Nick Swisher is back from the disabled list and in the Indians’ lineup for tonight’s game after missing the past two weeks with a hyperextended left knee. To make room on the roster for his return Jason Giambi is headed to the disabled list with left knee inflammation.
Swisher was struggling before the injury, hitting just .211 with three homers and a .631 OPS in 49 games as the Indians’ starting first baseman. His return could mean less playing time for Carlos Santana, because he had been playing first basem recently and hot-hitting Lonnie Chisenhall certainly isn’t going to lose starts at third base anytime soon.
Giambi is basically a player-coach at this point, logging a grand total of 52 plate appearances between disabled list stints. He hit .128 in that limited action after batting .182 for the Indians last season, but they apparently just love having him around.
Free agent third baseman Mike Moustakas is drawing interest from at least four clubs, MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reported Friday. The Brewers are the presumed frontrunners to land the infielder, but Heyman adds that the Angels may take the inside edge as Moustakas hails from the San Fernando Valley and has invested in charity efforts in California over the last year. The Phillies and Padres, on the other hand, have been involved to a lesser degree as they’re both thought to be in hot pursuit of fellow free agent third baseman/shortstop Manny Machado, though their interest in the veteran Moustakas could ramp right back up should they lose out on Machado in the weeks to come.
Moustakas, 30, declined a $15 million mutual option with the Brewers at the end of the 2018 season, and like many others left on the market, has yet to find a landing spot in advance of spring training. While he’s several years removed from his last All-Star performance, he ran a decent campaign with the Royals and Brewers last year, slashing a combined .251/.315/.459 with 28 home runs, a .774 OPS, and 2.4 fWAR across 635 plate appearances.
He certainly appears to be a fit in Anaheim, where he could supplant Zack Cozart at the hot corner and balance out the Angels’ right-heavy lineup alongside Kole Calhoun, Justin Bour, and Tommy La Stella. Even if the Angels have serious interest in the third baseman, however, they’re likely to wait and see what kind of contract Machado (and the as-yet unsigned Bryce Harper) fetches before extending any serious offers of their own. They’re far from the only club to use the four-time All-Star as a litmus test this offseason, which has only fueled a growing unrest among MLB players who believe that more serious action — such as a midseason walk-out or a league-wide strike — will need to be taken over the next few months.