Monday, November 24, 2008

Greinke.

When I wrote about the impact of the Mike Jacobs trade, I planned to include a sentence about how the trade was really just window dressing for this off-season, that it was just a distraction from the really important things that might or might not happen. “The Jacobs trade has nothing to do with whether this off-season will prove to be successful or not,” I wanted to write. “All that really matters is whether Zack Greinke signs a long-term contract.”

And then, before I published, Bob Dutton reported that Greinke is in no rush to sign a long-term deal anytime soon, if at all.

There are a couple of possibilities as to what Zack really means when he says “I don’t need to get a long-term deal because I feel I’ll be able to pitch (well) and earn a long-term deal when I become a free agent.” As I see it, he could have made this comment for one of three reasons:

1)
He’s posturing.

2)
He sincerely wants to see if the Royals can build a winner before committing to a long term deal.

3)
He’s just saying a bunch of legal boilerplate to hide the fact that he's already planning to leave town at the first opportunity.

Greinke may simply be posturing in an effort to get the most money in a long-term deal, which is certainly his right. For all of Zack’s personal issues, he’s never lacked for confidence in a baseball sense – one of the reasons he was so successful at such a young age was because he pitched fearlessly, changing speeds and throwing strikes like a seasoned veteran. He knows he’s good, and he may be willing to play chicken with the Royals to get the offer he feels he deserves.

It’s also quite possible that Greinke wants to see tangible evidence that the Royals are going to be a competitive team before he commits to them. This is the same guy who claimed he would rather spend the year on a competitive team in Double-A then play with the last-place Royals. The team’s incessant losing has sucked the life out of me at times, but at least I can just tune them out when things get really bad. I can only imagine how painful it would be to actually be a member of the team, to be one of the most talented pitchers in all of baseball, and have to suffer through the 2005 season like Greinke did.

It’s easy for you or I to say that he should feel lucky to get paid millions to play a kid’s game, but the choice here isn’t whether Greinke plays baseball for the Royals or for the Wichita Wranglers, like he did in 2006. The choice here is whether Greinke gets paid millions of dollars to play baseball for the Royals in 2011…or whether he gets paid millions of dollars to play baseball for another team that, by default, has a better chance of making the playoffs.

Reasons (1) and (2) are not mutually exclusive, and I think they’re both a factor here: I think Greinke isn’t willing to sign for under market value, and I think that he’s reluctant to commit to a franchise that hasn’t definitively proven that it’s committed to winning.

If there’s a silver lining here, I think that reason (3) is unlikely. The first parallel that came to mind when I read Greinke’s comments was to Carlos Beltran. Beltran, like Greinke, was someone I had long advocated the Royals needed to sign to a long-term contract, and like Greinke, the Royals dithered for so long that by the time they woke up to the reality that free agency was approaching, it was already too late. Beltran was similarly non-committal about a long-term deal after the 2002 season, and while everyone ignored the elephant in the room when the Royals were contending in 2003, after the season it was clear that Beltran was leaving one way or the other.

I think that Greinke might be different, if for no other reason than that his agent isn’t Scott Boras. The player controls the agent and not the other way around – or at least it shouldn’t be the other way around – but who a player chooses to represent him is usually a clue as to where his priorities are. If Greinke switches agents this winter, I might as well put my Greinke jersey on eBay right then and there. But for now, I’m prepared to take his comments at face value.

My optimistic side – some of you would call it my naïve side – thinks that, given Greinke’s documented battle with social anxiety disorder, he would be inclined to stay in a comfortable setting rather than risk moving to an unfamiliar and unforgiving milieu. Kansas City has treated him well, by and large. Both the organization and the fan base were very supportive of him when he broke down and left the team for a spell. The local media market is smaller and less intrusive than pretty much every other major league city, and the cracks about his love for Chipotle aside*, the media attention he does get is quite positive. I’d honestly be fearful for Greinke’s psychological well-being if he ended up in New York.

*: I eat at Chipotle at least once a week, so far be it from me to criticize his dietary habits. If anything, I think his fine taste in fast food cuisine should be commended. I did not, however, cry when Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston broke up.**

**: Does anyone really think Zack was being serious when he said he cried upon hearing the news? I think Zack has a wicked and sarcastic sense of humor, and I think he is so good at saying things deadpan that people don’t realize when he’s joking. He comes across as a simpleton at times, but I wonder if the joke’s really on us.

