Moustakas more comfortable entering second season with Reds

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Mike Moustakas interview (Feb. 24, 2021)

Second baseman hit .230 in 60-game 2020 season

Second baseman Mike Moustakas didn’t get to do many of the things he enjoys about baseball in his first season with the Cincinnati Reds. Going out to dinner with teammates or hanging out with them away from the field in any way didn’t happen because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“This year, hopefully we get a chance to do that a little bit more and get to spend a lot more time with each other and each other’s families,” Moustakas said Wednesday, “because at the end of the day, our families are a part of what we’re doing, too. That’s something I really missed last year, and I’m looking forward to hopefully doing that this year.”

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Moustakas, 32, signed a four-year, $64 million contract with the Reds in December 2019. It was the largest free-agent deal in franchise history.

Like most of the Reds, Moustakas struggled at the plate during the 60-game 2020 season. He hit .230 with eight home runs and 27 RBIs, though he did post the second-best on-base percentage (.331) of his career. In 2019, baseball’s last full season, he hit .254 with 35 home runs and 87 RBIs with the Milwaukee Brewers.

Entering his second season in Cincinnati, Moustakas feels more camaraderie with his teammates.

“Last year was so different for so many reasons,” he said. “There were so many different challenges that we went through off the field as well as on the field. Last year, I was still new. This year, I feel a little bit more comfortable. I know the guys a lot more. They know me a lot better. Those 60 games we played, there were a lot of a lot of ups and downs throughout that season. I think most of all it was for the good, and we’re going to use that experience we had last year and put it toward this year.”

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Injuries hurt Moustakas’ performance last year as well. He missed two weeks with a quad strain early in the season.

“It definitely factored into it,” he said. “I’m never going to be one to sit here and make excuses for my performance on the field. If I’m on the field, that means I’m in my mind 100 percent ready to go. Last year I didn’t play as well as I wanted to play, and I think that goes offensively top to bottom. We didn’t do as well as we wanted to do offensively. But again, a 60-game short season, who knows what could have happened in the other 102 games? But that being said, we learned a lot, and we’re going to use what we learned in all those failures. We’re going to get better, and we’re going to move forward. I can’t wait to see what this group of guys can do throughout 162. I’m really excited.”


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