Saturday, August 30, 2008

When I Called Hillman #2, This Wasn't What I Meant.

“They say it is always darkest before the dawn. The problem is that there’s no way to tell whether now is that darkest hour, only that it’s darker than it has ever been before.”

I wrote that line at the end of the Royals chapter in our annual Baseball Prospectus book, after the Royals had just endured the worst season in franchise history, their first 100-loss season ever – six years ago. At that point in time, while it did not appear that the Royals could turn things around quickly, it was hard to see how things could get any worse. What’s worse than a 100-loss season? Is there a color darker than black?

But of course, they did. Two years later they would lose 104 games, then 106 the next year, then in 2006 they became the first non-expansion team in over 50 years to lose 100 games in three straight seasons.

Then came last year, when the Royals won 69 games – their second-most wins this century! Alex Gordon got a standing ovation on Opening Day. His sidekick Billy Butler joined him a few months later. Zack Greinke made a triumphant return from his bout with social anxiety. Gil Meche was the rare free-agent signing that panned out. Joakim Soria was a Rule 5 revelation. If you squinted, you could see a flash of purple on the eastern horizon.

If it’s always darkest before the dawn, then we must be getting closer to sunrise, because it just keeps getting darker.

August 2008 will likely go down as one of the worst months the Royals have ever had. They are 6-19 with two games to go. After staying remarkably healthy for the season’s first four months, they’ve been blindsided by the law of averages. Their second baseman tore up his ankle the day after he wasn’t traded at the trading deadline (and just a week before an obvious trading partner presented itself, when the Diamondbacks lost Orlando Hudson for the rest of the season*). Their third baseman may be out for the year with a torn quad muscle. Their #4 starter is out for the year after somehow bruising his ribcage in the act of throwing a pitch. Their fourth outfielder – well, one of their many fourth outfielders – had his face smashed in by an errant pitch while trying to bunt. Their left-handed setup man – who was the best setup man in baseball through the end of July – gave up 8 runs in 2 innings before going on the DL with plantar fasciitis.

*: With tomorrow night being the deadline for teams to trade for players that will be eligible for the postseason, I think this is worth putting out there: why don’t the Royals trade Grudzielanek (while picking up the remainder of his contract) to the Diamondbacks for a PTBNL? Grudzielanek may not be ready to play until the end of September, but he should be ready to play in October, whereas Hudson is out for the year. And I would imagine that Grudzielanek would be more motivated to return earlier for a team headed for the postseason. In Hudson’s absence, the Diamondbacks have been forced to play Augie Ojeda (.246/.354/.309) and Chris Burke (.195/.307/.270) at second base. Grudz has hit .299/.345/.399 this year, and you can tack on some points against NL competition. (Against the NL this year, he hit .396/.475/.491. Last year, he hit .320/.370/.720.) There’s no risk for Arizona; if Grudzielanek can’t return, then they trade the Royals a player of no consequence. If he is able to return before the end of the season, and the Diamondbacks make the playoffs, then the PTBNL would a more substantial prospect. Everybody wins.

A month after Jose Guillen denied reports that he can’t stand Trey Hillman, Miguel Olivo went out of his way to confirm reports of the same. Oh, and Eric Hosmer, the Royals #1 pick, has been hit by crossfire in the astonishing Pedro Alvarez gunfight going on in Pittsburgh, and is out at least until an arbitrator rules on the case on September 10th. (Long term, I’m not really concerned – the odds that Hosmer’s contract is ruled invalid is infinitesimal given that everyone involved – Hosmer, the Royals, the MLBPA, the Commissioner’s Office – would prefer to keep Hosmer where he is. But it’s most certainly a pain in the ass right now.)

The Royals’ disappointing performance and stunning collapse forces us to re-evaluate what we thought we knew about a lot of players. But I’m not sure anyone’s reputation has fallen farther in my eyes than that of Hillman. Four months ago, you may recall, I was singing his praises, ranking him #2 on my list of reasons to be excited for the Royals’ future. Now? Well, let’s see what I wrote then, and what we think now.

- “[T]he one trait I’m most comfortable pinning on Hillman, and one of the reasons I’m so optimistic about his hiring: he’s adaptable.”

