Well, after Jorge Soler's 464-foot (according to Statcast™) home run on Sunday, I would say quite a while. That was one of the most impressive homers you'll see -- it never got higher than 55 feet off the ground, a true laser. And generally, teams like to give players more than 30 at-bats before making any profound proclamations about their future.
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The bigger concern about Soler isn't his offense, but his defense. Outfield coaching guru Rusty Kuntz has his hands full trying to mold Soler into a serviceable right fielder. Soler turned two singles into triples the other night, and the one in the ninth in a one-run game was inexcusable.
The most puzzling thing about Alex Gordon's rough offensive start is his inability to hit the ball the opposite way. Eric Hosmer started focusing on that three weeks ago, and we've seen the difference in him. I do know that Gordon and batting coach Dale Sveum are searching for solutions every day, but it does seem like there are some easy hits to be gained on the left side because of the shift employed on Gordon. The good news: This isn't fantasy baseball, so the four-time Gold Glover continues to amaze with his defense (just ask the Orioles), and that contributes to winning games the Royals way.
In my daily conversations with manager Ned Yost, I get no hint at all that he's close to calling it quits. But if he suddenly changed his mind at season's end, the logical choice would be bench coach Don Wakamatsu, who has a sharp baseball mind and is well-respected. Kansas City has a terrific coaching staff, and having Wak step in would be a pretty seamless transition.
The narrative for the Royals' 2017 season is going to center around this question. I get that, because of all of their pending free agents. But even the most desperate teams don't back up the truck in May. Or June. I read somewhere that the earliest fire sale in recent history didn't begin until July 7. So everyone should relax.
Here's something else to consider: General manager Dayton Moore very well could re-sign some of the pending free agents. He has told me repeatedly that he's not about to let everyone walk. Moore's mindset isn't about blowing this whole thing up and starting over. He will retool, not rebuild. I wouldn't be shocked if Jason Vargas was high on the list to re-sign, which would give Kansas City a formidable front four rotation of Danny Duffy, Ian Kennedy, Vargas and Nathan Karns.
Right-hander Josh Staumont certainly is the pitching jewel in the Royals' system right now. Staumont, with his 100-mph fastball, has a 2.11 ERA over his past six starts, and he has 52 strikeouts in 37 innings overall. But Royals officials have told me that they don't want to call him up until it's fairly permanent. They don't want Staumont to become an I-29 fill-in between Kansas City and Omaha. He is the future, and they want to develop him smartly.