MLB rumors on Mike Moustakas, free agent third baseman, continue to be scant...though MLB.com’s Mike Petriello suggests that Texas might be a good fit for the veteran. I had been wondering about a possible match between the Rangers and Moustakas earlier today, and Petriello mentioning it (combined with an overall lack of news and activity) prompts me to offer a few thoughts on the possibility.
Moustakas is a 30 year old third baseman who was a key part of the Kansas City Royals’ two A.L. Championship teams. He’s been up and down offensively, and there are differing views on his defense, but he’s basically at this point a two win player at third base. After finding a limited market for his services last offseason, he ended up re-signing with the Royals on a one year, $6.5 million deal, and got dealt to Milwaukee for Brett Phillips and Jorge Lopez at the trade deadline. He’s back on the market now, but as Petriello notes, there’s no clear landing spot for him.
From the Rangers’ standpoint, getting Moustakas would address the one glaring hole they have among the position player part of the lineup — third base. If we assume Isiah Kiner-Falefa is going to be behind the plate rather than playing third in 2019, the Rangers’ best option for third base would be Patrick Wisdom, the 27 year old who came over from St. Louis in the Drew Robinson deal. Wisdom looks more like an up-and-down or bench guy than a viable major league third baseman, though.
Jon Daniels has spoken of being interested in a veteran option at third base to at least compete for the job, and Josh Harrison has been someone the Rangers have been rumored to be interested in. Moustakas is better than Harrison, likely is getting just a one year deal for mid-seven-figures, and would help the Rangers be more respectable in 2019 (yes, I know there’s some debate as to whether that should be a priority, but I don’t think the front office is wanting to lose a bunch of games).
Signing Moustakas would help position the Rangers in the race if everything clicks and they find themselves defying the odds and being in contention in 2019. If they are, as we expect, not a contender, Moustakas could be a potential trade chip for a contender in July, as he was in 2018. Granted, Brett Phillips and Jorge Lopez wasn’t a huge return for Kansas City (Phillips stock has dropped dramatically over the last 18 months or so), but its something. And it isn’t as if Moustakas would be blocking anyone in the Rangers system who warrants playing time.
The biggest knock on signing Moustakas would be that he’s a lefthanded hitter, and the Rangers’ lineup is already filled with lefties. He would be a better fit for the team if he swung from the right side, but given the team’s situation and the other options, I wouldn’t think that would be a deal-breaker.
All that being said, there’s no indication thusfar that the Rangers have engaged in any talks with Moustakas, or have interest. But Moustakas to Texas would seem to make a certain amount of sense.