Now that the Royals have traded Kelvin Herrera to the Nationals in a surprisingly early deal of significance, the organization’s focus is shifting to Mike Moustakas, it seems. Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports writes that Kansas City is now “looking to find takers” for the slugger, who burst out of the gates with a .301/.335/.569 slash through his first 194 plate appearances but has slumped to an ugly .219/.301/.375 batting line in the 146 PAs that have followed.
Moustakas is earning $6.5MM in 2018 and is still owed about $3.53MM of that sum through season’s end. While his contract technically contains a mutual option for the 2019 season, there’s no reason to think it’ll be exercised by both parties. It’s exceedingly rare to see both sides exercise a mutual option, and if Moustakas ends up playing well enough that a club wants him at the $15MM value of that option, he’ll very likely feel emboldened to go seek a multi-year deal, knowing that he cannot be saddled with the burden of a qualifying offer for a second time.
More out of Kansas City…
- The Royals’ return in the Herrera trade — third baseman Kelvin Gutierrez, outfielder Blake Perkins and 17-year-old righty Yohanse Morel — has been regarded by many pundits as light, but GM Dayton Moore explained some of his thinking in an interview with Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (subscription required). “The thing we knew about Perkins and Gutierrez is that they have a chance to be elite defenders,” Moore said of the two more advanced prospects he acquired. Moore said the team hopes to rebuild its roster around pitching and defense, and he likens the Herrera trade to the Zack Greinke blockbuster with the Brewers that brought Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar, Jeremy Jeffress and Jake Odorizzi to Kansas City. Moore says that the organization viewed Cain and Escobar similarly — unsure how much they’d hit but confident they’d be premier defenders.
- The trade of Herrera and likely trade of Moustakas aren’t the only forward-looking moves in store for the Royals. Manager Ned Yost told reporters this week that Adalberto Mondesi will begin to start a game or two per week at shortstop in place of Alcides Escobar (link via MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan). Escobar will see some time at third base, second base and even in center field, while Mondesi will see some time at second base as well. The move will allow the team to evaluate Mondesi as a potential building block, and as Yost points out, it could be beneficial to Escobar as well. “He’s at a point in his career now where it will increase his value if he can play multiple positions, especially center field, third base, second base and shortstop as he can,” said Yost. Indeed, with Escobar hitting just .202/.251/.286 as an impending free agent, it’d behoove him to demonstrate defensive aptitude at a variety of positions.
- Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star takes an excellent look at the early stages of the Royals’ rebuild, noting that it seems the organization is aiming for a fairly accelerated timeline. As evidence, Mellinger points to the slew of college arms the Royals took near the top of the draft as well as the fact that they targeted fairly advanced, defensive-minded prospects rather than lower-level talents with higher ceilings but more risk in the Herrera deal. Mellinger writes that part of the reason that the Royals aren’t likely to be open to a Salvador Perez trade is that they could be hopeful of being competitive again by the 2020 season, when Perez will still be under contract and will still be just 30 years of age.
“looking to find takers” for Moustakas.
.319 OBP and falling.
I took a look at the Royals farm system and their recent draft. If the Royals make the postseason within seven years I’ll be very surprised.
Well, nobody cares about what you think about their draft class. Most experts think it was the best or arguably the best out of all 30 teams.
I like Brady singers stuff with the movement on the fastball and great breaking stuff it was a great get along with kowar who could be a two or three, but I agree they’ll be rebuilding for a while.
The Royals have no position talent and all their pitching talent was this draft. It’s a nightmare of Baltimore magnitude.
We still have work to do on the farm, but you have to remember we depleted most of it through graduation and trades to bring home two pennants and a ring. We definitely had a couple misses in the draft that didn’t help things, but I’m still content with how the last five years have gone.
I suspect the Royals will have two position players in Top 100 next year in Khalil Lee and Seuly Matias. We’re also very high on Nick Pratto, MJ Melendez and Michael Gigliotti. All our talent is in Lexington and Wilmington right now. None of them are the next Bryce Harper, but it’s nowhere near as bleak as you make it seem. There’s a reason we drafted so many pitchers. As for your claim that our draft was weak, you’re literally the first person — commenter, fan or industry insider — I’ve seen say anything but glowing things about the Royals 2018 draft. That’s just you being a troll.
Matias by the way leads all MiLB in home tune #nohittingtalent
I thought singer would go in the top 5 , and kowar was a top 20. I really liked the Lynch pick too. Kinda a toss up between them and TB for the best draft class imo
Thought Cincinnati would grab him at 5, but I like the way India is playing right now in the college World Series
Jace Peterson has a .325 OBP would you rather have him? I’m not sure when OBP became some kind of must have. Plenty of productive players that don’t post an OBP over 340. People will sit here and tell you Moose isn’t any good because he doesn’t get on base enough.
CaseysPartner……You obviously don’t have a clue about baseball if you think they can’t make the playoffs in the next 7 years
I absolutely loved the Royals draft class, so disregard what Casey’s Partner is saying, per usual. But I do not quite understand the Greinke trade comparisons
Cain had already played 158 plate appearances at the major league level with a solid .306/..348/.415 line with seven stolen bases, Alcides Escobar had already picked up parts of three seasons of major league experience slashing .250/.298/.335 while displaying plus defense, Jake Odorizzi was considered a top prospect, and the throw-in, Jeffress, was a very high upside reliever.
This deal, however, gave the Royals a trio of players who I don’t believe make it to the majors in any capacity other than emergency call up’s (I’ll give the 17-year old a chance)
Escobar was a 1-time Top100 whose star had faded and Cain was not considered a top talent. The trade was panned at the time because it was said the Royals didn’t get the best available talent because Moore wanted specifically a SS and CF and was focused on defense. Every pundit/so called expert thought the trade was a loser for the Royals – just like they are saying now.
That may be so but my point was that the two guys Cain/Escobar were in the majors at the time of the deal, therefore the Royals were at least getting guys who had higher floors. These two guys may never see AAA.
And as someone else correctly pointed out, that was for more than just a rental of a Cy Young caliber starter. There is no comparison of the 2 players’ value. And there were no evaluators claiming either would be all star playoff series MVP talents at the time of that trade.
Also we got that for multiple years of friendly team control of a Cy Young winner. This is a rental reliever coming off the worst year of his career.
Sam Mellinger – horrible writer.
Agreed. Hard to see how that guy keeps a job.
Royals will be back in the playoffs in 2021