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Moose 'drawing tremendous interest' on trade market

Third baseman among several popular Royals trade candidates
MLB.com

Though the market for third baseman Mike Moustakas was lukewarm this past offseason, that doesn't appear to be the case now.

According to a tweet from USA Today's Bob Nightengale, Moustakas is "drawing tremendous interest," with as many as nine teams -- six from the National League, three from the American League -- discussing the slugger with the Royals.

Though the market for third baseman Mike Moustakas was lukewarm this past offseason, that doesn't appear to be the case now.

According to a tweet from USA Today's Bob Nightengale, Moustakas is "drawing tremendous interest," with as many as nine teams -- six from the National League, three from the American League -- discussing the slugger with the Royals.

Tweet from @BNightengale: KC #Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas, who has 20 homers and 61 RBI, is drawing tremendous interest. Six National League teams and three American League teams are in discussions with the Royals

That's not particularly surprising, as Moustakas is one of the top rental bats available at any position, especially on the left side of the infield with the Blue Jays' Josh Donaldson (left calf strain) still on the disabled list and the Rangers' Adrian Beltre having a full no-trade clause due to his 10-and-5 rights.

• Catch up on the latest Trade Talk

Moustakas could be a fit with some of the clubs that missed out on Manny Machado, including the Phillies, D-backs, Brewers and Indians. In fact, MLB.com's Jeffrey Flanagan reports that Philadelphia scouts have been following Moustakas for weeks. Flanagan also mentions the Braves and the Angels as potential landing spots, and MLB.com's Mike Petriello predicts Moose will end up with Atlanta.

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However, ESPN's Jerry Crasnick reports that the Braves' interest in Moustakas is "minimal at best," as the club is happy with Johan Camargo at third base and remains focused on adding pitching.

Moustakas has produced 20 homers, 61 RBIs and a .775 OPS over 96 games in 2018, one year after setting a Royals single-season record with 38 roundtrippers.

Moustakas rejected a qualifying offer from Kansas City following that terrific '17 showing, but he encountered an overall tepid free-agent market and ultimately re-signed with the Royals on a one-year deal for $6.5 million ($15 million mutual option, $1 million buyout for 2019) last March. Just over four months later, there appears to be significantly greater interest in the 29-year-old.

The Royals have some popular trade candidates beyond Moustakas, including left-hander Danny Duffy (signed through '21) and second baseman Whit Merrifield (controllable through '22).

However, the club views the 29-year-old Duffy as part of its rebuild and won't trade him unless the offer is "ridiculous," Flanagan notes.

The Giants could be a fit for Merrifield, according to Flanagan, and the Brewers have reportedly discussed the second baseman with the Royals. But as is the case with Duffy, the Royals' asking price for Merrifield is substantial, per a report from The Athletic (subscription required).

As a result, Moustakas is much more likely than Duffy and Merrifield to be wearing a new uniform after the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.

Thomas Harrigan is an editor for MLB.com.

Mike Moustakas