Last year Mike Moustakas should have gone back to the minors, but that never happened. He worked hard in the off-season, put another great spring together, and again has fallen on his face. Something on this team needs to get shaken up before we see them play their way out of contention again, and it is time to let everyone know that results matter. For that to happen, Moose needs to go.
Moustakas is a good defensive third baseman, but he is an awful big league hitter. The first half of 2012 is the only time he did anything well hitting .268/.327/.490 over 327 plate appearances. Since then he has come to the plate 906 times managing a horrible .218/.274/.349 line. That is a season and a half for a regular, and it is bad enough that Yuniesky Betancourt is laughing at Moose.
This sort of performance, especially over such a long period of time, should be untenable. Moustakas cannot be continually given even a platoon job with these outcomes. He has crossed the 1500 PA threshold that has been put out by the organization without any improvement, and it is time for him to be sent to Omaha. You should not completely give up on a 25 year old player, but at some point you need to send him the message that it is not okay to suck. Of course the next question is who plays third? And the answer is pretty much anyone. I am
pretty sure Danny Valencia and Jimmy Paredes can manage to cobble together an OPS above Moose’s .565 so far this season. Also, Johnny Giavotella has started 12 times at 3B in AAA this season and is hitting in the minors again. I would rather see him than let Moustakas continue to be given opportunities that he doesn’t deserve.
The long term solution to this position is not ready yet. I love Cheslor Cuthbert, as my writing last year made apparent. He is hitting well in double A as a 21 year old, and I believe he will be the third baseman in KC by next year. A lot of people were expecting Hunter Dozier to be the guy eventually, but he is older than Cuthbert by more than a year, is still in high A ball, and is not hitting as well so far this year. I still think Dozier could end up at second base after a couple of years when Omar Infante is about done, but we shall see on that. That makes this year’s 3B position a problem, but it can be less of a problem with Moustakas somewhere else.
Maybe Moose can get things together in the minors and come back, it has worked with Alex Gordon and Billy Butler. Maybe a second half band-aid at third can be found (Chase Headley?) if the Royals can hang around and Valencia et al also seem to be struggling. Whatever the case may be, it is not okay for the team to keep running Moustakas out on a team in need of more offense. He has had more than enough chances already.