The Washington Nationals have signed infielder Eric Bruntlett and first baseman Josh Whitesell.
The shocking thing about this is not so much that someone managed to snatch up Bruntlett and Whitesell before the bidding wars began, as it is that we learn about it through a team press release.
My guess: Buster Olney and Ken Rosenthal were both trying to be the first to break this baby, encountered each other as they were going to meet the same source in a parking garage somewhere, and then killed each other in pitched battle, with the story being the ultimate victim in all of this.
As for the deals themselves, I can only assume that Bruntlett’s championship pedigree will combine with Jason Marquis’ veteran presence (and according to reports, Marquis is a veteran) to put the Nats over the top in 2010. I think they had to take Whitesell because his daddy donated the money for the scoreboard or something.
The Brewers reportedly signed third baseman Mike Moustakas to a one-year, $10 million contract on Sunday. While the deal is not yet official, MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy reports that the Brewers plan to give Moustakas a look at second base during spring training. If all goes well, he will be the primary second baseman and Travis Shaw will stay at third base.
The initial thought was that Moustakas would simply take over at third base for the more versatile Shaw. Moustakas has spent 8,035 of his career defensive innings at third base, 35 innings at first base, and none at second. In fact, he has never played second base as a pro player. Shaw, meanwhile, has spent 268 of his 4,073 1/3 defensive innings in the majors at second base and played there as recently as October.
This is certainly an interesting wrinkle to signing Moustakas, who is a decent third baseman. He was victimized by another slow free agent market, not signing until March last year on a $6.5 million deal with a $15 million mutual option for this season. That option was declined, obviously, and he ended up signing for $5 million cheaper here in February as the Brewers waited him out. Notably, Moustakas did not have qualifying offer compensation attached to him this time around.
Last season, between the Royals and Brewers, the 30-year-old Moustakas hit .251/.315/.459 with 28 home runs and 95 RBI in 635 plate appearances.