Ever since becoming a major leaguer in 2011, third baseman Mike Moustakas has been a highly regarded member of the Kansas City Royals. Although he has had some above average years, Moustakas tends to be a consistent and reliable member of the Royals.
Thus far in 2017, he has hit .276 with 19 home runs in a mere 65 games. It seems Moustakas has moved past the right knee injury that kept him out of all but 27 games in 2016.
Moustakas is on pace for career-best power statistics and is showing little long term impact of his injury. All this in late June comes at the perfect time for the July 31st trade deadline. As an unrestricted free agent, Moustakas will likely demand money which the Royals will not pay him.
High quality third basemen are a hot commodity around the trade deadline as many teams need that position to finish their quest for a World Series Championship.
Kansas City has to take the chance that Moustakas will not resign in the offseason, and they should try to get value in return while they still have his rights. Of course, the Royals can not trade him and make an effort to resign Moustakas in the offseason. That said, many teams do not take that chance.
Furthermore, at only 28 years old, Moustakas is in the prime of his career. If the Royals are going to get a lot of value in their return for Moustakas, now would be the time to trade him.
There many destinations that make sense from the perspectives of both Moustakas and the Royals front office. Teams like the New York Yankees and San Francisco Giants have solid farm systems and need a third baseman.
That said, those teams have much bigger issues than third base. Both of those teams need pitching help. A team that has the right prospects and is in the proper situation to trade for Moustakas is the Boston Red Sox.
Boston has one of the highest paid third basemen in baseball, Pablo Sandoval. Sandoval has been a catastrophic disappointment, and that’s put lightly. He is owed $53 million from 2018-2020. If the Red Sox were to try to resign Moustakas in the offseason, there would simply be too much money dedicated to third base.
Of course, financials are a major aspect of baseball and how teams are able to operate. That said, teams make mistakes on signings. Boston made a terrible mistake signing Sandoval and it will handicap them this trade deadline. Even though the signing is so terrible, third base is the last piece of the puzzle for the Red Sox to win a World Series.
Boston is so close to winning a championship because they have done an excellent job acquiring assets at all other positions. Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Mookie Betts are an exceptional young outfield.
Mitch Moreland has been a solid player at first base hitting .267 this season. Xander Bogaerts has been exceptional at shortstop, the list of great pieces goes on-and-on. Boston can try to wait for Sandoval to break out of a slump that has last for multiple years. That however, will not win them a championship.
Looking at the situation purely with on the field ramifications considered, Moustakas would be an excellent trade for the Red Sox. That said, financials are obviously important. Red Sox General Manager Dave Dombrowski has to confer with ownership to see if a long-term deal for Moustakas is financially possible.
This trade scenario is quite unique. Rarely are teams trading for a player at a position which is supposed to be occupied by a player making over $150 million.
Anyone can say “Boston should make this trade” because it makes sense for playing purposes. They owners of the Red Sox have to make money, and nobody outside of the organization can tell them how to manage their money.
Happy trade season, Bostonians!