Tuesday, January 13, 2009

More on Bloomquist, the Royals, and the Nature of Democracy.

Well, I seem to have struck a nerve.

You could make a case that I overreacted to the Royals’ signing of a utility player to a modest contract…but if I have overreacted, then judging by the activity at virtually every Royals blog and forum in existence, we’re all overreacting. We’re overreacting to Willie Bloomquist, the player, because we’re really reacting to Willie Bloomquist, the symbol of a philosophy that has been failing to score runs in Kansas City for the better part of a quarter-century.

Mom always told me to count to ten before saying something when I was angry, and I was worried that I might have written something in the heat of the moment that I would regret later. But it’s been three days, and I wouldn’t take back anything I wrote. The Willie Bloomquist contract, examined in its context, is pretty much indefensible.

But I certainly can clarify some of my thoughts in light of the feedback I’ve gotten. Let’s start with the notion that a relatively minor signing has made me do a complete 180 with regards to my feelings about Dayton Moore. The reality is that I’ve been building to this moment all winter. This wasn’t the straw that broke the camel’s back so much as a straw-filled chest, but still, this was just the last of many personnel moves that individually were deflating, but collectively have me questioning my faith.

Joe Posnanski has already covered this, but the Royals will be spending about $25 million in 2009 on five players, at least four of whom will be in the starting lineup most nights, and four of those guys were acquired or re-signed this winter: Jose Guillen (career .323 OBP), Mike Jacobs (.318), Coco Crisp (.331), Miguel Olivo (.275), and now The Spork (.324). The acquisition of any one of these guys is forgivable – in Crisp’s case, even laudable – but to acquire all five guys defies common sense. For $25 million, you could have signed Mark Teixeira and still had money left over for Leo Nunez and Ramon Ramirez, who by the way would still be on your roster. (And I haven’t even mentioned the $6-7 million spent on Kyle Farnsworth and Horacio Ramirez.)

Baseball rewards balance, and punishes redundancy. One Jack Cust in your lineup is an asset, because he mashes the ball and you can hide him at DH – but if you’ve got four Jack Custs in your lineup, then you have no defense at three positions, and pretty soon you’re giving up runs faster than you can score them. Similarly, if you’ve got one low-OBP hitter in your lineup, he can bat ninth and compensate for his low OBP in other ways. But when you’ve got five low-OBP hitters in your lineup, then by definition some of them are going to have to lead off or bat in the middle of the order, and the liability of each additional low-OBP hitter has a multiplier effect.

With that said, my immediate reaction to the news that the Royals had signed Bloomquist was not spontaneous combustion. I reserved judgment until I knew the terms and context of the signing, and in fact had the word come down that the Royals were planning to release Tony Pena and that Bloomquist was signed with the clear purpose of serving as a seven-position utility player, I was prepared to surprise many of you by offering the contract my qualified support. But it didn’t, and so I didn’t.

Look, the front office is obviously going to talk sunshine and roses about a player who has just been acquired, and maybe my criticism of Hillman’s and Moore’s comments were unfair. (Although I still find Moore’s quote that Bloomquist is a “winner” just galling.) But what I find more meaningful than the boilerplate quotes about a player are the things that are not said. Dick Kaegel – and let’s keep in mind, Kaegel is an employee of the Royals, and as such can be considered the team’s mouthpiece – has written two articles on Bloomquist, and in those two articles Pena’s name appears only once – and that’s only in a listing of all the middle infielders on the 40-man roster. Alberto Callaspo’s name appears six times, including quotes like these:

“Bloomquist is expected to compete for the Royals' second-base job with Alberto Callaspo, who finished last season as the regular at that spot.”

and

“It’s a given that he’ll be able to outrun his principal second-base rival, Callaspo. Now he'll have to prove he's the better overall performer as well.”

Kaegel isn’t just pulling these statements out of thin air – these statements reflect the way that the Royals perceive Bloomquist. Even more damning, here’s a direct quote from Hillman:

“I hear he's a very good fielder at second base with plus-lateral range,” Hillman said. “He turns the double play just fine. He plays short just fine, but it's not his No. 1 infield position.”

Maybe I’m reading too much into this, but saying that Bloomquist “plays short just fine” doesn’t sound like the most ringing endorsement of Bloomquist as the backup shortstop – particularly when the starting shortstop is Mike Aviles, who is perceived as a shaky defensive player. The most logical conclusion from all of this is that Bloomquist does not push Pena off the roster. The Royals have, incredibly, given a seven-figure contract to a guy who hits like a backup shortstop – and plan to waste another roster spot on a backup shortstop who hits like a pitcher.

Let’s hope I’m wrong. There are only four bench spots on a team with a 12-man pitching staff, and one of those goes to the backup catcher. That leaves three spots for Bloomquist, Mark Teahen, and Ross Gload, leaving Pena, Esteban German, and Shealy out in the cold. If Bloomquist represents the Royals’ decision to split the baby between German’s offense and Pena’s defense, wonderful. But pardon me for my skepticism; I’ve seen too many Royals teams hamstrung by bizarre personnel decisions. Teahen might get traded, or Gload might get released (a man can dream), or the Royals might go with a six-man bullpen. Or hell, if Callaspo has a bad spring they might waive him and give Bloomquist the everyday job. I’ll believe Tony Pena is a goner when he’s actually gone.

Beyond the direct on-field implications of having Bloomquist on the roster, there’s a sense that with each new acquisition, we’re finally getting a bead on Moore’s offensive philosophy, and it’s just more of the same – place a premium on the guys who hustle and run and give 110% and don’t beat themselves and insert-your-cliché-here, and stay away from the guys who, you know, hit for power and average and draw walks but don’t love the game with all their heart. It’s the same philosophy that didn’t work with Gerald Perry and Pat Tabler in 1990, and didn’t work with Tom Goodwin and Craig Paquette in 1996, and didn’t work with Terence Long and Joe McEwing in 2005, and I see no reason to think it’s going to work with Willie Bloomquist and Ross Gload in 2009.

Making this even more grating is that Moore has claimed, on many an occasion, that he is familiar with modern baseball analysis, that he understands the importance of OBP. And yet there isn’t a single player on the Royals’ roster – not one – that was acquired by Moore and has even a league-average walk rate. In 2008, the Royals drew fewer walks than all but three teams have in the past 75 years, and Moore’s solution has been to bring in three new players, none of whom has reached base even one-third of the time in his career. I’m tired of hearing one thing with my ears and seeing the exact opposite with my eyes. At some point, Moore’s credibility has to be called into question.

The other argument that I’ve seen used, in response to the notion that the Royals would have been better off signing a single premier free agent rather than spreading the money around to a bunch of mediocrities, is that no free agent worth his salt would sign with Kansas City. Sorry, but I’m not buying it.

The commenter “Stop the Madness” sums up this argument – I’m not picking on him, I’m using his post because he cogently lays out this line of thought:

“Can we please stop with the the fantasy baseball "we should sign X-player for X-million dollars" analysis? It takes two parties to enter negotiations... So, if you think Pat Burrell was just waiting by the phone for the Royals to call, or that he'd play for the Royals for the same salary he'd take from the pennant-winning Rays, you are being silly. Yes, silly. Any self-respecting agent for a GOOD player would take any offer from the Royals, and immediately shop it to 20+ other teams with better hopes of winning and probably make his client a few extra million dollars in the process.”

Do I think Pat Burrell would have signed with the Royals for the same contract the Rays offered? Of course not – all things equal, he’s going to sign with the better team. But do I think Pat Burrell would have signed with the Royals for more money than the Rays offered? Absolutely. All these arguments I’ve heard about the Royals being unable to sign a certain player that they wanted are true – but NOT ONE PLAYER signed with another team when the Royals had the best offer on the table.

