The Royals have given Mike Moustakas room to breathe. They have demoted him only in the technical sense of the word. They have simplified his life. Eased off the gas. Turned down the heat.

They have sent him to Omaha, to the minor leagues, and if he handles this the right way it can be the best thing to happen to him in a career that still maintains promise.

Oh, it’s true that the Royals did this about 10 days too late and without much grace. They could have been swifter, should’ve been more decisive, and could’ve saved everyone involved a lot of time and trouble.

But that’s all in the past now. Nothing they can do about that now, other than hope the delay on the reconstruction of a player once viewed as a franchise cornerstone doesn’t diminish the final result.

That’s no sure thing, of course. This is a delicate situation under any circumstance, made all the more complicated by the quiet concern about how Moustakas will mentally and emotionally approach what general manager Dayton Moore is calling a “reset.”

The Royals had to do this for themselves, because a team with legitimate playoff hopes and a lineup already kept together with scotch tape cannot carry a .152 hitter who is leaking confidence. But they are also doing this for Moustakas, because this is a legitimate chance for him to fix himself.

Nobody ever kicked a bad habit without first forcing themselves to admit there’s a problem, and Moustakas doesn’t have to look far for models. The two highest-paid position players on the team he is (temporarily) leaving have had the same talk with Moore.

Billy Butler was demoted in 2008, in his second big-league season. That was more about attitude than anything else. The Royals told Butler to be confident in his ability but more humble in the way he carried himself. They drove home the point by putting him in Omaha during the minor-league club’s month-long road trip while the College World Series took over their stadium. They brought him back up at the end of June and he led the team in homers and RBIs the rest of the season and over the next four years had more extra-base hits than David Ortiz.