Friday, January 9, 2009

Willie Bloomquist and the Howard Zone.

Man, I’m really getting tired of this sh*t.

I guess it’s appropriate that the Royals decided to interrupt my nostalgic trip to the mid-1990s by signing Willie Bloomquist, because Bloomquist reminds me of no one so much as a certain arch-nemesis of that era.

You see, if there was one player that summed up the frustration of being a Royals fan in the 1990s, it was our old pal David Howard. It’s hard enough to explain how Howard made it to the majors in the first place; he was a 32nd round draft pick, and he never hit a lick in the minors. Howard actually raised his batting average over each of his first four years in the minors – the bad news is that he started at .194 in 1987, and over the next three years raised that number to .223, .234, and finally .250 for Double-A Memphis in 1990 – the same year he hit a career-high five homers.

Howard started the 1991 season in Omaha and went 5-for-41, but was recalled as a defensive substitution at that point. Then Hal McRae had a hissy fit over his defense at mid-year, and benched Kevin Seitzer and Kurt Stillwell and made everyday starters out of Bill Pecota and Howard. Howard batted 264 times that season, and hit .216/.267/.258. That should have been the end of that, but it wasn’t. From 1991 to 1997, Howard batted at least 100 times in six years out of seven (the exception being 1993, when he was felled by a viral illness called Bell’s Palsy and missed most of the year. Two years later I started medical school, and believe me, I aced that part of the syllabus.)

In those six seasons he never hit better than .243, or slugged better than .325, or on-based better than .310 – all of those numbers coming in 1995, which impressed the Royals so much that he was made a full-time starter in 1996. He hit .219/.291/.305. The following year Howard played Vic Wertz to Jim Edmonds’ legendary catch in centerfield, but what made that play so spectacular was the fact that Edmonds had to race back so far, because he was playing so shallow. Everyone played shallow on Howard.

Howard’s continued employment, and continued performance, was so aggravating precisely because the Royals were not a terrible team at that time, and the two or three additional wins that might have come from replacing Howard with a reasonably competent player might have actually had some relevance. To this day I have not figured out how Howard was able to hold onto his job for so long, but the best explanation was that the Royals were so blinded by his versatility, his athleticism (so many times we heard that Howard was the best athlete on the team), and his clubhouse presence that they simply could not see that DAVID HOWARD COULD NOT HIT.

Howard started a game at every position except pitcher and catcher during his Royals career, and even pitched one day in a blowout, walking five batters in two innings and allowing Scott Cooper (Scott Cooper!) to complete the cycle when Cooper singled to lead off the ninth in a game the Royals lost 22-11. To borrow the line about Moe Berg, Howard could play seven positions, and to the Royals it didn’t matter that he couldn’t hit at any of them.

Every team has a David Howard on their roster at some point; it’s just that usually it’s a different guy every year. It takes a special combination of incompetence and intransigence to willfully trot out the same guy year after year when he’s already proven he can’t hit. I didn’t witness a single comparable situation to David Howard and the Royals anywhere else in baseball throughout the 1990s. But in the 2Ks – that’s what I’m calling this decade – I finally got to laugh at another team’s inexplicable fetish for a (s)crappy ballplayer. For the first time since Howard left the Royals, another player seemed to have an equally mesmerizing hold on his organization. That player was Willie Bloomquist.

Bloomquist, like Howard, has no real track record of offensive prowess even at the minor league level. Bloomquist did hit an impressive .379/.457/.523 for half a season in the California League in 2000 – playing for Lancaster, a ballpark that makes Coors Field look like Chavez Ravine circa 1965. He was promoted to Triple-A at mid-season and hit .225/.253/.277 the rest of the year. The next year, he went to Double-A and hit .255/.295/.310 as a 23-year-old – eerily similar to Howard’s .250/.316/.336 line in Double-A at the same age. In 2002, Bloomquist hit .270/.328/.383 in Triple-A, then had the best-timed one-week hot stretch in the history of baseball, more or less. Called up on September 1st, he played sparingly for three weeks, going 0-for-4 in that span. He then entered the lineup on September 22nd and over the next seven games, batted 15-for-29, a performance which basically kept him in the majors for the past six years.

Bloomquist never hit that well – or hit, period – after that, but he was already in the Howard Zone. Versatility? Bloomquist has appeared at every non-battery position at least 30 times in his career (plus 20 career appearances at DH), and has started at each of those positions at least 11 times. (That’s right: on 11 different occasions, the Seattle Mariners – an actual major league franchise – have had Willie Bloomquist in their starting lineup as the first baseman.) Athleticism? I’ll let Trey Hillman speak for the defense: “Not only the versatility, but also the speed that he adds. He's a well-above-average runner and he gives us, depending on how things shake out in Spring Training, another added element because he might be in our lineup.” Character? Dayton Moore, please rise: “He's an on-base guy, a speed-type player and a hustler," Moore said. "He's a Craig Counsell-type who really plays hard, hustles and knows how to play.” (We’ll get back to that on-base thing later.) Hillman would like to take the stand again: “The reports are off the charts on character and team play and fire for the right reasons. That definitely came through in the conversation. He's hungry; he's excited.”

Versatility? Check. Athleticism? Check (he’s like Howard, only with speed!) Character? Off the charts! Can he hit? HELL NO.

Yep, we’re back in the Howard Zone.

Oh, there are reasons to think that Bloomquist isn’t quite as bad as Howard. His career line is just .263/.322/.324, with an OPS+ of 74, but that’s positively Ruthian compared to Howard’s .229/.291/.303 and OPS+ of 57. Bloomquist not only has speed, but seems to know how to use it; he’s 71-for-87 on the basepaths in his career. And he did have a .377 OBP last season, but unfortunately that seems to be Moore’s entire frame of reference for signing him. How else do you explain Moore calling him “an on-base guy”? Ignoring that cup of coffee in 2002, Bloomquist’s career high in OBP prior to last season was .321.

