This past winter, Boston dealt their incumbent starter at the hot corner, Travis Shaw, to the Brewers in a highly-controversial trade that netted them now-injured setup man Tyler Thornburg, and they traded their top prospect, Yoan Moncada, who contributed at the position down the stretch in 2016, as part of the deal for Chris Sale.
As a result, they’ve been left without a steady starter, and they’ve tried out Pablo Sandoval, Deven Marrero, Josh Rutledge, Marco Hernandez, and Brock Holt at the position this year without really getting positive results from any of them. Boston agreed to a minor-league deal with former Cardinals third baseman Jhonny Peralta on Friday, but the 35-year-old had a .462 OPS with no extra-base hits in 58 plate appearances for St. Louis this year and is unlikely to provide an everyday solution at the position.
Moustakas, 28, is enjoying a career year and has long been rumored as a trade target since he’s getting ready to hit free agency this winter. In 274 plate appearances, he has a .276/.314/.549 slash line with 19 homers. He’s got a very good shot to break Steve Balboni’s record for most home runs by a Royals player in a single season (36) if he stays in Kansas City for the whole year.
Unless the Royals absolutely fall apart over the next month, it’s difficult to see them actually having any desire to move Moustakas. They’re just four games out of first place in the AL Central, a division where no team has been dominant by any means this season, and they’re only two games out of the second AL Wild Card spot.
With Moustakas, Eric Hosmer, Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar, and Jason Vargas being free agents after this season, ownership is likely going to want to take advantage of any chance they might have to compete in the postseason before retooling this winter. As MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan wrote Thursday, “Dayton Moore has told me numerous times he is in no hurry to break up this team. He would like one more run at the postseason with this core group, which now is hitting on all cylinders.”