The feeling in this hot stove season is that the Braves would prefer to move Martin Prado back to third base (his best position) while trying to find two outfielders. However, with talk last offseason and again recently that Mike Moustakas might be available by the Kansas City Royals the Braves should look to make him part of their young nucleus. The Braves would be a good trade partner for the Royals who are looking to add young starting pitching and the Braves are one of the only teams with a surplus of young talent at that position.
Moustakas will be entering his third season in the majors (second full season) and at the age of 24 would fit right in with the potential growth of the other young Braves, first baseman Freddie Freeman, right fielder Jason Heyward and shortstop Andrelton Simmons who are all 23 years of age.
While he started slow when he was first brought up in 2011 (5 HR, 30 RBI in 89 games) Moustakas progressed in his first full season in 2012 (34 Doubles, 20 HR, 73 RBI, .412 SLG and .708 OPS in 149 games), although on the downside his batting average was low at .242 and he struckout 124 times. While he is an average third baseman defensively, Moustakas does make all the routine plays at the hot corner. By already having a sensational defensive shortstop with the range that Andrelton Simmons has, Moustakas’ range should not be an issue for the Braves. Add to all this the fact that the Braves would be paying him only $487,250 in 2012 and have Moustakas under their control until 2018, the Braves would still have plenty of cash to bring in a leadoff hitter/center fielder and improve their bench.
Despite the fact that Moustakas would be another left handed hitter in the Braves lineup the chance to add another young player to the already young nucleus should be considered. The Braves could still find a leadoff hitter/centerfielder that is a righthanded hitter and/or if second baseman Dan Uggla can bounce back from a poor 2012 he could be moved up in the lineup. The potential growth plus cost effectiveness of adding Moustakas to the young nucleus would be a smart move for the Braves to make.