The Reds made a pair of transactions on the first day of the All-Star break, including activating infielder Mike Moustakas from the COVID-related injured list. Infielder Max Schrock was optioned to Triple-A yesterday, so there was already an open spot on Cincinnati’s active roster.
Moustakas was only placed on the COVID-IL on Thursday, so the veteran will make a relatively quick return in time to start the second half. This marks the third time Moustakas has been on the COVID-related IL this season, with his other two stints lasting a week and just a single day, respectively. A right biceps strain also sent Moustakas to the regular injured list for just a minimum 10-day stretch in April.
While none of these absences are as serious as the heel problems that limited Moustakas to only 62 games last season, the Moose’s 2022 campaign has unfortunately looked a lot like his 2021 campaign — missed time, and a lack of pop at the plate. After Moustakas hit only .208/.282/.372 over 206 plate appearances last season, he has a similar .210/.298/.337 slash line in his first 235 PA this year. There isn’t much to like about Moustakas’ advanced metrics either, as his .287 xwOBA is among the worst in the league.
With the Reds looking to cut payroll, a healthy and productive Moustakas (owed roughly $25.3MM through the end of the 2023 season) might have made an interesting trade chip. Moustakas was still an above-average hitter as recently as 2020, and he was even an All-Star in 2019 as a member of the Brewers. However, his ongoing struggles makes it very unlikely that another team would take on his contract outside of a pure salary-dump scenario, or another swap involving an undesirable contract. Theoretically, a team could offer to take on Moustakas as a sweetener in trade talks for Luis Castillo, though the Reds would probably prefer to get the maximum prospect return for Castillo rather than dilute the package just to cut salary.
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