Yesterday an MLB official told Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that Ryan Braun’s 50-game suspension is likely to be upheld, but general manager Doug Melvin said today that the Brewers have yet to get any sort of official word from MLB.
In speaking to Adam McCalvy of MLB.com, Melvin said: “We’re not involved with it. We can’t do anything about it. Everything comes from the Commissioner’s Office.”
McCalvy speculates that Braun’s suspension being upheld would make the Brewers more likely to sign Japanese outfielder Norichika Aoki and their 30-day window to negotiate with him ends January 17. Presumably by that point they’ll have some kind of update on Braun’s status from MLB, but as of now an appeal hearing hasn’t even been set and Milwaukee is still hoping to conduct an in-person workout with Aoki.
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.