No one thought Beltran was a good fit for New York either, given that he’s a very introverted and quiet player for a superstar, and he ended up with the Mets. But again, Beltran’s agent is Scott Boras. And Beltran has been quoted at least once as second-guessing his decision to take the highest offer on the table and move to New York.

So I do think that despite these comments, Greinke may still be amenable to signing a long-term deal, and that the suggestions from fans that the Royals should look to cash him now are waaaaay premature.

There remains a fourth possibility, which I really don’t want to acknowledge, but I have no choice:

4) The Royals already made a long-term contract offer to Greinke, but they low-balled him so egregiously that Greinke decided to go public with his displeasure.

I’d like to discount this possibility, but with the Royals you can never be sure. As I’ve indicated before, and as Dutton also pointed out in his column, the parameters of an acceptable Greinke contract are already largely in place, thanks to the four-year deal that Scott Kazmir signed during the season.

On May 14th, Kazmir inked a 3-year, $28.5 million contract extension with the Rays, effective from 2009 to 2011, which bought out his first year of free agency; the Rays also have an option for 2012 at $11 million. (Technically the contract is 3/26 with a $13.5 million option and a $2.5 million buyout, but it’s equivalent and simpler to list it as 3/28.5 with an $11 million option.)

Kazmir and Greinke are very different pitchers, but they’re also very comparable. They’re about the same age (Greinke is about 3 months older), and more germane to our discussion, they have equivalent service time, both being four-plus players this winter. Kazmir is a power lefthander with control issues and Greinke is a power righthander with homer issues, but in terms of overall value they’re very similar. Kazmir had a 3.49 ERA this season; Greinke had a 3.47 ERA.

Kazmir has the better overall career numbers, as he doesn’t have a season like 2005 on his resume and didn’t miss almost all of 2006, but Greinke had the better 2008 – in large part because he threw over 200 innings while Kazmir missed the start of the year with an elbow strain and was limited to 27 starts and 152 innings. They both have relatively fresh arms, Greinke because he missed much of 2006 for non-arm-related issues, Kazmir because the Rays have been extremely cautious with his pitch counts. (He has never thrown more than 121 pitches in a game, and with his command issues this year, the Rays limited him to 5.64 innings a start to keep his pitch counts down.

If you polled 100 baseball men as to who they’d rather have over the next four years, I doubt you’d get a split wider than 60/40 in either pitcher’s direction. I’d rather have Greinke, because his recent performance is better (and coincided with an increase in velocity) and because I’m more certain that he will stay healthy, but I’m hardly an unbiased observer.

So is Greinke asking for more than Kazmir money? If he is, I can’t imagine it’s all that much more. On the one hand, Kazmir signed in the middle of his fourth season, more than 2 ½ years from free agency, while Greinke now stands just two years away. (Mind you, I’ve been advocating that the Royals sign Greinke to a Kazmir-like contract pretty much since the ink dried.) On the other hand, with the economy cratering, the usual hyperinflation that characterizes the free-agent market is unlikely to manifest itself this year.

If Kazmir got 4/39.5, I’d think that Greinke would hope for something in the range of 4/44, or basically the last four years of Gil Meche’s contract. If he’s willing to sign for that, the Royals should have a contract on his agent’s desk by the time this paragraph is over.

Dayton Moore has made a lot of moves over the last two years that I have disagreed with, some vehemently so. But in every case I have at least understood the rationale behind his decisions. Nothing is more exasperating as a sports fan than when your team makes a decision that defies any rationale. It’s better to make a decision for a bad reason than for no reason at all. When your team does something that can not possibly be explained using the accepted standards of logic – like trading Jermaine Dye for Neifi Perez, or announcing to the world that you have begun a rebuilding phase by trading your best young player – you just want to rip your hair out.

While admittedly I’m not privy to the personal discussions between Moore and Greinke, his decision to not make signing Greinke to a long-term deal a top priority until now is utterly inexplicable. Maybe he’s trying to sign Greinke as we speak, and maybe he isn’t. But there’s little question that Moore did not make a serious effort until after this season was over. Greinke himself was quoted during the season as saying that the Royals had yet to approach him about a long-term deal, and I have heard nothing through the grapevine to contradict this. This nonchalance, this laissez-faire attitude towards the best young player the Royals have developed since Beltran is just mystifying.