I don’t know what’s sadder: that Moore thinks that Bloomquist has suddenly established a new performance level at age 30, in a sample size of under 200 plate appearances; or that in the best year of his career, Bloomquist had a .285 slugging average. I mean, I’m all about OBP uber alles, but that’s obscene. As a commenter at Baseball Think Factory pointed out – beating me to the punch on the sort of obscure trivia I love – Bloomquist had the most hits (46) in modern major league history for a player with just one extra-base hit.

What is going to make it difficult for me to sleep tonight isn’t that Moore signed Bloomquist. It’s what the signing of Bloomquist says about the thought process of the entire front office. It’s not just that he signed Bloomquist (who, when all is said and done, has a place in the major leagues as the last player on the bench.) It’s not just that he signed Bloomquist for $1.55 million a year (with incentives!) It’s that he signed Bloomquist TO A TWO-YEAR DEAL, which hurts the team not just because of the financial commitment for 2010, but because of the roster commitment for 2010.

Last year Moore offered Ross Gload a two-year contract for no reason whatsoever; Gload wasn’t an impending free agent, and the Royals had all the leverage. Without the two-year deal, Gload likely would have been a non-tender target this winter much like Joey Gathright was. Instead, he’s still on the roster because the Royals feel the need to justify that contract. If Bloomquist craps the bed in 2009, thanks to Moore, he’ll still be back to soil some more sheets in 2010.

I don’t want to hang Moore by his own words, but he leaves me no choice with quotes like these:

“He's never really been an everyday player, but he's always had good people ahead of him like [center fielder Mike] Cameron, [shortstop Yuniesky] Betancourt and [second baseman] Jose Lopez.” Oh God, here we go with Yuniesky “We offered Billy Butler for him straight up” Betancourt. If Bloomquist is the new Howard, Betancourt is shades of Angel Berroa – a .280 hitter who swings at everything under the sun, and who came into the league with a good defensive rep but whose defensive numbers now suggest he’s almost unplayable. Jose Lopez? He never had an OPS+ of even 90 before 2008. The fact that Moore thinks these guys are “good people” is galling. The fact that Bloomquist backed these guys up is not a defense of him – it’s a condemnation.

“He's a winner, he has versatility and he's a very good offensive player.” That’s right: Dayton Moore just called Bloomquist “a very good offensive player”, and that wasn’t even the most counterfactual clause in the sentence. Willie Bloomquist is a winner, Dayton? In 2001, before Bloomquist reached the majors, the Seattle Mariners won 116 games, the most in AL history. The following year, when Bloomquist made his major league debut in September, they won 93 games. Since then, with Bloomquist on the roster each year, their win totals are 93, 63, 69, 78, 88, and 61. Before Bloomquist reached the scene, the Mariners hadn’t lost more than 85 games since back in 1992 – with him, they’ve lost more than 90 games three times in the last five years. Granted, the Royals have done so four times in the last five years – maybe that makes Bloomquist a winner in Moore’s book.

I wonder if the Cardinals thought David Howard was a "winner" when they signed him after the 1997 season, paying him $1.8 million for two years to do for St. Louis what he did for Kansas City. St. Louis went 83-79 and 75-86 with Howard on the roster; in 2000, with Howard gone, they won 95 games and went to the NLCS.

There’s one way that this signing can help the Royals: if it means that they boot Tony Pena off the roster (even better, and in all seriousness, if they try Pena in relief.) If the signing of Bloomquist is an acknowledgment that Pena no longer justifies a roster spot, and that the Royals are willing to pay a slight premium for a utility player who knows his role and isn’t a complete cipher at the plate, then this isn’t a bad move. Unfortunately, all the vibes suggest that Bloomquist is actually going to get to challenge Alberto Callaspo for the starting job at second base.

And that raises the tally on “payroll spent on replacement-level talent” to:

Mike Jacobs: $3 million (approx.)

Kyle Farnsworth: $4.6 million

Horacio Ramirez: $1.8 million (plus incentives)

Willie Bloomquist: $1.55 million (plus incentives)

Total: $10.95 million

I’m not crediting the Royals for the $1.6 million it would take to fill those four roster spots at the league minimum, but then, I’m not counting Miguel Olivo ($2.7 million) and Jose Guillen ($12 million) either. And keep in mind, every one of those contracts (except Guillen’s) was given out in the midst of the worst financial situation (baseball or otherwise) since collusion ended, when an absolute offensive beast like Pat Burrell is getting 2 years/$16 million and the still-imposing Jason Giambi (I'd rather have him in 2009 than Jacobs) got 1 year, $4.5 million.

Here’s an idea, Dayton: instead of spending all this money on a bunch of guys who don’t push you into contention, why not take all this cash and dangle it in front of Ben Sheets, a guy who when healthy is potentially dominant, and as an extreme fly ball pitcher is perfectly suited for Kauffman Stadium and a DeJesus-Crisp outfield? A Greinke/Meche/Sheets front of the rotation, and suddenly the Royals are a Gordon or Butler breakout season away from being the surprise contenders of 2009. But hey, that Willie Bloomquist can hustle.

Two weeks ago I wrote this: “Dayton Moore does many things well, and he still has my support as the man who could lead the Royals to the playoffs once again. But after three off-seasons to prove himself on the free-agent market, with one notable exception (Gil Meche), all he has proven is that he is prone to wildly overspending for highly replaceable talent.” Now that he’s signed Bloomquist, I stand by these words completely. Well, accept for the part that he still has my support.

I thought that we were finally past the point of being a national laughingstock. I thought I wouldn’t have to hear that awful mixture of pity and contempt from fans of other teams anymore. I never thought the Royals would enter the Howard Zone again. Now that they have, I’m having to re-consider every nice thing I’ve said about Moore and this front office. From where I sit, Moore is looking less and less like the GM that will take us to the promised land and more and more like a really good scouting director who’s in over his head every time his owner hands him his checkbook.

