Nyjer Morgan, who was off to a scorching start replacing the injured Corey Hart in right field for the Brewers before landing on the DL with a deep thigh bruise, was activated Tuesday and immediately inserted into Carlos Gomez’s spot in the lineup.
It doesn’t figure to be a one-day move, what with Gomez hitting just .236/.278/.311 for the year. Gomez remains a top-notch defensive center fielder and he’s gone 8-for-9 stealing bases in 28 games this year, but he’s now had 1,414 major league at-bats and he’s hit all of .245/.292/.346.
Only five active major leaguers with at least 1,400 plate appearances have worse OPSs than Gomez’s .638 mark: Juan Castro (.595), John McDonald (.604), Cesar Izturis (.618), Jose Molina (.621) and Ronny Cedeno (.635).
Of course, Morgan actually came in with a .633 OPS in Washington last year. However, he was 10-for-22 with four extra-base hits before going on the DL this year, giving him a .455/.500/.727 line. He’s a career .286/.347/.366 hitter. If he can hit at his lifetime mark going forward, then he’ll likely take over as Milwaukee’s primary center fielder.
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.