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Moose returning to Royals on one-year deal

MLB.com @FlannyMLB

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Mike Moustakas has agreed to a one-year deal with a mutual second-year option with the Kansas City Royals. The deal, which was first reported by Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan, guarantees him $6.5 million and can max out at $22.7 million.

Royals general manager Dayton Moore had made it clear in recent weeks that the club still had interest in Moustakas, but it was not interested in signing any multiyear deals as it goes through a rebuilding process.

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Mike Moustakas has agreed to a one-year deal with a mutual second-year option with the Kansas City Royals. The deal, which was first reported by Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan, guarantees him $6.5 million and can max out at $22.7 million.

Royals general manager Dayton Moore had made it clear in recent weeks that the club still had interest in Moustakas, but it was not interested in signing any multiyear deals as it goes through a rebuilding process.

The Royals did make Moustakas a qualifying offer last fall for $17.4 million. Because Moustakas received a qualifying offer, any team (other than the Royals) that signed him would have had to forfeit a Draft pick and international bonus pool money, which gave Kansas City an edge in negotiations. However, next year's free-agent market is set to be loaded with third basemen, including Josh Donaldson and Manny Machado, though the latter is set to play shortstop this year. 

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Kansas City also tried to re-sign first baseman Eric Hosmer, who signed an eight-year deal with the Padres.

The Royals remained in touch with Moustakas this offseason, but they did not hold out much hope of a reunion, primarily because of the belief Moustakas would get multiyear offers elsewhere. 

With the eventual addition of Moustakas, who set a Royals franchise record with 38 home runs last season, Kansas City will have to clear space on the 40-man roster.

Moustakas' arrival also presents a challenge for manager Ned Yost to find consistent at-bats for Cheslor Cuthbert. The Royals have been adamant this spring that they want to get 500-600 at-bats for Cuthbert, Jorge Soler and Jorge Bonifacio as part of their development this sesaon.

But with Moustakas at third base and Lucas Duda at first base, Cuthbert may have to see plenty of time at DH. And the DH spot could be a logjam now with the recent signing of outfielder Jon Jay, who figures to play regularly and likely would force Soler to see time at DH.

And the Moustakas signing will have a significant impact on the 25-man roster as well. The Royals now likely will carry six infielders instead of five, which would force them to perhaps go with four outfielders -- Soler, Jay, Alex Gordon and Bonifacio -- instead of five. Paulo Orlando, who opened camp as the primary center fielder and is having a solid spring, has an option remaining.

The Royals also could decide to carry seven relievers instead of eight, which would keep Orlando on the 25-man roster.

Fantasy spin | Fred Zinkie (@FredZinkieMLB)

Even in a power-rich fantasy landscape, Moustakas should make a major impact in 2018 mixed leagues after going deep 38 times a year ago. And though the Royals lack the offensive name value that they had last year, they are unlikely to fare much worse than their 24th-place standing in runs scored (702) from '17. Overall, Moustakas can be tiered with sluggers such as Travis Shaw and Eugenio Suarez by owners who need hot-corner help during the middle rounds of drafts.

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.

Kansas City Royals, Mike Moustakas