Mike Moustakas has been waiting for something more than a one-year contract and in his third test of MLB free agency, he finally got it.
Moustakas, the versatile 31-year-old infielder, has finally gotten a big payday, joining the Cincinnati Reds on a four-year deal that will pay him $64 million, Yahoo Sports has confirmed. The news was originally reported by Jon Heyman of MLB Network and Jeff Passan of ESPN.
The past year, Moustakas did a lot to bolster his case as a valuable addition for a contender. Not only did he hit 35 homers for the Milwaukee Brewers, he posted a career-high .845 OPS, made his third All-Star team and increased his value by playing 47 games at second base for the Brewers in addition to 105 at third base, his natural position. He’s now hit 101 homers over the past three seasons, which should help Cincinnati.
Moustakas will play second base for the Reds, since they have the productive Eugenio Suarez at third base. He hit 49 homers last season with 103 RBIs. Moustakas should also benefit from playing in a hitter-friendly ballpark in Cincinnati, as well as being in a lineup with Joey Votto.
Moustakas finished the season worth 2.8 Wins Above Replacement, according to Fangraphs, his best since a career-high 3.8 in 2015. He came up as a high-upside piece of the Kansas City Royals’ rebuild, drafted No. 2 overall. While he never became a superstar, he was an important part of the Royals’ 2015 World Series win.
He hit free agency after 2017, but a big, long-term payday wasn’t there. Being saddled with a qualifying offer limited Moustakas’ market. So he returned to the Royals on a one-year, $5.5 million deal, much less than the $17.4 million qualifying offers.
After being traded midseason to the Brewers, Moustakas was a free-agent again for 2019. Again, he returned to a familiar place, signing with the Brewers on a one-year deal worth $10 million that included a mutual 2020 option.
Moustakas and agent Scott Boras declined that, thinking that something better would be on the free-agent market. This time, the bet on himself worked, as Moustakas now gets a four-year deal with the Reds.
While not the top third-baseman on the market, Moustakas ranked No. 13 overall on Yahoo Sports’ top 25 rankings. He was the third-best third baseman behind Anthony Rendon (the top position player on the list) and Josh Donaldson, who is two years older than Moustakas but still figures to demand a high annual average value on his contract.
This marks another move toward being a contender for the Reds, who finished fourth in the NL Central last season after four straight years in last place with more than 94 losses. They added Trevor Bauer last season at the trade deadline, hoping he can help Sonny Gray and Luis Castillo form a contending rotation.
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