Andrew McCutchen suffered an avulsion fracture in his left rib cage and missed two weeks. He came back and hit three home runs in six games after being activated, but he aggravated the injury on a catch against the outfield wall in the third inning Tuesday against the Cardinals. Losing the reigning MVP for long while the Bucs are in the wild card race would be disastrous. But it appears as though disaster is being averted:
McCutchen said he expects to play Wednesday when the Pirates and Cardinals wrap up their three-game series at PNC Park.
McCutchen is hitting .307/.403/.539 on the year and is playing his usual stellar brand of defense. If he can stay healthy and the Pirates make the playoffs, he’s likely a back-to-back MVP. If he goes down and the Pirates don’t, well, it sorta tells you why he’s the current MVP.
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.