Mike Moustakas has left the Kansas City Royals and their fans waiting for far too long. The Star’s Sam Mellinger had a loudly opinionated article in Tuesday’s paper stating that KC might, and should, demote Moose to the minor leagues. Mellinger makes a compelling case for a win-now team to make Moustakas an Omaha Storm Chaser until he gets his head and/or swing right, but who would play third base in his stead?
The Royals decided to at least delay this possible demotion by sending Omar Infante to the 15-day disabled list. They brought up minor-league utility infielder Pedro Ciriaco in his absence, and he may be the conservative short-term answer at third. Ciriaco was hitting .300 after 20 games with Omaha this year, and he provides trustworthy defense at most infield positions.
Ciriaco’s defense might make him the traditional front-runner if Moose goes down, but the more intriguing option for a team that still struggles to score consistently is Johnny Giavotella. His defense at third might be suspect, but he does have experience playing there in the minors. What matters more to a listless Royals offense is his .309 batting average and .440 slugging percentage in the minors. He’s translated that power to MLB so far this year with a homer and five RBIs in six major league games.
Gio clearly won’t be starting at second any time soon, and it seems he doesn’t have any more to learn in the farm system. If KC does decide to send Moose to Omaha, Johnny should at least get a chance as his replacement. His recent success makes this more realistic than ever, so these next two weeks could be do-or-die for Moustakas. A few more base-clearing doubles like the one we saw yesterday could make the organization keep holding onto hope, while another cold streak should land him on a minor-league roster. One way or the other, the wait will soon be over.