With all the talk of the Kansas City Royals bringing back Alex Gordon in 2020, we seem to be forgetting that there is another player that could return.
What if instead of begging a 36-year-old Alex Gordon to come back, we went out and found another player from the 2015 World Series team and brought him back instead? Hear me out. There is only one player from that squad that has gotten substantially better since those World Series runs. And, he will most likely be available this offseason. I, for one, am in favor of bringing back Mike Moustakas.
I hope I have established my bona fides by now as an Alex Gordon devotee. He was the best left fielder of his generation. The most important Royals player in my adulthood. But he is also well past his prime. And he has exactly one season since the World Series where his on base-plus-slugging percentage was above .700. He is quickly becoming a replacement-level player. And, as much as I would like the Royals to avoid replacement level players altogether, it is especially tough to make up for one in left field.
Mike Moustakas, on the other hand, is finishing off one of the best seasons of his career. In his age 30 season, he not only finished with the highest OPS of his career, but he has also hit the most extra-base hits (66). In addition to Moose’s bat being as consistent as ever, he has found a way to become more versatile. He played second base for more than 300 innings this season. He can also play first base, if necessary.
The Royals have some holes to fill next season. The current lineup will not be a good team next season. Period. And it sure would not hurt to have some more guys with flexibility about which positions they can cover.
Hunter Dozier is currently the projected third baseman and he had a bit of a coming out party for his age 27 season. His bat was fantastic. But he has also struggled, at times, to play third base. Dozier has played over 200 innings of outfield in the majors. Maybe the next left fielder is currently playing third base. Now doesn’t that sound familiar?
Moustakas, for whatever reason, has been severely undervalued in free agency. After signing a contract worth about $7.5 million to come back to the Royals in 2018, he agreed to a $10 million offer to come back to the Brewers for 2019. His value far exceeds those numbers and he is, for the most part, the same player he has been since he hit his prime.
We know Mike Moustakas. He can hit. He can hit for power. He can play above-average third base and is now even a league-average second baseman. And, by all accounts, he is a voice you want in the dugout. He is also a beloved fan favorite in Kansas City.
I would expect Mike Moustakas to decline his mutual option for next season with the Brewers because that is the point of mutual options. And he should, once again, be a free agent available at a bargain. Why not see if we can add his left-handed bat to our current lineup? Why not bring the antlers back for another run? Let the Moose loose in Kansas City once again.