12:02PM: Moustakas isn’t being considered for second base duty, Harding tweets. In other Twitter links, Harding shared some comments from Moustakas, who said “I finally feel good” in the wake of his injuries, and he didn’t want to sign anywhere until he was closer to full health. The Moose was non-committal about the idea of accepting a minor league assignment to Triple-A if he didn’t make the Rockies’ Opening Day roster, saying “that’s something we’ll talk about if it happens.”
8:44AM: The Rockies have agreed to a minor league deal with veteran infielder Mike Moustakas, MLB.com’s Thomas Harding reports (Twitter link). Moustakas is represented by the Boras Corporation, and he became a free agent after being released by the Reds in early January.
Assuming Moustakas makes Colorado’s roster, the Rockies will only owe him the Major League minimum salary. The Reds will be responsible for the rest of the $22MM salary Moustakas is slated to earn in 2023, as per the four-year, $64MM deal he signed with Cincinnati during the 2019-20 offseason. The Moose will earn $18MM in salary, and the Reds are also on the hook for a $4MM buyout of a $20MM club option for the 2024 season.
It makes for a pretty low-risk experiment for a Rockies team that is suddenly short on infielders, given how Brendan Rodgers seems likely to miss most or all of the 2023 season while recovering from a dislocated shoulder. With surgery a distinct possibility for Rodgers, Colorado was aiming to fill his second base spot by moving Ryan McMahon over from third base, except Jon Heyman of the New York Post reports that Moustakas is now being tabbed to fill in at the keystone. This plan would allow the Rox to keep McMahon at third base, and keep second-year players Nolan Jones and Elehuris Montero (who were lined up to take over at the hot corner) in backup roles.
Moustakas has played 613 2/3 big league innings as a second baseman, almost entirely in 2019-20 with the Brewers and Reds. While he was a passable option at the position, public defensive metrics rated Moustakas below average, with a -0.9 UZR/150, -4 Defensive Runs Saved, and -2 Outs Above Average. There isn’t an easy way for Rodgers to be replaced, naturally, but it represents something of a curious move for Colorado to target Moustakas as an answer given how other more experienced middle infielders were available in free agency, or on the trade market.
That said, Moustakas comes at a far lesser financial cost than most other options, and it could be that Colorado simply didn’t want too much of a lineup shuffle given McMahon’s defensive prowess at third base. With Opening Day still weeks away, the Rockies’ plans might yet still change, as Moustakas can theoretically fit at several other spots around the infield. His left-handed bat might factor into the Rockies’ plans at first base and DH, since C.J. Cron and Sean Bouchard are both right-handed hitters.
While Moustakas is a good fit on paper, however, it remains to be seen what version of the Moose the Rockies are getting as he enters his age-34 season. Moustakas was plagued by injuries (a heel contusion and a calf strain) over his last two years in Cincinnati, resulting in a mediocre .212/.289/.356 slash line in 491 plate appearances since the start of the 2021 season. With those two sub-replacement level seasons cratering his trade value, the Reds opted to simply release Moustakas heading into the final guaranteed year of his contract, eating his salary and opening up more playing time as Cincinnati continues its rebuild.
Prior to those injury-shortened 2021-22 seasons, Moustakas was a solid performer for the Royals, Brewers, and Reds from 2015-20, hitting .262/.326/.490 with 138 homers over 2707 plate appearances (good for a 113 wRC+). The Moose was named to three All-Star games during that stretch, and he was also a big part of Kansas City’s World Series championship team in 2015.
While staying healthy is naturally the key to any hope for a rebound season, Moustakas’ move to Coors Field might help reinvigorate his bat. The new defensive rules would seemingly help given how Moustakas faced shifts 81 percent of the time in 2022, though his production against shifts (in the Statcast era) has fluctuated heavily, with some seasons of better production hitting into shifts than against a regular fielding alignment. If anything, the new defensive rules might put more pressure on Moustakas from a second base perspective, as he’ll now be asked to cover more ground in the field.
The Rockies have now made two veteran additions in as many days, between the Moustakas signing and their one-year deal yesterday with left-handed reliever Brad Hand. It’s a quick pivot for the team, who learned earlier this week about Rodgers and the strong possibility that reliever Lucas Gilbreath will need Tommy John surgery.
I know it’s the Rockies but this is a great move for them. The ball flies in Colorado. Just playing there can make an average Joe like Moustakas a homerun king.
And if he does really succeed, they can flip him at the deadline.. but play him at 2B? Still sounds like a Rockies move!
And an even more Rockies move would be to hold on to him and let him leave for nothing at the end of another lost season.
They pay him nothing. He can stay in CO for the season and into next or whatever they want. But they absolutely will screw it up
Right but like remember that Milwaukee signed Moose AS a 2B and then Cincy started him 31 games @2B. Granted Cincy learned their lesson after 2020 and only played him @3B going forward, but that’s potentially huge to be able to use him at both positions as a late game sub.
