The pending free agent could have many suitors next winter.
Despite not yet hitting free agency, the Angels are rumored to be interested in acquiring Mike Moustakas’ services next offseason, according to a report from Ken Rosenthal. Moustakas will finish up a two-year deal worth $14.3 million at the end of this season, that was originally signed to avoid arbitration.
The 28-year old Moustakas will be hitting free agency for the first time this coming offseason. Of course, unless the Royals are able to work out a deal with their third baseman during the season; an option that seems to be slipping in likelihood. According to a report from Bob Nightengale, the Royals may wait until the offseason to deal with all of their pending free agents.
Royals’ general manager Dayton Moore would prefer the focus of the team to stay on winnings now. If that focus seems to change, then management may have to explore other options. From Nightengale:
“It’s important we get off to a good start, and our players understand that,” Royals general manager Dayton Moore tells USA TODAY Sports. “They understand the importance of playing with one another, playing with innocence and not getting caught up where they will be next year.”
As for the Angels showing interest in Moustakas, their third base situation would take some resolution as well. While the 34-year-old Yunel Escobar is on an expiring contract, Luis Valbuena is signed for the next two seasons, including being owed $8 million in 2018 and a $8.5 million team option for 2019. The buyout for the 2019 team option is a much-less-than-prohibitive $500,000 however, so a run at Moustakas in free agency wouldn’t be nonsensical.
Either way, the Royals are in a tough spot. While Moore and the rest of the Royals’ front office resolved the pending free agent cases of Danny Duffy via contract extension, and Jarrod Dyson via trade, it still leaves Lorenzo Cain, Eric Hosmer, Alcides Escobar, and Moustakas as cornerstone pieces all on expiring deals. With MLB’s new CBA not guaranteeing a top pick for departed free agents as well, the Royals find themselves suddenly in a less-than-enviable spot.
It’s a long way to the offseason, and Moustakas may become available via trade if the Royals find themselves near the bottom of the AL Central. It will be interesting to see if the Angels will be willing to trade away a prospect for Moustakas’ services in order to hopefully work out an extension instead of trying to lure him in free agency.
Meanwhile, Moustakas still isn’t fully recovered from his torn ACL injury that sidelined him for the last four months of the 2016 season. However, he has been taking spring workouts with the team and seems to be on-pace to make the Opening Day roster.