7:10pm: The Royals may have to wait until Manny Machado is traded before fully pursuing a Moustakas deal, according to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand (Twitter link). Up to seven teams have been rumored to be involved in the Machado talks, and with some suitors already reportedly falling out of the running, it stands to reason that some of these teams could pivot to Moustakas. The Braves, for instance, are also one of the clubs in on Machado.
4:00pm: The Royals are “more likely than not” to trade third baseman Mike Moustakas this month, per ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, who lists the Red Sox and Braves as a pair of playoff contenders interested in acquiring him.
The Red Sox already boast the majors’ best record (68-30) and a 4 1/2-game lead in the AL East, even though they haven’t gotten great production from third baseman Rafael Devers. But the 21-year-old still has plenty of time to turn into a foundational piece for the Red Sox, and it may behoove them to find an upgrade in the meantime. With Boston pushing for its fourth World Series title since 2004, the lefty-swinging Moustakas would seemingly qualify, having slashed .250/.306/.469 with 19 home runs in 386 plate appearances, easily beating out Devers’ numbers (.241/.292/.424 with 14 HRs in 367 PAs). Of course, Moustakas’ production also hasn’t been all-world, as he has logged a 106 wRC+ to Devers’ 87 and has dropped off precipitously since a red-hot April.
The Braves haven’t come close to matching the Red Sox’s excellence this season, but they’re still 52-42 – in possession of a National League wild-card spot and within half a game of the NL East-leading Phillies. Their starting third baseman, Johan Camargo, has actually outdone Moustakas by wRC+ (109), having batted .247/.346/.426 with nine homers in 263 PAs. The switch-hitting Camargo is capable of playing shortstop, however, and could perhaps usurp the starting role from the light-hitting, righty-swinging Dansby Swanson or at least platoon with him.
After failing to encounter much interest in free agency last winter, the 29-year-old Moustakas wouldn’t represent a long-term acquisition for any club. Moustakas is owed the rest of a $5.5MM salary this season, and then his employer will have to decide whether to exercise a $15MM mutual option for 2019 or pay him a $1MM buyout.