The appetizer is out of the way, now comes the entree: step aside, Tanaka. We all eagerly await the winner of the Yuniesky Betancourt derby:
Finally, my inbox will stop being filled with “WHERE WILL YU-BET SIGN?” We’ll be spared the column after column of speculation on who will end up with him and what the legacy of the losing general managers may be. The logjam of infielders who can neither hit nor field all that well will finally break and we will have wave after wave of signings.
Or maybe this is just a matter of Betancourt’s agent trying to make a big show out of shopping his client around. Could be either, frankly.
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.