By “adaptable”, I was referring to his willingness to tailor different strategies for different personnel. He went to his first Japan Series with a great offensive team; he went to his second with a team with the worst offense in the league.

In America? I suppose he deserves credit for “adapting” to Tony Pena’s sub-.170 average by grudgingly giving some starts to Mike Aviles, and then adapting to Aviles’ .330 average by continuing to play him every day. I don’t want to completely downplay Hillman’s contribution – he did give Aviles an opportunity to play, and has stuck with him at shortstop despite occasional defensive lapses. But it wasn’t exactly a move of genius.

He has dialed back the kamikaze basepath approach a little; after stealing 29 bases (but getting caught 19 times) in April and May, the Royals have swiped 39 bases against just 15 caught stealings since.

Other than that, I’m not sure Hillman has proven that he’s learned one thing about his roster from Opening Day to today. He still hasn’t learned that Ross Gload is a joke of a starting first baseman. Gload is hitting .271/.315/.343 this season, with three homers – or one fewer than Carlos Zambrano has hit in one-fifth the at-bats. Despite that, Gload has already smashed his career high in at-bats, and is getting more playing time as the season progresses, not less: he started just 51 games the first three months of the year, but started 26 times in July and 21 already in August.

He hasn’t learned that you can’t waste a roster spot on a .164 hitter who you don’t even use for defense. In the Royals’ last 44 games, Pena has batted just 20 times and played a total of 53 innings.

And he hasn’t learned what I cheekily named Jazayerli’s Law of Fundamentals a few years ago: A team's ability to execute the “fundamentals” is inversely correlated to the time spent discussing the importance of executing them. That’s all we heard in spring training: how, after years of trying to master the fundamentals without success, that now we had a manager who really, truly, honest-to-God, no-my-fingers-are-not-crossed, knew how to teach the fundamentals.

- “Hillman talked about the fundamentals a lot during the spring, and it remains to be seen whether that’s just the standard rigmarole that every new manager needs to say – a new manager saying he wants to focus on the fundamentals is like a newly-elected politician saying he wants to get tough on crime. If he keeps harping about it, then we’ll need to worry. My hope is that, like Bobby Cox or Mike Scioscia or Jim Leyland, he won’t talk about fundamentals as much in the future because he won’t need to: his team will have already proven they can execute them on the field.”

Instead, the 2008 Royals may be the worst team in major league history when it comes to catching popups. That’s saying something, given that their competition includes the 1996-2007 Royals.

- “Plus, the frequent references to bunting and offensive risk-taking notwithstanding, he seems to have a pretty good grounding in what makes an offense tick. From Bob Dutton:

‘I’ve spoken to all of them about eliminating batting average and going to OBP,’ he said. ‘Because OBP really is the statistic that tells you what your chances are of scoring runs.’”

[snip]

“Talking with Dutton, here’s Hillman on his offensive philosophy:

‘OBP is a no-brainer,’ Hillman said. ‘Get on base and have guys drive you in. Be aggressively disciplined in the strike zone, but take your walks. After that, it depends on what you’re talking about.

‘If you’re talking about the middle of the lineup, which I consider three through seven, then I look for run production. So I go to slug (slugging percentage).’”

Um, yeah. About that OBP thing, Trey.

Last year, the Royals drew just 428 walks all year, ranking 13th – next-to-last – in the league in that category. In 2006, they managed to draw 474 walks, good enough for 10th in the league. By Royals standards, 2006 was a rousing success: since 1981, the Royals have ranked higher than 10th just five times in 27 years: 1988, 1989, 1997, 2002, 2003. The Royals haven’t ranked in the top half of the league in walks drawn since 1989.

There wasn’t exactly a high bar for Hillman to clear this year. But somehow he managed to do the limbo anyway. Through 134 games, the Royals have drawn just 328 walks this year. That puts the Royals on a pace for 397 walks, which would tie the 1983 team for the fewest walks in franchise history.

By comparison, every other team in the majors has drawn at least 364 walks. Except for the Mariners, every other AL team has at least 398 walks, which is to say 12 AL teams already have more walks than the Royals are on pace to finish with a month from now.

