The Pros & Cons to Potentially Signing Mike Moustakas
Mike Moustakas has legit power. He has slugged 119 career homers in seven seasons with the Royals. He has also hit 163 doubles and driven in 379 runs in Kansas City. The man has the potential to be a perennial 30+ home run a year player. He was huge for the team in their 2015 World Series winning season, recording a slash line of .284/.348/.470 in 147 games. He was also named to his first of two all-star appearances that magical year. 38 round-trippers this year is nothing to sneeze at.
For a Padre team that lacks left-handed pop, Moustakas would immediately slide into the middle of the order. Hitting him in between Wil Myers and Hunter Renfroe would be exciting for the fans and probably beneficial for the team. The trio could feed off each other, as opposing teams would not be able to stack their relievers against the Padres late in games. That is what having flexibility and balance in your lineup does for you. Mike Moustakas would help solidify a Padres lineup that needs veteran depth. That is for certain.
The native Californian, Moustakas, will surely explore returning to his home state. He is a native of Chatsworth, where he was selected second overall by the Royals in the 2007 MLB Draft. The fact he has a World Series title in his trophy case could be huge for a team looking for relevance. Moustakas has mentored young players in the past and could do the same for an Andy Green ball club.
The Padres need to really be careful who they add to the team in the coming years. Veterans can be vital for cultivating young players, but they can also be detrimental to the team if they fail to come with the correct mindset. Doing homework on Moustakas will be needed. The book on him is that he is a great teammate and someone who is a decent leader in the locker room. Mike Moustakas could return to California and be a deciding factor in a potential Padres’ championship.
Adding a decent middle of the order hitter that is left-handed should be a priority for the Padres this offseason. Again, it is no secret that the team is full of right-handed hitters presently. Looking down in the minors, you have Fernando Tatis, Luis Urias, and Franmil Reyes waiting in the wings. All right-handed hitters. Sure, Franchy Cordero and Josh Naylor swing the bat from the left-handed batter’s box, but the team does have an issue that needs to be addressed.
Mike Moustakas would be huge in the middle of a Padre lineup. Adding him to the mix would create a logjam at third base, but the Padres’ general manager is certainly not opposed to making a deal here and there. The Royals have some interest in retaining the big lefty, but he seems inclined to test the market. The Padres are probably going to kick the tires on Moustakas, as he fits the team’s need and wouldn’t take a trade of the franchises’ valued prospects. There is a lot to like about Moose, but there is equally enough to be hesitant about a long-term marriage.
In seven major league season, Moustakas has not played in more than 149 games, and he did that in his second year when he was 23 years old. Constant nagging leg injuries have limited him over the years. In 2016 he tore a knee ligament and played in only 26 games for the Royals in their World Series’ hangover year. He has played in 147 games this season and looks to be fully over any knee concerns.
He is not someone you can put in the lineup day in and day out. He has had real issues with left-handed pitching over the years, only hitting .241 against them with a .397 slugging percentage. In a division with Robbie Ray, Clayton Kershaw, and Madison Bumgarner, that is something to keep an eye on. I would think the Padres would want a left-handed hitter in the middle of their lineup who has comfort against southpaws. Heading into his 30’s, there will be real concern about Moustakas’ playing time. The N.L. does not have a designated hitter, so he will need to play the field for the Padres. Do you really want to invest long-term in someone who may eventually be a platoon player?
His UZR was at 2.5 last year, but fell all the way to -2.8 this year. This was his first season of a negative UZR since he has been in the league, but the swift drop-off is a real concern. In his over 1,00o innings at the hot corner in 2017, Moustakas recorded a -8 DRS (Defensive Runs Saved), and that is also a concern. As is his -5.3 RngR (Range Runs Above Average) for the 2017 season.
Basically, Moustakas’ mobility is slowing down. He is a big guy and there are some valid concerns that this is going to be a steady trend. Moustakas is a decent third baseman presently, though he has had bouts of wildness with his throwing arm. He could slide over to first if needed, but his real value is his left-handed bat at the hot corner. For a Padre team that is emphasizing defense, he would be a shaky fit. Andy Green loves defense, and Moustakas could turn into a liability at third.
He is having a wonderful year and you fully expect him to cash in this winter. The Padres have money to spend, but is the left-handed hitter worth the investment for a team still trying to find an identity? This will be the deciding factor in getting a deal done with the Padres. Scott Boras is the man’s agent, and that alone almost eliminates the Padres from contention. The two sides (Boras and the Padres) have rarely seen eye-to-eye in negotiations, as Boras will always command top-dollar for his clients.
Expect Moustakas to want somewhere near the five years/$95 million that was paid for Pablo Sandoval a couple of seasons ago. That seems outrageous given Moustakas’ record, but Sandoval had arguably a lesser track record and got paid. That will not work for the Padres, and it shouldn’t. At this point, paying that much for a free agent is too risky. The third baseman will get at least a four-year deal and $10-15 million per season. Investing that into a player that has so many risks would not be wise.
Signing Mike Moustakas would energize the fan base and make a lot of novice fans happy. He is a name, and the team is in need of names to market. I can just see all the Moose heads and the Moose calls every time he takes the field. The marketing team would go wild with him. The reality is that this would be a bad move. The San Diego Padres are not quite built to compete just yet. Yes, they need a left-handed presence in the lineup, but his cost would be too much. You also have to wonder about his production and if he can keep it up. I am always hesitant when potentially signing players coming off a career year, which happens in their contract year. Mike Moustakas does not make sense for a team that is so young. At this point, the prospects need to keep developing before the baseball operations team makes a determination on the future and what to do about it. A hard pass on Moustakas, though I fully expect the team to flirt with him this winter.
James was born and raised in America’s Finest City. He is a passionate baseball fan with even more passion towards his hometown Padres. Editor-In-Chief of EastVillageTimes.com. Always striving to bring you the highest quality in San Diego Sports News. Original content, with original ideas, that’s our motto. Enjoy.