Assuming he makes the majors.
@RockiesMagic, Moose moved to 3rd in 2021 due to India who would go to win rookie of the year making the roster.
Is it just my poor vision, or is Moose Moustakas resembling a younger Jesse Winker as he ages????? Granted that thumbnail jpeg is tiny on my phone. Maybe they’re brothers from another mother or something.
I don’t think there’s any team that would flip for him if the splits from home and away are a massive difference. Just enjoy the moose
Low risk, sure, but the Rockies are obviously a team without vision. No plan, just hope things work enough to sell some tickets.
This is it.
The owners insist that they can compete, but their transactions say otherwise with spare parts, scrap heap reclamations, and moving their best player, and one of the best in the game, for….. nothing?
This one belongs to the Reds
This is what the big contracts get your team in the end, especially in the smaller markets, yet folks claim nothing is wrong.
Great move? lol
Low risk signing, will the mile up help him?
Marinararivera + Tony Plush
It definitely won’t hurt him!
I think the risk is that the Rockies are repeating the same mistaken experiment the Reds ran a couple of years ago. How many third basemen can you put in a single lineup?
The Reds put Moose at 2B, Suarez at SS, Castellanos at RF (which had the knock on effect of putting Senzel in CF). Their team was supposed to max hitting at the expense of defense. It was a failure.
Rox already have Bryant in the OF. They might move someone to 2B (maybe not Moose). They also play in a homer friendly home stadium. But this also looks like a losing gamble.
The ultimate win-win.
Happy for rocks fans hopefully moose isn’t a shell of his former self and can help contribute to some meaningful games. That said idk if this interferes with the “let the kids play mentality” most encourage. Good luck to both sides.
We’ve been blocking our own talent with veteran FAs for like a decade now. 2023 probably isn’t the worst year to do it, and they cleared the road for Tovar. If Zac Veen is looking ready in 2024 I sure hope he’s not fighting TOO hard for the job.
In the meantime I like getting Moose as a depth move
This one belongs to the Reds
Hopefully for them he lost lots of weight.
If he doesn’t hit here he won’t hit no more. golden chance to revive his career
A perfect example of someone being paid waaaaaaaay more than they’re worth.
This one belongs to the Reds
That’s the system the large markets gave everyone in MLB.
Kruk's Left Nut
Yes but when he delivered KC a championship in 2015 he was severely underpaid and KC made bank from his performance and the win. He got $2,640,000 that year while his performance was valued at $30.7 million for that season alone (per fangraphs). In other words, free agency has a way of balancing things out.
No, FA doesn’t have ‘a way of evening things out’. If anything it screws things up.
There are far more players signing the long term contracts that overpaid them, well into their unproductive seasons. Too many players capitalize on a single productive year, then regress back to mediocrity. I don’t feel sorry for the owners, players nor the agents.
Especially when the taxpayers pay for their stadiums.
The worst part is the cost for a family to go to the game. MLB is killing off their fan base.
@suffer …. mouse is another example of many players who took the advice of borass and got shut out of a multi year deal. no, he mouse was never worth $200,000,000 or whatever silly number borass floated into mouse’s mind
Get fat and pathetic, get cut from your last year of a big contract, sign to play in the best offensive park, get in shape, have a great season and sign another big contract. This guy has it figured out.
He’s not signing another large contract even if he bounces back this year, but he would get significantly more than the minimum.
Cincinnati is the second best park to hit in? Something like that
Hired Gun 23
I dig this deal. He produces and they’ve scored a bargain. He doesn’t produce, they cut Moose loose…
Good for Moose
I said this many times to the Orioles and nada
Son of .a….
Son of a….
Son of a….
JBJ is gone
Moose is gone
The only one left is Trevor Bauer
That one’s sitting on the clearance rack for a long time to come
I forgot he was even available theirs been such little talk about him. Would a Japan or Korean team be willing to bring him in for a season or two if a mlb team doesn’t take the plunge? Is he done done? Or does time heal all wounds and some team goes for it next year?
deGrom Texas Ranger
There may be real men willing to sign him outside the US. Sadly, the US has a bunch of “girly men” (a quote from former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger) letting the internet run their teams. It’s also strange, that a website that is so viciously against Bauer based on feelings over facts still hasn’t hired a single female writer…
What’s the relation between these 3 players
I gather those are three “buy low” free agents Lefty wanted the Orioles to take a chance on.
He’s a lefty?
I immediately thought of u when I saw this Lefty as I know you really wanted him. Out of JBJ, Moose, and Bauer, Bauer is the only one I agree on.
