That’s all Mike Aviles gets as a starter at third base? Six measly games?
Aviles, the fan favorite who has put together a couple of really nice seasons for the Royals at different positions on the infield, struggled at the plate and in the field through the opening homestand in 2011. In game 7, when the Royals traveled to Detroit for their first road trip of the year, Aviles was benched in favor of career journeyman Wilson Betemit.
Now, Aviles will probably be back as a starter, maybe even as soon as today. But to bench a guy for two consecutive games after only six is a little surprising. Let’s give this guy a chance to break out of the slump on his own.
The thing I love about Aviles is he doesn’t hold sacred any set routine when it comes to his approach at the plate. If he doesn’t like his stance, he’ll reposition his feet and take a few swings that way. If his bat doesn’t feel right, he’ll borrow one from somebody else. The other day he ditched his batting gloves and took a few at-bats George Brett style.
What this means is Aviles can tweak himself out of this slump. And I’m sure, given time, he will, and he’ll be the .299 hitter we all know and love.
As far as his defensive struggles go, those will work themselves out, too. He’s clearly not comfortable at third base. Which is fine – the position won’t be his for long anyway, since hotshot prospect Mike Moustakas is bound to be promoted to the majors by mid-season.
When that happens, Aviles will be in head-to-head competition with Chris Getz for the starting second base position. And with the way Getz is playing right now (which is to say terrifically), there’s no competition.
But who wants to bet that Getz will have better offensive stats than Aviles by the All Star Break?
I didn’t think so.
However, if Aviles stays on the bench and Getz continues to play passably…
Well, folks, we could be watching the end of Mike Aviles in a Royals uniform.
Maybe the humane thing to do would be to let him play every day until Moustakas arrives. By then, perhaps his stats will be good enough (and opposing general managers’ memories will be long enough) that the Royals can flip Aviles to a contender looking for middle infield help and a little offensive pop down the stretch.
Matt Kelsey is a Royals writer and associate editor for I-70 Baseball. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.