In order to move forward, the Kansas City Royals had to let the underperforming corner infielder go so younger players can receive an opportunity.
While pressed into action after the Mike Moustakas season-ending injury in 2016, Cheslor Cuthbert had a decent year as a rookie. A .274 batter average, 12 home runs, and 28 doubles were not bad for 23-year-old seeing his first extended exposure to big-league pitching. It appeared the Kansas City Royals may have a future third baseman in the making.
There were some warning signs in the 2015 season as well. Cuthbert only drew 32 walks in 510 plate appearances, his WAR was an even 0.0, and 16 errors at third base led to a fielding percentage 11 points below league average.
Cuthbert dealt with a wrist injury in 2015 but his performance at the big league level was not acceptable for a nine-hole hitter, much less a corner infielder. He hit a .231/.275/.322 slash which led to an OPS+ of 59. His fielding woes continued as well with six errors total committed in 117 chances with fielding percentages of .945 and .952 at third and first base.
Back spasms struck in 2018 once again cutting short a season for Cuthbert. It may have helped explain an even further dip in his offensive performance. His OPS dropped another 13 points from 2017 to .583. The corner caused even more issues with the fielding percentage dropping to .935 at that position.
The Kansas City Royals removed Cuthbert in the offseason but following a hot start in Omaha this year that saw Cheslor produced a .898 OPS, he was readded and collected 330 plate appearances with the team.
There were still many holes in his game though. Only 19 walks kept his OBP under .300 and another 13 errors were committed. Unbelievably his fielding percentage at third went all way down to .916.
A team will probably sign Cuthbert to a minor league deal and I hope he rebounds and becomes a decent player for them. Now was the right time for the Kansas City Royals to move on though, we have enough results to know this was not going to help the club going forward.