Just earlier this hour, it was reported by the Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal (among others) that the Reds would not be tendering a contract to 2B/SS Jose Peraza. The move would save them an estimated $3.6 million, according to MLB Trade Rumors estimates, in arbitration raises. If the Reds front office was to be believed this winter, that money would be turned around into upgrades to the roster.
Mike Moustakas' four-year deal with the Cincinnati Reds will be for more than $60 million, sources tell ESPN.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 2, 2019
He is expected to play second base, as @Ken_Rosenthal said. @JonHeyman was also on the Moustakas deal.
The reported final number comes out to a four year contract worth $64 million dollars, which comes out to an annual average value of exactly $16 million per season. It is easily the biggest free agent pact the Reds have ever agreed to, eclipsing Francisco Cordero’s four year, $46 million deal handed out before the 2008 season.
Moustakas has played the last two seasons under one year deals waiting for his market to fully materialize. He declined a qualifying offer from the Royals following the 2017 season, but then returned to Kansas City on a one year pact for the 2018 season, good for only $6.5 million. He was then traded to Milwaukee mid-season, where he and the Brewers won a division title and took the Dodgers to seven games in the National League Championship Series.
Milwaukee declined the contract option for 2019, but re-signed the slugger for a $7 million one year deal with a mutual option for 2020. For the season, Moustakas slashed .254/.329/.516 with 35 home runs. The 114 OPS+ was the second best season of his career in his age 30 season.
Maybe most notably, Moustakas helped the Brewers this season by moving over to play second base. A position he’d never played previously in his Major League career, he transitioned fine enough, and apparently well enough for the Reds front office to believe he can do it for the foreseeable future, as Mike is expected to play second base for the Reds.
The money isn’t small, to be sure, but second base was generally a black hole for the Reds last season after Scooter Gennett’s injury and Nick Senzel’s move to center field. And they don’t have any obvious help within the system coming soon, either. So, plugging in a bat like Moustakas’s there should be a huge benefit to the offense. He also offers positional flexibility with his newfound ability to play second, as now he can play all over the infield if and when the need arises.
We’ll have more analysis of the move in the coming days and weeks, to be sure. But, Reds brass said they were willing to spend some money this offseason, and this move proves that they weren’t kidding around. It can’t be the only move for the Reds to become contenders, but it shows that they’re serious.