Mike Moustakas has 36 home runs this year. That’s more than any two Giants combined. It’s just one fewer than the highest total you can make from a combination of any three Giants on the active roster. You can understand why the Giants are interested. They have dinger fever and, buddy, I’m not stopping them. This team needs to hit home runs.
This comes up now because Jon Heyman is doing a cursory look at where different free agents might end up this offseason.
Considering the Giants’ wherewithal, desire to win and hope for more power, they seem to be the fashionable guess.
“The Giants will be all over (Moustakas),” predicts one rival.
This is just a guess, a marriage of need and available solutions. It’s hard to emphasize just how bad of an idea he would be for the Giants, though. It would be a debacle. And the Giants are, of course, interested.
Consider that ...
Moustakas will be 29 next year and likely get a five-year deal. He’ll be a fine player for a couple years, and then he’ll slow a bit, and then he’ll slow even more by the end. The Giants are very much in win-now-even-if-they-want-to-win-later mode, so that’s fine. Just know that it will get ugly.
Moustakas is a left-handed hitter. That’s a problem. The good news is that he’s a big, beefy baseball boy, and his home runs go far. Check out the park overlay from ESPN’s Home Run Tracker:
He would still have 30 or more home runs ... except a simple park overlay doesn’t include the marine air. It’s not just that AT&T Park gets deep in Triples Alley, and it’s not just because it has a high wall. It’s the air, too.
And this assumes that Moustakas is really a 35-homer kind of hitter now. His previous career high is 22. While it’s fair to suggest that he’s a part of the launch-angle revolution, it’s not a given that his gains will translate to AT&T Park. Remember, the new (unintentionally?) juiced ball doesn’t seem to work at AT&T for whatever reason.
Moustakas has troubles getting on base. His career on-base percentage is .305. His OBP this season is .315. He was hurt last year, but see if you can spot the anomaly in his career:
What the Giants would be doing is giving a monster contract to a player who makes a ton of outs and gambling on his power to make up for it. At AT&T Park. Even though this is his first great power year.
Moustakas isn’t a superstar defender. I’m wary of single-season defensive numbers, and you should be too. Moustakas’ numbers are down this year according to dWAR and FanGraphs’ defensive metrics. That doesn’t prove anything, but the numbers for his entire career suggest that he’s pretty okay, nothing more. Hey, I’m very much into pretty okay! Especially when it comes with 36 homers or more. But this isn’t a Pedro Feliz situation, where he can help a team win even when he’s struggling at the pate.
If the ballpark sucks his home runs into the void and he continues cruising along at a .300 or .310 OBP, he would be a problem for a team that’s not needing any more offensive problems. And that could happen next year. Forget the long-term contract. Next year would be a concern. It’s possible for Moustakas to be a fine player who’s a poor fit for the Giants.
You have dinger fever. I have dinger fever. Dingers would sate the hunger that defines us. Smart dingers, though. Smart dingers. If Moustakas’ asking price tumbles to the point where he would be just one part of a multi-pronged offseason plan, I’ll listen. If he’s The Home Run Man now, and his contract wipes out the rest of the budget, forget it. There are too many red flags for a team that needs too much help.