Torii Hunter? The Royals offered 5 years, $80 million, and didn’t get him – because the Angels surprised everyone at the last moment with a $90 million offer. Andruw Jones? The Royals didn’t match the Dodgers’ 2 year, $36 million offer – and thank God they didn’t. Another commenter (ejfunk) argued “Did you really think Teixeira was going to sign with Washington?” No, because I didn’t think they’d have the best offer on the table – and they didn’t, not after the Yankees came through with an 8 year, $180 million offer.

It’s always possible – maybe even probable – that a quality free agent will listen to the Royals offer, but only in the hope that they can take that offer to another, better team and ask them to match it. But what if they don’t match it? Gil Meche was getting offered 4 years, $40 million from a pair of teams – the Royals tacked on another year and another million per, and guess what? No one matched it, and they got him. No one was willing to match 3 years and $36 million for Jose Guillen – for good reason – but the point is, the two times the Royals had the best offer on the table for a premier free agent, they signed him.

And as Sam Mellinger writes, “I hear from someone who would know that there was a time during Furcal's free agency that he would've gladly signed with a club like the Royals if they could've matched/surpassed the Dodgers' offer.”

So would Pat Burrell have signed with the Royals for 2/$16? No. Would he have signed for 2/$20? If the Rays weren’t willing to match, I’d say yes. And if they were willing to match, well, there’s Bobby Abreu, or Adam Dunn, or Ben Sheets, or…

I’m not advocating that the Royals should have signed Burrell, who wasn’t the greatest fit for the team – I’m just advocating that they should have targeted a premier free agent, and if they had put the best offer on the table, I’m confident it would be accepted.

(And let’s not compare the Royals to the Nationals. The reputation of the Royals with the national media notwithstanding, thanks to Moore & Co. the reputation of the Royals within the game is much, much better than it was two or three years ago. The Royals might rank lower on a prospective free agent’s radar than the Yankees or Angels, but they rank as highly as any other AL Central team.)

Here’s another way to look at it. Courtesy of ESPN’s Free Agent Tracker, I added up the 2009 salaries guaranteed by each team to free agents this winter. The Yankees top the list, obviously, at $66 million ($22.5 to Mark Teixeira, $23 to C.C. Sabathia, $16.5 to A.J. Burnett, $4 to Damaso Marte). The Cubs are second at $26.25 million, mostly to Ryan Dempster and Milton Bradley. Here’s the list of the top 15 teams, and the most pricey free agent each team signed:

NYY: $66 million

CHC: $26.25 million

SFG: $24 million

PHI: $19.5 million

LAD: $17.08 million

NYM: $13.46 million

LAA: $13 million

BOS: $12.5 million

CLE: $11.75 million

TBR: $10.3 million

CIN: $9.13 million

KC: $7.98 million

HOU: $6.25 million

The Royals rank 12th out of 30 teams; they’d rank 11th if I included John Bale, who is on ESPN’s list but who I’m not counting because the Royals released him with the express purpose of re-signing to a lesser contract. The only team in the AL Central who has spent more is the Indians; the Royals have spent more money in free agency so far than the other three AL Central teams combined.

And keep in mind, this doesn’t include the payouts to Miguel Olivo and Mike Jacobs, or Coco Crisp, not to mention Jose Guillen.

And that’s why this offseason has been such a failure: because with the economy in the dumps, and non-Red Sox/Yankee teams pulling back, the Royals have had a prime opportunity to leverage a reasonable outlay of cash to leapfrog the other teams in their division. Instead, they’ve been making cosmetic improvements.

I still think the Royals are likely to be a better team in 2009 than they were in 2008, because their trio of young players – Alex Gordon, Billy Butler, and Zack Greinke – are almost certain to play better in the aggregate, and because the Royals can’t help but improve on the 600 at-bats they got from Ross Gload and Tony Pena Jr. last season.

But if anything, that only makes this winter that much more frustrating. Before this winter started, I had pegged the Royals for somewhere between 76-79 wins in 2009. After a lot of movement but no real motion, I might put them somewhere between 78-81 wins – about two additional wins at the cost of millions of dollars. But if they had gone out and focused all their efforts on Adam Dunn, slotted him at 1B/DH, and eliminated all their other acquisitions except for the Coco Crisp trade, they’d probably be an 83-85 win on paper – close enough that if two of the big three had breakout seasons, they could take the division. Instead, their margin of error is much, much smaller.

And of course, the most important task on Moore’s plate for the last nine months – signing Greinke to a long-term deal – remains unfinished.

And that’s why I’ve withdrawn my support for Moore. That’s not to say that I am taking a position that he ought to be relieved of his duties. I just think it’s best that I reserve judgment for now. I’m done with offering my support without getting something in return. I’m no longer applauding a GM for acknowledging the importance of OBP until he actually acquires a single player with an above-average OBP. I’m finished with accepting talk as a substitute for results.

Finally, forgive me for getting a little worked up over the whole issue of fan loyalty. A number of people – some on this site, many more on other sites – have hinted that by jumping off the Dayton Moore bandwagon, that I have been disloyal to the Royals or otherwise damaged my credibility as a fan. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, and I certainly encourage all of you to share those opinions freely on my site. But I find this line of thinking not just wrong, but dangerous.

Dissent is the sine qua non of any functioning democracy. The freedom to criticize one’s government without being accused of criticizing one’s country is the principle that led to the American Revolution and the foundation of a new nation. Believe me, as someone who has relatives that live in a country where publicly criticizing the government can and will lead you to prison, there are few rights I hold more dearly than the right to criticize those who have been entrusted by the people to govern on behalf of the people. Without belaboring the point too much, the conflation of dissent with disloyalty, of a lack of faith in our leaders with a lack of patriotism, has led to some of the ugliest periods in American history, from McCarthyism in the 1950s to some of the worst excesses committed in the past few years.

When it comes to our country, we at least have the right to choose our leaders; if we’re not happy with our president, we simply have to wait four years to elect a new one. But when it comes to our sports teams, we have no recourse to poor leadership except for dissent. If William Clay Ford had wanted to keep Matt Millen on as GM of the Detroit Lions for another eight seasons, Lions fans could do nothing but continue to wear bags on their heads. No one would call a Lions fan “disloyal” for any criticisms he might make regarding their team. No one would call a Chiefs fan “disloyal” for calling for Carl Peterson’s head the past few years, even if that same fan groveled at Peterson’s feet for the first decade of King Carl’s tenure. If a team is being run poorly, fans have the right – if not the duty – of calling out the people responsible.

It wasn’t anywhere close to being the worst moment in my time as a sports fan, but I don’t think I have ever been angrier as a sports fan than when Dick Vermeil, who coached a 13-3 team with the best Chiefs’ offense that anyone had ever seen, that had a first-round bye and opened the playoffs at home, lost that playoff game because the Greg Robinson-led defense surrendered 38 points without making the Colts punt once. But that’s not what made me angry. What made me angry was when, after quite literally two years of fan unrest regarding Robinson’s tenure leading up to that game, the Chiefs finally acknowledged the inevitable and fired Robinson immediately afterwards – only Vermeil spent most of the press conference castigating everyone who was critical of Robinson, defending his assistant to the bitter end.

We had heard for years about how high a priority Vermeil placed on loyalty, and that day we saw the ugly fruit of those misplaced priorities. Vermeil was loyal to his staff, alright – he placed loyalty to his staff above his loyalty to the team. He then lashed out at the rest of us for not sharing that loyalty, as if the point of being a Chiefs fan was to root for the front office.

Fans may get impatient, they may get stupid, but they never get distracted: their ultimate loyalty is always with the team. That’s the point of being a fan. Vermeil lost sight of that point. King Louis XIV said “l’etat, c’est moi,” and in that moment Dick Vermeil thought that he was the Chiefs, and I still think that that moment triggered the death spiral the Chiefs fell into over the next five years. (I hold Vermeil more accountable than Herm Edwards for the disaster that was the 2008 season.)

