Mike Moustakas Signs for an Amount Close to Free

Because the author of this post is someone who mistakenly believed in the “transformative power of literature” as an undergraduate, $6.5 million remains only a hypothetical sum of money for me as a person. In the context of major-league baseball, however — and, specifically, in the context of compensating slightly above-average major leaguers — it’s roughly equivalent to zero dollars. It also, turns out, is roughly how much Mike Moustakas will earn in 2018.

Handsome Jeff Passan reports from the front lines of Baseball:

Jeff Sullivan will address the deal in greater depth tomorrow. For the moment, however, a collection of three bullet points should suffice to convey the improbability of this news.


  • Over the last three years, Moustakas has been worth $29.6, $5.8, and $17.6 million by the methodology used at this site — or just under $18 million annually on average.
  • According to this site’s depth-chart projections, Moustakas is likely to produce about two-and-a-half wins in 2018 — or the equivalent of about $23 million, if one presumes (as people seem to presume) that a win is worth roughly $9 million.
  • When Dave Cameron composed his list of the offseason’s top free agents, he ranked Moustakas eighth, projecting a deal for five years and $95.0 million. The crowd estimated only a slightly lower figure: five years and $85.0 million.

What all this information suggests is that Mike Moustakas probably should — to the extent that anyone should — be earning something just shy of $20 million in 2018. He won’t be, though. He’ll be earning probably $6.5 million, as noted above.

That’s merely one reason why this deal seems inexplicable. Why else, though, is because other notable alumni from the Royals’ world-championship team appear to be faring well enough.

World Series Royals, 2018 Projections and Deals
Season Team Age PA wRC+ BsR Def WAR Years $
Eric Hosmer Padres 28 630 116 -0.6 -11.5 2.1 8 $144.0
Lorenzo Cain Brewers 32 602 100 1.8 8.9 3.0 5 $80.0
Jarrod Dyson D-backs 33 245 75 1.7 3.6 0.5 2 $7.5
Mike Moustakas Royals 29 560 110 -1.7 1.7 2.5 1 $6.5

For each player here, I’ve included not just his projected 2018 numbers but also the terms of the contract to which he agreed this offseason. Cain and Hosmer both signed for amounts greater than estimated by either Dave Cameron or FanGraphs’ readers. Dyson signed with Arizona for less than anticipated; however, he agreed to a greater sum of guaranteed money than Moustakas. Which, allow me to repeat that in slightly different terms: Jarrod Dyson received a larger guaranteed deal this offseason than Mike Moustakas.

The objectively slowest offseason ever has been surprising in a number of ways. This way is number + 1.

Carson Cistulli has published a book of aphorisms called Spirited Ejaculations of a New Enthusiast.

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6 years ago

Wow, just wow