There’s an increasingly likely scenario where Mike Moustakas leaves the Kansas City Royals this winter. With one possible destination being the Angels. It’s a move that would make sense for both parties.
Of the three major Kansas City Royals free agents, Mike Moustakas seems the least likely to be back with the club in 2018. Moustakas is one of the team’s eight players who became a free agent on Thursday. (That number will increase to nine should Mike Minor decline his mutual option.) The third baseman will almost assuredly receive a qualifying offer from the club by Monday’s deadline.
As the sun begins to set on the second-greatest era of Kansas City Royals baseball, Moustakas seems to be the odd man out. With no clear replacement, Lorenzo Cain could remain with the team, especially if the market for a center fielder in his thirties isn’t what he hoped. Eric Hosmer is the most likely to be pursued by the organization. And there’s always the chance the franchise moves on from all three into a complete rebuild.
Partially due to several viable in-house options, third base is the easiest position for the Kansas City Royals to replace. Add in Moustakas’ knee injury in 2016, and it’s easy to see why the club would move on. But it’s also easy to see why others would be interested.
Despite playing in a notorious pitcher-friendly park, Moustakas set a franchise record with 38 home runs in 2017. With many teams looking to add power — even at the expense of strikeouts and walks — the left-handed hitter would seem to be a solid fit for them.
Why the Angels Make Sense
One of the most likely scenarios looks to be a move back to Southern California. According to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, the Angels seem likely to pursue Moustakas this winter. It’s a move that would seem to benefit both sides quite nicely.
For Moustakas, it would be a chance to return home. A native of Los Angeles, the 29-year-old attended Chatsworth High School. His stellar play there led the Kansas City Royals to draft him second overall in 2007. The allure of returning to his old stomping grounds is hard to ignore. It would also be a fitting move given his first MLB home run came in Angel Stadium.
As did one of his most important ones during the 2014 postseason run.
For the Angels, Moustakas fills a couple of needs. As Heyman points out, Yunel Escobar is a free agent, which opens up a space at third, and the Angels need some left-handed power. Their lineup currently leans on a right-handed trio of Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and the recently re-signed Justin Upton.
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It would be the kind of all-in move the Angels need to make. Despite having the best player in the game, the franchise has made just one playoff appearance during Trout’s tenure. It ended after three games, thanks to Moustakas and the rest of the 2014 Kansas City Royals.
Maybe, in 2018, he can help the Angels get back to the postseason. It wouldn’t be easy with the Astros in the West Division, but Moustakas might help Los Angeles sneak in as a Wild Card team.
Most Kansas City Royals fans would probably prefer to re-sign Moustakas. On the other hand, they hopefully understand that this scenario would be a match made in heaven. (Get it, because they’re the Angels? I’ll see myself out.)
What do you think, fans? Will Moustakas head home to join the Angels? Will he re-sign with the Kansas City Royals? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.