Trying to bring a little common sense to the game of baseball. But considering many of the people who read baseball blogs, I'm probably just pissing into the wind.

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Kansas City Royals preview

Right from the start, I’ll say I’m a Royals fan, so I’m not very objective here. And I’ll be honest, they suck. Badly. There is hope, but not with the current management. They can’t get worse, so maybe they can finally get better, but I don’t see it happening, because all of the wrong moves are being made. They just need to be happy that they play in the same division as the Indians.


Jason Kendall, Bryan Pena, and Luke May. Adequate before Kendall comes back, terrible afterwards. Yost will insist he be the starter, and it just won’t work. They need to get Pena’s bat in the line up, and his defense won’t hurt any more than anyone else’s. Let him and May platoon and take your chances.

Upside:  it takes awhile for Kendall to come back from the injury

Downside:  Kendall is ready for the start of the season

Score:  - 2

First base:

Kila Ka’aihue. And it’s about damn time. Nothing against Butler, but just to get his bat in the line up. This guy has been left sitting behind dead asses that shouldn’t be playing in the majors. He might tank, but I’ll be he doesn’t. I’m looking at 25 homeruns, 85 walks, and better defense. He’s holding the job for Hosmer, so maybe a good year gets him traded for help. Let’s hope.

Upside:  shows the world that Dayton Moore doesn’t know what he’s doing

Downside:  Moore continues to think that he does

Score:  + 1

Second base:

Chris Getz. He’ll get another chance at the job, if he can only stay healthy. Has a lot of upside, but isn’t really showing it yet. Will bring some needed speed to the team, and his defense will help. But Moustakas is waiting in the wings, and Aviles is a slump away from being the starter here. Getz could keep Moustakas in the minors, which the team would like. But there is no reason for it. Someone will get traded. Soon.

Upside:  gets to play the full year and show what he can do

Downside:  odd man out when Moustakas makes his debut

Score:   - 1

Third base:

Mike Avilies. The man with the bat, but without a position. He’s in a holding pattern, but only to find out where he’ll actually play. He’ll stay in the line up when Moustakas takes over, but where is the question. He gets it done everywhere he goes, and will continue to do so. No respect for this guy, but that’s what you get when you replace Dayton Moore’s favorite player.

Upside:  gets to settle into one position and shine

Downside:  he’s the one who gets traded

Score:  + 1

Short stop:

Alcides Escobar. “Where have you gone, Freddie Patek? Royals Nations turns its lonely eyes to you, woo hoo hoo.” All the upside in the world, all the makings of another Tony Pena, Jr. Doesn’t hit, doesn’t steal, defense is nothing special. The sad thing is, people will be begging to have Betancourt back. Escobar got traded for the franchise, and he better do something. Royals fans are good, but they are about to turn. Don’t be Peter Boyle to Kenneth Mars.

Upside:  if Aviles can’t make the throws from short, maybe Getz can

Downside:  Moore tries to prove he can really evaluate shortstops

Score:  - 1

Left field:

Alex Gordon. I really want him to succeed. I really do. But it’s not happening. This is his last chance in a Royals uniform, and he’s not really trade bait. There are some prospects that will push him, and his job security is the worst of anyone in the outfield. Maybe it would be good if he were cut loose. I think a trip to the National League would better suit his game, and he still might hit.

Upside:  shows why he was a first round pick

Downside:  DFA

Score:  - 1


Melky Cabrera. Not Lorenzo Cain, they guy they traded Grienke for. No, that’s not good enough. Another retread is a better option than letting the young guy play. Because already proving you can’t be a starter is much better than proving you might be. He’s not even a good center fielder. But he was a Brave, so he meets all the requirements. The only change will be that he goes to left field when Gordon goes out.

Upside:  has a decent start and gets traded at the break

Downside:  plays just well enough to keep Cain down

Score:  - 1

Right field:

Jeff Francoeur. I’m going to leave it at this. Signing Francoeur is proof that Dayton Moore is the worst GM in the major leagues. The incompetence is astounding. The Royals will never get to .500 while he is in charge. It just won’t happen.

Upside:  none

Downside:  Rowland Office wants to make a come back

Score:  0

Designated hitter:

Billy Butler. Finally a bright spot. The guy is a hitter, and not playing defense this year should help even more. He could use some more power, but people seem to forget that Kaufman is not a hitter’s park, and home runs aren’t easy. He might finally have some help in the line up with Ka’aihue, and maybe Moustakas. He might not hit 20 home runs, but he might get 60 doubles.

Upside:  develops more power

Downside:  has to play in the field

Score:  + 2

Backup catcher:

Pena and May, because Kendall will get to start. Only Pena’s bat keeps this respectable. May doesn’t hit and isn’t a great fielder. Pena doesn’t field well either, but he’s better than Kendall and can hit. So guess who starts and who sits. Ned Yost was a catcher. Why can’t he figure this out? The Royals don’t have enough offense to hide gloves. Or lack of production. Especially for a guy who hits second.

