The Reds front office made a flurry of moves this offseason that made many pundits pick the Reds as a sleeper playoff pick. One of those moves was inking 2B/3B Mike Moustakas to a four-year deal worth $64 million dollars. While a small portion of MLB fans questioned why the Reds would sign an infielder that will be 35 by the time his deal expires, an overwhelming majority of baseball enthusiasts lauded the signing of Mike Moustakas due to the playoff experience, leadership, and offensive production he’d bring to the Cincinnati Reds. Moustakas, who is affectionately known as “Moose” by fans, has not disappointed those who expected him to make a large impact in 2020. He was the missing piece that the Reds needed to become contenders for the first time in eight years.
Mike Moustakas has been elite offensively, although only playing in five games out of a possible nine. His .313/.421/.688/1.109 slash line has put him among the best in the game statistically through the first week and a half of the season. Moustakas has also gone deep twice, which extrapolated through nine games would be among the league leaders. Some might attribute his amazing numbers to Great American Ball Park (which is known as a “hitter’s park,” a park with a relatively short distance from home plate to the outfield walls). Nonetheless, he’s been one of the top offensive contributors in the entire league and perhaps the best bat on the Cincinnati Reds so far.
In his entire career leading up to his signing with the Reds, Moustakas has made four playoff appearances with the Royals and the Brewers and was a member of the 2015 World Series champion Royals. He knows what it’s like to be part of a winning ballclub and will do his best to transfer that mentality over to the Reds. He’s no slouch in October, either. In the 2014 postseason, he led all players in home runs with five bombs, including a go-ahead eleventh inning shot in Game One of the 2014 ALDS. More recently, he hit a tenth inning walk-off single in Game One of the 2018 NLDS against the Colorado Rockies.
As a seasoned veteran, Moustakas was expected by pundits to be a leader for this year’s Reds, who have many key players that are relatively young and inexperienced. Moustakas has been described as positive and likable by his fellow Reds. Manager David Bell has also lauded Moustakas’ skills with communicating with teammates individually. Moustakas also set a good example when he entered the Reds summer camp having shed fifteen pounds. Add along his playoff experience and you’ll have a player that any skipper would long to have on their team.
Mike Moustakas has set a great first impression in a Reds uniform. With his lauded leadership skills, excellent offensive production, and extensive postseason experience, he is proving to be an extremely valuable presence for the Cincinnati ballclub. He was the missing piece to a new era of the Big Red Machine.