Moose's Days Could Be Numbered

G. Newman Lowrance

The Royals may soon have a roster crunch, and shipping Moustakas to Omaha is being considered.

Mike Moustakas is coming off another 2-16 roadtrip that has seen his overall numbers lower to .147/.215/.321, although he has a team-leading four home runs. We're nearly a quarter into the season now, so its not "too early" to be alarmed by his horrid numbers, particularly since Moose does not have much of a track record to fall back on. Dayton Moore has frequently said it takes about 1,500 at-bats to evaluate a Major League player (at-bats, not plate appearances, because you cannot evaluate a player walking!) and Moose is now 1,482 at-bats into his Major League career, with a less-than-stellar career line of .237/.290/.380.

Previously, the Royals have stuck with Moustakas because of his potential, but also because they really had no one better to play there. The Third Baseman Tree has not yet been planted! And you're not going to win more games with Irving Falu there, sorry. However, last winter the Royals traded for Danny Valencia, and we've seen Johnny Giavotella spend some time at third base. Valencia is pretty much playing against all left-handed pitchers. Giavotella impressed in his first weekend back in the big leagues, even hitting ahead of the struggling Moustakas. It appears now there are finally options, and the Royals are mulling those options.

Moustakas has never been optioned to the minors before, and has not accrued five years of service time, so he is eligible to be optioned. If Infante returns Tuesday, it makes sense to keep Giavotella around as a backup, in case Infante's back inflammation flares up again. Valencia is out of options, so he cannot be sent to Omaha. McCullough also mentions the possibility of Justin Maxwell being shuttled off the roster, but he is also out of options, and while he has struggled this year, he has a decent track record and is cheap and would almost certainly be claimed off waivers.

It is not crazy to think Moustakas couldn't turn his career around. He is still just 25 years old and his top comps include guys like Howard Johnson, Gary Gaetti, and our own Alex Gordon, who took four years to really figure things out. But his numbers have been so bad for so long, its clear something different needs to be done. Since the 2012 All-Star Break (remember when we were discussing him being a snub?????), Moose is hitting a dismal .215/.269/.346. Alex Gordon never struggled this badly for this long, and he found himself demoted to Omaha. Why should Moustakas be any different?

McCullough says a decision will be made Tuesday. Royals fans await.

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