Posted on December 2, 2019, by Bryan Zarpentine
The Cincinnati Reds have started their offseason with a big splash. On Monday, the team agreed to terms with free-agent infielder Mike Moustakas. The deal is worth $64 million over four seasons and will likely make Moustakas the team’s everyday second baseman for the foreseeable future.
The 31-year-old Moustakas has had to settle for one-year deals the last two offseasons despite searching for a multi-year deal. He’s spent the last season and a half with the Brewers, continuing to produce the way he did during the early part of his career with the Royals. Moustakas is coming off arguably the best season of his career in 2019, hitting .254 with a career-high OPS of .845. He hit 35 home runs, the second-most of his career, and also contributed 30 doubles as an important figure in Milwaukee’s lineup.
The Reds are hopeful that Moustakas will continue to be a reliable source of power for the next few seasons. He figures to fit into the middle part of Cincinnati’s lineup alongside fellow power hitters Joey Votto and Eugenio Suarez. With Moustakas hitting behind those two, the Reds should have a potent heart of the order in 2020 and beyond. Votto’s numbers have started to slip, but he remains a feared and respected hitter. Suarez, meanwhile, is coming off a career year with 49 home runs. Young outfielders Nick Senzel and Jesse Winker will also add depth to Cincinnati’s lineup.
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As mentioned, signing with the Reds means Moustakas will play second base, which is a relatively new position for him. Moustakas started 40 games at second base for the Brewers in 2019 after spending most of his career at third base. But with Suarez entrenched at the hot corner in Cincinnati, Moustakas in joining the Reds with intention of becoming a second baseman permanently.
The signing of Moustakas coincided with the Reds deciding to non-tender Jose Peraza, which opens up a spot in Cincinnati’s middle infield. Peraza has played primarily shortstop and second base during his big league career. He’s also spent time in the outfield. However, he’s not produced offensively the way the Reds would have liked, hitting just .239 with an OPS of .631 this past season. That prompted the Reds to cut him loose and save a little money to help them sign Moustakas.
With Peraza out of the picture, Moustakas will take over at second base with Freddy Galvis becoming Cincinnati’s primary shortstop. The Reds claimed Galvis off waivers in August, although he didn’t make much of an impact offensively. But with the offensive boost that Moustakas will provide, the Reds are banking on getting by with Galvis being a defensive-oriented shortstop and not needing to provide much offensively.
Needless to say, any team signing Moustakas to be a second baseman after just 40 starts at that position came as a surprise. But the Reds apparently saw enough last season to make them think he can handle the keystone defensively. They believe that Moustakas can make up for any defensive shortcomings with his bat. Moustakas is surely a better offensive player than Peraza, not to mention just about any second baseman on the free-agent market. In that sense, the Reds got what they wanted, as Moustakas will undoubtedly make their lineup better in 2020.