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Kansas City Royals: Mike Moustakas won’t be a Royal for long

KANSAS CITY, MO - APRIL 9: Mike Moustakas #8 of the Kansas City Royals hits against the Seattle Mariners at Kauffman Stadium on April 9, 2018 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Mike Moustakas
KANSAS CITY, MO - APRIL 9: Mike Moustakas #8 of the Kansas City Royals hits against the Seattle Mariners at Kauffman Stadium on April 9, 2018 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Mike Moustakas /
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Mike Moustakas returned to the Kansas City Royals in 2018, but it doesn’t look this will be anything other than a short-term rental.

Following the end of the 2017 season, everyone inside and outside of the Kansas City Royals organization was sure they had seen the last of Mike Moustakas in the blue and white. He finished the 2017 season with a Royals team record 38 home runs. He also set career highs in RBIs with 85 and OPS at .835.

Those numbers along with a solid glove at third base should have been worth a solid multi-year deal with a contending team. For this reason, it was no surprise that Moose turned down the Royals $17.4 million qualifying offer.

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Then the insanity of the 2017 off-season occurred and Moose never got signed. The rumors around the league were teams didn’t like the shape he was in, that he was too heavy and slow to work around the base. Combine that with the large group of high-level third baseman hitting the free agent market following the 2018 season and teams closed the checkbooks.

All of that worked out great for the Royals who signed Moose for the bargain basement price of $5.5 million for this season. If I was him I would have fired my agent the day I signed that deal because he cost him at least $10 million.

It appears Moose is more of a glass half full guy than me though and he’s simply gone with the punches here. He didn’t complain or play the pity card, instead, he’s played great and become the team leader. Moose has done more interviews and been friendlier with the media than he ever has before.

That is likely on advice from his agent, become friendly with the media, get them on your side so they get your name out there in a positive light. As any fan who has watched Moose his whole career will tell you, he’s also in the best shape of his life. He’ll never be Alex Gordon, his body isn’t built that way, but for Moose he’s looking thin to win.

Off the field, he’s done what he needed to do in order to make himself more viable to other teams when he hits free agency again after this season. On the field, he’s picked up right where he left off last season.

He’s leading the team in home runs (four),  RBIs (11), batting average (.361) and OPS (1.037). He’s currently on a nine-game hitting streak and is on pace to set career highs in nearly every offensive statistical category.

Those are all great things that should guarantee Moose a solid multi-year contract this off-season. Before that, however, all of this means he could bring big value to the Royals as an in-season trade this year. At this point it’s not if Moose gets traded, it’s when he gets traded.

The Royals are not going to be competitive this season and Moose will not be back next year if he maintains this kind of consistency. A team who is looking to go all in for a World Series this year should be ringing the phones off the hook over at Kauffman for Moose.

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It would not surprise me if the Royals have already started receiving calls meaning they are going to get a good deal for Moose. If they can get a couple teams bidding for him, the Royals could be looking at multiple top-end prospects in return for him.

If the Royals could flip Moose for a solid return, the current rebuild could get a shot in the arm in desperately needs. The trade could come sooner rather than later as well since teams would be willing to trade more value for more time and the Royals have Hunter Dozier in the minors who could play third.  Whether it’s next week, next month or July 31, Moose will be traded this season and he will pass the torch to the next generation of young Royals.