Sam Mellinger

A story about Mike Moustakas and baseball and money

Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas
Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas

Mike Moustakas was 18 years old the first time we met. A kid. He had a batting cage in his yard, he loved In-N-Out, and he and his friends had this thing when they called each other sir.

We had talked a few times on the phone after the Royals made him the first official draft pick of Dayton Moore's leadership. Moustakas always took the calls outside, on his driveway. I wanted to know who he was. He wanted to know about Kansas City.

He had not yet signed with the Royals. This is an important point. This was the summer of 2007, and back then picks had until midnight on August 15 to sign. The draft was in June, but communication with clubs often didn't come until August. Serious talks often waited until the final days. With Moustakas, like many top picks, the real talk didn't happen until late on the 15th.

This meant Moose was isolated. Not from family, not from friends, but from baseball — which may have been just as lonely. Maybe that's why he was cool with me visiting him that summer.

He gave me the address, warned me that the driveway was easy to miss on the busy street, and within seconds of me ringing the bell he came to door. He held a wood bat in his left hand, extended his right for a shake, and said, "Thanks for coming, sir."

But none of that is what I most remember from the trip.

The Royals and Mike Moustakas are together again. The contract came together quickly.

A week earlier, Royals officials all but dismissed the possibility. Moustakas turned down a so-called qualifying offer worth $17.4 million. Early in the offseason, according to two league sources, he and his agent, Scott Boras, turned down a three-year deal from the Angels worth around $45 million.

“There was never a multi-year contract offer made to Mike Moustakas by the Angels or any other major-league team,” Boras said Friday.