Posted on February 17, 2019, by Bryan Zarpentine
After another long winter on the free agent market, third baseman Mike Moustakas heading back to where he finished last year. On Sunday, Moustakas reached a deal with the Milwaukee Brewers on a one-year contract worth $10 million. There is also a mutual option that could keep Moustakas in Milwaukee through the 2020 season.
A year ago, Moustakas remained available on the free agent market more than a week into March. He ultimately returned to the Kansas City Royals on a one-year deal. After posting solid numbers the first half of the season, he was traded to Milwaukee, where he was able to provide the Brewers with a boost on their run to the NLCS. After another winter of somewhat tepid interest in his services, Moustakas has decided to return to Milwaukee for at least one more season.
Unfortunately for Moustakas, he’s not the kind of player that’s coveted by teams these days. He stands out with his power but doesn’t possess any other above-average tools. After missing most of 2016 due to a torn ACL, he’s hit 66 home runs over the past two seasons. However, his OPS dropped from .835 in 2017 to .774 last season, as both his batting average and home run total were noticeably lower. But on a short-term deal, the Brewers will be glad to have him back as they set their sites on another deep postseason run.
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“Obviously, he was a great addition to this team last year in the second half after the (Trade Deadline),” outfielder Christian Yelich said prior to Moustakas re-signing with Milwaukee. “A great player, a great clubhouse guy, and he definitely helped us on the field.”
Of course, re-signing Moustakas will likely require the Brewers to reshuffle their infield the way they did when he came over from Kansas City last summer. Moustakas will likely be the team’s primary third baseman, pushing Travis Shaw to second base. Shaw had never played second base until he was forced to with the arrival of Moustakas last year. However, Shaw has said he would welcome Moustakas back to the team. Meanwhile, Cory Spangenberg will be pushed into a utility role despite signing with the Brewers earlier this offseason with the hope of earning the everyday job at second base.
In addition to bringing back Moustakas, the Brewers have also added catcher Yasmani Grandal this offseason to help upgrade their lineup. They also have Yelich, the reigning MVP, Shaw, Jesus Aguilar, Lorenzo Cain, and Ryan Braun to anchor the middle of their lineup. The likes of Spangenberg, Eric Thames, and Ben Gamel are also set for part-time roles and should contribute coming off the bench. Even before Moustakas was re-signed, the Brewers had a rather potent lineup. With another veteran hitter with plenty of power in the middle of the order, the Brewers will have a chance to be one of the best offensive teams in the National League this season.
Last season, Moustakas gave the Brewers a big boost down the stretch, and now they’ll hope he can do the same all season. Milwaukee wasn’t exactly hurting for another power hitter. But Moustakas is a known commodity who fits into their clubhouse. He also comes without a long-term commitment. Considering how competitive the NL Central figures to be this season, adding Moustakas could end up making a big difference for the Brew Crew in 2019.