Since the 1983 Royals, just five teams have finished a full season with under 400 walks: the 1993 Rockies, 1998 Pirates, 2006 Cubs, and the Tigers in both 2002 and 2005. The Royals are on pace to become the sixth team in a quarter-century that fails to reach the 400-walk plateau.

And keep in mind that pace is likely to drop, given that the team’s most patient hitter, Gordon, is out for a few weeks if not the entire season.

On Sunday, the Royals drew five walks in a regulation game for the first time in almost exactly a month – since July 25th. Not coincidentally, they won the game by four runs, the only game they’ve won by more than a single run since August 3rd. (They can’t even get full credit for this one, though, since one of those walks was intentional.) They picked up on cause-and-effect so well that in their four games since, they’ve drawn four walks – combined.

I guess when Hillman said that OBP is a no-brainer, he meant that only people with no brains think it’s important.

Hillman’s not going anywhere for the time being. Dayton Moore’s approach is so deliberate that he hasn’t even gotten around to firing Mike Barnett yet, so Hillman is sure to get another year to show that he can turn pretty theories into hard reality. But a tenure that started with such promise six months ago has turned out to be a disaster. And as Hillman goes, so go the Royals.

45 comments:

Curtis said...

That is a hysterical title for this thread. That title is maybe the best thing about being a Royals fan in six weeks. Thanks!

tilly uhlich me so...delightfully said...

Come on, Rany, they "played catch" in spring training!

The failures of this team/organization are so deep, many, and incredibly consistent that it is difficult to find new territory to mine. Alas, I have another grain of sand in my speedos: Think ticket prices for this crap will go up? It rubs me raw how much credit the Royals have taken for their new scoreboard that they neither invented nor paid for. I paid for it. And for that I was rewarded with...an online ticket discount? The same discount my Johnson County friends were able to use? So you get a couple hundred million bucks from your fan base, and raise ticket prices, and continue to suck, and continue act like everything is good, on track, and remain arrogant.

Quality organization.

Anonymous said...

A perennial losing organization is more likely to improve with a dramatic change at the top rather than an 'unknown' who suddenly blossoms.

1. Bill Parcells to the Jets.
2. Dick Vermeil to the Chiefs after the disaster of Gun.

There are also proven franchise re-builders to get you out of the long-term losing mindset (they eventually usually can't get you over the top, but they at least stop the bleeding):

1. Marty at KC and SD
2. Joe Torre in NY
3. Parcells with Jets, Dallas and briefly with Miami.

So why do we think Hillman, Muser and Pena would do anything at all?

Surely there is a proven someone out there who we can decent money to?

Shelby said...

I ran into Grudz at the Velvet Dog last weekend. It was 20 minutes after the Royals lost to the Tigers. I went up to him and said, "Hey Mark, I'm a big fan. Just wanted to shake your hand."

And he was extremely nice and said "Hey, what's up. Thanks."

But he had the deer-in-headlights look of someone who called in sick to work and just had his boss's wife come up to him to say 'hi'.

jonfmorse said...

Uh, Rany...

"He hasn’t learned that you can’t waste a roster spot on a .164 hitter who you don’t even use for defense."

Who's in control of the roster, again? Admittedly, Trey has the ability to say, "Hey, Dayton, could you just get rid of this guy and get me someone else?" But that decision isn't his. It's Dayton's.

I also don't think you can pin the team's inability to draw walks on him. The insistence on putting guys in the lineup who can't while good OBP guys are on the bench, you could, but frankly he's been playing the guys who know how to take a walk. There's just too many guys on the roster who can't.

jonfmorse said...

(By the way, I'm still completely unimpressed with Hillman. I just think we should be blaming him for the things he should be blamed for. Like an inability to do math, a propensity for wasting outs, and letting Soria rot in the bullpen just because we're not winning.)

joel said...

Rany, are you judging Hillman for roster construction? He should probably not be blamed for having only 3 players with an above average OPS+. What bench player deserves more playing time than Gload? After scanning the statistics of reserve players, only Miguel Olivo is deserving of replacing Gload in the lineup (this is without controlling for defense). Hillman's most egregious error in PA allocation is granting Joey Gathright so much playing time. But do we know the whole story? Gath, at least to the untrained eye, is Moore's baby, and Hillman could be getting pressure to play him. I'm just not convinced that Hillman is making very many mistakes in allocating PAs.

