SAN FRANCISCO — It was quite a trip for Mike Moustakas — from coast to coast, from last place to a pennant race.
The power-hitting Royals third baseman was having dinner with his wife in New York on Friday night after a rainout at Yankee Stadium when told the Royals had traded him to Milwaukee. Moustakas quickly boarded a late flight to join the Brewers in San Francisco.
Manager Craig Counsell wasted no time getting the two-time All-Star into the lineup either. Moustakas was put into the third spot in the order Saturday night against the Giants.
“It was definitely a little jarring yesterday,” Moustakas said. “Obviously when you’ve been somewhere your entire life as a professional baseball player, it’s tough to leave that place.”
“I was kind of disappointed I wasn’t able to say goodbye to everybody that put in so much time and effort into making me a better baseball player and a better person. That was the most disappointing part,” he said.
The 29-year-old Moustakas batted .249 with 20 home runs and 62 RBIs in 98 games with the Royals this season.
And at least Moustakas found one familiar face with the Brewers, who are chasing the NL Central-leading Chicago Cubs and trying to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2011. Moustakas and outfielder Lorenzo Cain spent seven seasons together in Kansas City and helped the Royals to a pair of World Series appearances and the 2015 championship. Cain joined the Brewers as a free agent in the offseason.
The lockers for Moustakas and Cain in the visitors’ clubhouse at AT&T Park were separated by a vacant stall. Cain, who batted second Saturday night, was excited about reuniting with his former teammate.
“We’ve all seen what he can do,” Cain said. “A great teammate, a great competitor. It adds depth, strengthens our lineup. He’s just going to be a huge hitter for us. I’m glad he’s here. Now we go. We’ll see what happens. At the same we know we’re getting a good player.”
Moustakas was acquired for outfielder Brett Phillips and right-hander Jorge Lopez, a move that adds both power and playoff experience to Milwaukee’s roster.
“He’s a true middle-of-the-order run producer,” Counsell said. “A tough out, high contact, really good power coming from a place that’s a tough place to hit home runs in. There’s a lot of things that are attractive to what we need and what we’re planning on doing.”
He joins a lineup that features All-Stars Jesus Aguilar, Christian Yelich and Cain.
“When I was in Kansas City, we played these guys and it was already a dangerous lineup,” Moustakas said. “To be able to come in here and join this group and throw my name in with these guys is going to be awesome. I’m excited to get to work and play with some of these great baseball players they have here already.”