Posted on January 9, 2018, by Bryan Zarpentine
As we all know, the MLB hot stove has been painstakingly slow to develop this winter. One of the players who has received far less attention than expected has been third baseman Mike Moustakas. Despite entering the offseason as one of the top hitters on the market, few teams have made a serious push for Moustakas. That being said, he’ll be an impact player for whatever team signs him. At the moment, his free agency is still wide open, and here is our best shot at predicting where he’ll end up playing in 2018.
The Braves have an up and coming roster but no established third baseman and prospects in the upper minors. They took on a lot of money in their trade with the Dodgers earlier this winter. But if the price for Moustakas drops, he could fall into their lap and help them accelerate the rebuilding process in 2018.
St. Louis already made a splash this winter by trading for Marcell Ozuna, but they may not be done yet. They would gladly rearrange their infield in order to add more power. Right now, the Cardinals would likely prefer Moustakas on a short-term deal rather than promise four or five years. But if Moustakas wants to take a one-year deal and try free agency again next winter, St. Louis is a possible destination.
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The Mets have started to explore the third base market, and obviously that puts Moustakas on their radar. Typically, Mets GM Sandy Alderson is opposed to long-term deals. But if Moustakas is willing to take a three- or four-year contract, the Mets could take a serious shot at him. One way or another, the Mets figure to add an infielder before spring training, and there’s a chance Moustakas ends up being that player.
There’s still a chance Manny Machado gets traded, which would open up third base for Moustakas. Baltimore could also move Machado to shortstop to accommodate Moustakas. Obviously, the money and years would have to come down for the Orioles to be serious contenders. However, they waited out the market for Mark Trumbo last winter and could do the same for Moustakas this year.
The longer Moustakas stays on the market, the more likely a return to Kansas City becomes. Obviously, the Royals would love to have him back, especially if both Eric Hosmer and Lorenzo Cain end up signing elsewhere. If Moustakas decides he wants a one-year deal so he can get a second crack at free agency next year, it would make sense for him to do so in a familiar environment back in Kansas City.
Everything surrounding the Yankees indicates that they are not yet finished making moves this winter. Of course, Moustakas to the Yankees only makes sense on a one-year deal. The Yankees have Miguel Andujar penciled in at third base, but they can easily send him back to triple-A for another year if they’re able to land Moustakas.
With such an underdeveloped market for Moustakas, a mystery team can’t be ruled out. The Red Sox and Phillies are definitely two potential sleepers for Moustakas. Keep in mind that if Moustakas starts telling teams he wants a one-year deal, it could bring a couple unexpected contenders into the fold, so there’s not too many teams that can be completely ruled out right now.