They are all lottery tickets
I don’t hate this. Moose is not exactly the ideal 2B, but anything to keep Mac on third.
Well, he can’t hit anymore, but at least he’s a terrible defensive player!
The Reds basically paying 20 million in alimony
deGrom Texas Ranger
Are you questioning his manhood? Lol
I could see this working out well, Moustakas will give you everything he has
The problem has been his 100%.
He’s done, age and physical decline has made him a AAA player at this stage. He’s slow on pitch recognition, slow on the basepaths, slow in the field, etc.
As an article XX-B free agent, he should be released and retire in 3 weeks time.
Smart and low risk – why not. Plus great place to hit
I hear Cincinnati is a great place to hit also…
Best case Moose is healthy and score a power bat for virtually nothing. Worst case he’s done and they cut him loose at the end of camp and lose nothing
This might work out well for the Rocks. Poor Reds though.
Could be a win for everyone. The Reds were going to be paying that $22M whether they kept Moustakas or not, and they’ll be fielding a losing team with or without him. Instead they’re using their roster to develop and evaluate players who might help them beyond 2023. Plus if Moustakas makes an MLB roster it saves Cincy $0.7M or so.
That’s definitely a forward-looking and positive take. Good on ya!
Wow, those poor small-market Reds were able to give him $64 million, with a $22 million total including buyout for this final season. Maybe the problem isn’t that they have no money, but that they haven’t a clue how to spend it.
deGrom Texas Ranger
The Rangers can be accused of a similar charge, with Pérez (19.65 QO), Gray (14 MM), Semien (25 MM and 7 years), and other idiotic moves before like giving Elvis Andrus 15 MM for 8 years. At least, they seem to be willing to double down on it and spend even more. I just wonder when the consistent loss of draft picks and cap space will force them to stop blowing through money and will make them finally start trading prospects again.
I just don’t understand. McMahon is the better defensive player, obviously. 2B is the position that gets the most chances. Whether Jones, Montero, or Moose (whose best position is 3B) plays best in the spring, why wouldn’t they play third, with McMahon playing 2B? Putting McMahon at a position that barely gets 1/2 of the action, seems sub optimal.
Yes. Without the shift having a 2B with good range will be more important, and McMahon is pretty good in that regard. In 2021 he had 9 DRS at 2B despite only playing there in 52 games. Since McMahon is excellent at both positions, they should play Moose at the position where he is least bad.
This reminds me… I need to clean my fish tanks.
‘Moose’ likely preferred landing with a contender in need of a versatile infielder with lefty pop but the Rockies are still a solid option if he produces at Coors. He could then get flipped to a contender by the summer trade deadline. Regardless, he’s still getting paid by the Reds.
Moose could be a nice pickup for the Chisox if he’s having a good year. But they’d first have to acknowledge that Moncada is as useless as Grandal.
I thought the White Sox might have taken a flyer on ‘Moose’ earlier this offseason, especially with the front office crying poor. He might have given them a cheap lefty power bat with some infield versatility.
Moustakis would have made more sense if the White Sox felt he had any chance of playing some 2B. That said, Jake Burger is an internal candidate that offers a similar skill set as Moustakis, albeit as a right-handed hitter.
I’d just assume that Burger gets the opportunity you suggest in case Yoan Moncada continues to underperform with the bat or when he makes his annual appearance on the IL. White Sox fans are rooting for Burger to succeed after all the injury hardship he has endured since his selection as the organization’s top pick in the 2017 MLB June Amateur Draft.
That comp to Burger, is a good one.
Solid low risk bet for the Rox, Moose is a good fit for Colorado. It wouldn’t shock me if he went off for 30 bombs this year.
deGrom Texas Ranger
I know offense was down this year, but was it due to just the shift, or were there changes to the ball that may significantly improve offense this year too?
He’ll be lucky to come up with 30 XBH total. What I saw of him showed that he doesn’t even have warning track power any more. Outfield grass power maybe. He looked woefully out of shape and couldn’t stay healthy. You may stick a fork in him at your convenience – he’s past done and the Rox are overpaying at any amount.
No way Moustakas can handle either 2B or 3B anymore, only 1B or DH.
I’m not sure which is slower at this point; his feet or his bat. But he seems pretty deft with a fork and knife.
You know another great place to hit? Cincinnati.
Dread Pirate Roberts
Which ex-royal is more likely to stick with their new team,Hosmer or Moustakas?
the one that plays the best and isn’t taking playing time/development away from a younger guy
I thought a silver lining of Rodgers out for the season would be the youngsters getting more playing time.. Instead we bring in a guy with no future? I don’t get it. Just made the log jam worse.
