We are officially a month into the MLB offseason and the hot stove is still simmering with rumors swirling around the most interesting team in baseball: the Philadelphia Phillies.
Leading up to the winter meetings, we heard that the Phillies would spend big bucks. However, they have not done that yet as they passed on free-agent starting pitcher Patrick Corbin, who signed a colossal six-year, $140 million deal with the Washington Nationals.
Since they did not dish out money for Corbin, it leaves more for superstars Bryce Harper and Manny Machado. Both generational talents are expected to land long-term contracts upwards of $300 million, which means only a few teams will be able to afford them.
The Phillies are one of the teams that could afford both players, but will more than likely only sign one. If Philly decides to not sign Machado for whatever reason, they do have their eyes on a solid backup option.
Jon Heyman of Fancred wrote in his latest column from earlier this week that the Phillies have considered free-agent third baseman Mike Moustakas as an alternate option. This is not the first time that we have heard Moustakas’ name connected to the Phillies.
Before the trade deadline commenced in July, the Philadelphia reportedly had preliminary talks with the Kansas City Royals for the veteran third baseman. Moustakas was eventually traded to the Milwaukee Brewers, who won the NL Central and went on to play in the NLCS against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
In his limited time with the Brewers, the 30-year-old third baseman hit a modest .256/.326/.441 with eight home runs and 33 RBI (195 plate appearances). However, he made a significant impact in the postseason. Against the Colorado Rockies in the NLDS, Moustakas hit .364/.462/.455 with two RBI and drew two walks.
Before he was traded to Milwaukee, the veteran third baseman spent eight years with the Royals and played a huge role in their 2015 World Series run.
In 98 games last season with Kansas City, he hit a pedestrian .249/.309/.468 with 20 home runs and 62 RBI. But he only struck out 63 times and drew 30 walks, which fits in with Gabe Kapler’s philosophy of patience at the plate.
When you compare Moustakas’ stats to Phillies’ current third baseman Maikel Franco, who has drawn some interest this offseason, he would be an immediate upgrade.
Outside of his batting numbers, Moustakas is a better fielder than the 26-year-old Franco. Moustakas only committed 12 errors in 356 chances with a fielding percentage of .966 (lgFld% Avg. is .958) in 128 games last season.
Franco, however, committed 15 errors in 296 chances with a fielding percentage of .949. Nevertheless, it would be surprising to see Moustakas donning the red pinstripes because it’s been reported that the Phillies prefer Machado over Harper.
But at the end of the day, we know that money talks when it comes to free agency. If either Harper or Machado gets that godfather offer from the Phillies or another team, do not surprise to see them take it.