Dammit, Rob. I hate it when you’re right. And when it comes to the Royals, you're almost always right.


RickMcKC said...

This ought to be a REALLY interesting season simply because we're about to see an epic philosophical battle of the statheads (Rany/Rob/etc) versus the old-schoolers (DM/TH). Rany, you have really thrown down the gauntlet in this post.

I really love the statistical analysis and arguments, but I wonder if the old-school guys know a thing or two ... It will be fun to weigh it all out come September.


Anonymous said...

Well, at least we can't fault you for being too rational Rany.

I guess it's time to give up now.

Anonymous said...

But we're paying actual money for players that are below average. Those are the ones to pay minimum too. So why would you decry Rany's logic that the price is unnecessary? Even if they end up being good players, in fact even if they end up being surprisingly superb players, they are still the kind of “talent” (Bloomquist, Farnsworth, Gload, etc.) that can be signed for one year at less money. Being hamstrung with a 2nd year of Gload should have been a learning experience, but evidently hasn’t. This isn’t just about Rany and others disagreeing with scouts about which players are better, but also the utter unnecessity of paying the kind of money that precludes going after a better player and tying up an extra year on roster filler.

Unknown said...

Poor Rany...
As a mariners fan who's had the 'honor' of willie ballgame for the past years allow me to raise your spirits. At least your GM hasn't signed Miguel Cairo with the express purpose of having a "replacement willie'.

Anonymous said...

Also Rany, since Rob has given up on the team, can we assume since you're conceding to him that you're also off the bandwagon?

Bloomquist is not the end of the world, he will not cause us to suddenly lose 100 games. Over-reacting does not help at all.

This is still a decent team, if we can get a good year out of Butler or Gordon, we'll be fine. Not Central champs, but .500, and that's something.

Anonymous said...

Going into this offseason, I was still cautiously optimistic about Dayton Moore. He had done well with the pitching staff, both in the majors and in the minors. He hadn't done much with the position players at all. So I was hoping that there would be some positive data points this offseason to improve my evaluation of Moore. Instead, they've been almost all negative. He has spent so much money this offseason on replacement level players. Good god it is astounding how awful this offseason has been.

The only way the Royals is going to contend is when enough of the good prospects have gotten to the majors and actually panned out as good players. It doesn't look like Moore is going to be able to help the team through trades and FA signings, even with Glass apparently willing to spend more money. Glass's money has been squandered.

Moore is, for the most part, a good pitching scout. And his scouting staff is good on pitchers overall. But that's about it. They can't evaluate position players and they don't know what players are really worth (how else can you explain overspending on multi-year deals to Gload, Guillen, Farnsworth and Bloomquist?)

This has been a sad, sobering couple of months to be a Royals fan. Any serious hopes of the Royals contending in 2010 or 2011 are pretty much down the drain. We're going to have to wait for Moustakas, Hosmer, Cortes, Duffy, et al. and hope to hell that most of them pan out and some of them become elite talents. That's our only hope.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone else watch The Office? Dayton Moore's approach to handling payroll reminds me of the episode where the office has a budget surplus and one of the accounts, Oscar, has to explain to Michael (Steve Carell) that he has to spend the surplus that day or the next year's budget from corporate would be adjusted because they hadn't shown that they needed all the money. Michael doesn't understand when Oscar tries to explain this so Oscar has to explain like Michael's five years old: Mommy and Daddy give you five dollars...

Anyway, that's what Moore's spending habits remind me of. It's like if he doesn't spend every penny then Glass is going to short the budget that amount the following year.

Anonymous said...

What I want to know is why the hell do we seem to be so eager to acquire so many damned Mariner's players (Meche, Guillen, Bloomquist...also, don't forget the infamous Betancourt for Butler trade that didn't happen)? If Farnsworth had played for the M's last season he'd have been able to pull $6M/year out of Moore's arse because of it.

Scooter said...

"I never thought the Royals would enter the Howard Zone again."

did you blink and miss TPJ over the past 2 years?

i hate the signing too, but i'll refrain from getting overdramatic. i don't even know if overdramatic does that post justice...maybe hyperdramatic?

it should be a 1 year deal to cleanse us of TPJ, perhaps with a club option for '10. the fact that it's 2 guaranteed is bad, but it's not the end of the world.

Ron Rollins said...

When you talk bad about the off seasons Moore has had, don't forget that he used one of those to hire Hillman. That says everything about his ability to make the Royals a winner.

In other words, he can't.

Anonymous said...

Amen! Why last year do we have enough money to purse Jones and Hunter and this year we can't afford to sign a decent middle infielder. Its perplexing the moves the Royals are making. You're right, Burrell was a steal at 8 mill per. Sheets would fit nicely in the rotation. I'm also starting to question Moore's decision making.

Anonymous said...

As always, I love Rany and his always fair/statistically based analysis. Further, I want the late '70's back!

RickMcKC said...

Not trying to decry Rany's logic ... but I am pushing back against the idea that DM et al are stupid.

What if these guys (Willie, Kyle, etc) really are the best players and best deals we can get right now in today's market as THE ROYALS (not the Yankees, etc)? What would you expect DM to say? "Well, we know Willie really sucks, and we're probably overpaying ,but this is the best we can do. Hang in there Royals fans as we slowly - slowly - claw our way up out of the abyss of recent decades. We have to earn some credibility to get the big name players to even talk to us. We haven't - yet."

Sorry, but he's not going to say that even if it's true. Instead, he's going to talk about what a "team guy" Willie (or whoever) is because he wants Willie to give his best effort. And why does he want Willie's best effort (beyond hoping for a few additional wins)? Because Willie's best effort is key to building credibility with other players a notch or two or ten above Willie.

