Three weeks from now finally marks the beginning of the regular season after what’s been a long and somewhat contentious offseason. What’s made things so contentious is that it’s taken what feels like ages for key free agents to sign, and Mike Moustakas is one of them. Despite coming off a season where he had a .275 TAv with nearly 40 home runs, he’s still without a team with just 21 days until the first pitch is thrown.
It’s gotten to the point where even Moustakas’ agent is starting to wonder if he’ll be seeing his client on a baseball diamond by Opening Day. Scott Boras recently spoke with Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star and mentioned the distinct possibility that Moustakas would remain on the market after the season starts. Mellinger also pointed out that Boras has experience with this, as three of his clients in the past also left things unresolved for an extended period, with Stephen Drew and Kendrys Morales in 2014 waiting until June to sign.
Still, Boras remained confident that Moustakas would sign. He didn’t say that he’d find a home before Opening Day but he figured that teams would come calling when they “want to commit to winning.” That sounds a lot like an agent trying to put the onus on teams to go out and acquire Moustakas sooner rather than later but, at this point, the allure of waiting until draft-pick compensation is waived could be something that contending teams see as enough to leave him on the table.
Life of Brian: Free agency is a distinct possibility for Brian Dozier next offseason. He’s entering the final season of his contract with the Twins and he’ll have plenty of expectations to live up to. He’s been worth at least 4 WARP in three of the past four seasons, and he figures to be a key cog in Minnesota’s efforts to make it to the playoffs for a second season in a row.
That being said, Dozier could be in line for a big payday, though it appears that the Twins aren’t ready to talk about it at the moment. In fact, Dozier himself told Jim Souhan of the Minneapolis Star Tribune that the Twins have yet to contact him about a potential contract. He made further comments that indicate that he’s not optimistic about staying with the Twins after this season ends, and that he’s definitely ready to test the waters of free agency once that time comes.
It’s evident that Dozier’s time with the Twins could come down to where the team stands in the playoff hunt once the trade deadline comes. If the Twins are in position to return to the postseason, we’ll probably see the Twins keep Dozier around. If not, it would be a safe bet to assume the Twins would try to get something for their second baseman and move on. Either way, there’s plenty of intrigue surrounding the future of the club and one of its star players.
Rays hurting: One of the few joys of watching a team that’s in a clear rebuilding phase is seeing highly rated prospects making their debut, improving their craft and seeing them tap into their potential. Unfortunately for Rays fans, they won’t be seeing two of their top prospects on the mound for a long time. First, Brent Honeywell ended up losing his 2018 season due to Tommy John surgery in February, and now another Tampa Bay pitching prospect will be missing a significant amount of time due to the same procedure.
Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times tweeted the unfortunate news that Jose De Leon has a torn UCL and will have to undergo Tommy John surgery. It’s definitely a huge blow to the development of a team that was set to give two prospects plenty of opportunity to play at the major-league level.
The bad news comes after Topkin also said the Rays were considering using a four-man rotation. With De Leon out of the picture for this season, Tampa Bay has to hope that the injury bug doesn’t spread to their remaining pitchers, otherwise they’ll have trouble even filling out a four-man rotation. The Rays already were preparing to have a rough season as far as wins and losses, and it doesn’t help knowing that two of their young arms will be out for the entire season at a position where they needed all hands on deck.
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