Moustakas is not the first third baseman to be linked to the Phillies. Last week, Mark Feinsand of MLB.com said that the team was interested in free agent Josh Donaldson. Moustakas will certainly be a cheaper option than Donaldson, which plays into the Phillies favor as they will likely only have roughly $42 million in room before they exceed the luxury tax.
Moustakas, who has received one-year deals in each of the past two offseasons, has become a solid major league player after struggling early in his career in Kansas City. The 31-year old has hit at least 28 home runs in each of the past 3 seasons and is coming off the best offensive year of his career in Milwaukee. In 143 games in 2019, Moustakas hit .254/.329/.516 with 35 home runs and 87 RBIs. He certainly figures to be an instant upgrade over Maikel Franco, who has likely played his last game as a Phillie.
Salisbury mentions that Phillies owner John Middleton’s relationship with Boras has grown over the past two years, as the Phillies signed Boras clients Jake Arrieta in 2018 and Bryce Harper in 2019. This relationship could be important not only for signing Moustakas but other Boras clients, including starters Gerrit Cole, Stephen Strasburg and Hyun-Jin Ryu.Embed from Getty Images
The Phillies have to figure out their plans for prospect Alec Bohm as this free agency period begins. While Bohm has spent most of his professional career at third base, there are questions as to whether he can stick there as a major leaguer. Signing Moustakas could imply a desire to put Bohm at first, which conflicts with current first baseman Rhys Hoskins.
Moustakas does offer defensive flexibility to whichever team signs him, as he played 42 games in 2019 at second base. It seems likely that he would play third base if he were to become a Phillie, but the optionality could be valuable while the team decides how it will handle Bohm.
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