My point is that, in a leadership position, there are only so many things you can do about the realities you face and even fewer things you can publicly say - especially when you know your moves are less than optimal.

I think it is fair to evaluate those moves (and Rany is among the best at doing that), but I think the implication that "DM just doesn't get it" is premature at best. Until you know ALL of the facts on the decision-maker's table, I think a little more grace is called for even in the face of the most thorough critical evaluation. In addition, it seems like the fact that the Royals have improved by 6-7 games per year during DM's tenure (with so many dumb moves - like waiting far too long to play Aviles over TPJ, the Gload, Guillen, etc) ought to count for something.

Prediction: The Royals will not win this year, but we will be better than last year in terms of our record by at least 6-7 games (again). Look for 82-80. Next year, we will contend.

Anyway, great blog, Rany. I appreciate your work and being able to participate!

Unknown said...

As a Seattle fan with family in KC who saw his first game in 1965 at old KC Municipal Stadium (Campy Campaneris and Fred Patek!), this article had me laughing out loud.

I'm SOOOOOO thrilled that the M's finally woke up and let Wee Willie go. I'm SOOOOOO horrified that he got 2yrs/$3M from the Royals.

Now that the M's have cut the Bavasi cancer out of their front office, and found a competent GM,
I can enjoy the horrible decisions of other GMs.

Thank you, GMDM and KC!

Anonymous said...

thanks debbie-downer (oops I mean rany).

Anonymous said...

Well, Rick I think the reason that Rany, and NYRoyal, and basically...MOST people are so negative about what has happened this offseason is precisely because this IS NOT the "best the Royals could do."

You're telling me that you'd rather spend the money that Moore CHOSE to spend on replacement level players like Jacobs, Farnsworth, etc.? How about taking that money, not making the Jacobs deal, keeping Nunez, not signing Farnsworth to one of the more ridiculous contracts in recent memory, and then using most of the leftovers to sign Pat Burrell and his lifetime 119 OPS+ (even if the Royals had to go to $10M per on him)? Or, if you really needed a veteran power bat at 1B/DH (and it had to be left-handed, then sign Giambi for a year until you knew Kila was truly ready? And then took the money that was left over to address another starting pitcher? Or leaving DDJ in CF, saving the money on Crisp, putting Teahen in LF, and signing Furcal?

I don't pay much attention to the quotes given by GM's or other front office personnel. They're almost always going to be as bland as they can be, and will rarely, if ever, even come close to mentioning anything negative about any of their players. There would be no benefit to it. The fact remains, though, that this front office's moves this offseason have been absolutely horrible. They show that they just don't get it. They almost could not be farther away from the best they could have done.

brdirck said...

Rany, I think you left one thing out in your condemnation of the Royals and David Howard: if memory serves, didn't they leave Jeff Conine unprotected in the 1992 expansion draft precisely because they wanted to hang on to Howard? Which of course allowed Conine to become "Mr. Marlin" and put up some awfully decent numbers in Florida for the next few years

Anonymous said...

With all the money we have spent on Farnsworth, Crisp, Jacobs, Bloomquist and Ramirez, that might have been enough to get Adam Dunn for a year or two, while he decides to cash in on a weak FA market next winter. Sure, he strikes out a ton, but you can live with it considering his obp and ops are so good. He is a lock for 35-40 hrs and 100 rbi. That can only help Gordon and Butler. Put Dunn in left, DDJ back in center, and Teahen at 1b. We'd still have Ramirez and Nunez in the bullpen. Or flip flop Dunn and Teahen.

That being said, I am fine with Jacobs and Crisp, but the accumulation of all the money being spent might have been put to better use on one stud hitter.

Anonymous said...

What if these guys (Willie, Kyle, etc) really are the best players and best deals we can get right now in today's market as THE ROYALS (not the Yankees, etc)? What would you expect DM to say? "Well, we know Willie really sucks, and we're probably overpaying ,but this is the best we can do. Hang in there Royals fans as we slowly - slowly - claw our way up out of the abyss of recent decades. We have to earn some credibility to get the big name players to even talk to us. We haven't - yet."

Then you put that money back in the budget. Are there fans that would have been angry that Moore didn't spend a little money to get Kyle Farnsworth?

The only thing that signing crappy free agents does is let other potential crappy free agents know that there's always the Royals out there to sign them if they can't get a job with a good team.

Anonymous said...

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.

As for replacement players, sure, older players cost more than younger, quadruple-A type players, but they are also more of a proven commodity, and even at a relatively mediocre level of talent, it's important to not have 15 unproven players on your 25 man roster. "Replacement" player is not a real person, it's an idea, an average of actual people, and just plugging your roster with Chris Lubanski and Shane Costa instead of Jose Guillen does not guarantee you get replacement level production at the end of the year for $11 million less. You could very easily end up with .210/.290/.350.

Every Royals fan wants more talent on the roster, especially more top-level talent, but you can't just take your payroll, check it against other players salaries and say, well, we SHOULD have just signed Dunn and Sheets, and then pay league minimum for all the backups and we'd be soooo much better...

Come on, save the negativity for that 5-18 month of April! :)

Anonymous said...

And now I stop reading Rany's articles.

Anonymous said...


If you were a super hero your power would be Lightening Fast Mood Swings.

I believe there's a place for the stat heads and all that, but you can't let what your slide rule tells trump what happens on the field. The Royals won 75 games last year and they have not gotten worse this offseason. There's every reason to believe Gordon and Butler will continue to improve and that the pitching will be as good or better. If the team wins 80-82 games nobody will really care that in January they signed Wille Bloomquist.

So relax, watch a football game, up your lithium dose, and try and get some rest. You'll need your strength for when the Royals lose their first Spring Training game. After all nothing says lost season likely dropping a game in February to San Diego.

Anonymous said...

