The Milwaukee Brewers have brought back free agent third baseman Mike Moustakas on a one year contract. However, the plan for him in 2019 might be a little different than expected.
So, this is how it will work with Moustakas and 2B in #Brewers camp: They have more than a month to see if he can handle the position, which I suspect he can. If so, he will be the primary 2B and Shaw will be the primary 3B.
— Tom (@Haudricourt) February 18, 2019
When Moose was re-signed, most expected Shaw to move over to second base and Moose to retake third base, like they did in 2018 when Moose was first acquired. But as per usual, the Brewers do the exact opposite of what everyone expects them to do.
Can Moustakas Handle Second Base?
Moose has never played a single professional inning at second base. So he has the same level of experience that Travis Shaw had when he moved to the position last year. Shaw handled the position well and posted only a -1 DRS in 39 games.
Instead of learning on the fly in the middle of a pennant race, Moose will get a lot of time in spring training to work at the position and hopefully bring some serviceable defense to the position. Moose has range limitations in the same way that Shaw does at second base, but with the defensive shifts the Brewers use, that isn’t a huge concern.
We’ll see how he does in the spring training games. If he bombs at the position for some reason, they can keep him at third and stick Shaw back over there. Both players are willing to play the keystone.
Why Moose At Second Base?
If the Brewers were going to sign a free agent to play second base this offseason, why wouldn’t they just sign one of the several free agents who have years of experience playing the position? It’s a fair question to ask. The Milwaukee Brewers are sacrificing defense at an important middle infield position. Why?
The simple answer is that the Brewers were already very familiar with Moustakas and what he could do. They knew what he would bring to the plate and that he would be a great fit in Miller Park and the clubhouse already loves him. They would also be hard pressed to find a free agent second baseman with more power than Moose.
The Brewers were going to sit out on the top tier free agent second baseman, who signed multi-year contracts. Once those guys who had the best bats of the group were gone, Moose made the most sense as an offensive upgrade to this lineup.
Will this work? Only time will tell. But Moose had a positive impact on the club last year and a full year in Milwaukee might improve his stats even more. Both him and Shaw are willing to play the position, which gives the team incredible depth across the infield.
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The Milwaukee Brewers probably just put the finishing touch on their offseason work with the Moustakas signing. Now it’s time to let the season play out.