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.