Baltimore Orioles vs Kansas City Royals: 5 players to watch

(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /
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Baltimore Orioles
(Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /

Mike Moustakas, 3B

Moustakas was one of many free agents who settled for a meager deal this past offseason — after hitting 38 home runs in 2017, tied for most in the AL Central, he wound up back in Kansas City for just $5.5 million, with only a $15 million mutual option for next year to sweeten the pot.

It hasn’t taken him long to show that the Royals got a tremendous discount. Through 34 games, Moustakas is slashing .291/.326/.545 with eight home runs, putting him on pace for some of the best numbers of his career. Come July, he could be an attractive trade chip for a team that’s gotten little production from the rest of its lineup.

The Orioles will have to pitch him carefully when he visits Camden Yards, but it didn’t have to be this way. Per Roch Kubatko of MASN, the Birds discussed signing Moustakas as a free agent. The front office apparently quarreled over the importance of his .302 career on-base percentage and ultimately dropped out of the running, but with a Baltimore fire sale looming, the two-time All-Star would have been a nice piece at the trade deadline.

Moustakas wouldn’t have turned the Birds into a playoff team, but with Pedro Alvarez and Danny Valencia getting regular at bats, they certainly could have done better at the hot corner. If he rakes this week, the entire organization will be left wondering what could have been.