Casper said...

I still say it's the fault of Mark Davis. As long as he's in the organization, teaching "fundamentals" to our kids in Rookie League (have to double check but pretty sure he's a pitching coach there), we're jinxed as an organization. You have to cut ties with The Suck before you can be any good.

skeptic said...

How about flashing the "take" sign once in a while?

Stephen Edwards said...

Interesting that you have posted this. I have been thinking the last week or so that Hillman should be fired at the end of the season. He doesn't appear to have any idea what he's doing, including the sparse usage of Olivo.

rebmoti said...

It was really interesting, the game I went to against the Tigers a while back, to see a real manager manage a game for a change. Greinke was wild, and Leyland put runners in motion b/c he knew Zach couldn't watch them and throw strikes. He did a double steal - the run scored, of course. It was textbook, and excruciating for an Rs fan to watch.

Isaac said...

I have never given up on a manager as quickly as I have given up on Hillman. He is, far and away, the worst manager this team has ever had. While I know he is not going anywhere, I believe very strongly that he should be fired at the end of the season.

I do not give him credit for switching SSs. If Pena had not been the worst player in modern times then I may have been able to give him some but to break down and replace a guy who could be replaced by anyone but me is not deserving of credit.

I do give him credit for reducing the base running errors and poor SB success rate. Not much though as these things should not have occurred at all. I also believe he is getting a bit lucky with it as he is still allowing or calling for SBs that will succeed a small fraction of the time. I can also not ignore the continuation of our players getting picked off bases.

Our inability to take walks is bad and nothing seems to be getting done about it. Hitters are still allowed to swing on 3-0 counts. We had a three pitch innings earlier in the year and we had a hit that inning. I have been calling it the swing early and often hitting philosophy. If any effort were being made, you would not see so many players swinging at first pitches.

At the same time, our player development and the players being brought in from other organizations are horrible a getting walks. We even just traded a guy who was performing in our bullpen for a guy at single A who has been able to get above .310 in OBP in like 3 years at that level. They decline even further once they get here. The fact that Barnett is still here I am not able to comment on.

The fundamentals are worse than just the popups. It is running into each other on the field. This is why Grudz is on the DL. It is also about not running plays out. Our current and past managers have refused to pull guys from games when they pull things like the Emil Doubles Trot.

We've had some bad years, but none compare to this one. Yes, it may get worse, but right now I don't see how that's possible as I have become numb.

Anonymous said...

Many of Hillman's moves this year have been baffling, no doubt about it. Nonetheless, I'd say that last line is an overstatement - I'm not sure managers have that much of an affect. If you were to construct a pie graph showing how much influence on wins and losses a manager has relative to, say, the talent level of the players he's working with, I'd say you'd be looking at 5% manager versus 95% talent. Lou Pinella or Ron Gardenhire or Sciosia or anyone else might milk an extra couple of wins, but talent trumps the manager's doings by a long shot. How would Hillman look if he were managing the Cubs this year? Maybe not quite as good as Piniella looks, but close enough.

jonfmorse said...

Regarding the bizarre season-long infatuation some people have with Olivo:

His OBP is right in line with his career. That is to say, "excrement." He's never topped a .300 OBP in any season in his entire career, and it's at .291 now.

Of course, Buck's no better; his is under .300 as well, since HE'S forgotten how to take a walk.

Ron Rollins said...

I don't think you're allowed to trade a player while he's on the DL.

If Moore dosen't fire Hillman before the end of the season, it proves he's just as much a failure.

Both those guys need to go. Now!

Chance said...

Rain Man,
Why should I even care? I mean, I do care, but why do I? What if D-O-G really spelled "cat"? I don't know who could have had a successful season with these losers. I said it before on an earlier post, and I reiterate: I want someone to ask Dayton Moore some tough questions. I want to know who is making the decisions to keep TP on the roster and play Gload everyday. I sit really Hillman? Of course, if Hillman is #2, then its obvious why we need the TP.

Anonymous said...

True, the Royals don't draw walks. Part of the problem is the lack of power. We have watched pitcher after pitcher throw 91 mph fastballs right over the plate and not get hurt. Pitchers won't even nibble against the Royals.

