The White Sox announced the signing of veteran infielder Mike Moustakas to a minor league deal. He’s in camp as a non-roster invitee to Spring Training. The Boras Corporation client would lock in a $2MM salary if he makes the Opening Day roster, reports Bob Nightengale of USA Today (X link). The deal contains an additional $2MM in performance incentives.
Moustakas will try to play his way onto an MLB roster for a 14th straight season. The left-handed hitter debuted with the Royals in 2011. He was teammates in Kansas City with Chris Getz, who is now leading baseball operations in Chicago. Moustakas had a strong eight-year run with the Royals, earning a pair of All-Star nods and helping the franchise to its World Series title in 2015.
After two seasons in Milwaukee, he inked a four-year, $64MM free agent deal with the Reds. Cincinnati released him 75% of the way through that contract. Moustakas hit .216/.300/.383 for the Reds, battling heel and calf injuries along the way. Cincinnati ate the final $22MM on his deal last season.
The three-time All-Star inked a minor league contract with the Rockies shortly after his release. He made the Opening Day roster and turned in a solid .270/.360/.435 performance in 47 games. That was enough for the Angels to send a minor league pitcher to Colorado to add Moustakas to a reeling infield mix in the middle of June. He didn’t maintain the offensive pace he’d shown at Coors Field, though. Moustakas hit .236/.256/.371 over 65 contests as the Halos fell out of contention.
Between Colorado and Los Angeles, he finished the season with a .247/.293/.392 line. His 386 plate appearances and 12 home runs were his highest tallies since his 2019 campaign in Milwaukee. While he stayed healthier than he had in the preceding few seasons, it was his third consecutive below-average year. Dating back to the start of 2021, Moustakas is a .227/.291/.372 hitter in nearly 900 plate appearances.
A longtime third baseman, Moustakas saw some action at second base in Milwaukee and early in his Cincinnati tenure. He has barely played the middle infield over the past three seasons. Moustakas split his defensive work almost evenly between the corner infield positions a year ago.
Chicago has Andrew Vaughn and Yoán Moncada penciled in as the corner infield tandem. The latter had a pair of injured list stints related to back soreness last season. The Sox have the light-hitting pairing of Nicky Lopez and Paul DeJong slated for up-the-middle work. Getz recently indicated they viewed improving the middle infield defense as a priority. It seems unlikely Moustakas would get much consideration at second base, but he could battle for a spot as a bench bat who rotates through the corner infield.