So if you think I’m wrong about Willie Bloomquist, speak up. If you think I’m wrong about Dayton Moore, rise up and make your voice heard. But please don’t say that I don’t care about the Royals anymore, or that I’m not rooting for them to win in 2009, or that I don’t hope with every fiber of my being that I spend all season eating my words as the Royals trample over the division on their way to the playoffs. And please don’t say that Rob Neyer isn’t a Royals fan anymore, even if he’s hinting at it himself. We all know he’ll be back the minute they start winning, and after writing professionally about baseball for the past two decades, observing as every non-Expo franchise in baseball except the Royals went to the playoffs, he’s earned the right to not have his fan credentials questioned.

It’s Dayton Moore’s job as general manager to put the Royals in the playoffs. It’s my job as a fan to hold him to that standard, and to call him out when I don’t think he’s doing his job. To say that I’m not a real fan because I have lost patience with Moore isn’t just misguided. It’s positively un-American.

xxx

I hope as many of you as possible are able to make it out to Royals FanFest, and that at least some of you make it to the revival of the Awards Night as well. I'd love to be there, but my wife is expecting our third child in two weeks, so I'm rooted here for now. I'm sure you all will be representing me in spirit.

104 comments:

Tim Dierkes said...

I agree with your general point Rany that the highest offer almost always wins. But, I believe Teixeira was one case where he did not take the highest offer - the Nationals did offer more and reportedly would've added a ninth year. But he is an exception and they may not have formally offered significantly more.

Brad Haas said...

Holy crap, your third child in two weeks? How?!

Rany said...

Tim, don't walk into my blog with your "logic" and "facts" and such.

You would know more than me about the Teixeira offers - but even if it's so, the combination of Teixeira (best free agent on market), Yankees (most desirable team in baseball for a free agent), and Nationals (arguably the *least* desirable team) is a perfect storm of factors that the Royals probably don't have to worry about.

And Brad, if I have to explain how, no one's going to want to read my blog anymore. (Actually, *lots* of people will, just not the same people.) I think the Grammar Police will let me off with a warning this time.

Anonymous said...

Congrats on the upcoming birth of your child.

Ryan said...

Rany, I think you should take away the ability for people to post comments on anonymously. It made me angry in your last post that people were being such jerks and posting anonymously. At least make them supply you an email address and make up a fake posting name.

You're absolutely right about the ridiculousness of GMDM talking about how important OBP is and then going to sign a bunch of players who couldn't get on base if their life depended on it.

At least we got Pioli. Finally.

Casper said...

Nice, Brad... = D

RickMcKC said...

"I’m no longer applauding a GM for acknowledging the importance of OBP until he actually acquires a single player with an above-average OBP."

Gotta agree with you on that, Rany. I wonder if anyone will ever get the chance to pin Moore down on that issue. What's the deal? Is the change intentional? Why? Inquiring minds want to know.

Glad to see you post again, too. I was wondering if the responses to the last blog pushed you over the edge!

robneyer said...

Rob Neyer will be back not when they start winning, but rather if they start winning.

Do we have any reason to suspect that will happen, ever? I mean, seriously.

Anonymous said...

How dare they sign a utility infielder!

A Jihad on Dayton Moore! We will crash our volvos into the capatilist fountians at Kauffman Stadium! DEATH TO THE INFIEL(der)S!DEATH TO THE INFIEL(der)S!DEATH TO THE INFIEL(der)S!

...and you better not show us a cartoon image of Bill James either.

Callaway Dan said...

Rany--

I love you man, but please stop with the whole patriotism-loyalty-sports nonsense. As someone who serves in the Air Force and defends this country I am always a little put off by the notion that questioning a coach or a GM or a team decision is patriotic. It's not. Being a good fan, a bad fan or a fan period has nothing to do with patriotism. Your logic is fine when applied to political leaders (ie McCarthy-ism) but simply foolish when applied to a baseball GM.

Appreciate you thoughts on these issues (that's why I come here--daily) but I still think you are over-reacting. For the first time in years, being a Royals fan isn't humorous or sad. There is real optisim here that the franchise is getting better and will be a factor in playoff races.

In baseball, hope springs eternal and we finally have a reason to hope. If the Royals bump up against 81 wins (as we both think they might) the season will be a huge success and another step to build from. Cheers!

Gordon said...

Callaway Dan -- I think Rany's making an analogy, and I think it's an excellent one. Also, I think he's probably speaking for more Royals fans than he knows.

We have a word for people who say they believe in doing one thing but do another -- we call them hypocrites.

JMGesling said...

I've been losing faith in GMDM as well. I certainly don't blame you for your comments. It's kinda weird how the first few signings in Dm's Era were great, and this nose dive is the latest chapter.

perhaps they are bandaids until the minors produces the help we need? DM has always been a proponent about the Minors being the source of success.

Dan Holden said...

I agree that the patriotism analogy is a little over the top, but I also think that the anonymous call for a jihad is a little crass as well.

As for baseball I am sure that Seitzer has a magic potion that will these club wielding hackers with many hit points.

stop the madness said...

I'm (in)famous!

Ted said...

I wonder if part of GMDM's problem is that he does most of his work very early in the off-season, at the winter meetings. It seemed like the Guillen offer went out before market levels were set and seemed ridiculous later in the off-season. This year, we trade for Jacobs, sign HRam and Farnsworth, probably thinking that Dunn, Abreu, and Sheets will be out of our reach. Turns out we could be players, but all of the money has been spent.

This doesn't really apply to Bloomquist specifically, or the overall philosophy of GMDM, but it seems like his honest enthusiasm and desire to be ahead of the curve is hurting us.

Curtis said...

Sorry, but the Guillen signing was never reasonable, regardless of which portion of the off-season in which he was signed. If we are talking about whether we paid an extra million or signed him for an extra year, then maybe we take this into consideration. Giving the richest per-year contract in franchise history to the guy who put the RP in VORP was a mistake, and it would have been a mistake in November and a mistake in March. And we are feeling the effects of it now.

Anonymous said...

Here, here Rany. Dissent is absolutely the basis that our country was founded on and people should remember that in all walks of life. Sports offer us a great opportunity to draw parallels to our lives and our societies.

JPM said...

"robneyer said...
Rob Neyer will be back not when they start winning, but rather if they start winning.

Do we have any reason to suspect that will happen, ever? I mean, seriously."

Please go away!

BC said...

Congratulations, Rany!

Try to resist the temptation to name the child after Kevin Seitzer.

Jeff said...

Wow, not sure if the jihad comment by anonymous could have been in poorer taste.

Callaway Dan, I understand that loyalty to one's country and loyalty to one's sports team are entirely different things, but I think the analogy is still a good one. A lot of people have a lot of time and energy invested into sports teams, so I don't think it unreasonable to draw an analogy like the one Rany has.

What's good (in one sense of the word) about Dayton's moves this offseason is that a casual fan might see some of the traditional numbers such as Jacobs's HRs last season and get excited about going out to some games. All his moving and shaking will hopefully lead to more seats being filled at the games. I'm sure that independent of the blogosphere there exists a sizable group of people who believe DM is improving this team simply by virtue of the quantity of moves that have been made this offseason, which hopefully will lead to better attendance.

That is really the only good thing that I can see coming from the signings. Unfortunately, once it becomes evident that the team is no better than a 79-win team (at best), we'll go back to the 10,000 average attendance we've always had.

JPM said...

"To say that I’m not a real fan because I have lost patience with Moore isn’t just misguided. It’s positively un-American."

Just as long as you don't start bashing mom, apple pie, and Chevrolet.

Come on, Rany, this was a pretty weak analogy to make your point.

Anonymous said...

My synopsis:

"We thought we had seen the darkest days as Royals fans come and go, but I think the Bloomquist signing was a punch in the gut: maybe we've been disillusioned for the past few years and the dark days are still very much upon us.

That's the elephant in the closet, isn't it? That's the disgrace that's hard to confront, because we thought we were so far beyond that. I think that if most Royals fans had been told Moore represented "Moore of the same," "contraction" would be the word of the day."

Logan said...

Nice post. I think it is easier for some to question your fanhood than it is to defend Moore's actions this offseason.

