When the Royals acquired Danny Valencia last month, it was easy to envision a platoon situation at third base with Mike Moustakas. Statistically, such a concept makes sense – Valencia hammers left handed pitching while Moustakas is at least competent against right handed pitching. The Royals had a perfect situation to play to the strengths of each player, while potentially maximizing the offensive production at third base. It just makes sense.
But…..not so fast. Dayton Moore seemingly put an end to such thoughts yesterday when he dismissed the idea of a platoon at third, stating that Moustakas is going to be the everyday third baseman. Wait….what?
“Mike Moustakas is our everyday third baseman,” Royals general manager Dayton Moore said. “It just gives us more depth, and our job as a baseball operations staff is that Ned (Yost) and the coaching staff have as much depth as possible and are in a position to match up as they see fit on any given night.”
So, if Dayton Moore is to be taken at his word, the Royals traded David Lough, who was likely going to be traded anyway due to the surplus of outfielders in Kansas City, for a player that seems to be the perfect compliment for Moustakas. Only, they do not plan on actually utilizing Danny Valencia in that fashion. Or, so Moore says.
While the Royals publicly state that Mike Moustakas is their everyday third baseman and that there is nothing to be seen despite any rumored platoon, that may not actually be the case. It could be that the Royals are giving Moustakas a public vote of confidence, letting him know that they still expect him to make a major contribution to the ballclub in 2014. Moustakas may even get the opportunity to prove that he actually can be an everyday third baseman during Spring Training, as he could face left handed pitching to see if there have been any changes. If not, then the Royals have Danny Valencia ready to take on his expected role.
Should this turn out to be the case, and Mike Moustakas is the everyday third baseman next season, it is likely to be due his improving to the point where he has begun to resemble the player the Royals envisioned. If that is the case, then Valencia may be a player that the Royals could move near the trade deadline, along with another piece or two, to get a player they need for the stretch run. However, even the time that Moustakas spent in the Venezuelan Winter League indicates that this is not likely to be the case.
The plan may well be for Mike Moustakas to be the everyday third baseman at the start of the year. Based on his track record and platoon splits, it is unlikely that the season ends with that being the case.