7:47pm: Moustakas and the Royals are “close” to hammering out a reunion, per Heyman and his colleague, Robert Murray (Twitter link).
7:33pm: The sides are “working toward an agreement,” per MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan (via Twitter). It’s expected to be for a short term, he notes, with the likelihood being that it would cover just a single season.
7:20pm: The Royals have re-opened talks with free agent Mike Moustakas, according to Jon Heyman of Fan Rag. There’s said to be “some hope” that talks will lead to an agreement, with Heyman adding on Twitter that K.C. has issued an offer.
There has been little prior indication that Kansas City would be a likely landing spot for its long-time third baseman. Moustakas, who had been with the Royals since they took him with the second overall pick in the 2007 draft, declined a qualifying offer at the end of the 2017 season. Thus far, however, he has yet to find a new home after encountering a market that was not been as welcoming as expected.
Perhaps the most interesting question is just what kind of contract scenario the sides might be discussing. While Moustakas obviously set out seeking a multi-year arrangement with a hefty guarantee, the Royals are surely uninterested in a massive commitment. Indeed, GM Dayton Moore recently told Rustin Dodd of The Athletic (subscription link) that the organization intends “to be pretty consistent” with not doling out multi-year contracts this winter.
The Royals, of course, recently struck reasonably-priced, one-year arrangements with Lucas Duda and Jon Jay, signaling that the club is still interested in boosting its on-field product for 2018. But signing Moustakas would also mean losing the ability to recoup a compensatory draft pick were he to sign elsewhere, and it’s at least fair to wonder whether the team would actually be better-suited attempting to secure a player of his talents on a lower-AAV, multi-year pact. Then again, Moustakas himself may prefer to take what he can get for a single season and re-enter the market again next winter, despite the attendant risks.
At 29 years of age, Moustakas is still youthful enough to be of interest to organizations that aren’t fully committed to competing in the near-term. Of course, he also isn’t particularly youthful and carries a skillset that is no longer commanding top dollar. Moustakas smashed 38 long balls last year, but also managed only a .314 on-base percentage that sits only slightly higher than his marginal .305 career rate. His once-sparkling defensive metrics at third base have also declined of late.