KCDC said...

The word at the time was that the Royals had the highest offer on the table for Kuroda.

But yes, even for the Royals, having the highest offer will win you a signing most of the time.

JPM said...

By they way, congratulations on your impending third child. I have three of my own (all younger than 5) and having to switch from a man defense to a zone was a tough adjustment.

Anonymous said...

Numbers only take you so far. They are not, contrary to the derisive ramblings of a few writers, the entire game. I much prefer to be optimistic than to bury myself under a cloud of doom that is of my own creation. Simply, Rany, you've managed to take the fun (and endless debate) out of the game with posts like this.

Anybody can complain, but can you provide alternatives? If not Bloomquist, who should the Royals have promoted or signed? It's fine if you want to claim the moral high ground and state that you're simply doing your duty as a fan, but no problem has ever been solved by sitting around writing a blog and complaining.

My challenge to you is to look for the fun in the game again, and to avoid such poisonous ramblings.

~Eric

Sean said...

Rany,
I couldnt agree more once again. Any fans that would question fanhood during these off seasons and a wasted $70 mil payroll (without locking up Greinke) in my opinion is unrealistic. This division is right there for the taking and I still dont see KC doing enough to improve. They have at least 10-12 untradeable parts wasting roster spots. They again are going to go into the season with marginal power, low OBP, and high strikeout guys....not to mention, I'd say 3 rotation question marks after Meche and Grienke.

hellrotbill said...

Rany, I don't ever read the comments here, I don't usually have the time to read anything other than what qualified writers have to say. Sorry people, that includes myself, but I can tell you that you are articulating exactly what has been on my mind lately. I may have even moved beyond mere disappointment and dissent with DM.

As this is not my profession you have to consider the source. But to me the two guys making decisions for this team say one thing and then consistently do another. I have crossed over to looking forward to a new GM and coach someday. I have lost any hope of a material turn-around in the next 3 years. I have decided instead to focus on watching the development of Butler, Greinke, Gordon. And perhaps some of the other up and comings. I am back to viewing us as a farm team for other MLB teams.

I hope to see you at fanfest this year. I am trying to figure out how us season ticket holders get into the special sessions today.

Rany what do you look like? How will I say Hi. If you make it there with your current family situation.

Mike said...

It's going to boil down to Trey writing the best names on the lineup card.

If TPJ is cut and Bloomquist is super-utility...great.

GMDM has brought in competition at every spot. Callaspo has to earn his spot. Jacobs/Shealy have to earn their spot. Teahen has to earn his spot.

Unless of course Trey has "his guys" like Gload and TPJ in 2008. If Jacobs and Bloomquist are blindly written in to the lineup all year, I'm with Rany.

If the increased depth leads to increased competition and guys pushing each other (and the best players play)...then I think Dayton may have a recipe.

Backstop said...

Would it be unreasonable to do an analysis of the Braves early years, right before they hit the scene with greatness, when Shurholz took over? It's easier to understand a man's (Moore) actions if we understand his past. Moore learned in the Braves organization. We'd like to think he's using the Braves success for a blueprint to Royals success. I don't know if Moore was in the Braves organization in the late 80s and early 90s, but I'd like to see how the Braves players' OBP back then compared to the Royals' now. Is their a correlation that makes us hopeful for future success or are we doomed?

jay in houston said...

nice rebuttal. great points. but i still think we're closer to the playoffs now than we were last season. which, as you said yourself, means dayton is doing his job.

we'll see how the season plays out.

steak said...

Three children over two two weeks? Your wife must have an incredible gestation period. :)

Congrats, in all seriousness.

In regards to your post, I do agree on many fronts, however I do not agree that we have a fair chance in the free-agent market. Kansas City is arguably the least diverse of all the baseball markets (per census data). Besides the lack of a big market and a winning team, I think factors such as community composition play a bigger role than most people are willing to admit.

It was well documented that Torii Hunter's desire to test free agency was in large part due to his want of a city with more blacks (as he justifiably wants to get more of his own race more involved in baseball). In the case of players such as Rafael Furcal (and many other latin players) you cannot tell me that KC is not the first team on their no-trade clause. A cold spring/fall climate one thousand miles from the ocean with one of the lowest hispanic populations in the US (6% compared to the national average of 14%)? Don't be so naive.

Money, while the largest part of the equation, does not always trump factors such as community, market size, weather, and team history. Outside of money, KC does not compete in ANY other free-agent puzzle piece.

Lastly, the majority of free agents are mid 20's to early 30's, and with the understanding that boys will be boys, Kansas City is not the place to spend one's "roaring twenties." These players already spent a few years roaming farm towns in the minors. To them, its time for the big leagues and that means time to spend their disposable income and hit the town on Saturday nights. Regardless of the urban rennovation in KC (which I greatly appreciate as a 26 year old myself), we are still just a glorified composite of suburban towns in the heart of America. Guys like Joe Randa play for KC... not guys like Torii Hunter and Mark Teixeira. (Same goes for nice white guys like Gil and retreads that no one else wants like Guillen).

As for the Spork signing, it does not sit well... I think you are fair in assuming that we won't use him in the appropriate capacity (utility). However, it appears, as you stated, that Moore is going for higher character guys or guys with 'passion' whatever that means. Right now it appears to me that our clubhouse leaders are John Buck and Mark Teahen. Two great guys... who are true goofballs and perfectly mediocre at baseball. Definitely not the luminaries I would want to look up to for a ninth inning rally. And although stat lines are fun and easy to quantify, I contend that there is more at work here.

Keep up the good work, Rany, and please don't feel the need to address yours (or anyones) fandom again :) Those silly posts are nonstarters.

kcghost said...

I am a firm believer in letting the evidence speak for itself. In GMDM's case don't talk to me about OBP, just show me. He has failed miserably at this.

On the "loyalty" thing we need to remember that only the fans really care about the game itself. Everyone else (MLB, the teams, the Union, and the players) are doing this for money. We don't enter their thinking at all until they suspect they can make money by being nice to us.

GMDM has some successes to his record. A more professionally run organization and two well run drafts in which he got the Glass family to pony up some serious cash. He also built two quality bullpens on a shoestring.

On the other hand he took a year too long to fire Buddy Bell and then replaced him with a clone. That blizzard of early trades netted nothing. Failed to recognize what Mike Aviles could do and duplicated that mistake with Kila. Instead of releasing Ross Gload he gave him an extension. The Guillen signing will hamstringed him this off-season and will next. Failed to recognize after 2007 he needed to get Greinke extended. And there has been no discernible improvement in the minor league teams.

When guys defend GMDM I always counter with what has he done theat an average GM wouldn't/couldn't have done?? And the only thing I've got is getting the Glass's to pony up so he could draft Melville.

And let's face it. There isn't a one of us who couldn't have done better than he did this off-season. Heck, releasing Pena and Gload and calling it a winter would have been a vast improvement over what happened.

Smooth 4 Cooperstown said...

Totally with you Rany. It's not the WFB signing on its own, it's what it represents in a broader context, e.g., more of the same garbage.

I'm starting to become nostalgic about the days of Allard Baird. The only success GMDM has had in my mind is helping loosen the Glass pursestrings. Moore then both literally and figuratively squandered his new-found capital.

I enter this season with the least amount of optimism I think I've ever had, and given this team's pathetic history, that's saying a lot.

GMDM's illogical and contradictory moves are pushing me where Carl Peterson did before..."Apathy Land."

And I put my money where my mouth is, which is to say, back in my pocket by not renewing my season tickets.

Truly sad.

Anonymous said...

Before everyone keeps throwing GMDM under the bus for one freaking signing please look at the following stats.

OBP/SLG/BA/SB/FLD%

.336/.369/.283/11/.991
.377/.285/.279/14/1.000

The first line is the avg of all who played 2B for the Royals (except for Aviles who we know will play SS)last year. The second is Willie Ballgame's stats for last year. For all of you who are freaking out about this, please for the love of crap, RELAX. I understand this was Willie's best OBP year but he has improved this stat every year for the past 4 years. His defense at 2nd base would be better than anyone that is currently on the roster and (this is most important in my book) he can RUN. How many of you GMDM bashers complained all year that we couldn't run, that we were dumb on the bases? A lot of you did.

