KC Royals: How club and old core are 4 years later

(Photo by Brian Davidson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Brian Davidson/Getty Images) /
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KC Royals, Mike Moustakas
(Mandatory Credit: Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports) /

After returning briefly to the KC Royals, Mike Moustakas has struggled.

Like Alcides Escobar, third baseman Mike Moustakas didn’t find the 2017-2018 free agent market lucrative and re-signed with Kansas City. Moose’s return was predictably short-lived—the Royals reunited him with Lorenzo Cain in a trade deadline deal that sent him to the Brewers for Jorge Lopez and Brett Phillips.

Moustakas found Milwaukee to his liking. The Brew Crew made the playoffs in both his seasons there and he homered 35 times in 2019. But Cincinnati lured him away with a surprisingly good four-year, $64 million free agent deal.

Moving to the Reds meant switching more than teams for Moose. Cincinnati shifted him from third base to second (he’s since returned to third more often than not), his offense all but disappeared, and he hasn’t managed to stay healthy. Nagged by injuries, he’s played in less than half of Cincinnati’s games and is hitting .217 since joining them.

And what of Kansas City since Moustakas left? The Royals tried Hunter Dozier at third two years ago. Apparently concerned about Dozier’s glove, they brought in Maikel Franco to play the hot corner in 2020; Franco played every short-season game that year and hit .278, but the club didn’t bring him back, used a variety of third basemen last year, and seems ready to play Bobby Witt Jr. or Adalberto Mondesi there next season.