Upside:  Pena gets lots of playing time

Downside:  Kendall plays all year

Score:  - 1

Backup first baseman:

Butler. Or Gordon. If Butler goes to first, that will hurt the DH, but not first. Some, defensively, but not that bad. Gordon can fill in on occasion, if needed. Hosmer could get the call if it’s a long term issue. Either way, there won’t be a huge drop off. Butler and Ka’aihue will probably rotate in and out anyhow.

Upside: don’t need one

Downside:  Butler has to play the field too much

Score:  + 1

Back-up infielder:

Wilson Betemit. Credit where credit is due, he had a good year last year. He’s not the best defensively, but he’s been shuttled around a lot of positions and a lot of teams. He does hit, and could get the nod at third if Aviles has to move somewhere else. Or even at short, but that might be a stretch. He gives the team flexibility and will get decent playing time.

Upside:  gets to be a utility guy all year as everyone else does the job

Downside:  can’t repeat last year

Score:  + 1

Back-up outfielder:

Mitch Maier. Because Melky Cabrera and Jeff Francoeur are much better in the starting line up. Maier gets no respect, but he can play all three positions. Nothing fantastic and he shouldn’t start. But when you’re better than everyone else out there, you should get the opportunity. Movement around the outfield won’t affect him, unless it is Gordon. He’ll stay the back up if anyone else comes up.

Upside:  fills his role and does it well

Downside:  isn’t any better than the others when he has to start

Score:   0

Rotation (front 3):

Jeff Francis, Luke Hochevar, and Kyle Davies. Because all the good pitchers are in the minors, so Moore doesn’t understand that they exist. To be fair, I think Hochevar is going to be good (on a better team) and Davies just over achieves. Getting out of Coors might help Francis, but he’s too far gone from his glory days. The staff isn’t going to intimidate anyone, and they all have to prove they can win on a consistent basis.

Upside:  Francis can get it back

Downside:  Davies tanks before the break

Score:  - 1

Rotation (back end):

Vin Mazzaro and Sean O’Sullivan. Yeah, exactly. Because in Kansas City, all the good starters are in the minors. And get to stay there. For a long time. While these guys set a record for how few innings they’ll get per start. Seriously, why isn’t Soria starting? It’s not like he’s going to get any save opportunities. The season is already looking grim.

Upside:  roster moves before opening day

Downside:  they get 15 starts each

Score:  - 2


Blake Wood, Jesse Chavez, Kanekoa Texeira, Greg Holland, and Robinson Tejeda. Two guys – Wood and Tejeda – who should be starting, but for some reason, this team is content to go with what they have. They probably won’t be as bad as it looks, because they’ll have to pitch way more innings than any bullpen should. It doesn’t matter if they blow saves, because there won’t be many opportunities to do it.

Upside:  Wood and Tejeda move into the rotation

Downside:  they’re overworked by May 15th

Score:  - 1


Joakim Soria. But why? Why do you need a guy who can save 45 games when your team will have a hard time winning 60? When you suck this bad, there is no room for false respectability. Soria’s a great closer, but he isn’t needed on this team. The only question about Soria is whether the Red Sox out bid the Yankees for him, and what the team gets in return.

Upside:  gets traded to a team that can actually use him

Downside:  only pitches once a week while waiting for save opportunities that never come

Score:  + 2

Team speed (which includes base running):

Average with the guys they have, better when the young guns finally get a chance. Lots of stupid base running mistakes last year, but they should be better. Some speed with Getz, and good on the bases with some of the others. And then some who need a traffic cop to know when to move. It won’t be of any use this year, but maybe next year. We hope.

Upside:  the young guys use it when they get called up

Downside:  the young guys don’t get called up

Score:  0

Team defense:

Again, it depends on who is out there. This could be a good defensive team, if all the right parts are in place. But they aren’t and won’t be. Decent up the middle, but not good. When Franceour’s defense is a positive, you have problems. They won’t cost the pitchers, but they won’t help them. The big outfield should help, and the infield won’t disappoint.

Upside:  they are all better than we think

Downside:  the guys with the gloves don’t hit

Score:  0

Team batting:

Might possibly have more power this year, but will also have the strikeouts to go with it. Depends on the line up construction. If you have guys at the top of the order who don’t get on, you don’t score a lot. Getz and Gordon have to show they can do it. Ka’aihue needs to hit. More walks would help, and they might do it this year. At least everywhere but the right field position.

Upside:  the guys who need to hit actually do

Downside:  Francoeur and Cabrera are the team leaders

Score:  - 1

Team pitching:

The pitching will be good. When all the pitcher in the minors are on the big club. Until then, it doesn’t really matter. The guys who could be good are not being utilized properly, except for Hochevar, and he’s being crucified for not being Zack Greinke. Soria is wasted and won’t finish the season with the team. When they get good enough to use him, he’ll be closing out World Series games.

Upside:  the minor leagues gets cleared out and comes up

Downside:  Dayton Moore is still the GM

Score:  - 1

Total score:    - 5

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