There’s been some talk that Moore has a policy against negotiating long-term contracts in mid-season, a policy that was apparently waived for Joakim Soria because Soria himself approached the team. But if that’s a policy, Dayton, it’s a silly one. And even if it’s not, some players are so talented that they warrant exceptions to any policy. Zack Greinke has exceptional command of exceptional stuff – the last six words apply to maybe a dozen pitchers in the world today, certainly no more than a dozen under the age of 30. There’s a very real possibility that, a decade from now, Greinke will be considered the greatest pitcher ever developed by the Royals. (Sounds like a topic for a future column.)

But if that happens, right now it looks like there’s a good chance that the best years of the greatest pitcher ever developed by the Royals will be for the benefit of another team. And there’s no excuse for this. Baird didn’t get Beltran signed to a long-term deal, but as it happens, it wasn’t for lack of trying, or even for lack of succeeding – negotiations with Beltran were proceeding well until factors outside of Baird’s control intervened. (The more I learn about the Allard Baird Era, the more I’m convinced that the Allard Baird Era was not the fault of Allard Baird.) But Moore doesn’t appear to be even trying.

We strive to avoid hoary clichés here at Rany on the Royals, but George Santayana’s statement holds true here: Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. You’d think the Royals would have remembered what happened when they didn’t sign Beltran to a long-term deal, or Dye, or Johnny Damon. You’d think they could look around the league and notice that this year, four years after Beltran was traded, seven after Dye was traded, eight after Damon was traded, all three of them are still playing at an All-Star caliber. Damon hit .303/.375/.461 with 29 steals; Dye hit .292/.344/.541 and got some MVP votes; Beltran hit .284/.376/.500 with 25 steals and also got a few votes.

Not that it’s realistic to think the Royals could have kept all three, but if they had, the 2000s Royals would have had one of the greatest outfields in the history of baseball. Instead, they traded all three, and all they have to show for them right now is Mark Teahen and John Buck.

So yeah, you’d think that the Royals would have learned that when you have a star player in his mid-20s, you need to do everything you can to lock him up long-term before it’s too late. But I guess what happened on Baird’s watch is no concern of Moore’s. To borrow an expression once said about my people, the Royals never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

(Feel free to bring up Mike Sweeney if you want. Just remember that Sweeney, as a first baseman and a right-handed line-drive hitter, had a much riskier profile than any of the outfielders. And even so, I still would argue that his contract was a good idea at the time; no one could have predicted that Sweeney’s back would give out like it did.)

Again, I don’t have the best viewpoint for what’s going on, and for all I know the Royals are putting the finishing touches on a contract that will keep Greinke in Kansas City well into the next decade. And it may well be that one of the primary reasons that Moore traded for Crisp and (especially) Jacobs – rather than going with an unproven hitter like Ka’aihue – was to show Greinke that the Royals are committed to surrounding him with enough talent to win, not in 2011 or 2012, but next year.

If that’s the case, let me be the first to toast Moore for completing the single most important transaction he could have made this offseason. Because no matter how many Mike Jacobs trades Moore botches this winter, if he signs Greinke to a long-term deal, this off-season will have been a success.

And no matter how many Coco Crisp trades he wins, if Moore doesn’t sign Greinke to a long-term deal, this off-season will have been a failure.

41 comments:

Anonymous said...

If I'm Greinke, and I'm holding out to make sure the Royals want to win before I sign, then I'm not signing until at least mid-season next year after I get a good look at this team on the field.

Old Man Duggan said...

If Greinke does manage to slip through the cracks, I don't know what they could say to make it up to the fans.

Anonymous said...

Frankly, I have already come to terms with Greinke leaving.

Why?

Because it's the Royals. Seriously. I can't believe that there is even a debate if this will happen or not. Greinke will leave the Royals, and promptly be the best pitcher in baseball. We then will wonder exactly why we all aren't Cardinals fans.

Anonymous said...

Also, it would not surprise me to learn that the Royals offered Greinke something like 5/40 or 4/36. Again, these are the Royals.

Anonymous said...

The losing from the last few years has ground my ability to care much whether Greinke stays or goes pretty much down to the nub. Screw it, just trade the kid and let's move on to a different soap opera. The kid's a good pitcher, but honestly I'd just as soon move him for a couple high-level prospects and be rid of the human mood-ring.

Hey, just my opinion. Whatever.

Anonymous said...

Last I check, this is a free country. Geinke is free to choose his own path and KC is not Yankees that can throw any amount of money at him.

Grow up would you?

Anonymous said...