Of course, the players won't even allow the pitcher to get himself in trouble. I'm curious how many pitches the Royals see per at bat, it has to be the fewest in the league.

Kevin said...

Check out this from mlb.com:
==========
Minor Leaguers who get a September callup might not get extensive playing time, however.

"With what we've gone through this season and, obviously, our lack of winning percentage, I think we're evaluating even our guys that are still here," Hillman said. "With guys that come up, we'll fit 'em the best way that we can. Some of the guys are going to be here more for the experience than the playing time."

=======================

What? Seriously? What more evaluation of current Royals players really must be done? If Hillman and DM are truly this clueless then we are in much more trouble than we ever dreamed. I would say, for position players, Gordon, Butler, Callaspo, Aviles, DeJesus are the only young players deserving and needing further evalution. The rest should be considered AAA level and sent down or out. They have shown what they are.

I left Guillen, Grudz, and Olivo out of this group because they are also known. I think we know Grudz and Olivo will be gone. I don't think Guillen will be gone. I also think he can be a good player if the Royals do 2 things. 1. Show REAL, honest commitment to trying to win. 2. Pick up another player capable of taking the pressure off Guillen. He is not cut out to be the leader to lift the team to the next level.

I think they should use the rest of the season to work as many young guys as possible. We need the rest of this season to be the beginning of next year's spring training as much as possible.

Kevin said...

To add, regarding the quote I attached above.

This is the same mentality that almost doomed Aviles after ONE GAME. I can't believe Hillman was so lame and stubborn about Aviles when he came up. What more was there (and is there) that we need learn about Pena? The only thing we can learn from Pena is whether he can ever become a serviceable major league bat. The only way to learn this is to send him to AAA or lower for a whole year before allowing him (based on performance, not name and relations) to come back up.

But, it isn't just about Pena. That attitude of already "knowing" that your minor leaguers are career minor leaguers that deserve to stay there is amazing. It's even more amazing when they see the major leaguers DIFFERENTLY than that. They need to be seen the SAME WAY. On this team, the major leaguers are not necessarily different or better than those on the farm at this point.

Anonymous said...

They aren't bringing Kila up because he's not on the 40 man roster and Shealy is. Does that mean the Royals will expose Kila to the Rule 5 draft?

Anonymous said...

Wow. We are giving up on Hillman already? I don't like the fact that Gathright is getting any playing time and that Gload continues to start everyday. But I think Gathright is only getting playing time now because frankly we just don't have any better options anywhere. Gload is not a bad baseball player. We just use him incorrectly. But again our options are limited at the MLB level. I would rather see Butler get the reps at 1st, but then who DHs? I really don't think you can blame the MLB roster construction and the lack of any MLB ready talent in AAA or even AA on Hillman. The guys in AAA and AA aren't even Moore's guys..they are Allard's.

I also don't think that you can blame the low OBP on Hillman. Again, I think this is a result of the roster construction and the young guys not improving as much as we would hope. Olivio and Guillen have never wanted to take a walk. As much as we want to and as much as the manager might preach it, you are not going to all of a sudden be a HIGH OBP team. It takes time to develop those types of players or bring them in from other orgs.

AC said...

This team has hit rock bottom and has picked up a shovel so they can start digging.

In what season will I at least be able to have delusions of adequacy?

2010? 2011? Hello? Is this mic on?

she's a brook house said...

What is the big deal, here? The team is merely a few games worse than last year, and very much in line with performance over the past several years. Oh, you thought Dayton walked on water? Name his bestest trade. Mr. "pitching is the currency of baseball" did trade JP Howell immediately, clearly his worst. The rest are just blah. Yet we continue to think highly of him even thought Joe Guillen was signed. Huh? Was Dan Glass the other bidder, driving up the stakes for Dayton?

There should be a game(s) boycotted. This is a joke.

Why It? said...

Rumor has it the Royals had parts of the historic Crown Scoreboard for sale on ebay or something...anything to it?

And I'll gladly give away me remaing tickets to the K. Oh, wait, nobody will take them.

Kevin said...

