Today may not be the day to panic, but improving your team is not a sign of panic. Losers of 13 of their last 17 games, it is clear changes need to be made in order to improve the quality of the team.
The main focus has to be on the offense. After averaging a very average 4.33 runs per game in April, the offense has slipped to 4.2 runs per game in May. But that number is quite deceiving as the Royals have averaged a putrid 3.94 runs per game in their last 17 contests and have scored 3 runs or fewer in 10 of their last 17 games.
Here are some things Dayton Moore and Ned Yost can do today to improve their offense and get the team back on track.
1. DEMOTE MIKE MOUSTAKAS AND CHRIS GETZ
Chris Getz has a career .305 on-base percentage and .303 slugging percentage with the Royals in 991 plate appearances. He’s an average fielder at best, a below average base runner, and has singles power when he does manage contact. Getz turns 30 in August so this is what he’s going to be for the rest of his career.
Getz has an option so exercising it to have him as depth for the rest of the year makes sense. But once the offseason come around it will be time to part ways with him officially.
Moose is lost. Simply lost.
And he’s been lost for a while. Since the beginning of last season Moose has hit .228/.286/.389. Those numbers include April 2012 when he roared to a .315/.375/.534 start to the season.
Now do you really want to see something scary? Look at these monthly splits:
July 2012: .247/.265/.412
August 2012: .213/.276/.382
Sept./Oct. 2012: .204/.254/.287
April 2013: .195/.276/.299
May 2013: .149/.205/.299
Read those numbers then read Bob Dutton’s article explaining that, among other things, Moose doesn’t like to watch tape. Infuriating read. I don’t question Moose’s work ethic but I do question his ability to be a consistent professional at this point in time. Spending time in AAA to work through the mechanics of his swing and learn how to breakdown major league pitchers through the tools that are made available to him would be time well spent.
I don’t expect Moose to come back and be a .300 hitter, but if he were able to be a .260/.340/.470 guy I’d be more than satisfied with his production.
2. RELEASE FRENCHY
What exactly is the value of Jeff Francoeur at this point? So far this season he ranks 29th amongst all right fielders in defensive runs saved (-2), has an ISO of .100, and an on-base percentage of .259.
Ned Yost is regularly employing a lineup that include one player hitting .213/.267/.319, another hitting .221/.259/.321, and one more hitting .174/.244/.299. Want to improve the offense? Eliminate these players.
In the three seasons before the 2011 Frenchy Miracle Season, the God of Leadership hit .256/.301/.389 with a 83 OPS+. In the one-plus seasons since he has hit .233/.281/.367 with a 76 OPS+. Francoeur’s last act of leadership should be to admit his play isn’t good enough and fall on his sword (request a release, not actually kill himself).
3. RECALL JOHNNY GIAVOTELLA, IRVING FALU, XAVIER NADY
At some point we have to find out what we have in Giavotella as an every day player whether he is playing at second base or third. His bat has played well at every step in the minors and he deserves at least half the chance Moustakas and Eric Hosmer have received in their careers to date.
Falu can platoon at third base with Miguel Tejada is Gio plays second base or platoon with Elliot Johnson at second base if Gio plays third. He is the guy to go down once Moose proves he is ready to return.
Xavier Nady possess two great qualities: He is not Jeff Francoeur and he is easily benchable for David Lough and Jarrod Dyson. Nady can backup while Dyson is on the DL and can be sent back down once Dyson proves healthy.
4. BAT ERIC HOSMER AT THE TOP
Hosmer’s lack of power production is very concerning but Jacob had a good point yesterday about how all the peripheral numbers are looking pretty good. In addition to Jacob’s point, Hosmer’s numbers dip considerably when their are men on base as compared to when no one is one base.
No one on: .287/.354/.345
Men on: .246/.315/.338
Yes, yes, the slugging is terrible no matter what, but there is a clear difference in his approach from when men are on and when the bases are empty. Placing Hosmer in the lead off spot and giving him the one instruction of getting on base for Alex Gordon and Billy Butler may be enough to clear Hosmer’s head and help calm things down.
And Hosmer needs to quite down. (Hosmer is the guy who goes oppo in the GIF.)
(You can find more analysis on this GIF at Kings of Kauffman.)
Watching this you can see how amped up and out of control Hosmer is compared to Gordon. Gordon is so smooth and quiet while Hosmer looks like he is about to jump out of his shoes. The more relaxed Hosmer becomes, the better results we may see. Batting him first and simplifying his role may help in that process and lead to more production.
Hosmer – 1b
Lorenzo Cain – CF
Alex Gordon – LF
Billy Butler – DH
Salvador Perez – C
Alcides Escobar – SS
Miguel Tejada – 3b
David Lough – RF
Johnny Giavotella – 2b
There is no promises that these things will lead to some Indians-like hot streak, but the people who are currently failing the Royals have been failing for a longtime. It is not an overreaction to replace players who haven’t produced in years – if at all – for the Royals.
If now is the time to start winning games like Moore has been saying, then aggressive action to correct the problems on the roster needs to happen. All of these are reasonable moves that should help improve Kansas City in the short and long-term.