The Colorado Rockies announced on March 5th that they had signed veteran corner infielder and designated hitter Mike Moustakas, who spent the previous season with the Cincinnati Reds.
Moustakas signed a Minor League contract on Sunday and he should be an option to play in the third base position if the Colorado Rockies don’t feel that Elehuris Montero is fully ready to step in as the starting 3rd baseman for the team.
After one of the team’s key players, Brendan Rodgers, injured his left shoulder during a spring training game against the Texas Rangers, the Rockies were forced to make some adjustments to the roster.
Rodgers will undergo surgery to fix his broken and dislocated left shoulder, and he may end up being sidelined for the entire season.
Ryan McMahon, the Rockies’ starting third baseman, was moved to second base as a result of the Rodgers injury. McMahon had prior game experience at second base having played there previously in his career.
Why The Rockies Don’t Trust Montero?
The Rockies’ primary issue with Montero is his defense. Montero participated in 53 games last year while hitting six home runs and batting.233. He still needs to work on his defense, but he has a lot of power potential.
Moustakas, who was released by the Reds in January, will have a chance to play third base, a position that is crucial.
What can the Colorado Rockies expect from Moustakas
Moustakas has played in 12 seasons in the MLB with the Kansas City Royals, the Milwaukee Brewers and the Cincinnati Reds. He has appeared in three All-Star games and has a career .247/.308/.434 slash line with batting 20 or more homers in 6 of his 12 seasons, including 38 homers in 2017 with the Kansa City Royals and 35 in 2019 with the Milwaukee Brewers.
Since signing with the Cincinnati Reds, Moustakas has had trouble, hitting just 21 home runs in 184 games over three seasons while posting a .683 OPS.
Being prone to injuries, particularly in his lower body, did not help him improve his stats. A left calf strain last season, a right heel contusion in 2021 and a left quadriceps strain in 2020 are some of the main injuries he had.
Mike Moustakas stated during the press conference that he spent the early offseason taking time to rehab his lower body and is now prepared to take advantage of this chance given by the Colorado Rockies.
The Cincinnati Reds have released Mike Moustakas, the team announced. pic.twitter.com/m8yegYapYq
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) January 5, 2023
What Role Will Moustakas Have?
Despite having some experience at second base with the Reds, Moustakas and team officials have stated that he won’t be playing there for the Rockies.
“You’ve got to wait it out — and I finally got the opportunity and jumped all over it,” Moustakas said. “So, it’s great to be here. I’m excited the Rockies gave me this opportunity. I’m fired up.”
According to Bill Schmidt, general manager of the Colorado Rockies, Moustakas is expected to be in better health than he was when playing for the Cincinnati Reds, and that this will be a chance for him to continue his MLB career.
“I’ve been playing third base basically my entire career and I’ve learned a lot at first base from playing with Joey (Votto in Cincinnati) and Hos (Eric Hosmer in Kansas City) to see how they work the bag,” Moustakas said. “My focus right now is going out here for the first day and having a great day of camp. We’ll see where we are at the end of this thing and whatever happens will happen, but I’m excited to be out there on the field.”
Rockies sign former All-Star Mike Moustakas to minors pact, days after losing Brendan Rodgers to injury https://t.co/7TcXYbjyOp
— CBS Sports MLB (@CBSSportsMLB) March 5, 2023
Who will be the other options at third base?
Montero has shown more patience offensively, which means he now has a chance of having the power he has shown in the Minors play a role in the majors.
Since arriving as part of the trade that saw third baseman Nolan Arenado joining the Cardinals, Montero has 43 home runs and 140 RBIs in 185 games with the Colorado Rockies at the Double-A and Triple-A level.
“I like some of the adjustments he’s made with his swing — it’s not so steep, in my opinion,” Schmidt said. “Defensively, his footwork needs to take the next step. The hands are good, the arms are good.”
Left-handed hitting Nolan Jones, who was with the Cleveland Guardians last season hitting .244 with 2 homers and 13 RBIs has also some power potential. During his minor league career, he has played mostly in that third base position and is currently playing at the corner infield and outfield positions.
Both Montero and Jones have Minor League options.
“That’s what we’ve tried to do the whole time here, have some competition for guys so they’re not coming into camp like, ‘OK, he’s got this job,’” Schmidt said. “You’ve got to earn some jobs. And Opening Day is just a point in time. Some guys might need to go out [to the Minors] for a while. Maybe they don’t get off to a good start, but they pick it up for a while.
— Call to the Pen (@CalltothePen) March 6, 2023