The next time your buddy claims Kansas City Royals third baseman, Mike Moustakas, is the worst player in baseball, drop Raul Ibanez’s name on him/her, because Mr. Ibanez is the only player with a similar workload that has magically produced less than Mike Moustakas. Yes, that Raul Ibanez. The former Royal, and current Angels geriatric left fielder is somehow worse than Mike Moustakas, but he’s the only one. Here’s how they stack up, according to www.baseball-reference.com:
|.147 AVG||.215 OBP||.321 SLG||.536 OPS|
|.139 AVG||.248 OBP||.267 SLG||.515 OPS|
So, as you can see, Ibanez is the worst of the two by a razor’s edge. The one statistic, however, that’s most important here is age. Moustakas checks in at 25, while Ibanez is 41. In reality, no one is all too surprised with the paltry numbers Ibanez has put up, as he’s ancient by baseball standards. Those are the kind of numbers you see when someone is holding on to the game a wee-bit too long. On the other hand, you have Moustakas who is grabbing at the game of baseball like it is a greased pig.
Yesterday, Dayton Moore infuriated a large segment of Royals fans by snipping at the media for only asking questions about the poor performing Moustakas, and questioning why he’s not being shipped to Omaha. Moore’s response, according to Kansas City Star’s Royals beat writer Andy McCullough (via Twitter):
Well, no. No we don’t. One of your hotshot prospects has been flailing and failing at the plate since the 2012 All-Star break, and continues to be a black hole in the lineup.
The notion of Moustakas potentially being demoted before last night’s game was allegedly floated out there by anonymous Royals officials. So, when it didn’t happen, the media did their job and inquired as to why Moustakas wasn’t being demoted. Moore didn’t like it, obviously, and felt the need to bring up the reasonably successful pitching and defense of a sub-.500 ball club.
Newsflash! The Royals are/were sub-.500 due to their pathetically bad hitting. Suspect number one is—wait for it, wait for it—Mike Moustakas.
Moore claimed there are no better alternatives than the .147 hitting Moustakas. One, that’s bovine scatology— or b.s. Omar Infante, Johnny Giavotella, Pedro Ciriaco, Danny Valencia, Jimmy Paredes, or even Alex freaking Gordon could play third (No, I’m not serious about Gordon moving back to third, so put your pitchforks away.). Two, whose fault is that? The GM has no room to complain about a team not having enough depth, or competent replacements for a failing big leaguer. By its very definition, that’s your job as the Royals General Manager, Mr. Moore!
Moore also commented that he believes Moustakas is mentally tough enough to handle the rigors of MLB and a prolonged slump (Even though it’s beyond a slump at this point.).
Here’s where I hop off the Dayton Moore hate-train. Why? Because I don’t believe he’s putting this true thoughts out there. In other words, it’s GM-speak. Or it could be a chilling sign that Dayton Moore is indeed insane. I’m going with the former.
It is obvious to everyone, including the Royals manager Ned Yost, who claims Moustakas is too hard on himself. You know what my parents/coaches used to say to me when I was a little kid, and literally cried after striking out? “You’re too hard on yourself, Paul.” That is a mental toughness issue.
Even George Brett commented that he believes if Moustakas makes an out in his first AB, he’s mentally fried at the plate for the rest of the game. I’m sorry, but whatever George Brett says might as well be written into the Bible because I was a kid of the ’80’s, so I’m buying what he’s selling. These items are the epitome of mental fragility.
Let’s be real though, who is mentally tough enough to handle this kind of situation? No one should be ever be put in the position that Moustakas has been put in by this organization, and be expected to maintain their mental health as the failures mount.
Let’s call this Omar Infante’s DL stint exactly what it is—a stay of execution for Mike Moustakas. The move prompted the Royals to recall Pedro Ciriaco, who can now serve as the legit utility player the Royals have somehow gone without all season. It also meant Moustakas was going nowhere.
So, in essence, Moore had to say what he said about Moose. He’s not going to come right out and say, “Yeah, he’s lost. Not sure what the problem is…”, and then turn around and keep him on the roster. He’s going to continue to praise Moustakas, and that’s the right move for this very moment.
Moore, much like all of your parents did/do with you, has emotionally and financially invested in Moustakas. He’s going to fight for him right down to the end. Believe it or not, that can be a good quality in a GM. Giving up on a 25 year old prospect is hard for any GM. Is it right for this scenario? We’ll find out when Infante returns from the DL in about a week. You can look at this as further incompetence by our Royals brass, or you can look at it as a final warning to a once prized prospect.
What do I think? I think the combination of physical and mental flaws that Moustakas has right now is too much to overcome, and soon—maybe very soon—he’ll be coming face to face with the same crypt-keeper that buried the likes of fellow third-base prospect duds, Brandon Wood and Dallas McPherson.