HOUSTON — OK, here we are. Forty games in, approximately one-fourth of the way through the season, and the Royals are 20-20 after suffering a weekend sweep in Oakland.
By BOB DUTTON
The Kansas City Star
Lets get this out of the way: It was a brutal weekend. Three one-run losses after holding early leads in each game. That attack right now is a lot of Alex Gordon, some Billy Butler and not much else.
And its not near enough.
A 3-10 stumble over the last two weeks has, effectively, canceled out a promising 17-10 start. The Royals open a three-game series tonight in Houston and need to take advantage of the struggling Astros.
The quarter point in the season is when teams traditionally step back and take a hard look at themselves. And if our latest question-and-answer exchange is any indication, fans are doing that, too:
@jbryanlarson: What would it take to get Giancarlo Stanton? He would sure help this powerless lineup. And he's still cost controlled.
I dont know. Maybe the organizations top three prospects. Maybe more. If the Marlins truly put Stanton on the market, the bidding might need to be handled by Christies in New York.
Are you willing to put say, Yordano Ventura, Kyle Zimmer and Adalberto Mondesi on the table just to get a seat at the auction?
@bradkharper: Have you heard the reason why Gio has been playing third so much in Omaha?
One of the knocks on Johnny Giavotella is his lack of range as a second baseman. Range isnt as much of an issue at third base.
@ChrisWoerner: Do you see anybody getting called up anytime soon to to help this struggling offense?
I dont see any obvious candidates. Outfielder David Lough was the guy who was performing best at Omaha, and hes already here. Also, I think hes going to get a legitimate chance to show what he can do.
@Bjoe87: Who are a couple "under the radar" guys in AAA or AA that are making some noise?
I guess it depends on how you define under the radar. If you mean someone who could come up at some point this season and make an impact, the best bets are Lough (who is already here) and Ventura.
I wouldnt be surprised to see Ventura get a promotion in the near future from Class AA Northwest Arkansas to Class AAA Omaha, but I dont see him making the jump from AA to the majors.
@gershonmarx: why are we not trading a bullpen arm for a RF who can hit, field, or both
I think the Royals would make that kind of deal in a heartbeat. But relievers rarely bring much in return.
@RCaltrider74: does it really matter anymore?
If you have to ask, it probably doesnt matter to you.
@Colby_Higgins: at what point do they stop coddling and start holding guys accountable?
I think thats already happening. Weve seen reduced playing time for Jeff Francoeur and Chris Getz. Weve seen some lineup shakeups. More is on the way if the Royals continue to slide.
@DaveDarby46: What is the KC value on J.C. as a possible 40 man casualty either when the DL pitchers are ready or a Seratelli call up?
I dont see Anthony Seratelli being called up (although hes the type of relentless overachiever that you cant help but pull for. So I want to be wrong).
J.C. Gutierrez hasnt pitched much. So, yes, he seems to be an at-risk guy if and when the Royals need to make a move to clear space on their 40-man roster. There are others, however.
@PhilGarver: is it time to send Moose down?
The first thing to ask yourself before calling for a guy to be sent down is what clubs always ask themselves: What are the alternatives? I dont see any obvious ones to Mike Moustakas.
Also, if youve been following online and in the paper, manager Ned Yost was pretty emphatic in saying much the same thing with his sharp sarcasm about the feasibility of plucking a replacement off a third-base tree.
Everything suggests the Royals remain committed to Moustakas as their third baseman. Now...thats not to say that Miguel Tejada might not get a few more starts at third over the coming week or so.
@p90rexHud: with a clear need for hitting, why are we carrying the extra pitcher?
Again, whom do you want to bring up? Lough is here. The Royals seem increasingly clear that they dont view Giavotella as a long-term answer at second and hes just learning to play third.
So whom do you want? Irving Falu? Max Ramirez? Xavier Nady? Willy Taveras? Any or all of those guys might be a reasonable spare part if injuries occur. But does anyone think any of those guys make a real impact?
@DannyBruning: is it possible to pick up a guy like Sizemore as a FA? Also, is it really that important to switch R&L's in lineup
If youre asking about Grady Sizemore specifically, thats probably a long shot. But Id expect the Royals be casting their net pretty wide in an effort to find a veteran guy capable of making even a short-term impact.
@lil_jon_boy: why if royals are not demoting moose will they not drop him in the lineup?
Ive got to believe thats on the table for consideration. Will it happen? I dont know.
@FakeDavidGlass: Yost, how long will he last?
Ive heard nothing to suggest manager Ned Yosts job is in any jeopardy.
To reach Bob Dutton, send email to email@example.com . Follow his updates at twitter.com/Royals_Report.