After sitting on their hands for much of the winter, the New York Mets may finally be gearing up to make some moves. The Mets have been keeping an eye on the stagnant market for free agent position players and may be looking to make a run at former Royals’ third baseman Mike Moustakas, John Harper of the New York Daily News reports. Sources in the Mets’ front office tell Harper that the team is planning on doing more to improve the roster than the public is being led to believe, and one name that he heard mentioned was Moustakas.
Moustakas looked poised to cash in this winter after a big walk year, when he batted .278 with a career high 38 home runs and 85 RBI’s in 148 games. The big issue for Moustakas has been that aren’t a lot of teams with an immediate need at third base. The Royals could always look to bring back Moustakas, but right now their efforts appear to be focused on re-signing Eric Hosmer. Moustakas may also be taking a hit for his defense, which declined after strong seasons in 2015 and 2016. The Giants were also in the mix for a third baseman before they traded for Evan Longoria, taking another suitor out of the Moustakas market.
The only other team reportedly in the hunt for a third baseman are the St. Louis Cardinals, and they have been working towards a trade for Josh Donaldson instead of signing Moustakas. Moustakas has also been hurt by the fact that Donaldson and Manny Machado will be free agents next winter, which has led some teams that would otherwise consider an upgrade at third (like the Yankees) to hold off for now.
This could create a perfect storm for the Mets to land a quality player at a position of need at a more reasonable price. The Mets could shift Asdrubal Cabrera to second if they sign Moustakas, filling two positions with one signing. Moustakas may also look for a deal with an opt out after two years, allowing him to re-enter free agency following the 2019 season, when the class of players is much weaker than the loaded group of 2018. The Mets have handed out similar deals before, notably to Yoenis Cespedes following the 2015 season.
If Moustakas is willing to take a four year deal at around $60 million, there is no reason the Mets shouldn’t jump on it. $15 million a year for a player of Moustakas’ caliber is a bargain in today’s game. It remains to be seen how the Mets play this, but if Moustakas signs a deal in this range with another team they should be ashamed. Most Mets’ fans won’t believe that the team will spend money until they see it happen, which is understandable given the nonsense ownership has put them through in recent years.