If Greinke leaves, I think you start looking for a deal with one of the Peavy-chasers - a package for Greinke should be comparable, given the low salary, and sheer numbers.

Nathan W said...

Greinke wants to play in the National League so he can bat when he pitches. He'll probably go to St. Louis so he can hang out with Ankiel (who is living Greinke's dream right now) and talk LaRussa into letting him pinch hit from time to time.

Just chalk it up as one more reason the Royals should have JUMPED at the opportunity to go to the NL.

Dave said...

I LOVE the Royals, but I'm also to cynical to believe we can pull this off and sign him long term. I disagree, Rany, when you say it is waaaaay to early to consider trading him. First choice should definitely be to sign him. If it becomes evident, however, that he has no intentions of signing, we need to trade him while his value is high and his new team will have him under control for more than one year. Baird screwed up the Beltran deal because he waited to long. Everybody in baseball knew he had to trade him if he wanted anything in return and thus was unable to maximize his value. Waiting until the last minute to sell off a player is how you end up with the Mike Wood's of the world. If Zach doesn't want to be here, forget 2009, trade him and build for 2010 or 2011 and maximize your return.

Anonymous said...

I guess I'm not that concerned about this. Moore has shown that, for all of his shakiness in aquiring bats, he believes in pitching. He says he recognizes Zach's importance to the team, and, in the case of Gil Meche, he has shown that he's willing to win a bidding war to sign pitching talent. Based on these two facts, it tells me he'll do whatever is possible to sign Zach to a fair deal. However, if Zach is unwilling to sign, Moore HAS to begin looking for deals for him in July.

Anonymous said...

(The more I learn about the Allard Baird Era, the more I’m convinced that the Allard Baird Era was not the fault of Allard Baird.)

Boy, if there ever was a topic for a future column this is it! C'mon, Rany, convince me!

Chris C said...

I suspect Greinke has no intention of signing with the Royals.

1. He would prefer to play in the NL, given his propensity for hitting.
2. I believe he would rather live in a coastal city, say CA or FL. San Diego, Florida, Tampa Bay, San Fran, Oakland, LA...he can fly under the radar in all of those cities.

Anonymous said...

Re: Request for Allard Baird Era article.

Seconded.

Anonymous said...

I say trade him. Despite all the proclamations of an improvement over 2008, and Bill James calling for 85-90 wins in 2009, we still have way too many holes on this team. We will not compete for .500 this year. We still need an OF or two, another SP, and a 2b. We could get two or three stud prospects for Greinke, and they would be ready to play when Hosmer, Moustakas, Giavotella are ready to contribute. That is when we could be considered the 2008 Rays, which would be 2011 or so. Nobody would have as much good young talent as us. Then throw in Cortes, Montgomery, Melville in the rotation, and we'd have good young talent everywhere.

Anonymous said...

I believe that the Royals know the first and best option is to sign him to a long-term extension. I also think that Moore is savvy enough to negotiate an extension properly. I really think this comes down to Zack's personal preferences to play on a consistent winner, and maybe to play in a bigger/warmer/coastal city.

I don't think we need to start saying the sky is falling until July. If the Royals don't have him extended at that point, and he doesn't end up getting traded at the deadline for an absolute haul of top-level prospects, THEN we can throw our hands up, scream at the top of our lungs, and wait for our heads to explode.

P.S. I officially "third" the Allard Baird Era post. Sounds like a perfect little project once the hot stove is cooled and before spring training starts.

What if said...

What if Zack starts slow and has a horrible first half? Where is his trade value in July then?

Anonymous said...

"Baird didn’t get Beltran signed to a long-term deal, but as it happens, it wasn’t for lack of trying, or even for lack of succeeding – negotiations with Beltran were proceeding well until factors outside of Baird’s control intervened. (The more I learn about the Allard Baird Era, the more I’m convinced that the Allard Baird Era was not the fault of Allard Baird.)"


C'mon, you can't drop a bomb like Baird succeeding with signing Beltran, and leave it hanging like that.

Anonymous said...

I think we should continue trying to sign him, but if it becomes evident that we can't at the trade deadline we should move him. His value should be higher at the deadline that after the season. If has a good season this year (which I think he will) he'll be the best pitcher on the market.

Wabbitkiller said...

Two things to comment on, I'll start with this quote:

"I think Zack has a wicked and sarcastic sense of humor, and I think he is so good at saying things deadpan that people don’t realize when he’s joking. He comes across as a simpleton at times, but I wonder if the joke’s really on us."

