Free Agent Options at Third Base
The market for free agents is very thin at third base with three of the top four players based on WAR already being signed in Eduardo Escobar (Arizona), Josh Donaldson (Atlanta), and Jung Ho King (Pittsburgh). The only remaining player left is Milwaukee Brewers third baseman Mike Moustakas.
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Moustakas was available last season and the Angels made a run at him early reportedly offering him a four-year deal worth around 60 million dollars. Moustakas turned down the Angels offer and ended up signing a one-year deal with his original team the Kansas City Royals for only eight million dollars.
Not a very smart decision financially for Moustakas, but he ended up being traded to the Milwaukee Brewers for their stretch run and was a key part of the Brewers run that finished one game short of the World Series.
For the season Moustakas hit .251 with 28 homers and 95 RBIs. He was able to reach a league championship series for the third time in the last four seasons and he now is a free agent again in a very weak market at third base. The Angels have been said to have some interest in Moustakas again and if they sign the 30-year old they could move Cozart to second base and have Ward, Fletcher, and La Stella fight for a back-up role.
Moustakas would be a nice signing and could probably be had for around 12 to 13 million per season. He will most likely want a multi-year deal this time around, but you never know. Moustakas would be an upgrade at third base for the Angels and if Cozart comes back strong and can make the transistion to second base (he has played there before) the Angels line-up will get a shot in the arm.
After Moustakas it is slim pickings in the free agent market with only Chase Headley, Danny Valencia, and Ryan Flaherty all of which are not better than Cozart and not worth the extra money to pursue.
The one wild-card here is if the Angels could pony up enough dough for mega free agent Manny Machado and convince him to play third base (he has said to only want to play shortstop this season). Machado’s price tag would be in the neighborhood of 25 to 30 million per season and he would probably want no less than a five-year deal which the Angels are not likely to want to give anyone not named Trout.
Plus with all the baggage Machado brings (not hustling at times and truculent attitude) he would probably not be a good fit anyway for the Angels.
So there you have it. If the Angels want to improve their third base situation it is Moustakas or bust. If not then the trio of of Zack Cozart, Taylor Ward, and David Fletcher will have to suffice unless they want to play let’s make a deal which would result in the Angels giving up some young prospects. It will be interesting to see how this scenario plays out.