With three weeks until opening day, third baseman Mike Moustakas is reportedly finally signing a deal to stay in Kansas City. He’ll do so for just a fraction of what he was originally expected to bring in—a one-year, $5.5 million contract with $2.2 million in potential performance bonuses and a mutual option for a second year at $15 million, as reported by Yahoo’s Jeff Passan.
This means that he’s guaranteed $6.5 million, or less than half the value of the $17.4 million qualifying offer that the Royals initially extended him back in November, which he passed up to test the open market. While Moustakas wasn’t necessarily a lock for something huge or long-term—even with a career-high home run total last year, he still hasn’t quite lived up to the heights of his breakout 2015 season, and his 30th birthday is approaching—a deal like this feels significantly low. Compare it to, say, the two-year, $17 million contract that the Mets recently gave Todd Frazier, who’s two years older and coming off a weaker season than Moustakas.
It’s certainly true that the draft pick attached to the QO will drive a free agent’s offers down a bit; it’s ridiculous to think that it would reasonably drive them down this much. Not, at least, in a healthily and normally functioning market—which this offseason’s quite clearly is not.