Kansas City Royals: The Future at Third Base

Kansas City Royals third basemen Mike Moustakas (8) - Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
Kansas City Royals third basemen Mike Moustakas (8) - Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports /

The Kansas City Royals will have quite the decision on their hands in the next few years regarding the third base position.

For the last six seasons, Mike Moustakas has been the main starting third baseman for the Kansas City Royals. The team drafted Moustakas second overall in the 2007 MLB Draft and for the early part of his career, Moose looked like he might be a bust.

Moustakas found his groove during the 2014 postseason, however, and has become a stud defensively at third base. He made it to his first All-Star game in 2015 and was looking to repeat on his success in 2016, before going down with an ACL injury after only appearing in 27 games.

Moustakas’ injury paved the way for 23-year old Cheslor Cuthbert to step in at third. Cuthbert hasn’t been much of a drop-off honestly, slashing .282/.310/.442 before the All-Star break.

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With Cuthbert finding his groove and the young and promising Hunter Dozier still awaiting his turn in the minors, could the Royals have a dilemma on their hands at third base?

Dozier was the team’s first round pick in 2013 (eighth overall) and he’s slashing .341/.392/.550 at Omaha this year. He’s played in 57 games with the Storm Chasers and represented the Royals at the Futures Game on Sunday evening.

The answer to the “Who will be the future at third base?” question has several options. The easiest option is that the team chooses not to re-sign Moustakas once the 2017 season comes to an end.

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While it would be difficult for the fans to see Moose go, his batting average over six years is at .247. It’s only that high due to his nice 2015 campaign, where he had a batting average of .284 by the end of his All-Star season in 2015.

Also, cutting ties with Moustakas would make it easier to then re-sign Eric Hosmer, Danny Duffy, Wade Davis, or some of the other guys who could be departing after 2017.

Once Moustakas is gone, Cuthbert and Dozier would then duke it out for the starting third baseman job.

The other option is that the Royals could use Dozier as a trading piece this season (or next as well). I really would not want them to do this unless they’re planning on bringing Moose back after 2017. Cuthbert is good, but there needs to be someone else there in case of injury or if his production declines in the next few years.

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If Cuthbert hadn’t stepped up so prominently this year in Moustakas’ absence, perhaps we wouldn’t have this dilemma on our hands in the next few years. The fact is, however, is that the Royals have three promising players able to play third base, and that’s not a bad problem to have at all.

What would you like to see the Kansas City Royals do with the third base position?