Posted on January 29, 2017 by Bryan Zarpentine
The Kansas City Royals have agreed to sign first baseman-outfielder Brandon Moss. The team has yet to officially announce the deal, which is pending a physical that is scheduled for later this week. However, multiple outlets are reporting that the deal is for two years and $12 million.
The 33-year old Moss remained on the free agent market for quite awhile despite being one of the best left-handed hitters available this offseason. He spent the last year and a half with the St. Louis Cardinals, splitting time between first base and the two corner outfield spots. Moss has never been the kind of hitter to hit for a high average, but he proved in 2016 that he should still be considered a power threat, hitting 28 home runs.
The fact that he landed a two-year contract at this stage of his career and in a market that’s been so unkind to power hitters is a great personal accomplishment for Moss. After spending most of 2010 and 2011 in the minors, Moss was on strongly considering retirement. But he managed to give his career new life with the Oakland A’s in 2012, and five seasons later, he just signed a multi-year deal.
The Royals were not one of the teams linked to Moss earlier in the offseason, and so the fact that he ends up in Kansas City is a bit of a surprise. The Royals have Eric Hosmer entrenched at first base heading into the season, and even after trading Jarrod Dyson to the Mariners earlier this month, the Royals appeared to have more than enough outfield depth.
Where Moss appears to fit into Kansas City’s lineup is at DH, where the Royals lost Kendrys Morales, who signed with the Toronto Blue Jays in November. Before adding Moss, the Royals figured to rotate different players at the DH spot as a way to utilize their outfield depth and get younger players at bats. However, being a power threat, Moss is more of a traditional DH, although he’s capable of deputizing at first base or the corner outfield if the need should arise.
It should be noted that Moss struggled against left-handed pitchers last season, and so he could find himself in a platoon at the DH spot. Backup third baseman Cheslor Cuthbert is one potential option to split time with Moss at DH, as he posted an .819 OPS against lefties last year. Peter O’Brien, a prospect with plus power acquired from the Diamondbacks earlier this winter, is another option. O’Brien hit 25 home runs in triple-A last season, in addition to five home runs in 64 at bats with Arizona.
It’s also important to note that Hosmer is a free agent after this season, and it remains to be seen whether the Royals will be able to sign him to a long-term deal before he hits the open market. The addition of Moss on a two-year contract could indicate a contingency plan for the Royals at first base in the event Hosmer signs elsewhere next winter.
At first glance, Moss signing with the Royals is a bit puzzling, but if you take a closer look, it makes sense on multiple fronts. Even if he ends up in a platoon, Moss solidifies the DH spot for Kansas City, which may work out better than manager Ned Yost plugging in a different player every day. Moss can also play multiple positions if the Royals are bit by the injury bug again this year. He also provides insurance at first base for 2018 in case Hosmer leaves in free agency. With all that taken into consideration, Moss could end up being money well spent by the Royals.