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Chicago White Sox remain active, signing veteran ‘winner’ Mike Moustakas to a minor-league deal

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Manager Pedro Grifol used the word “winner” to describe Mike Moustakas.

“He’s a proven winner, and he’s always been a winner,” Grifol said Thursday afternoon. “He’s been a winner since he was in high school. So to add that edge and that pedigree — that championship pedigree — to the clubhouse and have him come in here and compete for a job, I think is really good for us.”

The Chicago White Sox signed the veteran infielder to a minor league deal Wednesday evening. He’ll be at the team’s camp as a nonroster invitee.

Grifol and general manager Chris Getz have ties to Moustakas from their time with the Kansas City Royals.

“Knowing Mike, when he has something to truly prove, he wants to prove that he can still go out there and be a productive major-league player,” Getz said. “Knowing that he has that baked into his mindset right now, I felt like this was a good idea.

“It’s a minor-league deal, he’s got to show us what he’s capable of doing. But to have someone of his pedigree — he’s been to two World Series, he’s won a World Series, he’s been an All Star — so to have him come in here and be around the guys and compete for a spot, it seemed like a very obvious move to make. Excited to have him be part of this group.”

Moustakas was a key player for the Royals when they won the World Series in 2015. Grifol was on the coaching staff at the time, and Getz worked in the front office. Getz played for the Royals from 2010-13, and Moustakas made his big-league debut with them in 2011.

“It’s more the individuals,” Getz said when asked about some of the new faces having connections to the Royals. “We’ve become friends through the years and I know what he can bring to the table, most importantly as a player. It allowed me to get a different type of access, perhaps. Why wouldn’t you take advantage of something like that?

“I’ve got great respect for the person, the player, the family. We want him to come out here and be productive to help us win ballgames and that’s the most important thing. But when it comes to connections with Royals, I look at the individual. If it happens to give me the benefit because there’s a longer history, then so be it.”

Photos: Inside White Sox spring training

Moustakas, 35, has a career .247/.307/.431 slash line with 215 home runs and 683 RBIs during 1,427 games in 13 major-league seasons with the Royals (2011-18), Milwaukee Brewers (2018-19), Cincinnati Reds (2020-22), Colorado Rockies (2023) and Los Angeles Angels (2023). He earned All-Star selections in 2015, ‘17 and ‘19.

He had a career-best .284 average during the World Series championship season of 2015. He hit a career-best 35 home runs while earning American League Comeback Player of the Year honors in 2017.

Moustakas had a combined .247/.293/.392 slash line with 12 homers and 48 RBIs in 112 games for the Rockies (47 games) and Angels (65) last season.

A majority of his career starts have come at third base (1,106). He also played first (77 career starts) and second (72).

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He is the 29th nonroster invitee at Sox camp, coming two days after the team signed pitchers Corey Knebel and Dominic Leone to minor-league deals.

“You’re looking for competitive advantages, and I think one of the competitive advantages we had this offseason was the opportunities,” Getz said. “I think that has shown with some of the players that have been willing to come here, whether it be minor-league deals or even major-league deals. There’s a long list of players that can offer a lot to a major league club, and we’re going to take advantage of that.”

If the opportunity arises, the Sox plan on remaining active.

“There isn’t a day that goes by that you’re not looking to improve your roster,” Getz said. “As spring training or the season goes on, it becomes a little more limiting, more difficult to make moves to improve your roster. But we’re still in a period where there are players that are still out there, some free agents that haven’t signed and discussions from a trade standpoint as well.

“Still fielding phone calls from agents and other teams, and we’ll look to improve. That won’t stop.”