Red Sox center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury continues to be a pain in the neck for the Rays.
After Clay Buchholz worked out of a bases-loaded jam to keep the Rays off the board in the bottom of the fourth inning, Ellsbury led off the top of the fifth with a liner which deflected off James Loney’s glove and bounced outside the first base bag. Ellsbury legged out a double on the play and eventually moved over to third base on an infield single from Shane Victorino. Yunel Escobar actually made an excellent play on the grounder and tried to throw out Ellsbury, who chose not to slide into third base. He was ruled safe, though replays showed that he may have been out. It ended up being a critical play in the inning, Ellsbury scored on a wild pitch after Alex Cobb was unable to handle a throw from Jose Molina. The Red Sox tacked on one more run on an opposite-field single from David Ortiz.
Ellsbury, an impending free agent, continues to have a heck of a series. He’s 7-for-12 with two doubles, two RBI, two stolen bases, and six runs scored.
The Red Sox lead this one 3-0 as we head to the bottom of the fifth inning. The Rays are running out of time to keep their season alive.
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.