So recap, Willie Ballgames line for last season is better than who played second for us last year, his defense is by far an improvement over anyone that's currently on the roster (who would play second), and the man can be smart on the base paths by going 1st to 3rd, stealing a base, ect. Is he the best 2B out there? No. Can he play the position well and be versitle so this team has solid options and not have to rely on the Justin Smith's and TPJ's of the league? Yes!!!

Anonymous said...

I agree with you completely on Moore. As long as Tony Pena Jr. and Bloomquist are on the same roster, Dayton needs to rethink some things.

KCDC said...

"In fact had the word come down that the Royals were planning to release Tony Pena and that Bloomquist was signed with the clear purpose of serving as a seven-position utility player, I was prepared to surprise many of you by offering the contract my qualified support."

Even if the Royals made this move with the sole intention of Bloomquist playing as a 7-spot utility player and essentially replacing Pena as the back-up SS, they certainly would not release Pena until roster constraints forced them to do so. As spring training begins and injuries develop, a market may yet emerge for an all-defense back-up SS. TPJ was offered arbitration, so if they release him at this point, they'll be stuck with his salary. If they do find a taker, they'll at least be able to dump his salary in a trade even if they get nothing else in return.

All in all, I still think this is a bit of an over-reaction to a move that you're on record as saying you'll support if Pena is released.

EJL said...

Rany, do you think there's a chance that this Bloomquist signing was the back end of a quid pro quo agreement with Scott Boras? Ever since I read the Sports Guy's conjectures about the J.D. Drew contract (and it's yang -- the Daisuke contract), I can't help but wonder about any questionable Boras F.A. signing. It's the only explanation, right? Maybe there was something in the Moustakas or Hosmer negotiations where Boras made a concession with the understanding GMDM would "return the favor" one day.

Anonymous said...

Ummm, I think calling someone "un-American" because he holds a different opinion may be un-American, too.

Anonymous said...

Calling Dick Kaegel the Royals "mouthpiece" is pretty mean-spirited for a guy that doesn't want people questioning his loyalties to the Royals.

stop the madness said...

"Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs."

I believe MLB.com was Spun-off as its own corporation several years ago... not sure how this dynamic actually works in real-life, but I'd be willing to wager Mr. Kaegel still retains at least of bit of his journalistic integrity in this role, however.

Anonymous said...

A Rany mashup!

"thanks to Moore & Co. the reputation of the Royals within the game is much, much better than it was two or three years ago."..."And that’s why this offseason has been such a failure."..."I still think the Royals are likely to be a better team in 2009 than they were in 2008"..."But if anything, that only makes this winter that much more frustrating"..."And that’s why I’ve withdrawn my support for Moore."..."when it comes to our sports teams, we have no recourse to poor leadership except for dissent"."..."If a team is being run poorly, fans have the right – if not the duty – of calling out the people responsible."..."please don’t say that I don’t care about the Royals anymore"

Carl Willingham said...

Great post Rany. Not trying to be redundant but in any walk of life people are judged too much by their words and not enough by their actions. As a Royals fan if/when we get a new manager/GM in the future I sure hope I hear the quote "This guy is not well respected at all in the baseball community." Baird, Moore, Hillman, Bell, all "baseball guys" who the exculsive fraternity of "geniuses" judged to be excellent hires. A team like the Royals has to do things differently than other teams but instead insist on trying to beat the big guys with the same philosophy. You would think they would learn their lessons but it never seems to occur to them.

Fowler said...

I think your dissention comparisons between fan loyalty and country loyalty are well-placed. But one thing to remember, Rany, is that you and your readership (including myself) are not necessarily typical baseball fans. For every convert to sabermetrics, there are probably ten fans (and by fan I mean people with their butts in seats at a game) that couldn’t even define the term. There are many casual fans that simply want to come out to the ballpark to have a good time and see a winning team. The Truman Sports Complex is undergoing renovation, and I know that both owners will want to see more butts in seats to spend money on the new amenities, hoping that this leads to increased revenues down the line.

I find it hard to reconcile GMDM’s public OBP comments with his signings and trades for Jacobs, Crisp, Bloomquist, etc., but the truth is that he looks to be building a “professional” team for the ’09 season. True, these veterans are not all of the sudden going to improve to the point of the Royals winning 90+ games next year, but they’re also not likely to fall apart and leave the Royals treading in 60-70 win territory again either. Moore knows he’s got us hard-core fans probably no matter what he does. The people he needs to win over are the ones that don’t know much beyond HR, RBI, and BA and will go to see the Royals if they perceive them to be “winners”. Absent a bombshell signing of Teixeira or Burrell, the moves he made are designed to keep the Royals in pseudo-contention deep into the summer and not make the team and taxpayers look foolish for upgrading the stadium for a half-empty ballpark most nights.

My hope is that by 2011 we’ll be rid of most of the transitionary players like Gload, Jacobs, and Crisp, the games will be better attended thanks to the refurbished stadium and a better on-field product (the economy may counteract that though), and Moore will have built up the farm system to the point that we’ve got more homegrown talent, interspersed with either good free agents or players GMDM will trade for in the upcoming seasons. A guy can dream can’t he (God, I hope Moore has a long-term focus and isn’t as dumb as he has looked lately in some of these ridiculous transactions).

truroyal said...

Rany just stop writing blogs if all you can do is bash the Royals. Your not a general manager and never will be. Everyone has opinions and acts like they know what to do in order to fix the Royals. Bashing Moore is like bashing Scott Pioli. They have incredible resumes and know what their doing Rany. People have to fucking remember that were the Royals and its almost impossible right now to sign great players. Even when we overpay its still hard to bring them in. Dont you get it people, were the Kansas City Royals. And until we start competing no one wants to come here. That's why you have to respect people like Sweeney and Brett who gave their all to this city. Yet we love to bash Guillen when he put up 20 homers and 97 rbi's which has not bben done for years. You people are a joke and if you want to keep bashing the Royals then go support another team because we dont need you. And yes that includes you Rany!!!

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed our posts - just a quick point in defence of Jacobs - last year in the second half he raised his walk percentage from 4% to 10% and raised his on-base from 286 tp 335. It may be sample size or it may be a player who is getting better at the plate!?!

Anonymous said...

Why would anyone spend their time and energy rooting for a zero franchise like the Royals? I mean come on. There are much better things to do with life. Burn the George Brett jersey and move on.

CollininCalifornia said...

Anon 1/14/09 4:50 AM

Not funny... not at all. It just makes me sad and embarrassed. If you want to be funny, please use your name.

Rany, Indeed, congrats on the blessings of new life!

I mostly agree with you... I don't think it's that big of a deal but i do think GMDM is wasting money on the FA market... and I agree this offseason has been disappointing.

You make a good point about dissension and sports... that's all we have. In gov't, we elect officials. In sports, we only have our dollar and our dissension. Those on this board who think that it's a weak comparison may have a point... but I spend more time caring about the Royals than I do on other things, so maybe it's just a strong comparison for people like me (and you, b/c you do write this blog, and that takes lots of time).

Anonymous said...

McCarthyism? The only dangerous thing is that you and rob neyer think what you says matter. it don't :)

Anonymous said...

First off I agree with your thoughts, and I tend to agree with you that our actual free agent signings have been dumb. Since Dayton Moore made these moves he is dumb for doing so and must be helpd to the fire. However baseball, and every pro sports, is full of dumb moves. Every team has made dumb moves and no one is immune. I challenge anyone to look at a MLB team/GM in the last 3 years that has not made a dumb move. I understand the very nature of the word dumb is vague and can be argued from many angles.