I for one was pleased to see the Bloomquist signing in the Star this morning... Is he great? Certainly not. Does it make our likely 25 man roster heading into Spring Training more complete? Sure it does.

OF - Dejesus, Crisp, Guillen.

IF - Jacobs, Callaspo, Gordon, Aviles.

C - Olivo, Pena (or Buck).

DH - Butler

Utility - Bloomquist, Teahen, Maier

SP - Greinke, Meche, Davies, Bannister, Hochevar (or Ramirez).

Bullpen - Soria, Bale, Mahay, Farnsworth, Rosa (or Waechter)

That's not a great roster, but I would argue it's better than last year (especially if Gobble and Pena don't make it out of camp), and there's at least a little bit of flexibility there with Teahen and Bloomquist covering all 7 non-battery positions.

I continue to advocate trading some young pitching prospects before they all go Chris George/Dan Reichert/Jeff Austin (I could go on) on us, but that has yet to be something Moore appears interested in doing.

Anonymous said...

Rany, who is our back up SS/2B player if we don't sign Bloomqquist or someone similar. I want you to NAME THE PLAYER, not just invoke the mystical freely available replacement level scrub just waiting to play for league minimum.

As I see it having Bloomquist means we don't have to carry German OR TPJ on the roster. And that;s a good thing.

Anonymous said...

stop the madness...great post. way to speak some sense in here.

as long as the whole is greater than the individuals parts, this has been a good offseason. and it's hard to deny the team as a whole is improved.

if nothing else, bloomquist is at least addition by subtraction. because of his signing, tony pena no longer has a role on this team unless it's out of the pen. bloomquist is at least capable of taking a walk even it he's just a slap singles hitter.

plus if he really does have a positive attitude it could help the team.

dayton has now ensured that gload, pena, german and gobble will have to have logic defying performances to see the field at all or with any amount of regularity. that's worth $11.4 million now matter how you slice it.

Anonymous said...

Rany this is what I wrote to Rob:

Rob I am glad you are not much of a fan. In fact why don't you just pick another team, and get it over with. I know ESPN makes all employees sign a contract to cheer for the Red Sox anyway. Heck, John Kruk has never even heard of the Royals! I am begging you, ESPN, John Kruk, Keith Law, Peter Gammons, etc... to just stop writing about the Royals, and take their teamsite off the website. Your lame attepts to cover the team you claim to support are becoming rediculous. You are even quoting anonymous posters in your blog. Come on!! Go ahead, pick another team, and just move on. That way true Royals fans can continue on with their lives, and not have to worry about a corporate sell out, with an eternal pessimistic attitude, wasting their time.

I'm not sure how long it took you write this post, but I am sure you could have found something better to do, like take a hike, fly a kite, make a fruit salad, etc... I am not questioning your loyalty to the Royals, because unlike Rob, you actually have a passion for the Royals to succeed. But, I truly feel you are missing the point of everything Dayton Moore does.

Do you really think that Dayton is so unaware as a GM that he hasn't checked into the availability of top free agents?? Really?? Dayton is an astute baseball man, and he has filled his staff with other astute baseball men, and he was mentored by maybe the most astute baseball man, or even men if you count Bobby Cox's influence. He does his homework, he makes all the necessary calls, he talks to agents, and I guarantee you is getting very little love from these free agents.

Did you really think Teixeira was going to sign with Washington? Do you not remember that Dayton made big runs at top free agents last year only to be turned down time and time again. These guys make more money than God, and they want to win. KC can offer the money, but they can't offer the winning part, yet. This is why Dayton is signing these lower to mid level guys. One, they will sign in KC, two they are upgrades at every postion.

If you break down most of the moves he has made this winter you will see an upgrade. Mike Jacobs, no matter what anyone says, is an upgrade over Gload and Shealy at 1st base. Coco Crisp is an upgrade in center, David Dejesus is an upgrade in left. Mark Teahen and Willie Bloomquist are up grades over Ross Gload, TPJ, and Estaban German. Farnsworth, Ramirez and Waechter are upgrades over Peralta, Duckworth, and Gobble.

Dayton wants to be competitive. He knows the future is 2 to 3 years away, so he is making as many improvements as possible within his allowed budget. He has improved the farm system, the team, and the teams record every year he has been here, and you continue to portray him as a buffoon yielding an itchy trigger finger with his pen and checkbook.

The Royals will be better this year, and more than likely next year, and so on and so forth. Someday we will be able to sign the big time free agents, but until that day comes, I want Dayton to continue to improve this team in any way possible.

Anonymous said...

I agree with about 99% of your post Rany. The part I disagree with is rather overpaying for Bloomquist over keeping Pena. To me, at the price and for this team, Pena is actually preferable. And, let me say this before anything else, I am fully aware that TPJ can't hit.

But that brings me to the point that Bloomquist can't really hit either. Sure he's better than TPJ with the bat, but is that really saying alot? And, whatever moderate upgrade Bloomquist is offensively over TPJ, is it really that big of a factor for a guy who is only going to get 150 AB's a season and going to be used mainly as a defensive replacement?

To me, Pena brings the same skills as Bloomquist, with more emphasis on the one thats going to matter most, the defense. Neither can hit, but Bloomquist hits better. On the other hand, both can field, but Pena is much better.

I'd rather have the better defender as a mainly defensive sub. Granted, we don't want TPJ starting at SS (or 2nd) for any extensive amount of time. But, if Aviles goes down and we are left with Bloomquist there instead of Aviles, we are pretty much doomed anyway, so whats the difference?

Anonymous said...

ejfunk hit the nail on the head!!

Anonymous said...

What's particularly irritating is that Dayton Moore has the hard stuff down -- scouting pitching. He seems good at that. Yet he struggles with the trivial stuff -- evaluating the offensive contribution of a MLB player. I just don't see how someone in Dayton's position can be so clueless in that regard.

