Apr 13, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Kansas City Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas (8) at bat against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The Present is Passing Mike Moustakas By

Apr 11, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Kansas City Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas (8) hits a double in the second inning against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Remember back when Mike Moustakas was going to not only be the Royals third baseman of the present, but of the future as well? It was not that long ago when the power hitting Moustakas was regarded as one of the Royals top prospects, ready to help lead the Royals out of the darkness of mediocrity and into the light of the playoffs. Along with Eric Hosmer, Alex Gordon and Billy Butler, Moustaks was expected to anchor the offense for at least the next five years.

Instead, Moustakas has been an anchor to the offense. Despite showing the occasional flash of his potential, Moustakas has essentially become a black hole in the lineup, getting progressively worse each season. In what was expected to be a make or break year, he has produced a miniscule .147/.215/.321 batting line. All four of his home runs, and ten of his RBIs, came in a one week span when he briefly appeared to have figured out how to be a legitimate major league hitter. Unfortunately, that production was about as sustainable as an ice cube sitting out in the Arizona sunlight.

Now, there are rumors that the Royals are at least considering sending Mike Moustakas down to Omaha. While the move would, theoretically, be to bring up yet another in the carousel of relief options that the Royals have had in their bullpen, it certainly speaks volumes to Moustakas’s lack of production that such a move is being considered. Considering all the coddling, and the continual chances that Moustakas has received, the fact that he may be a candidate to get sent down has to be at least slightly surprising.

These latest struggles, should Moustakas not be able to correct himself at Omaha, could be the death knell for his future with the Royals. Having failed thus far in what may have been a pivotal season, Moustakas could soon find himself replaced in the lineup by the duo of Johnny Giavotella and Danny Valencia. Even if he somehow staves off this potential demotion, his time at third is seemingly drawing to an end as either Cheslor Cuthbert or Hunter Dozier are likely to be the future.

Yes, Mike Moustakas has performed well defensively. Yes, he has taken a few walks and has seen more pitches this season. However, third base is not a position where a team can carry a defensively oriented player who provides virtually nothing with the bat as an everyday player. Even the Detroit Tigers eventually learned that lesson with Brandon Inge, and Moustakas is not the defensive player that Inge was in his prime. Third base needs to be a position where the Royals have someone capable of producing runs, which Moustakas has not proven to be able to do for any length of time.

Perhaps an extended stay in Omaha will be exactly what Moustakas needs. Instead of the time spent in the Venezuelan Winter League, or the new batting stance, perhaps Moustakas needs to be sent back to languish in AAA to light a fire and correct his issues. Or, perhaps Moustakas is just one of those players who can tear apart the minor leagues, but is incapable of producing at the same level in the bright lights of the majors.

The next day or two may speak volumes for how the Royals view Mike Moustakas. A demotion could well be a sign that not only will he not be a part of the future, but that the present has passed Moustakas by as well.

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Tags: Kansas City Royals Mike Moustakas

  • ccseifert

    I’m sure this will be an unpopular opinion and you won’t agree, but I’ve been reading this site since spring training and I am amazed at how negative the vast majority of the articles here are. For a site that calls itself a Royals fan site, it’s a little disconcerting to then read 90% of the articles being negative. It might be understandable if this were the Royals of old where they were already out of contention by the end of April. But if it’s not a game recap or minors recap, it’s almost always a negative opinion piece. Are the writers here just too jaded to come up with something to not complain about? Obviously the team isn’t doing as well as we all would hope (in first place). But they’re right around .500 in May and that’s still a fairly novel thing for this team. How about being a bit more supportive of your team?

    • kibo

      Because it’s been 30 years and we are tired of the same old thing. This was supposed to be the year and we shouldn’t have to sit by like some patsy and keep taking it, that’s why.

      • Dave Hill

        Exactly. If it wasn’t for the promise that this was the year, then fine. An approximately .500 record isn’t bad, but it’s disappointing.

        • ccseifert

          And it’s also early. No one wins a pennant in April. This team regularly does better after May and there’s no indication that they’re going to crater this month like they did last year. Have some faith. Be a fan.

          • jessanders

            You can be a fan but still be critical.

            In fact, I believe the best fans ARE critical.

            I want my team to win. I’m loyal to my TEAM, not to the players, or the management. If they start to not be good, then they can go.

            Moose has NEVER been good, so he can go.

          • ccseifert

            I totally agree. Completely understand. And I’m not talking about constant rah-rah always support your team, etc.

            I’m just saying that if I look at the front page of the site right now, if you ignore the recaps and the links to other sites, the rest is almost all opinion pieces about Moose sucking or Yost sucking or Butler or whoever isn’t doing well this week. If I didn’t follow baseball and didn’t look at the standings and looked at this site, I would assume the Royals were the worst team in baseball and completely incompetent.

            I’ve been through plenty of years when that’s been true with this team and it’s not true now. It would be nice if a ‘fan site’ actually reflected that reality.

          • Hunter Samuels

            There are plenty of positive articles from the last week or so. I wrote about the offense hitting more line drives, Brian wrote about extending Duffy, and Dave praised Hosmer’s defense, just to name a few. I can’t speak for the rest of the staff, but if something is noteworthy, I’ll try and write about it, regardless of the positive/negative implications.

  • Bear Brinkman

    I agree Dave. Moose should have been sent down last year . Instead we have the same problem a year later. There is something missing on this team and could I be so bold as to suggest FIRE? No consequences seems to be the rule.Hitting in the .145-.155 range is ok but hey he does lead the team in dingers…LOL Butler jaws at a coach then takes it public…nothing. Said coach Kuntz suggests “they” have asked Mr. Butler to “take a hard turn” before. Hmmmm…really? What happened to accountability?

    • Stan Colbert

      Excellent points! They also have players on the bench who never play so lose their hitting timing. At the very least put the out makers together, 4-5-6-7 so the 8-9-1-2-3 guys have a chance to score a run.

  • moretrouble

    David, a team can carry a weak offensive player AT ANY POSITION if the offense is strong enough at other positions. What I believe you are saying is this … KC’s team isn’t offensively productive enough to carry Moose when he hits something under .150. And, you would be right about that. But, it could be any player at any position hitting .150.

    I like your hyperbole, David. It’s in the tradition of Dick Schaff, Jerome Holtzman, Joe McGuff and others, but you seem to imply there is something wrong with Moustakas as a person. Perhaps, it’s the verbiage, “coddling,” or “sent back to … light a fire,” or “incapable of producing … in the bright lights …” that suggests it.

    No one cares more about the performance of Mike Moustakas than Mike himself. Neither Moustakas, nor any of the other players, nor the coaching staff or front office is lacking in character, intelligence or effort.

    • Dave Hill

      To me, it has to do with how Moose seemingly gets chance after chance without really having done anything with them. He has what is roughly the equivalent of three full seasons in the majors, and I am beginning to think that he may just not be a major league starter.

      I also do not doubt that Moose cares about his performance. Perhaps he cares *too* much about it, and is trying too hard. That is why sending him down to AAA may be the right thing, so that he can clear his head, find success, and hopefully bring that back to Kansas City with him.

      The key is that he will need to figure that out soon. If Cuthbert and Dozier keep progressing, the Moose is going to start running out of chances and time to prove that he can be the players the Royals envisioned, at least in Kansas City.

      In regards to the .150 batting average, I think that’s easier to cover at other positions. A shortstop hitting at that rate, but playing defense like Rey Ordonez is easier to cover than a third baseman, at least in my opinion. It has to do, to me at least, with the average offensive output from the position. Third basemen tend to hit better, and be better run producers, than shortstops.