That's a good question on Kila as to whether he could get exposed to Rule 5. I'm not an expert on the rules here. However, I think that whether Kila ever pans out, the Royals almost HAVE to protect him from the Rule 5 draft now. It would be far too embarrassing to lose him and then see that he actually DOES pan out. To protect him, does he need to be on the 40 man roster? Well, that' an easy problem to solve. Release Gobble, add Kila, problem solved.

Kevin said...

Today is a perfect example of what Rany has written about a couple of times regarding use of Soria. On mlb.com, Hillman is bemoaning the difficulty in getting Soria "some work." What? Why didn't he bring him into the game today when the game was on the line? He had the perfect opportunity to work him the 8th and 9th. Instead, we lose the game because he wants to save him for a statistical save situation. How freaking stupid.

Kip Wells?

jd said...

OK, there are many many things we can complain about. But can we please stop complaining about Aviles' time on the bench after his first game? His season is going remarkable well and whatever it took to get him prepared was obviously done well. Perhaps Hillman saw something in Aviles early on that said he needed a little time to adjust.
Maybe he'd be fine if he'd played regularly right out the gates, we will never ever know. The only thing we know is he's fine now (with the bat anyway). Maybe, just maybe, that move was pure brilliance on Hillman's part.

Anonymous said...

I don't really know how people can still have Guillen's back or what they're basing their assumptions that he can be a "good" player on. His career OPS+ is 99 -- a notch below average. He's never been a good player, he's just had a few good seasons. Next year, he might not be as dreadful as this year, and on a good team with better bats in the lineup around him, he can even be a useful player. But you're completely delusional if you think that Guillen is a good player. The bastard is terrified of taking a walk, he can't hit for average, all he really provides is power, and not even much of that this year with his pedestrian .424 SLG.

I don't really get the clamoring for more playing time for Olivo, either. The guy is clearly suited for a platoon role, he doesn't hit right handed pitching. He has a career .627 OPS against right handers and .856 against left handers (.681/.932 this season). His numbers are certainly better than Buck's, but there's not really any good reason to think they'd stay better than Buck's if he took over the starting job. He wouldn't necessarily be worse either, but it just seems like a switch of no real consequence to me -- and it signals that the organization is giving up on Buck, which might not be so bad, except that they don't have anyone to replace him long-term.

The saddest part is that the Royals have been so bad for so long that people are willing to pin their hopes on Jose Guillen and Miguel Olivo.

Which I guess is all pretty tangential to the point of Hillman sucking. While I do agree with that sentiment, I don't think his handling of the Buck/Olivo situation has been terrible, just because I don't think either one of them is going to make a big difference. They're basically the same player offensively, except Olivo hits left handers a little better, and he generally has gotten into the lineup (either as the starting catcher or the DH) against them. I'd still fire Hillman if I were the GM, but not because of how he's played Olivo.

jonfmorse: Regarding the bizarre season-long infatuation some people have with Olivo:

His OBP is right in line with his career. That is to say, "excrement." He's never topped a .300 OBP in any season in his entire career, and it's at .291 now.

Of course, Buck's no better; his is under .300 as well, since HE'S forgotten how to take a walk.


I wouldn't say that Buck's no better at taking a walk: it's true that his OBP is only a little higher than Olivo's (.297 vs. Olivo's .288), but his batting average is 44 points lower. Buck's isolated OBP is a pretty good .077, while Olivo's is only .027. Buck is walking at a rate of .087/PA, while Olivo's rate is only .027. I suspect, as I mentioned before, that Olivo's batting average would drop if he were installed as the every day catcher -- and even with his higher average, his OBP still isn't quite as high as Buck's, though the difference is not huge. If Buck could hit for a little higher average, there'd really be no contest between him and Olivo.

Antonio said...

Nice try, JD.

But anyways, the Royals have until sometime in December to get Kila on the 40. They have plenty of time. It's right before the draft that they have to have it set. I seriously doubt there's any real chance of losing Kaaihue to the Rule V draft. I'm not the biggest of Dayton Moore fans but I do think there's a lot of current players that aren't going to be brought back.

Anonymous said...

Just a few responses:

Olivo vs. Buck- Have you guys seen Buck try to throw the ball to 2nd base in the last month? I don't think I've seen anything but 2 hoppers. That's not a good sign.

