The Royals and left-handed slugger Brandon Moss agreed to a two-year deal worth $12 million on Saturday, which will become official pending a physical.
The 33-year-old Moss has played first base and corner-outfield throughout his career, but will likely see most of his at-bats at DH. The Royals lost their DH Kendrys Morales earlier this offseason, who signed with Toronto in November.
Moss’ career took off in his 2012 season with Oakland after making the switch to first base, hitting over 20 home runs for the first time in his career while hitting .291. Moss has hit at least 19 home runs in every season since, yet has seen a significant drop in batting average over time.
He ended 2016 with a .225 batting average despite hitting 28 HR for the Cardinals, his highest home run total since 2013. His dismal average can be attributed to a massive September slump, finishing the month with a .084 average and just 3 HR.
Moss is certainly not an upgrade from the switch-hitting Morales, but is a much better fit financially for the club. With their core of players in Eric Hosmer, Lorenzo Cain, Mike Moustakas, and Alcides Escobar all approaching free agency in 2018, the Royals could not afford to give Morales the $33 million he got from Toronto.
Moss was one of several power-hitters who struggled to find a home in free agency, as Mike Napoli, Chris Carter and Pedro Alvarez all remain available.
This is the first major free agent addition the the Royals have made this offseason, with their previous additions of Jorge Soler and Nathan Karns being through trades. They are clearly trying to save money to resign as much of their young core as they can, however it’s hard to believe that this is the last addition they will make this offseason.
The Royals could still be in the market for a starter after the tragic loss of Yordano Ventura, with Jason Hammel, Doug Fister and Colby Lewis making up the remaining market for starting pitching.*
*Statistics from MLB.com
-Featured image from St. Louis Post Dispatch