Plenty of team heroes have come and gone since the Milwaukee Brewers started regularly grabbing postseason berths starting in the 2018 season. Some were late season adds who helped in the team's final push to the playoffs, others stuck around for multiple years before moving on.
Mike Moustakas technically qualified for both of those categories. The Brewers traded for him from the Kansas City Royals at the 2018 trade deadline to help make their first postseason since 2011. Then, they brought him back to try and make the playoffs again in 2019.
The move worked out well for Milwaukee. "Moose" helped propel the Crew into that 2018 playoff berth and even added some walkoff heroics in Game 1 of the NLDS against the Rockies. The next season, he hit .254 with a .845 OPS and 35 homers on the way to the third All-Star appearance of his career.
197 games in a Brewers uniform later, Moustakas was a free agent after declining his portion of a mutual contract option for 2020. Betting on himself was a risk worth taking as he would end up signing a 4-year, $64MM deal with the Cincinnati Reds that offseason.
Now, Mike Moustakas is again looking for a new team as the Reds designated the former Brewers infielder for assignment on Thursday.
The move to DFA Moustakas was reported by FanSided's Robert Murray Thursday afternoon.
The DFA will end up being a pricey one for the Reds. Moustakas was set to make $18MM in the final year of his contract. He also had a $20MM club contract option for the 2024 season that came with a $4MM buyout.
Still, the Reds must have figured that it was more worth it to eat the cost in order to have someone on the roster who could put up more production than Moustakas has lately, not to mention be more consistently available.
After a decent first season with Cincinnati, Moose saw a big decline in seasons two and three, hitting .212 with just a .646 OPS in 2021 and 2022 combined. Those were the first seasons he had an OPS below .700 since 2014. He also put up just a combined 13 homers and 47 RBIs during those two seasons.
A big reason for that is injuries. Moustakas was limited to just 62 games in 2021 with a heel injury that eventually landed him on the 60-day injured list and played just 78 games in 2022 after landing on the IL multiple times, including in September when he hit the 60-day IL again with a left calf injury.
Could the Brewers look to reunite with an old friend? Third base is one of the remaining possible areas of improvement for Milwaukee as it is currently set to be manned by Luis Urias, who saw his numbers dip a bit in 2022 before rebounding late in the season, plus a number of utility players.
Based on his recent track record, though, Moustakas wouldn't be an upgrade for the team. A reunion would be fun, but if Moose is looking for a full-time opportunity, it might make more sense for him to look elsewhere for employment.