Red Sox Rumors: Mike Moustakas a trade deadline target

BALTIMORE, MD - MAY 9: Mike Moustakas #8 of the Kansas City Royals bats against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on May 9, 2018 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - MAY 9: Mike Moustakas #8 of the Kansas City Royals bats against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on May 9, 2018 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

The Boston Red Sox are rumored to have interest in third baseman Mike Moustakas, who the Kansas City Royals may make available at the trade deadline.

The Boston Red Sox already have the best offense in baseball yet they may still look to add a bat before the MLB trade deadline.

ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the Red Sox are among the teams interested in Kansas City Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas.

Crasnick speculates that enough of a market has formed that it now seems likely Moustakas will be dealt. That’s no surprise. Despite coming off a career year in which he blasted 38 home runs, Moustakas didn’t garner much interest in free agency last winter. He was a victim of a cool market with several of the usual top spenders looking to avoid the luxury tax.

The Royals took advantage, retaining him with a one-year, $6.5 million deal. The bargain price tag was well within the range a small market Kansas City team could afford. It also gave the Royals a valuable trade chip. There’s more interest now from teams looking to rent Moustakas for three months than there was when he was a free agent. If the Royals re-signed him with the intent to deal him at the deadline, it seems they are about to cash in.

Not a star, yet still pretty good

Moustakas has seen his production take a step back this season. He’s hitting .249/.306/.466, which represents a drop in each category from last year’s All-Star campaign. However, he does have 19 home runs. That alleviates some of the concerns teams had about if his power was legit after last year’s total nearly doubled what he accumulated in any previous season.

Moose does, in fact, carry a big stick that can still hit home runs. The decline in the rest of his numbers may be the result of teams pitching around him. With Eric Hosmer and Lorenzo Cain bolting in free agency, the depleted Royals lineup has been the worst in the league. Put Moustakas in a stronger lineup with more protection and his production should spike.

Should the Red Sox be interested?

While Moustakas has the talent to help a contender, his fit with the Red Sox is a bit unclear. Boston’s interest in the Royals’ third baseman may signal they have concerns about the immediate future of Rafael Devers. The 21-year old is currently on the disabled list with inflammation in his shoulder. He’s expected back shortly after the break but if the Red Sox are shopping for a third baseman then perhaps the issue is more serious than we were led to believe.

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Even if Devers does return soon, his defense at third base remains a concern. Moustakas is merely average at the hot corner yet he’d be an upgrade over Devers, who leads the majors at the position with 19 errors.

The future for Devers is too bright to seek his replacement. Benching him now could shatter his confidence. Moustakas isn’t an ideal platoon partner if the plan would be to allow them to share the position. Both are left-handed batters who struggle against southpaws.

The Red Sox identified a right-handed bat who can hit lefties as a need. They addressed that with the addition of Steve Pearce. If they are looking to double-down on that improvement, Moustakas isn’t the way to go.

It doesn’t hurt to check

The rumored interest in Moustakas could simply be Dave Dombrowski kicking the tires on a potentially available bat. If the shoulder of Devers worsens then the Red Sox may strike quickly to add insurance at third base. It makes sense to do their due diligence in the meantime, just in case.

A rental for Moustakas – who again, was ignored on the free agent market – should be relatively cheap. He’s an option who could improve the club without costing much for a franchise with a thin farm system. However, he’s hardly a priority right now. The bullpen should be the focus as the deadline approaches.

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Unless that changes with a discouraging update on the status of Devers, the interest in Moustakas is likely to remain a rumor.