Mike Moustakas’ free agent journey has come to an end—back where it all began with the Kansas City Royals.
Mike Moustakas has agreed to a one-year deal with a mutual second-year option with the Kansas City Royals, sources with knowledge of the deal tell Yahoo Sports. It guarantees him $6.5 million and can max out at $22.7 million.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) March 9, 2018
Moustaksas, along with fellow free agent high-flyers such as Jake Arrieta, Lance Lynn, Alex Cobb and others, haven’t seen their markets develop since turning down $17.4 million qualifying offers from their previous teams.
In a surreal offseason which saw the free agent market freeze up, Moustakas’ deal, like the Adam Lind deal with the New York Yankees last week, may be an indication that market is warming as the regular season nears.
Moustakas’ deal, according to ESPN, includes $2.2 million in performance-based bonuses and a $15 million mutual option for 2019 with a $1 million buyout.
The bad news is that Moustakas, 29, has missed out on the high dollar contract that he expected entering into free agency. As USA Today‘s Gabe Lacques notes, Moustakas winds up taking a pay cut: from $8.7 million guaranteed in 2017 to $6.5 million in 2018.
An All-Star for the second time in 2017, Moustakas posted a .272/.314/.521 slash line with a Royals’ record 38 home runs, 85 RBI and an .835 OPS.
Moustakas isn’t a perfect player, but, per Lacques, some of the players set to make more than him in 2018 don’t bring what he does on a daily basis.
Freddy Galvis, Padres shortstop ($6.825 million): .255, 12 homers, .309 OBP, 83 OPS-plus, 1.3 WAR in 2017.
Adam Ottavino, Rockies reliever ($7 million): 2-3, 5.06 ERA, 1.63 WHIP, 0.3 WAR.
Junichi Tazawa, Marlins reliever ($7 million): 3-5, 5.69 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, -0.7 WAR.
Jason Castro, Twins catcher ($8 million): .242, 10 homers, .333 OBP, .720 OPS, 93 OPS-plus, 2.5 WAR.
Jedd Gyorko, Cardinals third baseman ($9 million): .272, 20 homers, 67 RBI, .341 OBP, .813 OPS, 112 OPS-plus, 3.6 WAR.
Matt Wieters, Nationals catcher ($10.5 million): .225, 10 homers, 52 RBI, .288 OBP, 63 OPS-plus, -0.6 WAR.
Edinson Volquez, Marlins starter ($13 million): 4-8, 4.19 ERA, 1.42 WHIP.
Chase Headley, Padres third baseman ($13 million): .273, 12 homers, 61 RBI, .352 OBP, .758 OPS, 100 OPS-plus, 1.8 WAR.
Moustakas will have to prove all over again in 2018 that he is one of the game’s premier third basemen, as next winter’s free agent class will be full of quality third basemen, a list that includes Manny Machado and Josh Donaldson.