However I did find the tone of your orginal post very pessimistic, almost whiney by nature. To me you did balst DM and rightfully so. He is not aboe criticism and should be called out on a dumb move. However your writing came across as one of exsaperation and that you "washed your hands of the team". Obviously your writing was not taken in the correct context and I'm sure Rob's admital to no longer being a fan did not help your point. I'm sure you are still a fan, because who else would care so much to care so much (did I sound like Yogi there?). I agree with you and your take. However we are left with what we have and hopefully there are more moves to come.

I thought your take on democracy went a bit far. I understood the premise of the arugument but a sports team is a business, not a group of elected officals. As a fan I can not vote on who runs the team, I'm not given the oportunity to decide what players we should sign or vote on how we should spend the money. I can as a fan voice my feelings to a team but it could fall on deaf ears and unless the business decides they have to make a change I have no power. Can I affect their decisions, yes, but I can not have a direct influence. In a democracy I am given rights to speak out and back up my voice by voting. I may not get the change but at least I am given the oportunity to try. I accept the fact that majority rules and that is part of the give and take. So there are similarities but overall vastly different.

Bill said...

Rany,

Good analysis of the off-season. As an executive myself, the basic tenent of "saying one thing but doing another" is a quick recipe for losing integrity, business and your organization.

My main points of optimism are these: (1) Moore seems to have made 3 quality hires in Gibbons, Seitzer and Arbuckle. (2) It's so very hard to to judge an acquisition on paper. I'm willing to give the month of March to evaluate the talent and then trade/dump the excess. Then give the month of April to determine their value in the season. I know that's not much time, but in this game, you must be ready to win on Opening Day. Are we?

However, on the opposite side, even though I do believe the Jacobs and Crisp acquisitions (on paper at least) meld well with the current team, I absolutely hate the Farnsworth, Bloomquist and Ramirez signings and the inability to trade from our excess. As you have mentioned prior, Moore has been masterful at acquiring a bull pen - why start paying for one now? Is Bloomy better then German?

Some people call mixing junk together art, I just call it a waste of time.

OC

Fowler said...

I like the anonymous people that post and then blast Rany for not agreeing with every decision Moore has made (they probably still think O.J. is looking for the real killer and that Bush will find those WMD's before leaving office) and call him out for not being a true fan. First of all, they need to man up and post a name.

But second, you should take it as a backhanded compliment that what you say does really matter, since these idiots take the time to post. It is the best kind of flattery when your enemies are paying attention to what you are saying.

Jeff said...

truroyal:

Calm down. Vitriol much?

Seriously, if you want to read somebody who will tell you that Jose Guillen was great because of all those RBIZZZZZ!!!1, then read Dick Kaegel.

If you want intelligent and honest (and typically optimistic!) analysis, read Rany.

chjohn said...

Wow, at least we finally have some passion for the Royals. No matter what Moore does, it will be light years ahead of what Baird was forced to do.

I think we'll be fine. Despite all these questionable signings, we have no idea of what goes on behind the scenes; who was being pursued, what was being offered, etc. Just because we signed Bloomquist, doesn't mean we didn't go after Hudson a few months ago and were told "No."

I still think he is no more than a backup, and that Callaspo gets the job. He better, we gave up a pretty good pitching prospect for him.

Negative comments by unabashed Royals fans are a lot better than negative comments by the national media. At least we are talking.

pjbronco said...

How can Rany's blog take all the fun away for Royals fans? This is America, after all, where we can voice our dissent and discontent, oh, and choose not to read a blog if we don't like its tone.

I agree with Rany on the GMDM concerns and I think he is right about dissent. You don't have to agree with him, but he has the right to say it.

Anonymous said...

Dissent shows you care, period.

Dave said...

I'm still claiming Dayton's not done dealing. It will probably be something minor but I have to believe he had the foresight to see the logjams he was creating in the infield/outfield corners. German and Pena won't make the team even if they must be cut and Gload will go for a PTBNL. I see Buck moving on as well. There are always deals in Spring Training. That's when we moved de la rosa for Ramirez. While I like German, just the idea of not having the 3 other guys on the team this year has to get you a little excited.

Antonio. said...

In the end, it's winning that brings in the fans, not renovations. For people harping on about a higher attendance, after Opening Day, it's still going to drop off dramatically with the players that Moore has brought in. And the attendance won't get a huge boost by a team winning 81 games opposed to 77. However, had he spent the dollars to get one of the upper echelon of players, then attendance wouldn't have gone down immediately after Opening Day and they would be more likely to win 91 games opposed to 81 games.

Antonio. said...

His enemies?

Also, what does a name really matter on a comments section on a blog online? Is it really going to do anything to back up the thoughts any better? Whether I'm Anonymous or Antonio or Antonio Anonymous, my words mean the same...someone commenting disagreements anonymously doesn't make them less of a human being because they're never going to be called on it whether they post their names or not.

EddieK said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

you tell it, rany! i admire you greatly. i've got pretty good skin, but i'd make an appointment next time i'm back home just to meet you.

the chat about loyalty/democracy is really helpful. maybe if some people have it explained to them in sports terms, they will grasp it in real political terms.....maybe....

Andrew said...

Rany,

After much consideration, it pains me to say that I have to withdraw my support for you. Until you can show that you can not be the tool that Rob Neyer has so successfully turned into, I am afraid I can't refer to you as a must-read.

It's a real pity to. You're obviously very smart, and a loyal fan. Unfortunately, you also appear to believe that based on your worst-case scenario (the one that you have NO IDEA will happen or not) that this is the worst thing ever.

I remember reading a piece about Hillman and Moore last year, before the season. In this story an AL executive called the Royals "below expansion level". I am sure a baseball man like yourself must know what this means. The Royals have been in a state of total rebuilding. People like Bloomquist and Farnsworth are bridge guys. We're not going to rush the Hosmer, Mellville, or Moustakas until they're good and ready.

Willie Bloomquist means nothing, he's a super sub that will get a few at bats a week and come in late as a defensive replacement. If you're turning him into some super-evil symbol, that's your problem, not Moore's.

I do respect you Rany, but until you can prove that you won't pull a Neyer on all of us, I think it's best if I stick with Ball Star and Sam Mellenger. At least he hasn't taken the drama pills yet.

Casper said...

"I do respect you Rany, but until you can prove that you won't pull a Neyer on all of us, I think it's best if I stick with Ball Star and Sam Mellenger. At least he hasn't taken the drama pills yet."

Right, as if that wasn't a melodramtic post also, Andrew. Hypocrite...

Anonymous said...

Rany, I couldn't agree more with your assessment of GMDM's performance over the past two offseasons.

We all knew after last season that our weakest links on the roster were Gload and Pena. We all knew that we needed an upgrade at LF, 1B, 2B/SS and SP (in no particular order). Arguably, we at least had servicable/below average options at each of those positions already on the roster.

What we didn't know, but GMDM did, was that he had 20+million to spend this offseason.

It isn't each move individually that bothers me. What bothers me is that when you analyze the moves collectively it shows that GMDM entered the offseason without a clear plan.

With 20 million and two of our best and least expensive bullpen arms, we got: (1) a DH/liability at 1B with big power and laughable OBP (Jacobs); (2) an slight upgrade at CF (Crisp); (3) a more expensive and less talented bullpen arm (Farnsworth); (4) two pitchers that aren't even worth mentioning by name; and (5) Willie freaking Bloomquist. To make matters worse, we did all that without getting Gload or Pena off the roster and we didn't get Greinke signed to a long term deal.

So we basically got, at best, a marginally better team for 20 million and two of our best bullpen arms.

I would much rather have seen them take a serious run at Furcal, Sheets, Lowe, or any number of slugging left fielders and I agree that we could have landed at least one of those players with the amount of money we had available to spend. Even if we failed to acquire any of them, we would still have the money in the bank to spend next year.

Clay

Jeff said...

Andrew,

After much consideration it pains me to say that I've decided to stop reading your comments. It's been a long hard road for me, and it wasn't easy to come to this decision, but until you prove to me that you're willing to accept honest criticism of the front office, I think I'm going to start reading KCDC and Anonymous's posts instead.

