The Angels acquired infielder Mike Moustakas tonight, sending minor league righty Connor Van Scoyoc to the Rockies. The deal, which is now official, was first reported by Robert Murray of Fansided. The Halos designated infielder Kevin Padlo for assignment to open a spot for Moustakas, reports MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger.
Moustakas, 34, was released by the Reds in January, with the club eating $22MM in the process. He hooked on with the Rockies on a minor league deal in March and cracked the Opening Day roster with a strong spring. With the Rockies, Moustakas was used as a backup at the infield corners behind C.J. Cron and Ryan McMahon. Cron has been on the IL with a back injury since mid-May, but Elehuris Montero has been drawing a good number of starts at first base in his stead.
After a pair of injury-wracked seasons, the left-handed-hitting Moustakas bounced back to a degree in his 136 plate appearances with Colorado this year by posting a 101 wRC+. Moustakas effectively got to walk over to the visitors’ clubhouse tonight, after the Angels set various franchise records with a 25-1 drubbing of the Rockies at Coors Field.
Moustakas didn’t get to play in that one, but he’ll move from the NL’s worst team to a Halos club that is tied for the third AL wild-card spot with the Blue Jays. The Angels are looking to make the playoffs for the first time since 2014. With the Moustakas acquisition tonight, they’ve added a three-time All-Star, 2015 World Champion, and 13-year MLB veteran. Moose hit 35 home runs in 2019, the fifth time he’d hit at least 20 in a season.
Moustakas’ initial two bouts with free agency were disappointments. The first time through in 2017-18, he turned down a $17.4MM qualifying offer from the Royals only to return in March on a one-year, $6.5MM deal. The next time, he lingered on the market until February before re-signing with the Brewers for $10MM. Moustakas was able to use his 2019 All-Star season as a springboard to a surprising four-year, $64MM deal with the Reds. Unfortunately, Moustakas played in only 140 games for the Reds from 2021-22 due heel injuries, a right biceps strain, calf strains, and stints on the COVID-IL.
Moustakas spent some time at second base in 2019-20, but since then he’s been utilized at the infield corners and designated hitter. The Angels have used a cast of players at first this year, with over 100 innings apiece going to Brandon Drury, Jared Walsh, Gio Urshela, and Jake Lamb. Lamb was optioned to Triple-A in May, and Walsh followed him on Saturday. Urshela recently suffered a season-ending fractured pelvis.
Angels third baseman Anthony Rendon went on the IL last Monday with a bruised wrist. Luis Rengifo had been getting the nod at the hot corner, until the Angels picked up switch-hitter Eduardo Escobar as something of an Urshela replacement in a trade with the Mets on Friday. Escobar, the Mets’ starting third baseman last year, could complement Moustakas at first and dabble at second base once Rendon returns. Escobar has hit lefties quite well in recent seasons, with a 131 wRC+ in 398 plate appearances against them since 2021. Moustakas hit righties to the tune of a 115 wRC+ from 2015-20, and may need to do so again to maintain his roster spot.
As for the Rockies, Moustakas could perhaps be the first domino to fall in advance of the August 1st trade deadline. GM Bill Schmidt didn’t give much away in his comments on the topic on the Rockies broadcast about a week ago, but the team’s potential free agents include Charlie Blackmon, Randal Grichuk, Jurickson Profar, C.J. Cron, Pierce Johnson, Brent Suter, and Brad Hand.
In Van Scoyoc, the Rockies picked up a 23-year-old righty who’s served as a starting pitcher for the High-A Tri-City Dust Devils this year. He was an 11th round pick by the Angels out of an Iowa high school back in 2018. Van Scoyoc has posted a 2.76 ERA in 62 innings at that level on the strength of a 51.2% groundball rate. Oddly enough, Van Scoyoc also switched clubhouses to join his new team, notes Doug Taylor on Twitter.
The 26-year-old Padlo had signed a minor league deal with the Angels back in December, earning a Major League look by hitting .273/.396/.555 at Triple-A. The Angels selected his contract on Monday and gave him eight plate appearances, but now he’s lost a 40-man spot once again. Padlo, a corner infielder, has also seen MLB time with the Rays, Mariners, Giants, and Pirates.