MIke Moustakas has reportedly signed a one year deal with the Milwaukee Brewers. The former Royals’ return to the Brewers confirms Matt Carpenter’s role at third base for the St. Louis Cardinals and ends the debate.
St. Louis Cardinals fans need to start realizing when President of Baseball Operations, John Mozeliak, says the Cards lineup is set, he means the lineup is set. Mike Moustakas returning to the Milwaukee Brewers on a one year deal should be a clear message to Cardinal fans. Even when a impact player like the 30-year-old Moustakas is available for a one year deal, the Cardinals are not biting.
The very affordable one year, $9M deal, allows the Brewers to keep Moustakas at third and Travis Shaw at second. After Moustakas was traded to the Brewers on July 28th last year, he hit for a slash line of .256/.326/.441 with eight home runs and 33 RBI in 54 games. With both the Royals and the Brewers, he hit a combined slash line of .251/.315/.459 with 28 HR and 95 RBI in 152 games.
The Brewers lineup is deep and re-signing Moustakas will help keep them contenders in 2019. The Cardinals on the other hand, traded for Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, which will allow Matt Carpenter to return to third. The trade for Goldschmidt made the Cardinal lineup much stronger and likely contenders in what will be a strong NL Central.
The debate at third base in 2018
I have to admit to my obsession with the Cardinals and third base in 2018. MIke Moustakas, Josh Donaldson, and Manny Machado were all discussed as mid-season trade options for the Cardinals in order to strengthen the lineup. I even wrote about the possibility of them trading for anyone of the three in order to make a push at the postseason.
More from St Louis Cardinals News
- Cardinals Rumors: 3 pros and cons of signing Carlos Rodon
- Cardinals: Here is Willson Contreras’ first message for St. Louis fans
- How do the St. Louis Cardinals stack up with Willson Contreras?
- Cardinals: The insane asking price the Athletics had for Sean Murphy
- St. Louis Cardinals: Ask me anything with Josh Jacobs – 12/8
However, I quickly eliminated Machado because I didn’t think the Cardinals would give up what the Orioles wanted for the 26-year-old. Additionally, I thought the Cardinals would have a hard time re-signing him to an extension. In other words, I was worried Machado would just be a rental in 2018 for the Cardinals.
On the other hand, Josh Donaldson had some real attraction for me. The 33-year-old right-handed bat offered power, a solid glove at third base, and could carry a team offensively. Because of his age and some recent injury history, I thought he would be an affordable acquisition for the Cardinals. Even if just a rental for 2018, the cost of bringing on Donaldson wouldn’t be as prohibitive as Machado.
Donaldson was eventually traded to the Indians on August 31st and made negligible impact for them. Then earlier in the winter, Josh Donaldson signed a one-year, $23 million contract with the Atlanta Braves, effectively ending any speculation of a future with the Cardinals.
After Donaldson, I thought Mike Moustakas would make an impact on the Cardinals for 2018. In fact, I wrote a piece about a mock trade we did at Redbird Rants with our fellow FanSided site, Kings of Kaufman. As I said in the article, even though Moustakas wasn’t the type of player who could carry the team, he would be a clear upgrade for the Cardinals at third base.
I felt Mike Moustakas would be an affordable option for the Cardinals and like Donaldson, could be re-signed in the offseason. Even after he was traded to the Brewers, I thought the Cardinals would and should pursue Moustakas in the offseason.
However, the trade for Paul Goldschmidt changed everything. The 31 year-old Goldschmidt is the offensive upgrade the Cardinals needed. Goldschmidt can offensively carry a team on his back and also play gold glove caliber defense.
The move allows Matt Carpenter to move back to third base, which defensively at least, is his strongest position. Any shoulder and throwing issues Carpenter would have at third, would at least be partly offset by Goldschmidt’s defense at first.
Mike Moustakas and Josh Donaldson, while capable defensively at third, do not significantly offer improvement at third over Carpenter. Manny Machado, certainly a gold glove caliber third baseman, is not coming to St. Louis. Machado wants a much longer contract than the Cardinals want to offer, and he is likely get it from someone. Once again, just listen of Mozeliak.
Third base for the St. Louis Cardinals is set. Whether it’s a ten-year, five-year, or a one-year deal, it doesn’t matter, the Cards are not in the market. Matt Carpenter is going to be the third baseman for 2019.
John Mozeliak has been telling us this since the Paul Goldschmidt trade. It’s time for me to let go of Mike Moustakas coming to St. Louis and the rest of you should let go of Manny Machado. The Cards have been dealt, spring training is here, and the debate about third base is over.