Wabbitkiller said...

No offense, but those of you that are calling out Rany for criticizing Dayton Moore's moves are kool-aid drinking morons. Aside from Coco Crisp, NONE of the moves he has made do anything to improve the team; they only increas the amount of money we're spending. Jacobs is a bat that can't field. We already have one of those (Butler). Bloomquist can field, but can't hit. We already have SEVERAL of those (Pena, Gload, Teahen). We get rid of Ramirez and Nunez and replace them with Kyle freaking Farnsworth whom isn't any better (he might be WORSE), but he cost a whole hell of a lot more.

Nevermind the boneheaded decision to pull a dumptruck full of money up to Jose Guillen's doorstep.

It's time to face the facts: Dayton Moore has made some utterly STUPID moves that defy logic! I'm by no means saying that DM should be fired, but I'm sure as hell not going to continue to kiss his ass when he's making idiotic moves like these.

Anonymous said...

"So we basically got, at best, a marginally better team for 20 million and two of our best bullpen arms."

I think that sums up why this offseason has been so horrible and why DM deserves all of the criticism he is getting.

Luke said...

congrats Rany you made MLB trade rumors.com "Rany Jazayerli has withdrawn his support for Royals GM Dayton Moore."

Nathan said...

Rany,

I agree with your comments if you're right about your assumptions. You seem to be assuming that Jacobs and Bloomquist will be playing every day, and that Farnsworth cannot be improved by coaching. But these things are not yet known. Jacobs could still be platooned, and he's a decent hitter vs RHP.

Bloomquist is probably a utility player. Coco Crisp is a legitimate starting CF--an outstanding return in trade for a reliever, even taking salaries into account. The Farnsworth signing is admittedly hard to understand on paper, but at least he has a power arm.

So I don't think "we’re finally getting a bead on Moore’s offensive philosophy." I think we're seeing pieces of a puzzle, but much depends on how these pieces are assembled. The moves made so far this winter amply deserve all this criticism if your assumptions are right, but it is way too soon to be sure how the opening day roster will shake out.

The facts available so far are consistent with various horror scenarios in which the Royals squander an opportunity to contend, but they are also consistent with an intelligent plan. I fear the very real possibility of the former, but hold out hope for the latter. While raising these concerns is entirely called for, I think the caustic tone of your posts is unwarranted, if completely understandable.

Thanks for your prolific and insightful blog!

Nathan said...

In an interesting comment above, "steak" writes,

"Kansas City is arguably the least diverse of all the baseball markets (per census data). Besides the lack of a big market and a winning team, I think factors such as community composition play a bigger role than most people are willing to admit...

It was well documented that Torii Hunter's desire to test free agency was in large part due to his want of a city with more blacks (as he justifiably wants to get more of his own race more involved in baseball)."

I hadn't considered this before, and it may well be true. However, I can't agree that it is justifiable. How would we react if a white player announced his desire to live in a mainly white city? It's sad that, in this day and age, anyone is choosing where they live, or what kids they want to encourage to be involved with baseball, based on racial composition. I still think players are mainly motivated by money, but if race does play a role, it is an unfortunate one.

Sorry for the quasi-political discursion, but Rany did open the door for that in his post. :)

Carl Willingham said...

This idea that Hillman isn't going to play Jacobs every day is laughable. The idea that he isn't going to play Bloomquist almost every day at 2b is also laughable after hearing his comments about Willie just needing an everyday chance at his presser. If I am wrong I will gladly write an extensive apology and contribute 10 percent of my yearly earnings the the Tommy Chong Legal defense fund.

Old Man Duggan said...

Well, Rany, you seem to have really pissed off "truroyal", who is clearly representing the demographic of literacy-challenged Royals fans. I hope you're happy with what you've done.

Isaac said...

The argument that those are making against Rany regarding his loyalty as a Royals fan remind me of many a Right Wing talk show host who, over the last 7 years or so has said that if you disagree with the war you aren't patriotic. Nothing could be further from the truth. Have any of you who question Rany's loyalty considered the idea of dissenting because you are loyal? The right to do so is one of the foundations of everything that is American.

Others argue that comparing it to baseball is wrong and that the two have no similarities. I ask you this. Would you ever take up arms for another country against the US? I will assume that the answer is no. Now ask yourselves would you ever root for another baseball team against the Royals (or the one you root for)? If the answer to the second question is no as well then the analogy is a very good one. In the overall view of things, this country is much more important than any sport but to assume that Rany was implying this is just that. An assumption.

A little rebellion now and then ... is a medicine necessary for the sound health of government.
By Thomas Jefferson

Anonymous said...

stick to baseball

You don't tell us how to be good Americans and we won't tell you how to make car bombs and fly planes into buildings.

greg p said...

Has there been some influx of new readers to the blog, Rany? Are you being linked from someplace where they have blue trees? There seems to be a lessening of the discussion in the comments and I am not enjoying them.

I think your post is exactly spot-on. Moore says all the right things and then does the opposite. I am nearly 50 years old and remember when this was a proud franchise. I would like to think I might see it again, but this off-season's acquisitions do not inspire much confidence.

Anonymous said...

Your pick....Bloomquist 2 years for 3 mil or Eckstein 1 year for 850K.

Carl Willingham said...

Nice anonymous post about "us" not telling "you" how to build car bombs. Go hide under your hood some more.

stop the madness said...

Of course Eckstein's salary would be preferable to Bloomquist's, but I think he is capable of playing 5-6 fewer positions on defense... Definitely would have been nice to get Willie at that same price though! It would also be nice to get Guillen for $8m instead of $12m, but...

Dave said...

"Of course Eckstein's salary would be preferable to Bloomquist's, but I think he is capable of playing 5-6 fewer positions on defense..." We don't need a guy who can play 5-6 more positions. We have Teahen to do that. We needed a guy who could play MI positions and possibly start at 2B over Callaspo. Eckstein would have been a much better bet than Bloomquist.....and a better contract.

Wabbitkiller said...

Madness,

It would have been nicer to not get Guillen at all.

Anonymous said...

Why doesn't Bill James work for the Royals yet? It's obvious that there is still no type of sabermetric influence at all in Kansas City and it's getting to be a joke. Beane and James have not only done wonders for their respective teams, but they have not exactly been under the radar.

I wonder if any saberhead out there has figured out exactly how many teams have implemented a stat based wing in their front office?

stop the madness said...

Guillen's contract will be up soon enough in the grand scheme of things, and we can all start complaining about the new highest paid player at that point (as seems to be the habit in KC)...

None of the players acquired in the last 2-3 years is likely to suddenly develop into a perennial (non-obligatory) All-Star, but to me it's clear the team has improved from 2006-2007-2008. I believe 2009 will be better than 2008. That's promising.

Ryan from DSM said...

Having the highest offer on the table isn't always a good thing. It means you are usually overpaying, like we did with Jose Guillen

Anonymous said...

The two highest paid players for each year of this decade:

2008 Guillen/Meche
2007 Sweeney/Perez
2006 Sweeney/Sanders
2005 Sweeney/Long
2004 Sweeney/Beltran
2003 Appier/Sweeney
2002 Sweeney/Hernandez
2001 Hernandez/Sweeney
2000 Damon/Dye

So yeah, KC fans have gotten into a habit of critizing their highest paid players. Mainly because they are either often injured, not effective, or Terrence Long. So get off your high horse and start bitching with us.

Antonio. said...

Appier shouldn't count in that list. The Royals only paid him the pro-rated veteran's minimum. The Angels picked up the rest.

And overpaying for Guillen is one thing. Overpaying for Dunn is quite a different thing altogether. And overpaying in a depressed market means you still win if the economy begins picking up steam again in the duration of the contract.

Anonymous said...

