The Reds Front Office are not messing about this offseason with an audacious swoop to secure the services of one of the best free agent sluggers, Mike Moustakas.
I’m not interested in whether it was an overpay or if they could have persuaded the 31-year-old to agree to a shorter deal, or even if the contract might look unfavourable in Years 3 and 4. I’m interested that the Reds were proactive in improving the offense.
One things is for certain, Moustakas hits.
Over the last three seasons combined, only 15 players have hit at least 100 home runs. Moustakas hit 101.
Colour me sceptical, but I can’t believe that Moustakas was signed to be the Reds everyday second baseman. I have the upmost admiration for the brains in the Reds Front Office, so I’m confident they know what they’re doing.
The consensus of opinion is that a defensive downgrade at second base is more than compensated by Moustakas power potential, but I’m expecting another move to clarify the picture.
I’m just throwing it out there, but Eugenio Suarez‘s trade value has never been as high.
From a personal point, I’m really happy that Moustakas got paid, and doubly-pleased that it was the Reds who ponied up a decent amount. I reckon Moustakas got shafted more than anyone in this new era of free agency.
When the long-time Kansas City Royals’ third baseman hit the open market for the first time in 2017, he was coming off a franchise record of 38 homers. Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors suggested he would be signed to a five-year, $85 million deal.Embed from Getty Images
As it transpired, Moustakas re-signed with the Royals for $6.5 million and then agreed another one-year deal with the Brewers in 2019 for $10 million. This four-year, $64 million contract with the Reds duly pays the 120th best player of the decade what he deserves.
Whether Moustakas plays first, second or third, it is his bat that we are most excited about seeing in action at Great American Ball Park, so what can we expect?
Over the last three years, Moustakas has averaged 34 homers with .319 OBP to give 113 OPS+ (ie he is 13% above average – that’s a significant improvement to the Reds lineup).
Moustakas can mash against both righties and lefties, and has not shown any noticeable decline in power, batting eye or swing speed.
Looking at his splits against NL Central rivals, his career .968 OPS at PNC Park looks good and .799 OPS at Busch Stadium is none too shabby.
Hopefully his career .578 OPS and .190 AVG at GABP are more due to the impressive pitching he faced.
My favourite stat is that on 21 September 2020, Reds travel to Miami where Moustakas has a 2.029 OPS at Marlins Park. Don’t talk to me about small sample sizes.
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Photos by Mary DeCicco and Jason Miller