I believe the latter. Zack is undoubtedly a fan of Andy Kauffman's.

As far as Greinke's intentions go, I believe that he WOULD prefer to stay in Kansas City, given they offer him fair market value and show that they are committed to winning. The Royals DID stand behind him when he had to take his hiatus, and that DOES mean something to Zack. Dayton Moore absolutely MUST lock Zack up to a long term deal THIS offseason.

Ryan said...

I hope DM can get him signed this winter because he won't bring a haul of prospects this summer. Look at all the pitchers that have been traded the past two seasons. The trades for Sabathia and Santana yielded one good prospect in LaPorta and handful of fringy guys. The current deal on the table for Peavy doesn't include any of the Braves top three prospects. Greinke may be younger than those players but I think we would be foolish to expect to receive better talent than any of those trades.

dude said...

As far as random suggestions go, how about 5 years, $44 million???

2009 - $7m
2010 - $8m
2011 - $9m
2012 - $10m
2013 - $10m

Too much? Not enough?

Luke-a-Duke said...

Yes - Rany, I agree with these other guys and COMMAND you to give us a post about that Allard Baird comment (and by "command", I mean please-oh-please-oh-please!!!)

That's just hint at something like that and then not address it again in your post. Mean, buddy... mean....

Luke-a-Duke said...

"That's just *mean to* hint at something..."

(stupid "no-edit" function)

Max said...

Kevin Appier or David Cone? I'd probably give it to Ape as the greatest pitcher the Royals have ever produced. Sabes would probably be a close third.

Jimmy Jack said...

http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/

Congrats on getting noticed Rany! Let's just hope Greinke gets signed long term and ASAP. Also, I'm beginning to doubt the seriousness of the Teahen for Fontenot/Marshall trade rumor. If this was such a sure thing as reported last week, then why isn't the deal done? Are we really getting ready to trade Guillen to the Mets for Castillo? What kind of crazy deal is that?

kevin b said...

"Baird didn’t get Beltran signed to a long-term deal, but as it happens, it wasn’t for lack of trying, or even for lack of succeeding – negotiations with Beltran were proceeding well until factors outside of Baird’s control intervened. (The more I learn about the Allard Baird Era, the more I’m convinced that the Allard Baird Era was not the fault of Allard Baird.)"

Folks, we all know what this means. Our lousy owner screwed it up. The problem is, the Moore era still can end very badly because we still have the same boneheaded, cheap owner. That ver easily could be the reason Greinke isn't already signed.

kevin b said...

"Baird didn’t get Beltran signed to a long-term deal, but as it happens, it wasn’t for lack of trying, or even for lack of succeeding – negotiations with Beltran were proceeding well until factors outside of Baird’s control intervened. (The more I learn about the Allard Baird Era, the more I’m convinced that the Allard Baird Era was not the fault of Allard Baird.)"

Folks, we all know what this means. Our lousy owner screwed it up. The problem is, the Moore era still can end very badly because we still have the same boneheaded, cheap owner. That ver easily could be the reason Greinke isn't already signed.

Anonymous said...

@Ryan

"The trades for Sabathia and Santana yielded one good prospect in LaPorta and handful of fringy guys."

That's because Sabathia and Santana were simply 2nd half rentals. It's actually a pretty impressive haul for Sabathia, considering the Brewers knew that in all likelihood they were only going to get a few months (or hopefully more) of pitching out of him. Greinke is under team control (i.e. not eligible for free agency) through the 2010 season. Therefore, a team acquiring him at the 2009 deadline would still get 1.5 years of great pitching out of him (at WELL below market rate). He'll also be much younger than either Sabathia or Santana at the time he'll be traded. These are HUGE differences, and therefore the Royals should be able to get a better deadline deal than either Sabathia or Santana, assuming Zack continues to perform and improve as most expect.

AxDxMx said...

I'd be very disappointed if Greinke didn't stand by us after we stood by him. Now on the other hand, if the Royals stink bad enough, I wouldn't sign either. He's probably just in wait and see mode.

And the Royals are most definitely capable of winning 85+ next year. It wouldn't really take that much improvement. Our OF defense is better with Crisp, presumably our infield D gets better with a 2B or SS signing, and our super subs get better at D as well since we have Teahen playing the role of Ross Gload. Hell, just replacing Ross Gload and TPJ over the first couple months of the season should yield a difference of 10 games in April and May. If Gordon and Butler takes steps forward in power we could be talking about a success story like the Rays, assuming GMDM puts together another bullpen.

