NEW YORK -- Though Royals players and coaches knew for weeks of the probability that third baseman Mike Moustakas would be traded, the mood was still somber and reflective Saturday morning inside the visitors' clubhouse at Yankee Stadium.Moustakas, who was traded late Friday night to Milwaukee, was only able to
NEW YORK -- Though Royals players and coaches knew for weeks of the probability that third baseman Mike Moustakas would be traded, the mood was still somber and reflective Saturday morning inside the visitors' clubhouse at Yankee Stadium.
Moustakas, who was traded late Friday night to Milwaukee, was only able to send off a few texts late in the night to teammates he'd known for years before leaving to join his new team.
Several players, though, already said their goodbyes to Moustakas at the end of last season when it appeared he would sign elsewhere as a free agent. Moustakas re-signed with the Royals on a one-year deal in March.
"We all knew [a trade] was coming because of where the team is at," left fielder Alex Gordon said. "The way I looked at it was we were lucky to have him another year."
• Video: Moustakas' nine-RBI game
Gordon said he will always remember Moustakas for the fiery pep talk he gave in the visitors' dugout during the eighth inning of Game 4 of the 2015 American League Division Series in Houston when the Royals rallied from a 6-2 deficit to take the lead and eventually win.
"We went through a lot together," Gordon said. "The thing that stands out the most, Moose was a gamer. When he crossed the line, he turned into a different guy. Perfect example was the 2015 Houston [Game 4]. It seemed like the season was over. But he just went off [in the dugout], and that inspired that team and that rally. It just fired everyone up."
Here's what others had to say of Moustakas' most memorable moments as a Royal:
• From general manager Dayton Moore: "Trading Mike Moustakas is not easy, in parting with him. He was our first [Draft] selection in 2007, the very first player that we drafted. He is forever a part of Royals history in a very meaningful way. He's somebody the fans always loved and connected with because of his passion to win on the field."
• From manager Ned Yost: "I had this kid when he was a kid, before he got married, before he became a dad, before he became an All-Star, before he became a world champion. I've watched him grow up in front of my very eyes and mature."
• Video: Moustakas sets Royals' HR record in 2017
• From second baseman Whit Merrifield: "We were close. We were golf buddies. I got to know [Moustakas' wife] Steph and his family over the last year or so. Great guy, great family. Enjoyed our time together."
• From left-hander Danny Duffy: "A lot of memories. Happy for him. He's going to a place where he will contend. We're going to miss him a lot. Writing was on the wall, we're rebuilding. Excited to have [Brett Phillips and Jorge Lopez]. But he's been amazing this year as a dude."
Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.