When the Brewers agreed to bring back free agent Mike Moustakas on a one-year deal, the assumption was that the move meant a return to the “Big Boy Infield” we saw in the second half of last season, with Travis Shaw moving back to second base.
Hold that thought, though, according to Shaw himself:
I consider this a hint as to where Mike Moustakas will play with #Brewers: Travis Shaw just said he expects to play third base.— Tom (@Haudricourt) February 18, 2019
Just a couple days before the signing, Shaw said he would welcome Moustakas back to the team with open arms. He also said he knew it was a possibility Moustakas would return, so it’s not a stretch to think he may have had some conversations with Craig Counsell about what would happen in that scenario.
It’s also worth noting that when the trade for Moustakas happened last July, Moose said he would be willing to spend some time at second base. If Shaw is confident he’ll stay at third, maybe it’s Moustakas’ turn to try his hand there. Considering their size and athletic abilities — and the fact that Shaw is the stronger defender of the two at third base — Moustakas at second always seemed to make a bit more sense in the grand scheme of things, even if they didn’t want to ask him to play there last year.
With plenty of time in camp to get comfortable, though, that may be where we’re headed. It appears Tom Haudricourt thinks so, as he alluded to both in his second base preview for the Journal-Sentinel and on Twitter:
They have six weeks. Shaw did it on the fly in a pennant race. https://t.co/Gd10EPWW7r— Tom (@Haudricourt) February 18, 2019
Spring Training gives the Brewers time to figure things out without the pressure of a pennant race. If the Moustakas-At-Second experiment goes as poorly as the Scooter Gennett-In-The-Outfield or Ryan Braun-At-First experiments, then perhaps we don’t see it in the regular season, but at least this time it has the benefit of not costing the team any games — and they already know Shaw isn’t a disaster there if they have to revert back to the 2018 alignment.
Counsell himself says Moustakas will get time at second base this spring:
Craig Counsell confirms Mike Moustakas will be looked at, at second base in camp.— Tom (@Haudricourt) February 18, 2019