Anonymous said...

If Greinke didn't have the potential, the Royals wouldn't have stuck with him. They were looking out for themselves, just like Greinke was. There is nothing wrong with that, but to think he owes us something is naive.

Anonymous said...

I just read on MLBTradeRumors that the Royals just inked Minor League SS Luiz Hernandez. Looks like he played for the Orioles last year. Anyone know anything about this kid? They aren't planning on using him opposite Aviles are they???

Anonymous said...

Hernandez is depth. He either replaces Pena as a backup infielder or gets cut or sent to Omaha in Spring Training.

Anonymous said...

Hernandez is another guy from the Braves.

Listed at 5'10" 140

Couldnt hit in the minors, but has a .264 avg in 148 abs in the majors.

Strikes out a lot more than he walks.

Was beaten out by Brandan Fahey for the starting job in Baltimore.

All glove, no hit.

Anonymous said...

Just like someone else we already have on our roster who was a former Braves farmhand....

Tim said...

Rany, you bring up Sweeney but you fail to mention that the Royals were burned by their last attempt to lock up young talent: Angel Berrora.

Anonymous said...

Actually, they've had two attempts since then that so far have worked out well, David Dejesus and Joakim Soria.

Casper said...

Just daydreaming here, so bare with me: What about Teahen to the Angels? I haven't heard anything about him going there but I'm just looking at some of the teams and their needs and I wonder if he may not be a fit for them. Hear me out first - the Angels are reportedly wanting to acquire Peavey now as well as sign Sabathia (Jesus, what a scary rotation that would be!) and are apparently backing away from signing Teixeira now. That would leave a hole to fill at first base for them, and Teahen could play first base for much less money than Teixeira, and honestly, even though they're a big-market club, if they were to get both Peavey and Sabathia and add their salaries to what they already are spending on payroll, money would have to be something they'd want to consider. Also, Teahen is kind of one of those 'tweener types - barely better than average in many areas of the game, which is really what the Angels have in their lineup from 1 through 9 (Vlad notwithstanding, obviously), and I think in that lineup Teahen would have enough protection that he could bat 7th and be very productive in that spot. Finally, if memory serves correctly, Teahen is from SoCal, so I think he'd be happier and more motivated to perform being closer to home. The only thing I can't figure out is who we could get in the deal. Apparently the Angels have Kendry Morales, who they think is a .280 hitter with 20-homer potential, but if they acquire that much pitching in Peavey and Sabathia, I would think they'd want something a little more proven over there then a rookie.

Thoughts?

Anonymous said...

I completely disagree. Can you name a majority of instances in which a player who spoke out publically in a negative fashion about his team has become a productive, meaningful contributor to the same team?

In other words, he's mentally given up on the Royals. Right or wrong is not relevant. He's mentally checked out.

After what the Royals did during his darkest personal moments, you'd think he'd throw the Team a bone during our darkest moment.

But the young, impetuous, self-centered 'ID' (ego) raises itself as it always does.

Trade him for value now and build a team of players who appreciate others, are happy for others' successes and strive to lead (and sometimes leading means accepting your role in the organization).

Now THAT would be something to be thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving ALL.

Antonio. said...

Why does any player owe anything beyond good play on the field while he's in uniform?

Anonymous said...

Maybe I'm naive, but in listening to interviews with Teahen, he seems to be the kind of guy who appreciates his job and would give 100% no matter where he plays. So I don't think playing in California would give him any more motivation to succeed than playing in KC. He may feel more comfortable there, which may lead to more production, but I don't think motivation and effort would be any different.

Chuck said...

I was just projecting the 2009 lineup. It really doesn't look to bad. The only problem is keeping guys like Gload, Pena, Buck and Gathright from getting so many at bats.

Here is my projected lineup.

1.Crisp CF
2.DeJesus LF
3.Aviles SS
4.Jacobs DH
5.Guillen RF
6.Shealy 1B
7.Gordon 3B
8.Olivo C
9.Callaspo 2ND

Reserves
Butler
Teahan
German
SS probablay Pena

Butler will get some at bats but he needs to prove he can hit right handed pitching. He mashes lefties. This is not a scary lineup but there is some potential. Not as many wasted at bats as the previous year because of no Gathright, Gload, Pena, Buck as starters.
So hopefully there will be some improvement in total runs scored this year.