Anonymous said...

Love the blog, Rany, but I'm with stop the madness and ejfunk on this one. So sick of hearing about the invisible "replacement level players" and the "sure" deals the Royals should have made.

Ron Rollins said...

Why do you think John Schuerholz waited to retire until after Moore left Atlanta?

To make sure Moore didn't get the job and Wren did. The Braves knew Moore wasn't capable of being the GM for the Braves, and they let him go.

And now he's proving every day he does't have what it takes to be the GM of the Royals.

And for all of those of you who want to defend him, first explain why he didn't get the job in Atlanta, if he's supposed to be such hot stuff.

Anonymous said...

How is DM doing in the job of re-building an unparalleled poor minor league system?

Too bad being a real GM of a team isn't as easy as being a dermatologists/blogger/baseball writer able to criticize without any actual proof as to what it takes to sign any player.

This post saddened me because it was as easy out for a topic. It equates to the talking heads analysts just saying something some off the wall they know it will stir the pot full of @$&*.

Anonymous said...

OMG!!!! The Royals signed a utility player for $1.5 Million!!! The world will most surely come to an end!!! Talk about melodrama. Despite your excellent prose, this is one of your worst pieces ever. If the Royals suck next year this won't be why. I expect this sort of knee-jerk reaction from Rob but you're better than this Rany.

Anonymous said...

"If the Royals suck next year this won't be why."

And if the Royals are good next year, this won't be why, which mostly the point. DM spent about a million too much and went about a year too long on a player that is of absolutely no consequence.

Anonymous said...

"And if the Royals are good next year, this won't be why."

No body is saying that and yet the blogosphere has reacted to this completely inconsequential signing as though it had any impact on anything. It doesn't. Rany is too bright and thoughtful to get caught up in such nonsense and I'm disappointed in him. Save this rage for the litany of other ignorant crap that management does, not Willie Frickin' Bloomquist as a utility player.

Anonymous said...

"No body is saying that and yet the blogosphere has reacted to this completely inconsequential signing as though it had any impact on anything."

Its not about the impact on the present team thats being complained about, its about the mindset that it takes to make such a signing. That DM thinks highly enough of a guy who is about at replacement level, to give him a guaranteed 3 million over 2 years speaks at least somewhat to how DM values players, and it doesn't speak well.

Its also worrisome that Bloomquist is the exact type of player that a manager and front office like the ones we have in KC like to give way too much playing time to over the course of the season. Remember how many AB's Gload got at first base last year when it was obvious we had better options?

It wouldn't surprise me at all to see the people who thought nothing of this signing to be the same ones complaining come July when Bloomquist is the starter.

Anonymous said...

Look, i get that it's easier to fill space on your blog if you act like you're pissed off about something. But getting all worked up about a deal for a utility guy like Bloomquist (pro or con) just makes you look silly. Why the hell would they NOT say that he'll be fighting for a starting job in spring training? Maybe it'll motivate Calasapo to stay sober this year.

It's Jan. 10th and you alreday have your first "that's it, it's hopeless!" post of the year. Now you only have 122 left to fill your yearly qota.

If Willie Bloomquist is really causing you to lost sleep at night it's time to look for a new hobby. Or better sleep meds.

Anonymous said...

I'm with stop the madness and ejfunk

Anonymous said...

Rany, thank you for giving the viewpoint of the rational and analytical Royals fan. All the Moore nuthuggers are driving me crazy(not just on this blog, btw) . The biggest problem with having players like Bloomquist and Gload on a roster is that the GM has to know tht Hillman will be inclined to way overuse them because of his preference for players who remind him of himself. I love the search for the "replacement player" label that is now so popular. So many players can play at the level of a Pena or Bloomquist that are in the minor leagues it's crazy. They just never had the opportunity. Sorta like the magic "closer dust" that suddenly appears on guys like Jeff Shaw, Doug Jones, Monty, etc over the years If you choose a more experienced option that is fine but to give him decent money and 2 years is crazy. Crisp is the only offseason signing I've been onboard with, as it at least made some sense logically. BTW, what Rany does/did is HAVE AN OPINION and put it out there. It's cool to have a differenct opinion, but saying that a person is not a fan if they don't blindly follow or expouse the usual chemistry and gamer crap is weak.

RickMcKC said...

"Stop the madness" ... well said. How do we KNOW that Burrell or Furcal would even take all the money we could have saved on crappy free agents? Don't we have evidence that Guillen was our fourth choice in last year's crop? The first three would not come here regardless of the dollars.

Playing on a winning team matters to the majority of the best players as much as the money. If a team's trajectory has been downward for years, it will take years to offset the impression and attract top-level talent in their prime upward trajectory years.

So ... all of this bickering aside ... how many weeks til pitchers and catchers report???? :0)

Clint said...

can you hear the shouts of "Paul DePodesta" yet?

Anonymous said...

I too disagree with the viewpoint that the Bloomquist signing was worth all the negative reaction. I do, however, concede that the handling of the roster this offseason has been a bit mind-numbing. Why haven't we managed to trade or release a German, Gload, Gobble, or even Shealy? I believe each of them has "some" value and yet are all redundant pieces on the current Royals.

But what really bothers me is the fact that some posters feel the "right" to zing Rany on his own blog. The fact is that he has demonstrated that he is a true blue Royals fan with a passion. I'm sure his private medical practice keeps him plenty busy as does his family life. He doesn't have to share his thoughts but he does and it spurs discussion at an unusually cerebral level. I appreciate his efforts though I do certainly disagree OFTEN. lol Back off on bashing the guy as he has earned our respect and appreciation through this Forum.

Just my $.02! Go Royals!!! C-ya, AusSteveW

Anonymous said...

A lot of you are living in fantasy land here. TOP FREE AGENTS WON'T EVEN CONSIDER THE ROYALS! Did you read that? Did it get through to you?

