The offseason continues to turn and the closer we get to Spring Training the more likely it becomes that a squall of free-agent signings is in the forecast. Jon Morosi of MLB.com and MLB Network reported yesterday that the White Sox have a backup plan if Manny Machado elects to sign elsewhere.
Sources: #Phillies, #WhiteSox monitoring Mike Moustakas market and will consider contract offers if/when Manny Machado signs elsewhere. Moose also could fit in San Diego — if #Padres clear space with another move. Latest story: https://t.co/JcnzkjvQ2L @MLB @MLBNetwork
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) January 9, 2019
I’m ok with Mike Moustakas joining the White Sox. As Morosi points out in his column, Moustakas is one of three full-time third basemen to slug 66 home runs or more over the last two seasons trailing only Nolan Arenado and Jose Ramirez. Morosi reports that the Phillies are also sniffing around Moose if they swing and miss on Machado as well, boosting Moose’s market value if the Yankees (The Death Star) indeed swipe Machado from the market.
Neither team has made any moves yet according to Morosi. Instead, they are “monitoring the market for Moustakas” as the common nomenclature has it. Based on the enormous pool of free agents (almost 200) still drifting in free-agency without a life preserver, there’s a whole lot of monitoring going on. Still, as Morosi points out, the Phillies would have to jettison Maikel Franco before nabbing Moustakas. Franco’s salary won’t preclude the Phillies from acting swiftly on Moustakas, but it would certainly give them pause before jumping head first into negotiations.
Interestingly, Morosi notes that Moustakas is a slightly above-average third baseman according to Fangraphs. Pair his serviceable defense with a history of decent contact at the plate and he could be a snug, short-term fit for the White Sox. Moose has never driven in 100 runs and never hit 40 home runs in a season, although he came close in 2017 with 38, but he owns a career .307 OBP with a .737 OPS.
His on-base percentage may not knock your socks off but if you strip away his first four seasons that number jumps to .324. Still not all that flattering, but his OPS rockets to .808. Moose has also put together an OPS+ of 115 over the last three seasons compared to 82 in his first four campaigns.
The idea is that Moustakas is a great backup plan to Machado. A short-term deal — nothing over 4 years — would be appropriate and give the White Sox time to allow Nick Madrigal, Jake Burger and Yoan Moncada to develop. Something else to consider: a four-year deal would be the high end of what I expect the White Sox to offer. Considering Moustakas only received a one-year deal after a career year with the Royals, I could see the Sox offering two years with the possibility of a third-year option.