As we’re now well into preseason in 2018, another piece comes off the board in the stagnant free agent market. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports broke the news that Mike Moustakas will be returning home to the Kansas City Royals.
Mike Moustakas' deal has a $5.5M salary in 2018 with $2.2 million in performance bonuses. There is a mutual option for $15 million in 2019 with a $1 million buyout.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) March 9, 2018
Kansas City Royals Re-Sign Mike Moustakas
The 29-year-old third basemen is going back to Kansas City with just a one-year, $5.5 million salary. His contract does come with a $15.5 million option for the ’19 season, a $1 million buyout, and $2.2 million in incentives during the upcoming campaign. If Moustakas were to make 450 plate appearances in the 2018 campaign, he could earn a $2.2 million bonus and earn up to $8.7 million per Bob Nightengale of USA Today.
For those keeping track, the deal guarantees Moustakas just $6.5 million, months after he rejected the Royals $17.4 million qualifying offer.
Moustakas is as close to a worse case scenario as you can get. He expected to earn a lot more this offseason; closer to a five-year, $ 80 million deal. However, like many of the key free agents this winter, the market did not play out favourably for Moustakas. Teams rumoured to be in on Moustakas decided to commit to cheaper options at third base. The San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Angels were both teams interested in Moustakas but both teams acquired cheaper options; the Angels signed Zack Cozart and moved him to third base, and the Giants traded for Evan Longoria. With how slow the market is going, Moustakas was rumored to not sign until June.
Moustakas will be going back to a team who is headed towards a rebuild. Dayton Moore failed to woo star first basemen, Eric Hosmer, back to K.C. and has since gotten ready to look toward the future for the Royals to be contenders. Moore has spent some money though; he’s signed veteran outfielder Jon Jay and Lucas Duda at first base. Moustakas will slot in as the every day third baseman and will hit in the heart of the lineup.
Moose put up outstanding numbers in his 2017 campaign. In 598 plate appearances last season, he batted .272/.314/.521 with a .835 OPS and a 113 OPS+. He crushed 38 HR and drove in 85 RBI. He ended the season with a 1.8 WAR.
There are still are many top-tier free agents left on the market: Jake Arrieta, Lance Lynn, and Alex Cobb still haven’t found a home. It wouldn’t surprise anyone too much if they take a pay cut like Moustakas did. With Arrieta being a Scott Boras client, he could be next to sign a much cheaper contract than he expected at the beginning of the winter.