NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Mike Moustakas still needs a team. The Yankees don’t necessarily need a third baseman, but general manager Brian Cashman has expressed reservations about chasing a world title while starting two rookie infielders.
Could there be a marriage brewing?
Jon Heyman of WFAN and FanRag Sports reports that the Yankees and Moustakas, a free agent, have stayed in occasional contact in recent days, although Heyman’s Yankees sources say a signing is a long shot.
The Bronx Bombers are looking to stay under the luxury-tax threshold of $197 million, and Cashman also has said he’d like to leave some money available for a potential trade at the deadline.
Right now, the Yankees are believed to be roughly $20 million under the threshold. Moustakas, 29, is expected to command a multiyear deal averaging between $15 million and $20 million annually. So while the Yankees might be interested in Moustakas, signing the two-time All-Star would likely require first shedding all or part of an existing big salary, such as Jacoby Ellsbury’s $21.1 million. But, of course, that’s easier said than done.
Moustakas spent the first seven years of his career with the Kansas City Royals. Last season, he hit .272 with a career-high 38 homers and 85 RBIs.
If the Yankees do not add a veteran infielder, they could end up starting rookies Miguel Andujar and Gleyber Torres at third and second bases, respectively.
While a lot might have to fall into place in order for the Yankees to sign Moustakas, stranger things have happened. A Bombers trade for Giancarlo Stanton initially seemed unlikely, but New York and the Marlins were eventually able to hammer out a deal. Two years ago, it appeared the Mets and Yoenis Cespedes were going their separate ways, but the Mets stayed in touch with the slugger before signing him to a shorter contract more to their liking.
If the Yankees were able to sign Moustakas, it would create a lineup that would strike even more fear into opposing pitchers. The Bombers’ starters already include sluggers Stanton, Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and Greg Bird.