I would have had no problem overpaying for Dunn. I live in Mesa, AZ and saw him play everyday for a couple months and it's really fun to see. With Drew, Hudson, and Jackson batting ahead of him there was ALWAYS someone on base, and he would step up to the plate, and if there was less then 2 outs he would take a walk. With two outs he would swing, but NEVER at anything remotely outside. So before you knew it there would be a rally going, and if anyone but the streaky Reynolds was hitting 5th they would of scored the runs to be in the playoffs. But alas, Reynolds has a hole in his swing as big as the one in his glove, so those rallys would end more times then not(or he would hit some ungodly tape measure shot) I really wish the dbacks or the royals had signed Dunn, a healthy Guillen or Upton would of taken advantage of that OBP of his.

Anonymous said...

Wow...this just goes to show how utterly pathetic Royals fans have become. Thanks for nothing Rany...you're just another typical whiny fan who expects DM to resurrect this franchise with a modest budget and a minor league system in a coma.

Three years go there wouldn't have been 3 posts on this website because there was ZERO interest. And all you can do is whine. My last visit here. Thanks for what little insight you've provided.

Antonio. said...

What I don't understand is why principles that a person holds true in their life, political, personal or otherwise, is always stopped at the door when logging on? Your stance on dissent should be the same no matter where you are taking up your existence in that particular moment.

Also, I don't understand why a person would need only agreeable things to read. For the most part, I do agree with Rany, though he usually is more sunny in his outlook. But I also read every word written at royalboard.com and there's plenty there that I disagree with...disagreeing with how someone thinks the team should be ran, whether they agree or disagree with the front office, is one thing, but why stop reading someone because you don't like their momentary tone? Rany tends to be giddier about the Royals chances than the front office is, yet he writes a few words of dissent against a few moves and people stop jumping ship? I don't read Rany specifically for what he says, but how he says it. It's great writing no matter what. That's always far more interesting.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you Rany...a lot has to come into question now. However, I'm not as concerned with the offense as I am with the lack of effort to get another starting pitcher. Dayton says that pitching is the monetary in baseball. If this is the case we are near broke after our front two starters (I guess just another example of him talking out of both sides of his mouth). To think that Ramirez should be a strater for us next year just baffels me. Sadly, I don't see a Rays year in our near future.

Dave said...

I would love to see the Royals gamble on Mark Mulder. He would be a better bet to be a solid lefty in our rotation than Ho Ramirez. He has supposedly looked good following his rehab. That signing is the kind of low risk high reward move we need to make.

Anonymous said...

So people can't call out Rob Neyer for his actions and words but you can call out DM based on his?

Anonymous said...

Fan Fest was fun and Bloomquist was a nice guy. You know what they say about nice guys....

Anyways, Jacobs was there too and he looks like he can hit.

Forget you guys, I'm pumped for this year.

Antonio. said...

How does one look like they can hit from a fanflock?

Tom said...

I also was at FanFest and saw Jacobs. I know what that guy is saying. He just looks like an athlete. Ever see Billy Butler in person? Chase Daniel? Matt Stairs? Those guys don't look like they would be athletic at all. While looking the part doesn't mean they can hit, it's better than looking like a fat tub of goo or like Willie McGee.

Jay said...

I disagree with your conclusion about Dayton Moore and there are a few reasons why but none more so than looking at his drafts. I have not checked the stats. of his draft picks but I know that Dayton has had great success in not only identifying talent but being able to sign them. Count two victories in taking Mike Moustakas down to the last minute and sticking to his offer and signing Tim Melville this past year. The Royals are forced to deal with a lot of different obstacles when signing free agents and none more so than the owner's tight purse strings. I understand that he has loosened up the last couple of years but we should still be seen as a stingy team, at least thrifty. I understand the knock on Jose Guillen and have been very critical of his play and behavior but spending Glass' money to get a 20ish homerun and 100ish RBI guy is always going to be alright by me. Perhaps I'm a bit of an apologist and I'll admit that but I don't see as much wrong with the Mike Jacobs trade as others do. I checked Jacobs stats and was impressed with how steady his performance at the plate has been. His first year in the league he hit 11 HR followed by 20 and 17 last year and all we gave up was a part time player in Leo Nunez who is injury-prone to say the least. I have a vast amount of respect for Bill James and think he is one of the brightest minds to be found but I differ slightly with his emphasis on OBP as the end-all-be-all stat in baseball. Last year the Royals had a drought of "slug", so Dayton traded Nunez at the high water mark of his value and brought in a player that will most definately hit 15 HR next year, I'll take that trade any day, injury prone reliever for 20 HR. We are still 2 or 3 years away from experiencing the Dayton Moore era in Kansas City, lets face it free agency isn't going to be the greater part of the Royals success, assuming they have success some day, at least until they start winning and establish themselves as usually toward the top of the division. The success for the Royals is most always going to be in the draft, the same draft in which Dayton Moore has had resounding success, so much so that some consider this past Royals draft to be the "best draft" in the MLB. I still am bullish on Dayton Moore, at least for the next few years. If his picks fail to solidify at the major league level, that bull will turn to a bear.

Jay said...

Bloomquist is a different story, I can get behind signing utility players but not for multi year contracts unless the player is Mark Derosa. The most confusing part of the signing is examining Bloomquist's range factor which shows that Bloomquist is far behind Aviles in this category. I had thought the point in signing an infielder was to find someone to bump Aviles to 2B. I also have no problem with Aviles playing ss for the Royals, from what I saw last year he can handle his business as well as the middle-echelon fielding ss, and assuming he can have the same type of success at the plate next year he's alright by me. Replacing Grud's seemingly perrineal .300 batting average is not going to be that easy a task, sadly.

Chance said...

I don't think its fair to include the Detroit Tigers in the discussion of AL Central teams not spending money in free agency this off-season. They spent so much money (so foolishly) last winter that they really had no room to move. Having said that, I love their acquisitions at shortstop and catcher. Aren't those two positions we were looking for in K.C.?

Antonio. said...

So just because we didn't have hitters in the recent past years that could make it to the ever-tough water mark of twenty home runs, we're supposed to be excited that the Royals choose to overpay for these "talents" that strike out too much, walk out too seldom and doesn't get enough other hits to make up for anything and play bad defense?

swimmerpie3331 said...

I am completely on board with your analysis, Rany! Keep up the honest criticism - it's the best way to improve, whether it be as a nation, a sports team, or a blog writer.

stop the madness said...

Hopefully the little one arrived and is doing well...... and during naptime we can expect a post on the arbitration numbers????? Pitchers. Catchers. 23 days!

Anonymous said...

Can you enlighten me on arbitration, and if the Royals were/are required to pay Buck this year? It seems ridiculous that they are paying him $2.9M to be our backup, when we could go to the market and get a guy with the same skill set for the league minimum most likely. I thought I heard on 810 this morning that the club could decide not to go to arbitration, and thus the player would essentially be released. Would we have to pay them still based upon the 6-yr. contract from the inception of their MLB service? The same goes for Gobble and Peralta.

Shelby said...

I wish Gload would have filed.

Andy O said...

dLook it's all well and good to say we could have signed those other big name for the same money. But guess what, they aren't coming to KC any more than the Easter Bunny is going to play 2nd next year.
Look at the Yankees for years they went without a Championship while hiring big names and throwing tones of money at them. Then they took it easy and won with some homegrown guys and small namers.
Now they are throwing ungodly amounts of money at every big star in baseball and they are again relatively unsuccessful.
KC has a lot of damage to fix, let them take baby baby steps. I understand the urgency to return to mid 70s and 80s form, I have been a true blue Royals fan my entire life never once even dreaming of switching affiliations with a more glamorous winning team. They are making some "better" decisions. Let build on that and stop throwing them under the bus because they aren't building your fantasy roster.

Antonio. said...

They don't have to build someone's fantasy roster. They have to spend their money smart. And signing players that are slightly above average and worse to deals isn't a good thing. They've added 20 million dollars to the payroll and they've made marginal improvements. How much over the 2-year, 16 million deal would the Royals have to offer to get Burrell to come to KC? They could have had him easily.