Mike Moustakas’ third trip through free agency was the charm.
The All-Star infielder, relegated to a pair of one-year deals despite career-best power production entering free agency, agreed to terms on a four-year contract with the Cincinnati Reds, according to a baseball official with direct knowledge of the agreement.
The person spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because the deal was not yet official.
Moustakas, 31, slugged a career-best 38 homers in 2017, his final year with the Kansas City Royals, before declining the club’s $17.9 million qualifying offer after the season. Little did Moustakas know he’d be the prime exhibit for the cooling market for free agents, a chill that has defined each of the past two offseasons.
He ultimately returned to the Royals on a one-year, $6.5 million deal and hit 28 more home runs for the Royals and Milwaukee Brewers. Despite not having the qualifying offer attached after 2018, he still mustered just a one-year deal, for $8 million, to return to Milwaukee, which acquired him at the July 2018 trade deadline.
Moustakas responded with perhaps his best season yet, hitting 35 home runs, posting an .814 OPS and 3.2 WAR, his best since a 2015 season that culminated in a Royals World Series crown.
Now, he’ll join a talented Reds lineup that will likely alternate righty and lefty hitters, with second-year man Nick Senzel in center field, followed by first baseman Joey Votto, 49-home run man Eugenio Suarez, Moustakas and breakout rookie slugger Aristides Aquino.
The Reds likely remain in the market for a shortstop after announcing they will non-tender infielder Jose Peraza. For now, Freddy Galvis would join Moustakas up the middle.
Contributing: Bob Nightengale
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