The market has just not lined up well to this point for former Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas. While we guessed he’d be able to command a five-year commitment and ranked him the sixth-best free agent available in our 2017-18 Top 50 Free Agents list, that level of contract is increasingly difficult to imagine.
In that ranking, MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes listed the Angels, Braves, and Cardinals as conceivable landing spots. In a full breakdown, MLBTR’s Mark Polishuk noted that a variety of other organizations could conceivably get involved on the still-youthful Moustakas. The Giants and Mets were clear possibilities on paper, with some scenarios imaginable in which teams like the Phillies, Red Sox, Indians, Orioles, or Twins might enter the picture. And, of course, the incumbent Royals were expected to remain in the frame to some extent.
As things have shaken out, several of the plausible pursuers have elected to go in different directions. The Angels (Zack Cozart), Giants (Evan Longoria), and Mets (Todd Frazier) now seem clearly out on Moustakas after adding third basemen. Any outside chance that the Phillies would get involved may have disappeared when the team signed Carlos Santana to play first base. There’s no indication that the Red Sox are looking in this direction, the Indians don’t seem to have funds available, and the Orioles and Twins remain only speculative possibilities at this stage. The Royals don’t seem to expect a reunion. While the Cardinals are still a conceivable fit, indications are the organization doesn’t like the match. Though the Braves likewise still theoretically work, David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution suggested on Twitter today that he doesn’t expect the organization to offer up significant money. Developments have left the Yankees seeking a third baseman, but they are walking a luxury tax tightrope.
Quite apart from the broader market slow-down, then, there are arrows pointing toward trouble for agent Scott Boras in finding a major deal for Moustakas. That’s not to say it isn’t possible — it’s worth bearing in mind there was plenty of hand-wringing over Lorenzo Cain before he recently secured a significant contract, and Moustakas is hardly alone among still-unsigned premium free agents — but the picture does seem decidedly different than it did entering the winter.
All said, it seems an opportune moment to see what the MLBTR readership anticipates. Can Boras still pull off a big contract? Will “Moose” have to settle for significantly less? Is there a middle ground? Give your opinion here on the sort of contract Moustakas is likeliest to sign (link for app users):