Third baseman Mike Moustakas has only been with the Milwaukee Brewers for a few weeks, but he’s already left a big impression. Could Moustakas return to the team in 2019?
Mike Moustakas has only played 14 games with the Milwaukee Brewers, but he already owns a .286/.321/.490 slash line. He’s also accumulated a 0.3 WAR in a Brewers uniform, and impressed at the hot corner. Should the team look to bring him back for 2019?
What’s Moustakas’ status after the season?
Moustakas has a a mutual option worth $15 million with a buyout worth $1 million. The Milwaukee Brewers could pick up Moustakas’ option, or cut him free for $1 million. They could also buy him out, and try to re-sign him at a lower rate.
Why didn’t Moustakas get a long-term deal last off-season?
Great question. There were rumors that Moustakas turned down a three-year deal worth $45 million this past off-season, but there were also rumors that he never received a call until the Royals offered a one-year deal. There weren’t a ton of teams in the market for an everyday third baseman with a career OBP of .306 and a peak WAR of 3.8 heading into his age-29 season.
What’s the market for Moustakas next year?
If the Milwaukee Brewers buy Moustakas out, he’ll probably enter a market similar to last year. While a deep playoff run with an impressive highlight reel could help Moustakas’ potential earnings, he’s also turning in a season similar to last year, statistically speaking. The market for Moustakas could be just as soft next year as it was this year.
How has Moustakas played this year?
His offensive contributions have been about what the Milwaukee Brewers expected, but he’s really stood out on the defensive side of the ball. He passes the ‘eye-test’ at the hot corner, and his glove also shows up in the numbers. Moustakas had a rough year in 2017 with a -4.4 dWAR, but he’s rebounded with a 2.6 mark in 2018.
So, should the Brewers keep Moustakas?
Maybe? That’s a cop-out answer, but his situation depends on other factors. First, the Milwaukee Brewers need to decide if they want Travis Shaw at second base. Given that Keston Hiura has a rocket strapped to his back and certainly appears like he’ll make his Major League debut next year, they may want to keep Shaw at third.
Also, the Brewers have to decide what they’re going to do at first base. Eric Thames is under contract and Jesus Aguilar still has another season of team control. If the Milwaukee Brewers move either Thames or Aguilar, they could open up a slot for Moustakas or Shaw at first base. There are a lot of moving parts for the Brewers, and there are scenarios where Moustakas could return to the team next year. However, the Brewers could also cut Moustakas free with $1 million in his pocket, and come back with the same cast of characters, minus Moose.