Mike Moustakas came off the market when he signed a surprisingly large contract (four years, $64MM) with the Reds in December. It turns out that the Blue Jays were among the runners-up for Moustakas, per MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, who tweets that they made him a three-year, $30MM offer. The Reds obviously blew that proposal out of the water, however, and the Jays pivoted to a much cheaper corner infielder Travis Shaw (one year, $4MM). A third baseman for most of his career, Moustakas is set to handle second in Cincinnati. That position is spoken for in Toronto (Cavan Biggio), as is third (Vladimir Guerrero Jr.), so it seems likely Moustakas would have worked at 1B extensively for the first time in his career had the club won the bidding for him. Instead, the Blue Jays will hope for a bounce-back season from Shaw, who was teammates with Moustakas in Milwaukee last year.
Let’s move over to the NL East…
- The Braves lost their top free agent, Josh Donaldson, to the Twins’ four-year, $92MM offer over the winter. Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos acknowledged afterward that the team put forth an offer that came up short. Heyman has some details on it, reporting that the Braves were willing to go to four years in the range of $75MM to $90MM to retain Donaldson. That’s a wide gap, so it’s unknown just how much money Donaldson would have left on the table to re-sign with Atlanta. Regardless, the club now looks to be in much less impressive shape at third, where Austin Riley and Johan Camargo are competing for the starting role.
- Infielder Neil Walker signed a minor league contract with the Phillies over the winter, but he has no plans to play below the MLB level. “I’m not going to concede to the notion of retiring as a 34-year-old who is in good shape,” Walker told Matt Gelb of The Athletic (subscription link). “But I’m not going to play in Triple A.” For now, Walker’s continuing to compete for a reserve role in Philadelphia, but if he’s unable to find a big league job with the Phillies or another team this season, it’s possible it’ll be the end of the line for the longtime second baseman. The switch-hitting Walker did still have something to offer at the plate last season, though, as he batted .261/.344/.395 (99 wRC+) in 381 trips.
- As a back-to-back Cy Young winner, it doesn’t seem that Mets right-hander Jacob deGrom has to change anything. But the ace is now working on adding more curveballs into his repertoire, Deesha Thosar of the New York Daily News writes. According to FanGraphs, deGrom’s usage of the pitch ranged from 7.9 percent to 10.8 percent from 2014-18. The number dropped to 3 percent in 2019, when opposing hitters had their way with it to the tune of a .364 weighted on-base average. That was the only pitch deGrom threw last year that hitters could even muster a .300 mark against. He was dominant overall, notching a 2.43 ERA/2.67 FIP with 11.25 K/9 and 1.94 BB/9 over 204 innings.