Apr 2, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Kansas City Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas (8) at bat against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas City Royals are Stuck With Mike Moustakas


 

Mar 31, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Kansas City Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas (8) makes a throw against the Detroit Tigers during an opening day baseball game at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Ten games, and 41 plate appearances, are hardly a large enough of a sample size to accurately determine how a player will produce. Yet, when that player has a history of disappointing at the major league level, even that small of a sample size can be enough to make people want to write off a player. That is the point that Mike Moustakas presently finds himself at.

Now, after 1500 plate appearances at the major league level, the Royals need Moustakas to produce. As staff writer Alan Todd so eloquently stated yesterday, Moustakas now needs to do more than show occasional glimpses of promise. At this point, the Royals need a third baseman that can produce at an acceptable level. In fact, after the way Moustakas has performed over the past two plus years, finding a third baseman that is essentially adequate would be a major improvement.

The only problem is, should Mike Moustakas still not be producing after the Ned Yost mandated 100 at bats, who will replace him? Danny Valencia has not proven that he can be an everyday option at third, and seemingly fits best in a platoon situation with Moustakas. Johnny Giavotella has been playing third with the Omaha Storm Chasers, yet seems to have fallen out of favor with the Royals. Of course, his own struggles at the major league level have not helped to force the Royals to keep him on the roster.

If not Moustakas, the Royals best option at third base may be either Hunter Dozier or Cheslor Cuthbert. Cuthbert has been hitting the ball well thus far for the Northwest Arkansas Naturals in the early going, posting a .286/.390/.371 batting line. Unfortunately, his defense has been worse than abysmal, as Cuthbert has already committed six errors in 32 chances. Dozier, meanwhile, is off to a slow start with the Wilmington Blue Rocks, and may not be an option until 2015 at the earliest.

If not for the prospects, then the Royals may have to get creative to replace Mike Moustakas. They could theoretically move Alex Gordon from left to his original position at third, inserting Jarrod Dyson or Justin Maxwell into the starting lineup. They could look at free agents such as Stephen Drew or Placido Polanco. Or the Royals could consider a trade involving someone like Casey McGehee. Yet, none of these options appear to be overly enticing either.

For as much as Moustakas has struggled this season, the fact of the matter is that the Royals may be stuck with him, at least for 2014. There just does not appear to be a viable secondary option available for the Royals to replace Moustakas in the lineup. Unless he continues to hit at a .111/.220/.167 rate over the next few weeks, Moustakas is likely to remain in the lineup.

The Kansas City Royals gambled that Mike Moustakas would perform at an acceptable level in 2014. Now, they appear to have no other choice than to keep Moustakas in the lineup for most of this season.

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  • The Plaindealer

    You’re right, David. Nice piece.
    Your assessment that they are stuck between a “rock and Dozier” is exactly right. It’s hard to imagine how hard Dayton must have to swallow every time Moose slumps back to the dugout. This is the “Shields” year, the do-or-die year. Butler is off to a slow start, but we expect him to recover. Moose has yet to show that ability.
    We all may suffer along with him this season, barring a trade.

  • Eric Akers

    I don’t mind the AGord to 3rd and Maxwell to left scenario.

  • nathan82

    My guess is they give him that coveted 100 at bats. If he is still not producing, we will see a true platoon with Valencia. If by the all-star break that tandem are not producing(likely) then we will see something happen. That gives the guys in the minors a chance to figure it out. Hopefully the season is not sunk by then. Or maybe Moose just figures it out and this will all be a distant memory by July.

  • cardsfanatik

    I like the thoughts Dave, what I don’t like is the fact your probably right about “being stuck” with him. For some reason, he’s not getting it done. His first taste of MLB experience was pretty good, just don’t know what the hell happened after that. And frankly, I’m tired of wondering. If he doesn’t break out soon, I’m not sure he ever will. And if they don’t change it up, well they’re just insane.

    • Dave Hill

      I’m right with you on that. I just wonder why Yost thinks these 100 at bats are so important when he’s already seen over 1000 at bats at the major league level already.

      • cardsfanatik

        Well, they gave the excuse that you can’t “truly” evaluate a player until 1500 PA’s. Well, that time is here, and so I think its time that they face facts, and just admit he’s a bust. I know he’s still young, but come on, the Royal’s have a brief window here, and I’m not ready for them to piss it away, just to watch 20 more years of “we’re building” baseball. Teams can only build for so long, before fans can truly call BULLSHIT

        • Dave Hill

          So, Moustakas has to be a vortex of awful for three years before they acknowledge that? That is completely insane. Yet, they are perfectly willing to give up on other players based on 100 at bats. Their rationale, at times, is enough to trigger one of my chronic migraines.

          • cardsfanatik

            Yep, I don’t understand them myself. I’m not sure Gio got a full 100 AB’s before their minds were made up either. (Gio is just an example)

          • Dave Hill

            Gio is exactly who I was thinking of. Funny how certain players get those chances, but not others.

  • hade-n-mac

    So now that Valencia nails a homer in the second inning of today’s game, he’s really a lot better than you’ve credited him for. He’s made the hits when the team needed him, even if he did get out on a couple AB. Still better than Moustakas.