Mike Moustakas could rake as the Phillies third baseman

OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 15: Mike Moustakas
OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 15: Mike Moustakas /
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Third base has been a lingering question for the Phillies, and the answer could arrive this offseason

The hot corner has been a hot stove issue for the Phillies since the great Michael Jack Schmidt retired in 1989. Scott Rolen, Dave Hollins, Juan Castro, Pedro Feliz, and Cody Asche have floated through but few have stuck as franchise cornerstones.

Maikel Franco was the next great thing, drawing MVP premonitions from the great Schmidt himself. Set to turn 25-years-old next week, Franco’s major league career has gone wayside similar to Dominic Brown and Asche.

In 362 major league games, Franco is hitting just .242 with 56 home runs and 242 strikeouts.His lack of approach at the plate is beyond frustrating for fans and coaches alike.

Most fans have their eyes set on Orioles star Manny Machado, due to hit free agency in 2019. It gives Franco one last shot to win the franchise over while potentially driving the team towards signing a young superstar in free agency.

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However, Machado isn’t the only hot third baseman looming on the open market. Royals slugger Mike Moustakas, after tearing his ACL last season, is on a tear for Kansas City with a career-high 35 home runs this season.

If Philadelphia were to add a veteran bat this offseason with the hopes of growing the team around said player, Moustakas should be the first call they make in December.

Turing 29-years-old this year Moustakas is set to enter his eighth major league season in 2018. After a season-ending knee injury in 2016, “Moose” has more home runs this year than the Phillies top two long ball leaders (Franco and Aaron Altherr) combined.

A vast majority of the lefty’s home run balls are pulled into right field, as shown by this Fangraphs chart below.

Source:

Fourteen of Moustakas’ 35 home runs have been at Kauffman Stadium, where the right field wall is marked at 330 feet, the same distance as the Phillies right field foul pole. What would favor him playing 81 games at The Bank is the right field power alley marked at 369 feet, which is 20 feet shorter compared to Kauffman.

Outside of Kauffman this season, Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago and Safeco Field in Seattle are tied for the most road home runs for Moustakas this year. Right field in Chicago is marked at 335 feet at the pole and 372 in the power alley, and Seattle is 326 feet to the pole and 381 feet to right center.

If Moustakas gets 81 games in Philadelphia he could have a 45 home run season for the Phillies.

Phillies
MIAMI, FL – JULY 17: Nick Williams #5 of the Philadelphia Phillies hits an RBI single in the third inning during a game against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on July 17, 2017 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

Having a left-handed power bat in the middle of Philadelphia’s lineup next year, and potentially beyond, would be incredibly important. Only two pure left-handed bats (Odubel Herrera and Nick Williams) are projected to start next year. Switch-hitters Freddy Galvis and Cesar Hernandez are each question marks for next year despite their impressive production, but young prospects J.P. Crawford and Scott Kingery may push them out down the road.

Perhaps most important with Moustakas is not the bat, but the leadership and experience he brings to one of the youngest ballclubs in the league. With World Series experience, and the ring to prove it, Moustakas can be the leader with an investment in this team the likes of Michael Saunders and Howie Kendrick never brought.

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As a small market club, it’s highly unlikely the Royals can afford to keep Moustakas beyond this season.

Philadelphia has the financial means to sway the third baseman in their direction as a team set to compete on and off the field with youth and a strong financial backing.

Franco can be packaged with first baseman Tommy Joseph or dealt as an individual to a team, potentially Kansas City given their needs and financial limitations, for more pitching prospects in the organization.

Next: Phillies top 25 under 25: Ranking young players

It’s time for the franchise to invest not just in the long-term future with prospects, but the short-term by getting a player such as Moustakas that can contribute down the road for a division title, and potentially a championship.

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