According to a new article by Jon Heyman at FanRag Sports, the Royals have reopened talks with Mike Moustakas about returning their free agent third baseman to Kansas City. Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com tweets a perhaps more definitive report that the team is working on a “short term ... likely one-year” deal. UPDATE: Heyman now reports along with colleague Robert Murray that a deal is close, and that a reunion is seem as “extremely likely.”
It doesn’t seem that the Royals ever ceased their desire to bring Moustakas back to Kansas City, but, rather, they “expressed pessimism at times in recent weeks about getting anything done,” per Heyman. The Royals, of course, already lost Lorenzo Cain (Brewers) and Eric Hosmer (Padres) to free agency, and have since seemed ready to embark on a rebuild that may or may not become a full teardown at the trade deadline. Signing Moustakas wouldn’t necessarily change that, especially if the lefty slugger receives the one-year deal that Flanagan refers to, and that most have assumed he’ll have to settle for in this horribly slow offseason for free agents.
The 29-year-old Moustakas set the Royals franchise record with 38 homers in 2017 while driving in 85 runs and striking out in only 15.7% of his plate appearances. However, a poor walk rate led to a below-average .314 OBP, which along with a league-wide increase in slugging led to Moustakas posting a good but not great 114 wRC+. Moose’s formerly-elite fielding at third base also deteriorated as he returned from a torn ACL, leading to a career-worst -8 DRS.
Nonetheless, signing Moustakas to a one-year deal would benefit the Royals in the short term, bettering their production at third base over current projected starter Cheslor Cuthbert. More importantly, it could serve to better them in the long-term, as signing a player of Moustakas’s caliber to a one-year deal would likely give the team a valuable asset at the trade deadline.
Rustin Dodd of The Athletic tweets that Moustakas may make his choice with the next 24 hours or so, and we at MLBDD will have you covered on anything that develops further.