MLB Rumors: Manny Machado may have to sign before Mike Moustakas is off the board, says Jon Morosi, who also says that the Texas Rangers “are known to be pursuing infielders,” but prefer Josh Harrison to Moustakas.
Machado, who can play shortstop but who is better as a third baseman, continues to be, along with Bryce Harper, among the most valuable position players on the market, with the Chicago White Sox and Philadelphia Phillies both pursuing Machado. Morosi suggests that the market for Moustakas, the best non-Machado third baseman on the market, likely won’t move until Machado makes a decision, as Moustakas is likely to be targeted by Chicago or Philadelphia if they are unavailable to secure Machado.
I discussed Moustakas as a possible match for the Rangers last night, given their lack of a viable third base option currently, but Morosi says the Rangers have more interest in Josh Harrison, the free agent infielder who has been with the Pittsburgh Pirates, than in Moustakas. Harrison has played second base and third base, with Morosi saying the Rangers prefer Harrison’s versatility, and with Harrison being a righthanded hitter, his bat would help balance out the predominately lefty lineup Texas is currently looking at. In addition, Harrison would probably be more amenable to accepting a part-time role or something other than a guarantee of an every day job, which would allow the Rangers to potentially look at Patrick Wisdom, should they feel he’s worth giving a shot in the majors at third base.
One other thing to keep an eye on that Morosi mentions is Maikel Franco, the Phillies incumbent third baseman who, he says, is expected to be dealt by the Phillies, should they land Machado or Moustakas. Franco, 26, is a one-time well-regarded prospect who has not lived up to expectations, slashing .252/.303/.435 for his career with shaky defense at the hot corner. Franco is arbitration-eligible and is under team control through 2021, and would likely not cost a significant amount. For the Rangers, a team rebuilding and without a long-term solution at third base, Franco could be worth taking a flyer on.