The Milwaukee Brewers have addressed their second base opening by signing a free agent third baseman. According to multiple reports, the Brewers have signed Mike Moustakas to a one-year contract, which will presumably push Travis Shaw back to second base. The team has not yet announced the deal.
Moustakas, 30, split last season between the Royals and Brewers, hitting .251/.315/.459 (108 OPS+) with 28 home runs overall. That includes a .256/.326/.441 (104 OPS+) batting line with eight homers in 54 games with Milwaukee.
With Moustakas back on board, Brewers manager Craig Counsell will presumably trot out a regular lineup that looks something like this:
- CF Lorenzo Cain
- LF Christian Yelich
- 1B Jesus Aguilar
- 2B Travis Shaw
- RF Ryan Braun
- 3B Mike Moustakas
- C Yasmani Grandal
- SS Orlando Arcia
- Pitcher's Spot
That is an awfully deep lineup. Deep with power and very balanced with righties and lefties (and a switch-hitter in Grandal). The Brewers have Cory Spangenberg and Hernan Perez penciled into a second base platoon prior to the Moustakas signing.
Last year Shaw, a natural first baseman who moved to third base upon joining the Brewers two years ago, played 39 games at second base following the Moustakas trade. Both Ultimate Zone Rating (-1.5 runs) and Defensive Runs Saved (-1) had him just a touch below average, which, all things considered, is pretty good for a guy who never played the position before.
This is the second straight year the frigid free agent market forced Moustakas to take a one-year contract. Last year he returned to Kansas City on a one-year deal worth $6.5 million. The Brewers have an elite second base prospect coming in Keston Hiura. The one-year deal for Moustakas lets the team remain patient with Hiura without blocking him long-term.
. Twelve of the top 50 free agents remain unsigned, including the top two and three of the top seven.
Including Moustakas, the Brewers currently have $123.3 million on the books for 2019. That would be the highest payroll in franchise history.