The Yankees are known for their low risk, high reward signings as of late and one name that could be the next potential example is Mike Moustakas.
In the middle of January in 2019, the Yankees made what was at the time a very surprising move. They signed former Colorado Rockies second baseman DJ LeMahieu to a two-year contract worth $24 million dollars. LeMahieu had a very good career in Colorado where he won multiple Gold Gloves and a batting title, but as of late had grown more and more mediocre.
With the Yankees infield seemingly already set, there didn’t seem to be a spot for LeMahieu on the everyday lineup, and it was thought that he was essentially going to be a glorified ‘Utility Man’. However, the Yankees saw something in him and in his approach at the plate. His plate discipline was tremendous, he never tried to do too much when batting, and as they found out, he played an excellent third and first base in addition to his natural position, second base.
He was the equalizer. He balanced out a power-heavy lineup, and he excelled in clutch situations and with runners in scoring position. He was the axle that connected the tires and made the Yankees offense one of the most lethal in all of baseball.
Nevertheless, LeMahieu’s excellence was not enough to get the Yankees over the hump, as they lost to the Houston Astros on a heartbreaking walk-off home run. (LeMahieu had one of the most clutch home runs in Yankees history that night as he tied the game with a two run shot in the top of the ninth, but unfortunately it just was not meant to be…)
So, where do the Yankees go from here?
Starting pitching was the Yankees clear achilles heel in 2019, and that should be their priority this offseason. But with the potential departure of one of the Yankees only left handed hitters in Didi Gregorius, the Yankees will likely look to improve their lineup with regards to position players.
Allow me to introduce, Mike Moustakas.
“Moose”, as he is fondly referred to, is a natural third baseman, who has power from the left side, and doesn’t strikeout too much. He can potentially be this year’s DJ, he can be this year’s “Glorified Utility Man”. When Moustakas was dealt to the Brewers, they converted him into a second baseman and he has had a few career appearances at first base.
With Miguel Andujar’s poor defense and not knowing what to expect out of Gio Urshela, Moose can swap in and out of the third base platoon. As well, if the Yankees do not sign a shortstop, Gleyber Torres would move back to his natural position (shortstop), and Moose can platoon at second base with LeMahieu who will be platooning with Luke Voit at first.
When right, Mike Moustakas can be a heart-of-the-order kind of guy, and being that he is a left handed hitter, bring diversity to this lineup as well as getting the opportunity to pull the ball 320 feet for a short porch home run.
The 31 year old Moustakas will likely want a multi-year deal, probably something like a three-year deal. If I were the Yankees, I would give him two-years/$30 million dollars with a club option for a third year worth $8 million.