The only way the Royals can get top notch talent is either through the draft or through trades. You can say all this crap about "Well they could have used all that money to sign _______ instead of Farnsworth, Crisp, Jacobs, and Willie" all you want, but the bottom line is that guy wasn't coming here anyway.

With what Moore has to work with, he's done pretty well. Jacobs over Gload at first base gives us probably 3-4 more wins. Crisp in center probably adds 1-2 more. We probably lose one win with a weaker bullpen (potentially). I say potentially because at this time last year, we had exactly two proven commodities, Soria and Mahay. Nunez and Ramirez both developed into dependable guys during last year.

So overall, I would say we've added 3-5 wins over last season. Continue doing that and eventually we may get to be in the conversation with the big name free agents.

Anonymous said...

I know, top notch free agents just don't go to losing teams. Just ask Ivan Rodriguez, A-rod, Alfonso Soriano, etc...

Wait, wut?

Seriously DM nuthuggers, get some better rhetoric.

Robert said...

How does a 2 year, 3 million dollar contract take you from "knowing Moore overspends on mediocre talent but still having my support" to not supporting him any more? This move isn't a brilliant one, but it's also not nearly a big enough deal to push you over the edge.

Moore is going to ultimately be judged on his ability to win, which will be almost entirely based on his ability to develop players through the minors. A few bucks to a utility player isn't going to change that.

Anonymous said...

My irritation was not so much with Rany but with Royals fans in general and some commenters here. Without this blog I would sorely lack for reading material on the Royals! Rany's reaction was what I expected, I just am looking forward to April to see how it all plays out.

Patrick Topor said...

If Mike Jacobs is good for 4 wins over anybody, I'll eat my hat. I'd love to know the genesis of that comment.

Also, all the apologists - the point isn't whether Burrell or Dunn would come to KC, the point is that if you don't have a good place to spend the money, you're better off not spending it, and doing two things:

1. Continuing to invest in the system.
2. Saving it for when you're in a position that people will come.

All spending money on lousy veterans gets you is more column inches. If I were a Royals fan, I'd rather my team just kept playing lousy ball and invested its money in the draft (i.e. not drafting for slot) and take my chances on a lottery ticket in 4-5 years than to get to see Willie Bloomquist bat 500 times and waste outs.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 4:43 am. Soriano went to a big market team in Chicago that had recently been to the playoffs.

A-Rod went because the Rangers offered a crap ton more money than anyone else was offering.

Pudge went to Detroit because they were the only team willing to give him 4 guaranteed years at 10 mil a year.

The Royals haven't been to the playoffs in 24 years. They don't have a crap ton of money to throw at A-Rod. And they don't need to sign an aging veteran to a bad contract.

Patrick-When you become GM of the Royals, you can do things your way. It's going to be at least a year or two til the Royals are in position to be in the conversation for the big time free agents. So signing Bloomquist to a 2 year deal, getting Jacobs on a year to year basis through arbitration, and Crisp in the last year of his contract makes sense.

The only way to get to the point of big time free agents listening to us is by winning games. Replacing Ross Gload's .273/.317/.348 (OPS of .665) with Jacobs .247/.299/.514 (OPS of .813) is easily worth 2 wins, possibly up to 4 wins if he gets better. Is Jacobs the best first baseman in the game? Heck no! He's average at best. But the Royals have been well below average at that position since the last time Mike Sweeney was healthy. Bringing us up from well below average to average is worth a few wins easily.

And it's not like the Royals have been paying draftees only slot money. They have payed way over slot the last 4-5 years, and this past year spent more money in the draft than any other team in baseball. So it's not like they are choosing to sign Willie Bloomquist instead of paying an extra million or so to their first round draft pick next season.

Anonymous said...

Nice post Patrick, couldn't agree more. Anonymous (the last one) I somewhat agree that Jacobs would be an upgrade over Gload, but only if that means they still let Butler develop. I'm afraid all Jacobs signing did was bring in a "proven" guy who thinks he is entitled to play 1b ever day. Good luck getting this "gamer" to accept playing DH or not hitting against lefties. If they try to platoon Jacobs I guarantee he will start bitching. There is nothing wrong with the Jacobs deal if you say he is your lefthanded platoon DH, but the Royals will not do this. He will play every day, and if Butler does not play well in the spring they will give up on him as soon as they can justify it. Butler actually hits like Moore/Hillman's type of player but his body and mannerrisms don't jive with the old school approach. The Farnsworth, Ramiriez signings made the least sense of all the deals. I guess I'm saying if you don't understand your manager that you picked has a major weakness for out making character guys, you will be doomed to watch him give them many more at bats than they deserve.

RickMcKC said...

Ummm ... I'm not sure I appreciate being called a "DM nuthugger" simply because I don't think the man is an idiot and I do think he might actually be doing the best he can within the parameters of reality.

Can't we just discuss the pros and cons without resorting to such juvenile terminology?

Anonymous said...

I hopehopehope to hear the blue crew at least made an offer for O. Hudson and B. Sheets. If not, all the mud range signings will be more of a disappointment.

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous 4:43 am. Soriano went to a big market team in Chicago that had recently been to the playoffs."

If you call about 4 years prior recent then ok, fair enough.

"A-Rod went because the Rangers offered a crap ton more money than anyone else was offering."

Proving top tier free agents will go to losing teams.

"Pudge went to Detroit because they were the only team willing to give him 4 guaranteed years at 10 mil a year."

Proving top tier free agents will go to losing teams.

"They don't have a crap ton of money to throw at A-Rod."

Because we have been spending it on the Gload's, Guillen's, Bloomquist's, Farnsworth's, Jacob's, etc... of baseball. Thats, what, 22-24 million for a group of guys that will add maybe two wins to the team. Sure would be nice to have that money to throw at a Pat Burrell, Adam Dunn, maybe Jason Bay next year, etc...

