Brandon Moss’ power comes with a drawback

The Kansas City Royals, trying to find an inexpensive way to replace the departed Kendrys Morales, signed veteran slugger Brandon Moss to a two-year, $12 million dollar deal on Sunday.

Moss, who can play in the outfield or at first base, has belted 20 or more home runs in four out of the past five seasons, including 28 home runs this past season in 464 plate appearances with the St. Louis Cardinals. That power also comes with a sizeable number of strikeouts: Moss whiffed 141 times and had an on-base percentage of just .300. Moss is a platoon player who is best suited to face right-handed pitchers, as he hit 25 of his 28 home runs in 2016 against them.

Elite Youth Nick Foles Jersey This year’s free-agent market has seen a rapid decline in value for one-dimensional power hitters, and Moss is just another example. After making $8.25 million last year for the Cardinals, he’ll take a $2.25 million cut per year the next two years, making $6 million per for the next two seasons with the Royals.

I expect Moss will split time at DH with Pete O’Brien, who the Royals also acquired this offseason in a trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Between the two of them, they should combine to hit 30 home runs from the bottom of the Royals’ lineup. They will also come with huge strikeout totals. Moss will also give Royals manager Ned Yost some versatility in right field on days he wants to sit right fielder Jorge Soler against some tough right-handers and a back-up for Eric Hosmer if he needs a day of rest.
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Moss will not be able to make up the offensive production the team lost with Morales’ departure, but his power could help make up for some of it. Most of that burden will be on Soler, whom the Royals acquired in the Wade Davis trade with the Cubs.

Moss signing now leaves Mike Napoli, Chris Carter, Pedro Alvarez and Ryan Howard as the next four 1B/DH-type power hitters left on the free-agent market, with the Texas Rangers being the most active and most likely landing place for Napoli if he’s willing to take a one-year deal. Tampa Bay is also emerging as a strong possibility for these free agents.