Apr 9, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals second basemen Johnny Giavotella (9) gets set on defense against the Tampa Bay Rays during the fifth inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Johnny Giavotella and Mike Moustakas - a Tale of Two Players

Mar 15, 2014; Surprise, AZ, USA; Kansas City Royals second baseman Johnny Giavotella (9) hits a two-run home run during the third inning against the Chicago Cubs at Surprise Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

As Charles Dickens began his excellent work ‘A Tale of Two Cities,’ it was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness. While those words began a novel dealing with two cities, one in France and the other in England, those lines could also apply to two players on the Kansas City Royals in Johnny Giavotella and Mike Moustakas.

Moustakas, for all of his flaws, seemingly has fans where it matters most. Dayton Moore and Ned Yost have continued to give Moustakas chance after chance to be the Royals everyday third baseman despite his continued lack of success. While Moustakas has shown flashes of the talent he displayed in the minor leagues, such as hitting four home runs in a week earlier this season, he just has not progressed into a major league third baseman. Yet, despite all the evidence staring Moore and Yost in the face, they keep setting arbitrary benchmarks for his performance, saying that he cannot be truly evaluated until he reaches 1500 at bats in his career or 100 plate appearances this season.

Giavotella, like Moustakas, has struggled during most of his time in the major leagues. However, unlike the current Royals third baseman, Giavotella has not had the opportunities that Moustakas has continually received. While Giavotella had his chances in 2011 and 2012, they were not nearly for the same extended amount of time. Having struggled during his auditions, Giavotella has been banished to Omaha, reappearing only in September or when the Royals are in a dire need of a backup infielder and have exhausted their other options.

At this point, Johnny Giavotella has to be wondering what he did to raise the Royals ire. While he received a quick appearance in Kansas City this season, Giavotella has been putting together a season in AAA that should be garnering attention. Heading into yesterday’s action, Giavotella has produced a .370/.433/.519 batting line. While he is never going to be a power hitter, Giavotella has ten extra base hits and has even walked more times (9) than he has struck out (5) on the season. Much like Mike Aviles before him, it appears as though Giavotella will have to force the Royals to give him an extended chance. Right now, with his production in Omaha, he could be doing just that.

Interestingly enough, should Giavotella get that chance, it could be at the expense of Mike Moustakas. After playing all of five games at third in his minor league career before 2013, Giavotella has manned the hot corner 41 times over the past two seasons. In fact, he has played more games at third this year than he has anywhere else on the diamond.

With Moustakas continuing to struggle, this could be the break that Johnny Giavotella has been waiting for. With Hunter Dozier and Chelsor Cuthbert on the horizon, Giavotella is certainly not going to be expected to be the future for the Royals at third. He could, however, be a better option than what Moustakas is providing presently.

The struggles of Mike Moustakas could open the door for Johnny Giavotella to get another chance. If that happens, then Giavotella’s story may not end in disappointment.

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Tags: Johnny Giavotella Kansas City Royals Mike Moustakas

  • unclejesse40

    Here is what I see happening. Gio gets to come up and Moose goes down. This lasts for about a week. Gio hits around .250 plays ok defense. Moose goes down and crushes AAA pitchers in a hitter friendly ballpark and gets to come back up, never to go down again. Now if this was me, I would send Moose down for about a month, and let Gio play between 3rd and 2nd giving Infante an off night every so often. Moose needs to actually work on stuff in the minors not just go down and hit a couple of homers in a week. If Gio is at least average you have some trade bait. Not expecting much of a trade but a low A level pitcher with a high upside but struggling would be worth the lotto ticket. Gio just gets no love in this organization, poor guy.

    • jimfetterolf

      Agree. Moose would have to hit .350, .420 OBP, and 30% line drive rate to come back up. If it takes him the rest of the year to do it, fine.

  • flan50

    The way this organization has jerked Gio around is something that really sticks in my craw. Brief, sporadic looks, always with the caveat hanging over his head that “he was on the clock”, never able to relax and play with any comfort level. I’ve watched Johnny at Omaha and he’s always been one of my favorites. Always hustling and grinding away. Never complaining or bitching about any raw deals, just performing. Is he gonna be a great major league player? Doubtful. But I think he’s earned the shot – somewhere – for an extended look to see if he can’t be a solid contributor. I, for one, have believed, and still do, that he can help a major league team that gives him a legit chance and doesn’t always harp on what he “can’t do.” Allow him to relax and play with some confidence and he just might surprise everybody. And, an extended period in Omaha for Moose to regain his mechanics, approach, mental stability and confidence could do wonders as well. Even if its a year late!

    • jimfetterolf

      Last year Tejada, Gio, and Bonifacio all got cracks at 2nd. Two of them performed. Do agree on Moose, still don’t like his swing, too much weight on the front foot, diving at balls. Also agree that Gio has earned another shot and replacing Maxwell or Moose is the obvious opening.

  • moretrouble

    I don’t see why the front office doesn’t just bring Giavotella up as a bench player and let Maxwell go. Now that Cain is back, the team could use another IFer, Gio could sub at all three IF spots and frankly, he deserves to pull the MLB minimum for the rest of the year.

    • jimfetterolf

      Agree. Maxwell isn’t showing much and Paulo Orlando shows some depth at OF for the next time Cain goes down, which has been the only reason for keeping five OFs. From what I read, Gio is brutal at 3rd, has improved at 2nd, and has played a little LF so could pinch hit late for Gordon against a tough lefty. And he’s earned another shot.

      • Hunter Samuels

        I’m curious where you’ve read that Gio is brutal at 3rd. I haven’t seen much of him there, but that seems to be a bit of an overstatement, as I haven’t seen those kind of reports.

        • jimfetterolf

          BR has him at .912 fld% at 3rd, last year .931. Short of competent eyeballs reporting on him, that’s the best I’ve got. If I remember I’ll ask Clint.

      • moretrouble

        You won’t see Johnny Giavotella pinch hitting for Alex Gordon.

  • jimfetterolf

    Gio called up, starts at 2nd tonight.