Reds DH Mike Moustakas could benefit greatly from defensive rules changes

Cincinnati Reds first  baseman Mike Moustakas.
Cincinnati Reds first baseman Mike Moustakas. / David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco Giants just doled out a lot of money to Joc Pederson. Yes, the Joc Pederson that former Cincinnati Reds outfielder Tommy Pham slapped across the face over a fantasy football league dispute.

The Giants extended a qualifying offer to Pederson for the 2023 which the 30-year-old will surely sign. This qualifying offer is worth $19.65M. While Pederson did put up career numbers in 2022 and could reject the QO, becoming a free agent, that seems rather unlikely.

According to ESPN's Buster Olney, among the takeaways for some leaving the GM meetings, there is a big spike in the perceived value of left-handed hitters like Pederson. How will these rule changes benefit Reds infielder Mike Moustakas and may that give Cincinnati some incentive to keep him on the team heading into the 2023 season.

Mike Moustakas could benefit greatly from defensive rules changes.

Mike Moustakas had a down-year in 2022. Scratch that! Mike Moustakas' entire career has been a downhill slide since he signed a four-year/$64M contract with the Cincinnati Reds prior to the 2020 season. Last year's pitiful performance was just the icing on the cake of what will likely go down as the worst free agent in Reds history.

But fortunately for Moustakas, he may have an opportunity to redeem himself in 2023. If, and that's a big if, the Reds choose to bring Moose back for the final year of his contract, there'll be a big change that is sure to benefit the 34-year-old.

Next season, Major League Baseball will be banning the shift. Essentially, before a pitch is thrown, only two players can be on either side of second base. What a novel concept, right? Baseball being played the way it had been for years.

So instead of seeing Joey Votto, Jonathan India, and Kyle Farmer all on the right-hand side of the infield while Jose Barrero is the lone player occupying the left side of the diamond, only Votto and India can be on the right side while Barrero and Farmer must stay grounded on the left.

This rule change will no doubt help those pesky pull hitters who'd see the second baseman obnoxiously occupying shallow right field in order to rob him of what would have been a base hit from 1885 until about 15 years ago.

Mike Moustakas, according to FanGraphs, pulled the ball 44.4% of the time during his limited at-bats in 2022. The year before, Moose pulled the ball to the right side 43.6% of the time. That mark would have put Moustakas among the Top 35 hitters in all of baseball, right behind Ronald Acuña Jr.

The Cincinnati Reds are on the hook for the' $22M remaining on Moustakas' contract whether he suits up for them in 2023 or not. While the argument can defintely be made for the Reds to release Moose in the coming days, this is an intriguiing development and one worth keeping an eye on.

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