Coming into the off-season, it was kind of unknown what type of market Mike Moustakas would have. The slugger seemed to have turned his career around in 2015 and had a career year in 2017. With the market being as unusual as it has been, some players seem to be negatively affected, Moustakas being one.
A lot of free agents have been impacted by the slow market. Players and general managers seem to be holding out to see what the market is going to be for their respected position, but no one is signing.
One player who seems to be drastically affected by the market is former Royals third basemen, Mike Moustakas. After setting the Royals franchise record for single-season homeruns with 38, some believed Moustakas was set to get a solid payday.
MLB Trade Rumors predicted Moustakas to sign a five-year, $85 million contract back in November. Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports predicted a similar contract. He believed the third baseman would get a five-year, $80 million contract.
Boy, do they look wrong now.
He was rumored to be on the Los Angeles Angels radar early this off-season, but they chose to go a different route for third base, signing Zack Cozart. With contracts seemingly hard to come by this off-season, the originally predicted contracts Moustakas once had now seem to be very unlikely.
As the weeks go on, one name you hear very little of is Moustakas. One reason simply being no one knows what the market truly is. Another being the fear of overpaying for Moustakas.
By the numbers
Moustakas has been through some rough times in his career, which skew his numbers a bit. Over his first four seasons, Moustakas hit just .236 with 52 homeruns. Being a player who is supposed to be a slugger, averaging 13 homeruns a season is less than impressive. While struggling offensively during this time he spent time going back and forth between Triple-A Omaha and the 25-man roster.
However, when looking at his past three seasons, he seems like a different player. During that time he hit a much better .275 with 67 homeruns. Averaging 22 homeruns is better, but it still does not reach the “slugger” status.
During the past three years, Moustakas has also found himself in two World Series, two All-Star Games and the Home Run Derby after hitting 38 bombs in 2017.
How the market for Mike Moustakas might be set
On Monday, former Yankee, Todd Frazier, was able to do something very few free agents have been able to achieve. He signed a two-year, $17 million contract with the New York Mets. When you look at this contract, one can’t help but think that Moustakas might be in that same ballpark.
At first, it seems crazy. Over the past three years, Frazier has been traded three times, from the Cincinnati Reds to the Chicago White Sox, then to the New York Yankees. During that time he has a meager .233 batting average but has hit 102 homeruns.
Looking at the two in other statistical categories over the past three seasons, you will find they look fairly similar.
Moustakas OPS+ from 2015-2017:
- 2015: 119
- 2016: 110
- 2017: 111
Frazier OPS+ from 2015-2017:
- 2015: 117
- 2016: 107
- 2017: 105
Moustakas weighted runs created (wRC+) which attempted to quantify a player’s total offensive value and measure it by runs. This statistic is adjusted to the league and park played in. (the average is 100)
- 2015: 123
- 2016: 111
- 2017: 114
Frazier weighted runs created (wRC+) which attempted to quantify a player’s total offensive value and measure it by runs. This statistic is adjusted to the league and park played in. (the average is 100)
- 2015: 116
- 2016: 104
- 2017: 108
Essentially what this means is Moustakas could finally know what his actual value is going to be. With the crushing market, Moustakas might be forced to draw the short straw and sign a contract closer to Frazier’s and not his rumored contracts. But, there is a strong chance that he will sign a higher valued contract than Frazier, with similar years.
With the pending free agent market for third basemen in 2019, the last thing Moustakas will potentially want to do is wage his future earnings by signing a one-year deal. Therefore, look for Moustakas to settling in on a contract that is at least two-years, $25 million. He is better than Frazier, but not by a whole lot.
So what do you think Royals fans? How did we predict Moustakas’ contract this wrong? Could he actually make a contract similar to Todd Frazier? Should the Royals consider a contract like Frazier’s for Moustakas? Let us know your thoughts!