The Kansas City Royals are already thinking about what kind of team they’re going to put on the field next season, considering this one is a bust. They seem to have an overload of talent at third base, with Cheslor Cuthbert emerging this season, Mike Moustakas coming back from injury in 2017, and Hunter Dozier ready to start his major league career.
Cuthbert has been one of the sole bright spots in a bad season for the exiting World Series champs. the 23-year old from the Corn Islands in Nicaragua is batting .301 with a .788 OPS, hitting 9 home runs in 80 appearances and 317 plate appearances, making quite a splash in his second major league season. He’s been playing at third base, but isn’t very promising defensive-wise, which could move him to DH if the role frees up.
Moustakas has played in just 27 games this season before tearing his ACL, but an All-Star in 2015 and one of the key figures in the Royals back-to-back World Series appearances, also having a terrific performance in last year’s triumphant World Series, Moustakas is probably the favorite to play at third base once he comes back from his injury, entering the last season of his current deal worth $8.7 million.
And then there’s Dozier, who’ll turn 25 pretty soon, who has been doing very well in double-A and triple-A this season. He’s batting .307 with a .887 OPS for Omaha, hitting 13 home runs through 354 plate appearances. The Royals feel he’s ready for the big leagues, and he’ll be another person looking to get time at third base, although he does play a little bit of outfield.
One thing that can help this logjam of third baseman is Kendrys Morales hitting free agency. The first baseman who plays almost all of his games at DH has also fallen quite far according to his batting numbers, hitting just .244 with a .736 OPS this season, way down from his 2015 performance. He does have 18 home runs which is nothing to scoff at, but the Royals would probably prefer someone younger and cheaper to take up that role, while Morales, who has a mutual option worth $11 million for next season, will probably go looking for more money elsewhere.