by John Viril—
A few weeks ago, I was screaming that Kansas City Royals general manager Dayton Moore needed to bring in another outfielder to platoon with (or replace) Jeff Francoeur. David Lough‘s performance has made such a trade unnecessary.
The team called up Lough from AAA Omaha after OF Jarrod Dyson injured his ankle against the Los Angeles Angels on May 17. In the three weeks since that day, Lough has been a more than able replacement. Lough has hit .293/.317/.431 good for an OPS+ of 103. He has played solid defense in all three outfield spots. In short, he’s been everything you want a 4th outfielder to be—a guy that you can insert into the lineup without missing a beat.
David Lough has taken over in RF against right-handed pitching, relieving Royals fans of watching Jeff Francoeur flail away at the plate day after day. At the very least, Lough has saved countless televisions in Kansas City from destruction by frustrated fans.
The question, of course, is what will Dayton Moore do with Lough when Jarrod Dyson comes back from his injury. Dyson has just begun a rehab assignment in AA NW Arkansas which, by rule, cannot last more than 30 days. At that point, Moore will have to make a decision.
I, for one, would DFA Jeff Francoeur. Barring some kind of miraculous renaissance in Francoeur’s game in which he starts hitting like it’s 2011, Francoeur is nothing more than a $7.5 million albatross. At this point, Francoeur isn’t even hitting left-handed pitching (.255/.296/.333)—which is only slightly less awful than his overall .213/.246/.345. Francoeur’s range in RF is gone. About the only useful thing he does on a baseball diamond is throw.
That’s not enough to hold a roster spot.
The only problem with this idea is that guys like Moore and Royals manager Ned Yost are unlikely to replace Francoeur with Lough and Dyson, who both hit left-handed. Old school wisdom would dictate a platoon if no one player can hold the job on a day-to-day basis. Add traditional baseball practice to Moore’s reluctance to “waste” Francoeur’s $7.5 million salary, and I’m afraid that Lough will get optioned back to Omaha upon Dyson’s return.
Of course, Lough’s performance still has done nothing to address the team’s awful second base situation or Mike Moustakas‘ continued struggles at 3rd.
Sigh. The joy of being a Kansas City Royals fan. I suppose I should be happy about the team’s current five game winning streak. But, unfortunately, I don’t know where I can find a hypnotist to make me forget the 11-game home losing streak that preceded it.