The first Royals game of the 2018 season will be televised in Kansas City on Friday.
It may be just a spring-training contest, but that doesn't take away from the fact that baseball is back. Mike Moustakas, however, is not back on a diamond.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports stopped in at the Milwaukee Brewers camp and asked former Royals outfielder about ex-teammate Moustakas, who remains a free agent.
"It's chilly out there," Cain told Heyman. "I'm in shock."
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Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe also went with a temperature theme when discussion the market for Moustakas, who set the set the Royals' single-season record for home runs last season with 38.
"There’s been stone-cold silence on free agent third baseman Mike Moustakas," Cafardo wrote. "He’ll likely be somewhere soon, but will it be on a long-term deal? The Braves, White Sox, Phillies and Orioles could be possible landing spots, but this has been the most blatant free agent snub of the offseason."
If those four teams are likely landing spots for Moustakas, here are options they currently have at third base:
- The Orioles are likely to start Tim Beckham at third base. He is slated to earn $3.5 million this season, and hit .306 with 13 doubles and 10 home runs in 50 games after Baltimore acquired him in a trade with the Rays.
- The Braves' Johan Camargo hit .299 in 82 games as a rookie in 2017. He is listed atop Atlanta's depth chart at third base.
- Maikel Franco, a 25-year-old who had a triple slash line of .230/.281/.409 in 154 games last year, is slated to start at third again for the Phillies.
- In 2017, Matt Davidson clubbed 26 homers and hit .220 in 118 games for the White Sox and could be the team's third baseman or designated hitter. The 26-year-old Davidson has two home runs and a .500 average in four spring games.
One potential hangup for teams interested in Moustakas, 29, is the loss of a draft pick and possibly international bonus pool money. It would depend on the offer and the team that would sign Moustakas (a good explanation can be found here).
The Royals, of course, stand to gain if Moustakas joins another club. If he were to sign for more than $50 million with another team, the Royals would receive a compensation pick immediately following the first round. If Moustakas signs for less than $50 million, the pick would slot after Competitive Balance Round B, which follows the second round.
There also has been speculation that Moustakas would be willing to wait and sign an in-season contract with a team, which is what Kendrys Morales did with the Twins in 2014.
Whatever the case, Moustakas remains unsigned, and the regular season opens in less than four weeks.
“He’s waiting patiently and staying strong,” Cain told Heyman.
You can read more of Heyman's conversation with Cain here.