3 Reasons Why Mike Moustakas Would Be Good Fit for Phillies
3. Buys Time for Top Prospect Alec Bohm
There is always a concern of the next Jim Thome blocking the way for the next rising star, such as Ryan Howard in the early 2000s.
Mike Moustakas, surely, would not come close to the impact the eventual Hall of Famer in Thome had. Still, signing him would not hinder top prospect Alec Bohm‘s playing time at the hot corner on a long-term basis.
“The reason I think [Moustakas is] such a fit,” Salisbury said, “is the possibility of a two-year deal allows you to keep a lot of options open with Alec Bohm and others that might come along. On a short-term deal, he doesn’t necessarily block the progress of Alec Bohm forever, at least substantially.”
While Bohm has drawn attention this offseason playing in the Arizona Fall League and overseas in the WBSC Premier 12 competition, he is still a ways away from taking the batter’s box for the first time at the major league level.
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“[Bohm] needs to go to Triple-A and needs some more time in the minor leagues,” Salisbury said. “He could be knocking on the door later [next season].”
Even if Moustakas comes in 2020 and departs after 2021, there is still a possibility that Bohm may never even play the hot corner at the major league level. Several scouts and “good baseball people” that Salisbury trusts have shared with him their skepticism that Bohm “is actually going to be a major league third baseman.”
Salisbury says, “I don’t think anyone doubts that he’s going to be a major league hitter, going to be a major leaguer, a major league contributor. But, there are real questions about his long-term viability defensively at third base.”
Bohm committed four errors at third base in just 10 games and 85 innings in recent Arizona Fall League action. In 71 innings and eight games at first base, meanwhile, he committed only one error. This pattern remains true in Double-A action with the Reading Fighting’ Phils in 2019: 371 1/3 innings and eight errors and third base, as opposed to 93 1/3 innings and just one error at first base.
According to Salisbury, Bohm “could be a candidate to move across the diamond to play first base,” and he has also heard him “as a candidate to play the outfield”:
"“First base would seem to be a stronger possibility, if indeed they were ever to make a position change. That all plays in, because Rhys Hoskins coming off a down year, he’s going to be looking to rebound in 2020. If he doesn’t and Bohm looks like he could maybe go over to first base some day, that could maybe free up them to think about trading Rhys Hoskins for pitching down the line.”"
Over the past three seasons, Moustakas has a combined 87 doubles, 101 home runs and 267 RBI in 443 games. Clearly, there are many pros of signing Moustakas on an affordable, two-year deal, rather than signing Donaldson or Rendon to a longer commitment and higher AAV. Not to mention, Moustakas would not be tied to draft-pick compensation, if signed.
There is also the added variable of when Bohm is ready, and where, that come into play for the Phillies’ decision this offseason as they look to move on from Franco.
Time will tell on what general manager Matt Klentak and fellow Phillies brass decide.