SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Third baseman Mike Moustakas took a good look around the Royals facilities and said smiling, "It feels like I never left."Moustakas is back with the Royals, an improbable reunion that became official when Moustakas passed his physical Saturday morning. The Royals' corresponding move came when outfielder Jorge
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Third baseman Mike Moustakas took a good look around the Royals facilities and said smiling, "It feels like I never left."
Moustakas is back with the Royals, an improbable reunion that became official when Moustakas passed his physical Saturday morning. The Royals' corresponding move came when outfielder Jorge Bonifacio was announced to have been suspended for 80 games following a performance-enhancing substance violation.
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After shaking hands and hugging numerous old friends in the clubhouse, Moustakas stepped inside a separate room to briefly speak with reporters.
"It feels great," Moustakas said. "Being able to come back here and be with all these guys that I grew up playing this game with in this organization is unbelievable, and I'm just excited to be back.
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"I got to see some familiar faces today, and that's always great to come into a clubhouse and have everybody come up and give you hugs and see some guys and everybody asks how your family's doing. It feels great to be back home."
A cold market forced Moustakas and agent Scott Boras to agree to a one-year deal that will guarantee him $6.5 million -- less than the nearly $9 million he made last year with the Royals when he set a franchise record with 38 home runs. The deal also is far less than the $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Royals that Boras and Moustakas rejected last fall.
Moustakas will get $5.5 million this season, with a potential of $2.2 million more in performance bonuses based on plate appearances starting at 225. There is a $15 million mutual option for 2019 with a $1 million buyout.
When asked if he finally felt compelled to forget about waiting for a larger deal and just get back to playing baseball, Moustakas shook his head in agreement.
"I was down in Newport Beach [Calif.] and me and Scott were talking with [general manager] Dayton [Moore] a little bit and trying to figure out what was going on," Moustakas said. "We were able to get things done and I was able to come back here and be ready to play some baseball again."
Moustakas said he'll definitely be ready by Opening Day.
"Easily," he said. "I'll be able to get some at-bats on the Minor League side and stand in and get some live BP with some guys throwing bullpens and stuff. I'll get my timing back soon. We still got a couple weeks left in spring. So I'll get my legs underneath me and be ready for Opening Day."
Still, both Moutakas and Boras admitted there was a level of frustration with the slow market this offseason.
"I think it was frustrating for everybody," Moustakas said. "Even for guys that did sign deals prior to me, it was frustrating."
Boras called the absence of offers for Moustakas a "system failure" for a former All-Star and for someone with a World Series ring.
Moore simply was happy to have his third baseman back.
"We're fortunate that it happened for us the way it did," Moore said. "Any time you can add a talent like Mike Moustakas, it helps any organization or any team. The thing that makes Moose so valuable is his desire to win. If he had been healthy in 2016, we would have gone to the playoffs again."
Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.