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Trade Talk

Moose has suitors lined up once Machado signs

MLB.com @jonmorosi

Last winter, Mike Moustakas remained on the open market until returning to the Royals in March on a one-year, $6.5 million contract.

Once again, Moustakas is a free agent. Once again, his search for a new deal has stretched for more than two months after the final out of the World Series.

Last winter, Mike Moustakas remained on the open market until returning to the Royals in March on a one-year, $6.5 million contract.

Once again, Moustakas is a free agent. Once again, his search for a new deal has stretched for more than two months after the final out of the World Series.

If there's any consolation for the two-time All-Star, it's that his 2019 plans could be one move away from coming into focus.

The Phillies and White Sox are monitoring Moustakas' marketplace, sources say, and each club is interested in making him an offer if its preferred free-agent third baseman, Manny Machado, signs elsewhere.

It's easy for the Phillies and White Sox to remain in touch with Moustakas, since his agent -- Scott Boras -- also represents Bryce Harper, in whom both clubs have interest.

The White Sox know Moustakas well from his long tenure with the division-rival Royals, while Moustakas would address a need for left-handed power in the right-handed-dominant Philadelphia lineup. (In that way, Moustakas is an even better fit for the Phillies if they miss out on Harper, as well.)

The Phillies will attempt to trade Maikel Franco if they sign Moustakas or Machado. The Padres have been interested in Franco in the past.

The Padres themselves are a potential suitor for Moustakas, but only if they open up third base by moving a corner player -- Wil Myers or Hunter Renfroe -- in a trade. Moustakas, who attended high school in Chatsworth, Calif., likely would welcome a return to his home state, along with the opportunity to share an infield with close friend and former Royals teammate Eric Hosmer.

Moustakas, 30, rated as a slightly above-average defender at third base in 2018, according to FanGraphs. His 66 home runs over the last two seasons are third among full-time Major League third basemen over that time, trailing only Nolan Arenado and Jose Ramirez.

The Rangers also are known to be pursuing infielders, but they are more interested in free agent Josh Harrison than Moustakas, in part because of Harrison's defensive versatility.

Jon Paul Morosi is a reporter for MLB.com and MLB Network.

Mike Moustakas