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MLB free agency: Royals still in play for Mike Moustakas

Kansas City GM says biggest issue is having money to pay the All-Star 3B.

MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks at Kansas City Royals Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

The Royals are not ruling out the possibilty of re-signing third baseman Mike Moustakas, Kansas Coty general manager Dayton Moore told Jon Heyman in a phone interview.

“We would love to have Moose back,“ Moore said. “He’s a big bat, he plays to win and he was a big part of our success. Our issue is the payroll.”

Moore said that bringing back Moustakas would be “a challenge,” Heyman reports. Heyman says the Royals “are believed to have only around $3-5 million left in their budget, as things stand, so they’d likely have to consider finding a way to save money elsewhere.“

Original: The Royals have decided to not try to re-sign third baseman Mike Moustakas, Kansas City general manager Dayton Moore told Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com.

Moore said during an “impromptu news conference” on Sunday that the club was not going to go after high-priced free agents even after not being able to bring back first baseman Eric Hosmer, who signed an eight-year, $144 million deal with the Padres. Moustakas, a two-time All-Star who is coming off his best season of his career in 2017 and helped the Royals win the World Series in 2015, is pegged as the top third baseman on the market and is looking to get paid handsomely this offseason after making only $8.7 million last year.

“I’ve been very clear we have two objectives this offseason,” Moore said. “We have to build our farm system back to what it was in 2010-2011, and we have to get payroll at a level to get us more flexible for the future.

“That period of time [of high payrolls], that phase of who we are, is over. We need to move on.”

In doing so, Moore also said the Royals are looking at Cheslor Cuthbert to take over third base, saying “it’s his time to become a consistently producing player.” The Royals also have Hunter Dozier who could play the hot corner.

In regards to Moustakas, the only team left that has had any interest in Moustakas is the Yankees. But, the Yankees really want to stay under the luxury tax threshold so they could be in play for the stout free agent class of 2019 that will more than likely include Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Clayton Kershaw and Josh Donaldson, among others.

Wherever he goes, Moustakas can provide a big bat in any lineup.

The 29-year-old Moustakas is coming off a season in which he posted career highs in home runs (38), RBI (85), slugging percentage (.521) and OPS (.835). In his seven seasons in Kansas City, he has produced a career .251/.305/.425 slash line while earning All-Star selections in 2015 and 2017.