The free-agent market is moving so slowly, one talent evaluator said this week, that January is about to become the new December. Teams once pushed to get their winter work done by the holidays, but now advanced analytics seems to have nudged a number of clubs into following the strategy used often by the Baltimore Orioles in recent offseasons -- just wait. Wait ... for the high volume of free agents and supply/demand to manifest, and for some players to get left behind (and increasingly desperate). Wait ... for the prices to drop, as some veterans explain to anxious family members over turkey and eggnog why they haven't signed a 2018 contract. Wait ... for pictures to be published of team equipment trucks from Chicago, Cleveland, Houston and other cities departing for Arizona and Florida. Because agents will tell you that a lot of their clients are like geese, feeling the pull to migrate south for the start of spring training. The numbers just say ... wait. It may be that Mike Moustakas will find a new home soon. Moustakas, 29, is a good and respected third baseman with lots of postseason experience. He is coming off a season in which he hit 38 homers for the Kansas City Royals. So, unlike some of his free-agent peers, he's a lock to make a good salary somewhere in 2018. But some of the teams with which he seemed to be a theoretical fit have come off the board. The Angels, for example, turned to Zack Cozart for their third-base solution on a three-year, $38 million deal. The Giants are starved for power and need a third baseman, making Moustakas a natural fit, but Brian Sabean has declared his team will shy away from signing free agents who are attached to draft-pick compensation -- and Moustakas would cost the Giants in the draft after turning down a qualifying offer from Kansas City. Moustakas also has some unexpected company in the third-base market -- even after the signing of Cozart -- that might be affecting his options. The Orioles have been talking with other teams about Manny Machado trade offers, and some of the clubs view Machado as a third baseman rather than a shortstop. The Tampa Bay Rays are seemingly prepared to unload Evan Longoria, who is owed at least $86 million for the next five seasons. The Cardinals are open to the idea of adding a third baseman and have had some interest in the Jays' Josh Donaldson. So there has been a lot of talk about third basemen other than Moustakas.
Mike Moustakas would be a perfect fit in the Bronx
ESPN | Dec 20