon, it would likely be for a position player, and per USA Today's Bob Nightengale, the White Sox are "staying in touch" with Moustakas.

The club has a need at third base currently -- internal options Matt Davidson and Yolmer Sanchez were both below league-average hitters in '17 -- and Jake Burger, the club's No. 8 prospect, is expected to miss the entire '18 season with an Achilles injury. Burger is likely still at least two years away from being Major League ready, according to MLB Pipeline.

The White Sox had been aggressively linked to trading for superstar third baseman Manny Machado at the Winter Meetings, and had reportedly made the Orioles an offer. Machado will hit free agency next winter and is expected to net one of the market's most lucrative contracts. Pursuing him just a year before was an indication by the White Sox that they believe they are closer to competing than most think.

There also appears to still be a possibility of a Moustakas reunion with the Royals.

Royals general manager Dayton Moore told MLB Network's Brian Kenny on Saturday that his "door is not closed" when asked about Moustakas, while indicating that their offer might be viewed as "underwhelming" to Moustakas' camp. -- This report was first posted on March 4

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