Even as close to the Rocky Mountains as he now plays, the baseball highs don't come as often as they used to for Mike Moustakas. The former KC Royals star third baseman and fan favorite isn't finding his new home in Colorado quite as conducive to the career resurgence he so desperately needs as he and the Rockies probably hoped.
Colorado signed Moustakas, player of such a major role in Kansas City's exciting, but all-too-brief, double World Series return to relevance in 2014 and 2015, to a bargain-basement deal during the offseason—because Cincinnati released him in January with a season remaining on the four-year, $64-million contract with which the Reds coaxed him away from Milwaukee, the Rockies are on the hook for only the major league minimum ($720,000) portion of the $18 million he's owed this season.
Moustakas' spring training performance made the deal look like a steal. He slashed .350/.366/.600 with a pair of home runs and nine RBIs in 14 games, a far cry from the .216 and 21 homers he hit in three disappointing, injury-riddled seasons with the Reds.
Once the regular season started, though, Moose looked more like the Red he'd been in Cincinnati than the slick-hitting new Rockies' addition he was in the Cactus League. He hit just .148 in his first 12 games, which had to trigger cries of "I told you so!" from anyone who'd opposed his signing.
And, of course, doubts about Moustakas' ability to still hit big league pitching.
Is former KC Royals star Mike Moustakas nearing the end of his baseball line?
Questioning Moustakas' bat is only logical. Yes, he suffered more than his fair share of injuries with Cincinnati, but .216 over three seasons is still .216, and his hot spring training effort was still spring training. Three bad seasons began to endanger the memories of Moose's good years, including the then-club record 38 homers he slammed in 2017 for the Royals and the 35 homers he hit for the Brewers in 2019,
But perhaps there is still hope for the hard-charging player so beloved, and rightfully so, by Kansas City fans. If his last four games entering Tuesday's play are any indication, Moustakas' bat might—just might—be stirring.
Moustakas went 5-for-10 in those contests, including Monday night's excellent 3-for-4 performance that helped spur Colorado's 6-0 victory over Cleveland and the 2-for-6 he put up in three appearances against the Phillies over the weekend.
And despite his 0-for-4 Tuesday against the Guardians, maybe this recent outburst is a harbinger of good things to come for Moustakas who, on a September evening almost eight years ago, turned in one of the most impressive offensive performances in Royals history.
Let's hope so.