Mike Moustakas hit a career-best 38 home runs last year, and it still took him well into spring training to sign a new contract. According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports and Mark Feinsand of MLB.com, Moose agreed to a deal to return to the Kansas City Royals that guarantees him $6.5 million.
It’s just a one-year deal, but holds a mutual option worth $15 million in 2019 with a $1 million buyout per Passan. Moustakas will earn $5.5 million in 2018 and can earn up to $2.2 million in performance bonuses, which could maximize his contract at two years and $22.7 million.
Once other available third basemen like Zack Cozart, Eduardo Nunez, and Todd Frazier all found homes, a possible match for Moustakas seemed harder than ever to find, but he got a contract after all. It’s probably not what he wanted numbers-wise but that just means he’s the newest member of the low-balled free agents club that has grown incrementally over this offseason.
Moustakas declined a qualifying offer from the Royals at $17.4 million over one year, negatively impacting his market, with teams less willing to face the loss of draft pick(s) on a contract worth over $50 million. Under terms of the new collective bargaining agreement Moustakas cannot be offered a qualifying offer again.
Fellow free agent Logan Morrison, who like Moustakas hit 38 home runs in 2017, also settled for $6.5 million guaranteed, inking a one-year contract plus an option with the Twins.
In addition to his 38 homers in 2017, Moustakas also had a career-high 85 RBI in 148 games, a line of .272/.317/.521 and a .835 OPS. At only 29, he’s a good gambit but there are some things to be compromised by committing to him for his (admittedly good) power.