In sticking up for one of his struggling players over the weekend, Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost introduced a neoclassical term to the world. Coming into play Tuesday, third baseman Mike Moustakas was batting .240/.294/.384 with 29 home runs in 1,130 career plate appearances. This season alone, his numbers are much, much worse.
It appears Royals brass has overreached in expecting Moustakas and first baseman Eric Hosmer to develop into reliable corners this season. But it's too soon to give up on Moustakas — even for a while, by demoting him to the minors — Yost said to Kansas City Star reporter Bob Dutton:
“You know what?” Yost said. “Maybe when we get home, I can go to the third base tree and pick another third baseman. … Obviously, third basemen who can hit and hit with power, they must grow on trees."
There it is. "The Third Base Tree." Soak it in, in all of its grandeur. If he contributes nothing else in his managerial career, either on the field or in a press conference, Yost has borne fruit by conjuring a mystical tree from which any major league team can pluck a ripe stud for the hot corner.
• Miguel Cabrera would be the trunk.
• David Wright, Adrian Beltre, Evan Longoria and (UPDATE) Manny Machado (who someday will cross-pollinate over to the Shortstop Tree) would be the biggest branches.
• Kyle Seager would be a blossoming bud.
• George Brett would still be attached, double-tapered and tan.
• Moustakas would be a fallen leaf.
• (UPDATE) Jeff Keppinger is poison oak.
Later in the interview, in case you weren't sure that Yost's quote didn't drip with sarcasm, he broke it to everybody:
Read More »from Ned Yost: ‘There is no third baseman tree’