TPJ- Why send him to AAA and see if could be a potential position player? Send him there and see if he could pitch yes. Otherwise, quit paying him.

Hillman- MAJOR fail on the bullpen and Soria use. Today was a great example of that.

Stay Way Away from the K said...

Many things to touch on, starting with Joe (Emil) Guillen. Starts awful, calls out team for being...awful? Gets uber hot, for a couple weeks, then, shockingly, reverts to exactly who he is. Yet people continue to credit gmdm for "getting david glass to open his checkbook." Are you kidding me? This guy is exactly the joker he has always been.

Nothing against gmdm as a guy, but we need to stop drooling on the guy for...what? What has he done?

Buck v. Olivo. What happened to that early season idea of playing both? Other than the emergence of Gloady, who....is also exactly who we traded for. Granted, A. Sisco (?) isn't a contributor, but...couldn't you argue the same on Gloady?

As for sending TPJ to Omaha, sure, go crazy, but what will that do? Clear a spot on the roster, great plus, but they know he won't hit there either.

And as for the aforementioned boycott, hell yes, isn't it obvious that supporting this team is a joke?

jonfmorse said...

@anonymous, 8:16:

Sorry, wasn't saying Buck's no better at taking a walk; he's just no better at getting on base, least not right now. ;)

Isaac said...

On Buck and Olivo. They both stink. Olivo is having a career year of sorts and still can't get his OBP over .300. Buck calls a better game but couldn't throw a guy out at second if his life depended on it and just plain doesn't hit.

On Hillman's influence on us winning or losing. I agree that a manager has very little effect on a game's outcome. At least I did. I have never in my life seen a manager make so many blatant mistakes that directly influenced the outcome of a game. His refusal to concede to the reality that this team cannot bunt is unreal. His need to call for those sac bunts in the 3rd inning of a 0-0 tie against Texas as he did last week is beyond belief. Even today's inability to put Soria in and stick with Wells even though it was obvious he wasn't going to throw a strike is beyond me. He had to wait until the bases were loaded and Cabrera stepped to the plate to make that change. Hillman has actually been bad enough to effect the outcome of what amounts to a record number of games most likely.

The Aviles deal. Most of you are talking as though he sat Aviles in favor of Pena. This is not true. This is when he began the Esty experiment that will live in infamy. It wasn't until Esty proved to be totally worthless in the field that he went back to Aviles.

On Gload, the majority of the fans want him gone. I don't think he is a bad player. I think he could be a beneficial player to a team. He is just being played in the worst way. It makes you wonder if Gload came out of the bullpen when Hillman first met him. Gload playing at first base every day is not Gload's fault and we should remember this.

Finally, Hillman is not totally to blame for everything. DM has done some things that make me question his sanity as of late. His moves have gotten worse and his inability to make a move is getting worse. I think we all knew we were starting at ground zero when he arrived but I also think that many of us thought we would be on the first floor by now. This does not excuse Hillman though. The decisions he makes are stupid regardless of who his players are.

Eric said...

Tie game 2-2 in the 8th.

We turn to...Kip Wells.

Kip Wells.

Because.......? We've had so many close games lately and our set-up men are all tired? Our closer is tired?

Kip m-f'ing Wells.

F'ing Royals.

Anonymous said...

Kila's contract was purchased by from Omaha by the Royals, so he will be getting called up. Let's cross our fingers. . . .

Nathan said...

"As Hillman goes, so go the Royals."

Isn't that a little melodramatic? Managers don't affect success as much as players do. The Royals need power and on base ability in their linup much more than they need a great manager. Hillman may not be the genius we hoped he was, but the problems with this team have been around a lot longer than he has.

konza847 said...

A couple of weeks ago I received an e-mail note from the Cincinnati Reds apologizing for the poor season and for trading Dunn and Griffey. They were still patting themselves on the back for hiring Dusty Baker, but I appreciated the gesture of letting the fans know that they, too, were disappointed.

I'm wondering if we'll see something similar from the Glasses and Moore. Like most everyone else who's posted here, I'm extremely disappointed with the 2008 Royals. And while I'm disappointed with Hillman, I can't help but think he wasn't dealt a very good hand.

