Royals, Moustakas Agree To Deal, MLB News


Published on February 12 2016 6:25 am
Last Updated on February 12 2016 6:26 am

The Royals and third baseman Mike Moustakas agreed Thursday to a $14.3 million, two-year contract that not only avoids arbitration this year but also buys out his final year.

Coming off his first All-Star appearance, the 27-year-old hit .284 last season with 34 doubles, 22 homers and 82 RBIs while also setting career highs in on-base percentage and slugging.

Kansas City offered $4.2 million and Moustakas countered with $7 million. The sides settled on $5.6 million this season and $8.7 million next season, keeping general manager Dayton Moore's streak intact of never having taken a case to an arbitration hearing.

All of the Royals' arbitration-eligible players are under contract for this season.

Moustakas has long been considered one of the franchise cornerstones, ever since he was a first-round pick in the 2007 draft. But after a rapid rise to the major leagues, he went through long periods of disappointment, culminating with a .212 average, 15 homers and 54 RBIs two years ago.

Cubs, Giants Notch Above

The San Francisco Giants and Chicago Cubs are a notch above the rest of the National League, while the American League is wide-open, according to season win-total expectations released Thursday by the sportsbook at the Atlantis Casino in Reno, Nevada.

The Giants are the only team to open with a win total of 90. They are followed closely by the Cubs at 89 and the New York Mets at 88.

"To me, the Giants, top-to-bottom, have the least amount of question marks," Atlantis sportsbook director Steve Mikkelson said. "The Cubs are a very good, but they have these youngsters. What if Kris Bryant goes into a slump? They have a lot swing-and-miss guess."

The St. Louis Cardinals, Washington Nationals, Pittsburgh Pirates and Los Angeles Dodgers also have win totals of 87 or greater.

In the American League, the Kansas City Royals are tops. The defending World Series champs opened at 87 wins (-115 under).

Tony Clark says Baseball System Needs Change

With spring training approaching and dozens of players still seeking jobs, union leader Tony Clark concluded baseball's current system needs change.

Among those still on the free-agent market are pitcher Yovani Gallardo, shortstop Ian Desmond and outfielder Dexter Fowler, who all turned down $15.8 million, one-year guaranteed contracts from their teams in November.

"I think it's disappointing when there are as many talented players still without a home," Clark said during a Feb. 4 interview with The Associated Press. "I don't think it's in anyone's best interest to be in a world where very talented players are at home for whatever reason they are there. It will likely be a part of the conversation in bargaining."

A former All-Star first baseman, Clark took over as head of the Major League Baseball Players Association in late 2013 after Michael Weiner died from a brain tumor. Seven years removed from his playing days, Clark, 43, is the first former player to head the union.

Clark will lead players in negotiations for a labor contract to replace the deal that expires Dec. 1. After eight work stoppages from 1972-85, baseball has had more than two decades of industry peace.