The Eric Hosmer era is over in Kansas City, and free agent third baseman Mike Moustakas could become the next Royals cornerstone to head elsewhere. Although general manager Dayton Moore said earlier this month that Moustakas hasn’t prioritized re-signing with the Royals this offseason, it’s still possible he’ll re-up with KC, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag (Twitter link). Now that the Royals are out of the running for Hosmer, they have the funds to bring back Moustakas, Heyman notes. There hasn’t been a strong market for the 29-year-old Moustakas’ services this offseason, but if the qualifying offer recipient does leave the Royals, they would net a compensatory pick in this year’s draft. They’re already in line to receive two, thanks to the departures of Hosmer and Lorenzo Cain.
More out of the American League:
- The Rays would’ve been the biggest story in baseball last night if not for the Hosmer news, having designated outfielder Corey Dickerson for assignment in an eye-opening move, acquired first baseman C.J. Cron from the Angels and traded righty Jake Odorizzi to the Twins. It wasn’t at all surprising that the Rays dealt Odorizzi, who had been in trade rumors for months, but it was unexpected that they only received a borderline top 30 Twins prospect (Single-A shortstop Jermaine Palacios) in return. General manager Erik Neander addressed that, telling Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times and other reporters that the Rays “probably have him valued quite a bit higher than some of the public publications.” Ultimately, with the Rays set to begin full-squad workouts on Monday, parting with Odorizzi and Dickerson was something they had to do, according to Neander. “You just don’t want a cloud of uncertainty hanging over our group,” he said. “It was time to move forward.” Even if the Rays end up cutting Dickerson and getting nothing back, they’ll justify it as essentially trading two years of control over him for three of Cron and saving money in the process, per Topkin. After parting with Odorizzi and Dickerson, the club could use its added “financial flexibility” to “reinvest” in free agency, Neander said Sunday (Twitter link via Topkin).
- A Dickerson trade was not imminent as of last night, Jon Morosi of MLB.com reported (Twitter link), but a deal could come together with the AL East rival Orioles, Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun suggests. The Orioles, who have been on the lookout for a lefty-hitting outfielder for months, “will undoubtedly inquire about Dickerson,” Encina writes. Dickerson has impressed Orioles manager Buck Showalter in the past, relays Encina, who adds that being in the same division hasn’t stopped the Rays and O’s from swinging deals at previous points (Baltimore acquired infielder Tim Beckham from Tampa Bay last season, for instance).
- Set to wrap up his eight-year, $184MM contract this season, Twins icon Joe Mauer tells Phil Miller of the Star Tribune he and the team haven’t engaged in any extension talks. But Mauer plans to continue his career in 2019 “if I can still contribute,” and the first baseman is hopeful he’ll still be in a Twins uniform then. “This is where I want to be. This is where my family is, where my daughters are growing up,” said the St. Paul native. “I have no intention of going anywhere else. Hopefully it doesn’t come to that.” The former superstar catcher enjoyed a strong year at the plate in 2017 with a .305/.384/.417 line in 597 plate appearances.
- Yankees center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury was somewhat popular in the rumor mill during the winter, but he informed Jack Curry of the YES Network and other reporters Sunday that the team never approached him about waiving his no-trade clause (Twitter link). It would’ve been (and would still be) a tall order for the Yankees to move Ellsbury, who hasn’t delivered as hoped during his four-year Bronx tenure and still has another $68MM left on his contract. He’ll spend the spring trying to reclaim his old job as New York’s starting center fielder, a role Aaron Hicks usurped in 2017.