Just as every team should, the Philadelphia Phillies are exploring all of their options.
According to MLB.com‘s Jon Morosi, in the event that free agent Manny Machado signs elsewhere, the Phillies are “monitoring” third baseman Mike Moustakas, who’s also available via free agency. Morosi added the Chicago White Sox and San Diego Padres as another possible destination for Moustakas.
Moustakas is a two-time All-Star that played his entire career with the Kansas City Royals up until this past year, when he was traded in midseason to the Milwaukee Brewers. For the first few years of his career, Moustakas was considered a disappointment as he posted low home run and batting average totals. However, Moustakas was able to break out in 2015 with his first All-Star appearance. Since that year, Moustakas has had high ups and downs, but has still managed to post impressive power numbers (he hit 38 home runs in 2017).
In 2018, the 30-year-old hit .251 with 28 home runs, 95 RBIs and 49 walks. This isn’t the first time the Phillies have been connected to Moustakas. Back in June, NBC Sports Philadelphia‘s Jim Salisbury reported that the Phillies and Royals had talks regarding Moustakas, and that Kansas City had been in the process of scouting Philadelphia’s minor league systems. Ultimately, a deal never came together.
While Moustakas’ talents obviously pale in comparison to Machado, he would also come at a less hefty price tag. MLB Trade Rumors pegged Moustakas to get a two-year, $16 million deal in their Top 50 Free Agents list. That wouldn’t be the “stupid money” kind of contract some would have expected from the Phillies this offseason, but it would still be a solid signing that would also fill a need.
The Phillies still have the matter of trading current third baseman Maikel Franco regardless of whether they end up signing Machado or Moustakas. Since Salisbury said Franco was “extremely likely” to be traded back in early November, there has been little news regarding the third baseman. That said, Philadelphia could very well be holding on to Franco until Machado and Moustakas make their decisions. Taking in the fact that the third base market is relatively weak outside of those two, getting rid of Franco now might be a hasty decision.
In the same article, Salisbury mentioned San Diego as a possible destination for Franco. The Phillies could kill two birds with one stone by signing Moustakas, which could then possibly force San Diego into trading for Franco.
Of course, as it has been for a number of other rumors this offseason, the pursuit of Moustakas won’t be resolved until Machado has made his decision. Until then, the Phillies will likely continue to watch Moustakas’ market.
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