Typically, most teams and fans look at the first 40 to 50 games as a way to determine what type of team they have. Are they going to contend for a playoff berth, or will they be bottom feeders? Should they acquire assets to attempt to make the playoffs, or should they trade away pieces to build for the future? What holes need to be filled?
For the Kansas City Royals, the first two questions are a bit difficult to answer. The Royals have hovered around the .500 mark for essentially the entire season, yet still find themselves in the Wild Card hunt at this early stage. With a hot streak, or a boost from the offense, the Royals could easily catapult themselves into the playoffs. With the entirety of the American League, aside from the moribund Houston Astros, within 3.5 games of the second Wild Card. In fact, of those teams, the Royals actually have the third best run differential, sitting dead even in runs allowed and runs scored.
As the Royals pitching has performed relatively well this season, the onus would appear to be on the offense. Right now, heading into today’s games, the Royals rank 25th in runs scored and OPS. While the Royals, as a team, have a decent batting average, they just are not getting on base, ranking 23rd with a .306 OBP.
It is certainly easy to find the main culprits in the lineup. Billy Butler and Mike Moustakas have not hit this season, leaving two large holes in the Royals lineup. Butler is making $8 Million this season, which, more than his production, is likely to keep him in the lineup. After all, are the Royals going to sit a player making that much? The best hope is that Butler will break out of whatever funk he is in, and start to produce like the Butler of old.
Moustakas, meanwhile, is a different story. Earlier in the week, there were rumors that the front office had discussed sending the struggling third baseman back to Omaha to jumpstart his bat. He has begun to lose playing time to Danny Valencia, as the Royals appear to be employing the platoon that made sense back when Valencia was acquired. Yet, even with that platoon, if the Royals were to look to upgrade their lineup, third base would seem to be the most logical place to start.
As the Royals offense is as inoffensive as a newborn baby, they need to find a way to upgrade their production. Acquiring a third baseman may be the most reasonable option. What move(s) would you make to get the offense to a suitable level? Let us know in the comments.