The Rangers have reportedly agreed to a seven-year, $130 million contract with free agent outfielder Shin-Soo Choo. While it was already unlikely that Nelson Cruz was going to return to Texas, this pretty much seals it. So the big question is, where will he land now? Bob Nightengale of USA Today has one guess:
It’s a logical assumption, as the Mariners and Cruz have been linked throughout the offseason. And the Mariners still need to add other parts if they are serious about making a run at things. Still, I wouldn’t rule out the Orioles, as they have been mentioned as a possibility before and they could be compelled to make a big splash amid the nasty fallout from the Grant Balfour situation. Not saying it would be the right course of action, but I could see it.
Cruz turned down a qualifying offer from the Rangers to test free agency, so whoever signs him will have to surrender a draft pick. While there was talk of him potentially getting $75 million just a few weeks ago, that could be a stretch with few obvious fits remaining.
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.