Mike Moustakas has never been given a fair shake since signing with the Reds

Mike Moustakas struggled while playing multiple positions.
Mike Moustakas struggled while playing multiple positions. / Mitchell Leff/GettyImages

Mike Moustakas has become a punching bag for Cincinnati Reds fans in a challenging 2022 season.  His offensive production hasn’t lived up to the large contract he signed prior to the 2020 season. But Moustakas really never had a chance to succeed with the Cincinnati Reds.

Between getting bounced around multiple defensive positions (first, second, and third base) and multiple stints (five this season alone) on the Injured ist, he was never able to establish himself.

When the Reds signed Moustakas to a four-year contract in 2019, he was to play second base, despite spending most of his career at third base. But Eugenio Suarez had just mashed 49 home runs the season before and was signed through the 2024 season. Moustakas did have experience at the keystone from his time in Milwaukee.

Mike Moustakas never had a consistent defensive position with the Reds.

Mike Moustakas played 243.1 innings at second base in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. But Moose also played 63.2 innings at first base for almost the first time in his career. Moustakas played 35 innings at first for the Kansas City Royals in 2018. 

In 2021, Jonathan India claimed the second base position during Spring Training, which caused a snowball effect. The Reds moved Moustakas back to the hot corner and Eugenio Suarez to his original position of shortstop.

Suarez's move to shortstop was a huge failure and the Reds ended up moving him back to third base, which, in turn, ousted Moustakas (who missed a good chunk of time in 2021 due to a lower leg injury). By the end of 2021, Moustakas had played 349.1 innings at third base, 57 innings at first base, and 10.2 innings at second base.

This season, Moustakas has been even more of a nomad with even worse results at the plate. Moose has played 178 innings at third base, 160.1 innings at first base in place of Joey Votto, and 30 games as the team's designated hitter. While some players have a knack for that "super utility" role, that doesn't seem to fit Moustakas.

Although players don’t like to make excuses, a lack of a consistent defensive home might have greatly affected Mike Moustakas' overall production. That, plus the frequent visits to the IL, haven’t given Moustakas a chance to show the kind of player he could be with the Cincinnati Reds. The 33-year-old has one year remaining on his contract and will be paid $18M in 2024.

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