CINCINNATI (AP) — All-Star infielder Mike Moustakas and the Cincinnati Reds have agreed to a $64 million, four-year contract, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press, the team’s first move to upgrade a lineup that struggled to score.
For the second straight offseason, the Reds are making a splurge in free agency as they try to shake themselves out of a rut of six straight losing seasons. Their first move involves getting a player from the NL Central-rival Milwaukee Brewers. The 31-year-old could fill the Reds’ hole at second base that opened when Scooter Gennett got hurt and then was traded last season.
Cincinnati scored the fourth-fewest runs in the NL last season despite one of the league’s most hitter-friendly ballparks. Bulking up on offense, stabilizing the outfield and overhauling the bullpen are the Reds’ priorities in the offseason.
Moustakas is a first step toward fixing the offense. He hit .254 with 35 homers and 87 RBIs this year, making his third All-Star team. He began the season at second base and moved to third with Travis Shaw in a slump. Cincinnati has Eugenio Suarez at third base.
Moustakas has 42 games of playoff experience with the Royals in 2014-15 and the Brewers the last two seasons.
Moustakas rejected a $17.4 million qualifying offer from Kansas City after the 2017 season but eventually returned to the Royals on a one-year deal. He was traded to the Brewers that July and finished with a .251 average, 28 homers and 95 RBIs.
He had a $7 million salary this year and gets a $3 million buyout for declining his $10 million option. He’s made $18.7 million on a pair of one-year deals the last two seasons.
The Reds also agreed with outfielder Travis Jankowski on a $1.05 million, one-year contract.
Cubs cut Russell year after domestic violence ban
CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Cubs did not offer a 2020 contract to shortstop Addison Russell on Monday, making the 2016 All-Star a free agent one year after he was suspended for violating Major League Baseball’s domestic violence policy.
Russell was banned for 40 games last offseason after a series of allegations made by ex-wife Melisa Reidy. The 25-year-old returned to the Cubs in May and batted a career-low .237 with nine homers, 23 RBIs and a .699 OPS.
Russell earned $4 million in 2019 and was likely to gain a raise in arbitration.
Russell received a mixed welcome from fans at Wrigley Field and was booed often on the road after serving his suspension.
The Cubs also agreed to a $640,000, one-year deal with right-hander Jharel Cotton and failed to offer a contract to left-hander Danny Hultzen before the tender deadline. Hultzen, the second-overall pick in the 2011 amateur draft, overcame numerous injuries to make his major league debut in 2019. He pitched 3 1/3 scoreless innings over six appearances.
Royals agree with LHP Montgomery on $3.1
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Royals and left-hander Mike Montgomery, the club’s once-heralded prospect, agreed to a $3.1 million contract for next season on Monday to avoid salary arbitration.
Montgomery was traded to the Rays as part of a blockbuster deal in 2012.
Montgomery went on to pitch for the Mariners and Cubs before returning to Kansas City last season, when Chicago traded him for backup catcher Martin Maldonado. He wound up making 13 starts for the Royals, going 2-7 with a 4.64 ERA.
Montgomery, who made $2.44 million last season, is 23-34 with a 3.83 ERA in 180 appearances.