Although many would be pulling for the New York Mets to sign Mike Moustakas to man the hot corner, a better alternative could become available if he were to sign with the Milwaukee Brewers.
This winter’s hot stove has been anything but exciting as multiple big-ticket free agents remain unsigned late into January. Due to this slow-moving market, players like Mike Moustakas seem more and more realistic by the day to be signed by teams with punier budgets such as the New York Mets and Milwaukee Brewers.
The Mets have even recently been linked to Moustakas and the organization’s front office claims they will spend on players if they feel value is present.
Moustakas, Frazier, Morrison, Lucroy, others are all in play for the Mets https://t.co/GRMGAfDtYy
— SportsNet New York (@SNYtv) January 9, 2018
The problem with Moustaskas is the incessant name value and hype that he has received since hitting the open market. Back in December, MLB Trade Rumors predicted a 5-year, $85 million contract for Moose.
Although the market has been slow, it’s important to realize that the prices aren’t exactly down as a result. Back in November, MLB Trade Rumors predicted Jay Bruce would receive a 3-year, $39 million deal, which of course ended up being spot on.
So why should the Mets be rooting for the Brewers to ink Moustakas to a long term deal? The answer revolves around the collateral damage that move would cause the Brew crew.
If the Brewers were able to seal a five year commitment with Moustakas, they would then use their current third baseman, Travis Shaw, in a trade to return value for the farm system.
Brewers could trade 3B Travis Shaw to Mets if they land Moustakas https://t.co/4iIUWj1DSa
— SportsNet New York (@SNYtv) January 15, 2018
The Mets were specifically listed as one of the possible suitors for Shaw if this scenario were to play out, and it’s an opportunity the team cannot pass up.
Shaw is a more attractive option for the Mets than Moustakas in almost every aspect. Let’s start with the numbers from 2017.
- Mike Moustakas 2017: .272/.314/.521 38 HR 85 RBI 1.8 WAR
- Travis Shaw 2017: .273/.349/.513 31 HR 101 RBI 4.0 WAR
Just by looking at the slash lines, you can see that Shaw and Moustakas had basically identical seasons at the plate. Even though Moose hit seven more home runs than Shaw, the 27-year-old Brewer was able to drive in 16 more RBIs with an on-base percentage 35 points higher.
The biggest difference between the two players is apparent in their WAR numbers. Shaw’s significantly higher grade was mostly due to his defense, as he compiled three DRS and a -0.4 UZR compared to Moustakas’ -8 DRS and -3.1 UZR.
Shaw’s considerably better defense, OBP, and RBI numbers make him more attractive than Moose just in terms of on-field production.
However, it’s the contract and age that really differentiates Shaw. At just 27 years old, he will be entering his prime seasons starting in 2018, while Moustakas will be 30 years old by season’s end.
If we use the MLB Trade Rumors projection of a 5-year, $85 million contract for Moustakas and compare it to Shaw’s current deal, the values aren’t even remotely close.
Shaw’s contract includes one more year of team control in 2018, followed by three years of arbitration eligibility. Shaw will finally hit the open market at 31 years old in 2022, which will be after his prime years.
To summarize, Shaw is younger, much more affordable, and outproduced Moustakas in 2017 to boot. If the Brewers sign Moustakas this winter and make Shaw available via trade, the New York Mets need to pounce on what could very well be their third baseman of the future and the player to fill the hole left by David Wright.
Moustakas to Milwaukee could mean Shaw to Flushing.