Goose’s Tuesday Take — Moose crossing edition
In what was the most anticipated news following a Royals off day, many fans had hoped the whispers that Mike Moustakas might be demoted to AAA Omaha would come to fruition. It would seem it is all for naught, however, as Ned has stated he is most likely not going to be the casualty on the roster in the Royals desire to get another arm into the bullpen. While his .147 batting average might not be enough to force the hand of the Royals, it would seem that with hitting coach Pedro Grifol stating “We’ve exhausted every possible scenario to get him locked in”, the Royals would see the writing on the wall.
— 610 Sports Radio- KC (@610SportsKC) May 13, 2014
With not even the baseball equivalent of his mother having any faith in the possibility Moose can turn it around, it remains to be seen what fantastic spin Ned Yost will put on the decision to keep him at the big league level. With Moose near or past all statistical boundaries set by Yost in terms of at bats (1500 in career, 150 in a season), there are no more arbitrary endpoints for him to use as an excuse to let him continue being an anchor on a team that can ill afford such an offensive burden. It would be one thing if there were signs he was close, or at least had a ceiling of being capable, but with years of waiting it seems time to label him a bust for the immediate future and move on. Being sent to Omaha once helped promising hitters like Billy Butler and Alex Gordon, but they played in a time when a manager would not hold a team and player hostage on account of his own personal desire to flaunt his vast baseball knowledge and spotless track record of never being wrong about a player.
While he is correct in stating there is no such thing as a third baseman tree, at this point in time his defensive abilities are not enough to even come close to overcoming his deficiencies at the plate. Much of this debate has arisen over the game Johnny Giavotella had the other day, providing the go ahead, 3 run home run to put the Royals on top of the Seattle Mariners and clinch a winning road trip. I have never made it a secret that I do not feel Gio is capable of being an everyday starter at the Major League level. I feel his offensive holes are too much to make up for a below average defense. He has continuously DESTROYED AAA pitching (.352/.410/.484 this year) but has always seemed lacking when facing big league pitching. The biggest problem with this, and the reason there is even room for debate, is because he was so poorly handled by the Royals in the first place.
During the years that they were obviously not contending, they never once simply let Gio BE a starter long term to see what he might or might not have. Ohh, sure he had stretches, but always while wearing a leash, and never a particularly long one. While I would never advocate allowing him to do what Moustakas is doing as far as bringing a club down, you would think the Royals could have found a happy medium between these two stark contrasts in what it means to be a hyped prospect or labeled as organizational filler.
Moose has been given opportunity to fail time and time again while Giavotella is still simply waiting for an extended opportunity period. If given even a fraction of the chance that Moustakas has been given based simply on his draft pick status, then the Royals would know by now whether or not Giavotella actually was an option. It seems as though many, including the Royals brass seem to harp strictly on the negatives in Gio’s game without ever giving credit for the positives, a mistake Lee Judge recently made in an article for the KC Star. While it is obvious that Giavotella will never win a Gold Glove, and that he may struggle to adapt to pitching at the major league level, he seems to be a much better option (when combined with Danny Valencia) at 3b in order to help get the Royals offense rolling. There will be mistakes, and he may still never pan out in the long term plans, but in the short term he is a much better option than what the Royals trot out to 3b now.
Some other Tuesday thoughts: Hayley Pahl wrote an excellent article on the path Royals pitching prospect Sean Manaea has made to get to where he is. It details his hip injury that caused his draft stock to plummet. While unfortunate for him, it was potentially frutitious indeed for the Royals to have been able to draft a potential front of the rotation starter. I have grumbled some recently over the mistakes and lack of focus and/or care it seems Hosmer has played with at times this year. I had used his base running gaffes as one of the points in this, but as Jeff Sullivan points out over at FanGraphs, he may be receiving too much criticism over his league leading 7 outs on the base paths. Billy Butler and Rusty Kuntz got into it a little bit the other night after Bulter was picked off of 1b. David Hill at Kings of Kauffman breaks down what it could mean. The Royals traded Greg Billo to the Angels for cash according to Andy McCullough. If you were one of the many left scratching your head over the intentional walk Danny Duffy laid on Cano in the early innings a few nights ago, then this piece by Joe Posnanski is a must read.