Brewers strengthen lineup with trade for Royals slugger Mike Moustakas

Mark TownsendYahoo Sports Contributor
Yahoo Sports

The Milwaukee Brewers rejoined the trading frenzy late Friday, bolstering an already powerful lineup by acquiring veteran third baseman Mike Moustakas from the Kansas City Royals. The Brewers will send outfield prospect Brett Phillips and right-handed pitcher Jorge Lopez back to Kansas City.

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Ad’s Jeffrey Flanagan was the first to report an agreement had been reached. It’s Milwaukee’s second deal of the week. Joakim Soria was acquired from the Chicago White Sox to help fill out the bullpen. The Royals previously traded closer Kelvin Herrera to the Washington Nationals as part of their rebuilding efforts.

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Moustakas, 29, was among the players most impacted by a slow free agent market this past winter. He entered the offseason expecting to land a long-term deal with big money attached to it. Instead, he returned to Kansas City on a one-year, $6.5 million deal that includes a hefty $15 million option for 2019.

The veteran slugger is on pace for a moderate dip in production across the board. He posted a .249/.309/.468 batting line with 20 homers and 62 RBI through 98 games. That might make him more likely to opt-in next season. The Brewers aren’t yet concerned about that decision. Their focus is on making the postseason this season.

Moustakas’ unexpected return has worked out quite well for the Royals. Even though teams weren’t willing to hand out a huge contract, the Brewers were willing to part with prospects for a potential two-month rental.

Where does Mike Moustakas fit in with the Brewers?

Milwaukee will have to shuffle the infield a bit to make Moustakas fit. The veteran third baseman will be staying at his position, while corner infielder Travis Shaw is expected to make the move to second base.

Milwaukee has long been seeking a solution at second base. Along the way they hoped one or two from the group of Orlando Arcia, Jonathan Villar, Brad Miller and Tyler Saladino would help solidify the middle infield. That hasn’t happened, but the Moustakas deal figures to help them fill that void in a creative way.

Of course, it’s yet to be determined how Shaw will handle the transition defensively.

Offensively, Milwaukee is top 10 in home runs hit this season, but is still only 17th in runs scored. The front office must be willing to sacrifice a little defense to get the offense clicking with consistency.

Who are the Royals getting back?

Phillips, 24, is the Brewers No. 10 prospect. The outfielder has made a handful of cameos with the Brewers, hitting .257 with 4 homers and 16 RBIs over 122 plate appearances. He’s had a rough time of it this season, hitting just 240/.331/.411 with six homers at Triple-A Colorado Springs. But there’s plenty of upside.

Lopez, 25, has been up and down with the Brewers six times already this season. He was converted from a starter to a reliever last season, and has made 10 MLB appearances in 2018, going 0-1 with a 2.75 ERA over 19.2 innings.

The Kansas City Royals have traded veteran third baseman Mike Moustakas to the Brewers. (AP)
The Kansas City Royals have traded veteran third baseman Mike Moustakas to the Brewers. (AP)

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