Face it, guys and gals, this team wasn't very good. When it's healthy and playing well, it can compete, but its margin for error is small. When its bad, it's VERY BAD.

I hold Hillman responsible for the lack of development of Gordon, Teahen, and Butler. If something similar happens next year, count me among those who will call for his head.

But aren't personnel decisions made by the GM?

Is it Hillman's fault that his original starting shortstop can't hit as well as most national League pitchers?
Are Tomko, Nomo, and Yabuta Hillman's fault?
Is it Hillman's fault that Jose Guillen was signed in the first place, came into camp out of shape, got injured as a result, and became frustrated at his level of play?
Is it Hillman's fault that the Royals effectively have two backup catchers and the one who was ticketed for less playing time from the start thought he was going to be the starter when they signed him?
Is it Hillman's fault that this team so poor offensively that his best lineup options usually include Ross Gload?
Is it Hillman's fault that the lineup has so little power that pitchers generally have nothing to fear when they throw strikes?

I don't know about you, but I think the finger here points straight at Dayton Moore. I'm not ready to call for his head, either, but I would like him to submit to an honest interview with someone who will ask tough questions. If he has a plan, I would like to see him put it on the table. I don't want to hear spin. I want to be treated like an intelligent audience. I want to hear the truth, even if it isn't pretty.

Like all of you, I expected more. My expectations have not been met. My patience is wearing thin. I'm sick of being lied to. I want to believe this is heading in the right direction. I'm not seeing it.

Anonymous said...

konza847: it might not be Hillman's fault that guys like Tomko, Nomo, and Yabuta were on the roster, but his usage of them and his other players is absolutely his fault. Putting Nomo into the game was essentially raising a white flag, and Hillman did this a few times when the game was still on the line. It's not fair to blame Hillman for the roster's composition, but we can absolutely blame him for how it's used.

Anonymous said...

Our manager does not have the respect of his clubhouse.

Antonio said...

You know, the "spin" isn't just for the fans, but also for the competitors.

Anonymous said...

konza847: No, of course all the things you mentioned aren't Hillman's fault. But almost all of them aren't really Moore's fault either. I don't think most people truly understand (or remember) the absolutely atrocious state of the entire organization (not just the major league roster) at the time Moore took the helm. Heck, I bet Moore would admit that not even HE thought it was as bad as it actually was. Bottom line, you can't make even chicken salad out of chicken sh!t.

When you really consider where he started, you have to give Moore at least another 2-3 years before you can make any real, sweeping judgments. And even then, you're going to have to grade on a curve. This might be quite a historical research project for Rany or someone else to undertake (and I'm not even sure how you'd make a true comparison), but I would venture to say that Moore took on one of the most astronomical rebuilding (or just building...throw expansion teams in there) jobs in baseball history.

Antonio said...

But it would seem to me that Dayton would be able to help himself more by acquiring players that can leave as compensation free agents so he can acquire more players. Also, I'm not sure high risk/high reward prospects are the best players to be drafting for this organization. Given the sorry state it's in, I'm not sure having drafts heavily favoring HS kids is the best way to go. I would like to see more of a balance so we can see some results soon-ish, as there is a chance that Glass stops spending if he doesn't start seeing results, right? I'd also like to see Moore do more trading around the deadline to get rid of certain players. He's wasted too many opportunities to get rid of Grudzielanek...not to mention not trading the likes of Mahay or Redman (he pitched pretty well up to that deadline) and the like. Not to mention, if he can get someone to give us a minor league slugger for Affeldt/Batista, why can't he do that more often...you'd think at least one of them would turn out to be better than some of the "sluggers" we have that isn't outfitted like a lion. I'd really like to see him use more than just the draft to bring in young players to our minor league system.

Anonymous said...

Nice to see Shealy hit a home run last night. He now has 1/3 as many homers as the guy who's been playing first all year.

Anonymous said...

Well, the D-Backs traded for the incomparably scrappy David Ecstein, so Grudz isn't going anywhere.

Wabbitkiller said...

Rany could spend the rest of the season bashing Hillman for his stupidity, and it would be perfectly fine with me. Hillman has actually made me miss the good old days when Tony Muser was the manager. That says a lot for how bad I think Hillman has been this year.