Rockies gotta sell tickets bringing in a name
Playing him at 2B with shifts restricted would go poorly. He’s likely better off at 3B with McMahon at 2B.
deGrom Texas Ranger
While former consensus #1 bust Profar is still unemployed…
I’m loving it, though more as a slap in the face to Scott Boras than Profar
The Rockies will be the Rockies. They’re taking ab’s away from the young guys that need them.
Remember when Boras told him to decline the QO from the Royals? He’s screwed few people before.
Moose had a six game hitting streak to end the season last year
And with him saying he is healthy, he might be worth tbe lottery ticket
Great to spot a Moose in the Rockies, but Denver-based taxidermists are probably lining up. This also probably means Brandon Rogers is out for a long time. Better just to play McMahon, Montero, Toglia, Jones and Doyle than to have Moose suck up DH at bats or pinch hitting opportunities. Either the kids are ready or extend Cron one year.
The Heyman report about them playing him at 2B is wild. With the shift rules that would be really bad, I don’t think they’re going to do that. There’s upside on with his bat on a league minimum deal, but you can’t play him at 2B anymore.
Cue Moonlight Grahamcracker and his “Front Office” knowledge on ‘fat must equal lazy’player evaluation.
Cue Clepto and his made up quotes that I never said. Haha what a dunce you are, seriously! Beware everyone, don’t dare state an opinion in opposition of idiot clepto or his friends, he’ll call you a liar. He won’t actually post any of his own thoughts on the matter though which shows how dumb he truly is. He thinks fat guys have long and productive careers, he’ll even cite 2-4 examples in the history of baseball to prove his point. He’s the smartest guy on this site, just ask him and he’ll tell you!!
Everyone: Does the inane rambling above look like a person who was capable of holding a front office job in an MLB, or so he claimed?
Wow, what a phawkin loser.
If you are so inclined, go read the Vlad Guerrero story comments. Not too far into it, you will see this Einstein say what I said, be promptly destroyed with facts by 5 or 6 others, then try to insult other to detract from his stupidity. Its all there. Feel free to read up.
Dale Murphy signed with the Rockies at the tail end of his career. didn’t make it 1/2 the season and retired.
Either moose does will or get released.
Even in Colorado, if the swing isn’t there, the swing isn’t there.
“There isn’t an easy way for Rodgers to be replaced, naturally, but it represents something of a curious move for Colorado to target Moustakas as an answer given how other more experienced middle infielders were available in free agency, or on the trade market.”
This is such a cumbersome and long sentence. I don’t know why you wouldn’t start it with “naturally,” when it works just as well, if not better at the front, plus doesn’t interrupt the flow. Or even just saying “it naturally represents.” No need for the commas.
At 67, I find it “cumbersome” to use “naturally” and “flow” in the same sentence.
Sounds like something you need to talk to your doctor about.
“No need for the commas?” lol
“I don’t know why you wouldn’t start it with “naturally,” when it works just as well, if not better at the front, plus doesn’t interrupt the flow.”
You’re reply matched Marks use of three commas in a sentence that contained 17 less words than what he utilized. lmao
Btw: I’ve kept numerous doctors busy in the past 6+ years with two Cochlear implants and a hip replacement. This is on top of many more routine visits and procedures since I easily used up my insurance deductibles with those surgeries. My urologists will be next in line since all the prescribed pills they’ve given me seem to create more side effects than an actual remedy. My wife says I’m the “poster-child” for successful procedures so why stop now? lol
Your point is invalid. We’re not talking about the sentence I wrote IN A COMMENT ON THE INTERNET, we’re talking about a sentence that a PROFESSIONAL WRITER was PAID to write. Don’t kid yourself, it’s not the same.
Best of luck with any procedures.
Am a 4th generation Reds fan – it’s not an exaggeration to say Moose may have been the least favorite Cincy player in a long, long, long time. Signed the big contract with the Reds, seemingly and instantly became 25lbs overweight, injuries because of playing out of shape, perceived malingerer, and the way he chews his gum while doing the slow-walk after a K?
It’s like watching a cow chewing cud. Oh, and the lack of on-field production speaks for itself.
Good luck Rockies fans !
Poster formerly unknown as . . .
Too bad the Mets didn’t sign him to team with Jeff McNeil, then they’d have had Moose and Squirrel on the roster.
I can see why the Rockies FO would sign Moose. He’s had some success as a power hitter, and Coors is a good place for him to perform, if he can. And he costs nothing. However, there are young people on the roster who have earned a shot and are capable of filling in for Rodgers. Give the youngsters a shot and see what they can do rather than taking up a roster spot with a washed up vet.
Cutting Moose a check and sending him into baseball oblivion is the smartest move the Reds have made this off-season. He has become unworthy of blocking Spencer Steer, or Jonathan India, or CES, or Matt Mclain, or EDLC, or even Chad Pinder, Alejo Lopez, or Nick Solak. Other than that, the Reds kitchen crew will miss his contribution immensley.