It is very rare that you will see a player coming off a career year with no job through March 1. This is the life some MLB players will live in now and in the future with teams not opening their wallets like they have in the past. The player here who stands out the most is Mike Moustakas. Not only did he go out and hit .272 with 38 bombs and 85 RBI but he showed a solid glove at the hot corner. Despite all these things going for him, teams are not lining up at his door with contracts in hand. The reason why, you may ask? There is an abundance of power in the game today and his asking price is on par with some of the best hitters in the game (which he has the right to believe he is in that category). Regardless of his perception of salary or a team’s, there is one MLB club that jumps out that could use his services and his services could in fact be what is the missing piece in a playoff appearance in 2018.
The team….none other than the Atlanta Braves.
The Braves have done a ton of rebuilding over the past couple seasons and they look like they may be right on the door step of contention with the likes of Ronald Acuna knocking on the door and Ozzie Albies ready for a full season in the Bigs. Add that with Dansby Swanson, Freddie Freeman, Ender Inciarte and the rest of the Braves offense and the addition of Moustakas sounds perfect. Especially when you compare his production with the other options they have at third base, cough cough Johan Camargo and Rio Ruiz.
Now the one thing that may be holding this team back is that they may not be ready to contend with the Nationals and they would rather wait it out and give an Austin Riley or Travis DeMeritte another year and then call them up to the big leagues. However, The Braves have tons of pitching in the Minors all knocking on the door and if a few things fall into place they could be staring down the Nationals sooner rather than later.
To sweeten the case as to why the Braves should target Moustakas even if they give him a one year bridge deal, let’s take a look at his production up against some of the 3B the Braves have sent out there over the past few seasons:
2015 – .284/.348/.470 22 HR 82 RBI
2016* – .240/.301/.500 7 HR 13 RBI
2017 – .272/.314/.521 38 HR 85 RBI
*Only appeared in 27 games
Braves 3B (2015-2017)
Juan Uribe (46 games) – .285/.353/.464 7 HR 17 RBI
Adonis Garcia (58 games) – .277/.293/.497 10 HR 26 RBI
Adonis Garcia – .273/.311/.406 14 HR 65 RBI
Adonis Garcia (52 games) – .237/.273/.347 5 HR 19 RBI
Johan Camargo (82 games) – .299/.331/.452 4 HR 27 RBI
The best of the bunch may be Camargo’s production last season with his .299 average but the sample size is limited being he has only appeared in 82 games. Regardless, you will never see the run producing out of Camargo that you will in Moustakas. Take this as you will, but if the Braves deem they have a shot at contention they should go out and open their wallets for Moustakas as he has shown he can produce as a big bat right in the middle of a winning lineup.