KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Royals fans no doubt are delighting in the team’s 10-7, first-place start to the season.
But if there is cause for concern anywhere it is the painfully slow starts from first baseman Eric Hosmer (.261, no homers, four RBIs) and Mike Moustakas (.158, no homers, one RBI).
There has even been suggestions on Kansas City sports-talk shows of the Royals shipping Hosmer and Moustakas back to Triple-A Omaha.
But Royals general manager Dayton Moore said that simply isn’t going to happen.
“When we send a player down it is generally based on three factors,” Moore told me by phone from Detroit on Wednesday. “First, has the player lost confidence in himself and is that affecting his attitude? Two, have the other players lost confidence in him? And three, has the coaching staff lost confidence in him?
“If any one of those three is the case, then we start to ask ourselves the question of whether he should be sent down to refocus or re-set, so to speak. In the case of Moose and Hoz, none of those are true right now.
“The truth is, we’re winning games with those two in the lineup and they’re contributing in certain ways. We’re not about to do anything that disrupts that.”
Moore stopped short of saying that Hosmer and Moose are exempt from being sent down, but said that conversation is a long way off.
“What they’re going through is what a lot of young guys go through,” Moore said, “and even what veterans go through. Our confidence in them hasn’t wavered. I believe they’re going to have very good seasons.
“Now, if a player loses confidence, then you simply have no choice. You send them down and let them catch their breath. But we’re not there yet.”
Moore emphasized that the Royals’ organization is committed to its younger players, through good times and bad.
“It’s who we are,” Moore said. “We believe in home-grown talent and we will stick with our philosophy. We’re all on the same page.
“Ned (Yost) believes in his players and he believes in his young players. You have to show confidence in your players or they will never develop to the level you want them to. The talent level of both Moose and Hoz is exceptional and they have very high ceilings.
“We believe at any moment they will snap out of this and they will be fine. They’re too good not to.”
Sending either Moose or Hoz back to Omaha could have an immediate detrimental effect on the team, Moore said.
“We know that they can bust out of this slump at any moment,” Moore said. “And I can promise you that opposing managers feel the same way and they have their pitchers pitch accordingly. So, if you take either one out of the game, you can be affecting the way the whole lineup is pitched to.”
Moore’s bigger concern right now is the number of off-days the team has had, either scheduled or forced because of rain and because of the tragedy in Boston.
“It’s something I haven’t personally seen in my career,” Moore said. “To have that many off-days (five) in the last week or two, and this early in the season, really makes it tough on the players, especially the offense. It’s hard to get momentum going.
“But I do believe the offense will start trending up very soon and that will happen as soon as we start playing more regularly.”
It would help if the Royals’ offense started that trend in Detroit, where they face the Tigers on Wednesday and Thursday before coming home.
Moore said he is careful not to put too much emphasis on this early-season test with the Tigers, the team the Royals are trying to catch this year.
“I’m curious about every game we play,” Moore said. “The Tigers are the American League Champions, so naturally you want to play well against them. But you want to play well all the time.”