Ryan Braun left the Brewers yesterday to be present for the birth of his first child and he will miss his second straight game tonight as his team begins an important four-game series against the first-place Cardinals. However, the Brewers announced late this afternoon that is well with the baby and Braun is expected to return tomorrow. Good news.
Braun, 30, is batting .275/.327/.480 with 18 home runs and 77 RBI over 114 games this year. Much like the Brewers, he has faded as the season has gone along, putting up a meager .208 batting average, four homers, and a .613 OPS over his last 32 games. He has been playing through a nerve problem in his right hand for almost the entire season, so a couple of days off could be beneficial for him.
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.