The Mets did not have a sure-fire starter at the hot corner in 2017, using eight different players throughout the season. Wilmer Flores saw the majority of the action with 193 at bats, most closely followed by Asdrubal Cabrera with 163 and Jose Reyes with 122. Although David Wright is expected to make a return to Flushing, that is simply not a reliable option any more.
Overall the committee role at third base was not the culprit to the disappointing season in Queens. Mets’ third basemen hit .269 with 16 home runs and 76 RBIs. Comparatively, Moustakas hit .272/.314/.855 with 38 home runs and 85 RBIs giving him a WAR of 1.8. Over the past three seasons, Moustakas has a WAR of seven, which is the 12th best of this year’s free agent class and second among third baseman behind Todd Frazier. However, by that metric Curtis Granderson ranks as the fifth best free agent.
Although the Mets’ have a slew of needs, adding Moustakas would answer a huge question mark in the infield and provide a nice, consistent power bat to complement the core already in place for the 2018 season. Moustakas is even more of an appealing option for the Mets’ at third because he is only 29 compared to other free agent options at the hot corner like Todd Frazier and Eduardo Nunez who are 32 and 31 respectively, making a long term deal for Moustakas more sensible.
Moustakas would fit in well with the Mets’ considering the Moose struggles against lefties (wRC+ of 98) and Wilmer Flores makes a living feasting on lefties (wRC+ of 119). Against righties Moustakas is a completely different hitter (wRC+ of 119). The Moose would also be a good fit in New York because he takes the ball deep. With 39 home runs in 2017, which was a Royals franchise record, Moustakas would fit in well with the Mets’ offensive style of the past two years - finishing 2017 with 224 home runs, the eighth most in the league.
Moustakas has proven to be a force to be reckoned with in any lineup, but following surgery to repair a torn right ACL in 2016, his defensive abilities have come into question. The two time all-star finished the 2015 season with a Rdrs (the number of runs above or below average the player was worth based on the number of plays made) of 4 and in his return to the hot corner in 2017 he finished with an Rdrs of -8. But despite the decline in defensive production, Moustakas still ranked as the 15th best defensive third baseman in 2017, according to FanGraphs.
What many may consider more of a concern than the defense is that Moustakas ranked 21st among third baseman by WAR in 2017 at 1.8. Although he had the second most home runs at the position (behind Joey Gallo) and ranked ninth in RBIs the Los Angeles native might not be worth the contract he will demand, especially considering the Mets’ constricted payroll and grab bag of needs to address.
While Moustakas would undoubtedly be a solid asset to help New York contend in the coming years, what free agent money there is may be better suited else where. Moustakas will likely receive a five to six year deal estimated to be worth $80-$100 million dollars. New York would welcome Moustakas with open arms, but no one around flushing wants to open their checkbooks the same way. The Moose returning to Kansas City or going to his hometown to play for the Angeles seem to be the most likely scenarios at this point in time, but hey, ya gotta believe.
If the Mets’ could get Moustakas to Flushing for five years and $80 million dollars than I think it would be worth the long term commitment to have a solid lefty power bat in the lineup for the foreseeable future, but missing out on Moustakas would mean other pressing issues could be addressed to help New York contend in 2018.