"And they don't need to sign an aging veteran to a bad contract."

You're right, they already did that with Guillen. And Pudge wasn't really a bad deal. He hit above averagely for a catcher every year for Detroit except 1 and played good D. He may have been a bit overpayed at the end of his tenure, but, again, thats why he went to Detroit.

Anonymous said...

RickMCKC, don't think anyone called you that. I used that term for someone who blindly says Moore is doing everything right or that anyone with an opposing view is "not" a fan. Never really thought of it as a real bad term, sorry if it offended you. I actually liked your initial post as you have a great point, it will be interesting to see if these guys know more than we give them credit for. What's funny is if the Royals win most likely it won't have alot to do with the signings (except for Crisp and possibly Jacobs if he's used correctly) and more to do with the younger players continuing to get better or making big leaps forward. But IF they do win more than expected a huge amount of the credit by the media and front office will go to the "gamer" types who they added. Just like Minnesota.

sprx41 said...

I guess we should probably give up then Rany. I know they'll probably be handing out the World Series the week before spring training starts based on statistical analysis of past performance, duh! Get with the game, the Royals have improved incrementaly each and every year that Dayton has be the GM. He will be fielding the first legitimate lineup in KC since the strike, and will complement that with a dynamic and talented bench. Crap, but I guess that doesn't matter, we should probably just mail in the season because it is decided by who signed the most statistically significant player.

Antonio. said...

1. Does this mean that we're not considering a line-up that had Beltran/Damon/Dye/Sweeney to be a legit line-up? Because those line-ups were a heck of a lot better than what we'll have this year.

2. Does anyone ever do the math on these 6-7 annual improvements? It's actually quite simple. It doesn't take that much work to improve upon what Dayton inherited. And add that to a division that has been growing weaker since Dayton arrived and you have 6-7 extra wins annually. But the problem is that you cannot count on this. Yes, I believe the Royals have improved overall--but by the smallest of margins. And maybe the division is slightly worse or slight better...but chalking it up only to Dayton Moore without pointing out such things as the Baird Administration or what the other GMs in the division have been doing (and are capable of doing), is a pure example of rosy sunglasses.

Anonymous said...

I'm just going to say one more thing. Ok, maybe two or three.

First, I love it when people overreact to tiny little signings like this one as if it's the last sign of the apocalypse.

Second, after reading some of these posts, I'm really glad that you are not our GM.

And lastly, Bloomquist=German. They are the same player except that Bloomquist is better defensively. If both are on the roster come opening day, I'll be very surprised.

RickMcKC said...

Carl, thanks for the explanation. No offense taken.

Ryan said...

McDaniels gets hired by the Broncos, while Clark Hunt does what with Pioli? This is getting ridiculous.

Are both the Royals and the Chiefs going to suck for the rest of our lifetimes?

Jimmy Jack said...

So here's a thought. And yes, it's quite a pipe-dream, but wouldn't it be sweet! Michael Young is demanding a trade out of the Rangers organization. Trade him for Guillen. Move Aviles to 2nd and put Teahen back out in RF. Makes the Bloomquist signing a little moot, but I would love to see this move...

Anonymous said...

Pipedream, yes. But hey, I've seen the Rangers do dumber things! We might have to throw in a pitching prospect though.

Anonymous said...

Reading Rob's comments it looks like he is no longer a Royals fan. That's too bad because I used to enjoy his insight and chatter on the Royals. Also Rany it looks like you are jumping ship as well. I'll agree with you that Farnsworth & Bloomquist are 2 of the dumbest moves I have seen all year. Almost as dumb as the Cubs givng Milton Bradley a 3 year deal. We know Milton can play, but he is a headcase and may only play 100-120 games each year. I guess the only thing we can do know is see how the players play. Bloomquist will suck thought as will Farnsworth. Only Jacobs & Crisp should really be looked at.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the vast majority of what you wrote, but I think you're always going to be disappionted if you expect honesty in GM press conferences where they're introducing players they just signed. In those press conferences, everyone is always Babe Ruth, and I'm willing to forgive Moore for the over the top descriptions of WB.

Anonymous said...

Ok, so it's pretty clear that GMDM is not a strict disciple of Rany's school of baseball thought (i.e. But I'm fairly certain it's still possible to put together a division-winning team by assembling a decent roster (with either strong pitching, power, defense of some combination of those various possible strengths) by listening to an ever-growing and ever-more-respected scouting department... I think the sabermetric ship has sailed on Moore, so let's stop holding our breath for .400 OBP type players and just enjoy watching the team slowly improve towards winning the Central over the next 2-3 years.

Anonymous said...

I think the biggest damnation of Dayton Moore is that apparently, the Royals do not have a WILLIE BLOOMQUIST level player in their minor league system they can call up.

Instead, for a scrub like that, the Royals have to pay 3 million bucks. So what's actually in the farm system then? Little leaguers?

Dayton Moore is a really, really poor GM.

Anonymous said...

Who are you people? Where is this supposed "melodrama" in this post? Dayton Moore has done a bad-to-hideous job as GM this offseason and Rany has called him out on it. This $11.4M would have been spent better any one of a million ways even if neither Dunn nor Burrell nor Furcal had taken it (and please, people, let's not overestimate how much ballplayers are motivated by anything other than money...). Sink some more money into scouting. Get more active somewhere in Latin America. Hell, set up a baseball school in South Africa for all I care. Paying that much money for scrub-level players (excuse me, for multiple seasons of scrub level players) is NEVER a good thing for a team with the Royals' professed budget.
For those who insist we have to throw stupid money at Bloomquist because otherwise Callaspo has no backup:

Bloomer: .262/.323/.324 career
not Bloomer: .277/.358/.383 career

And who is "not Bloomer"? Indeed, our very own Esteban German, who doesn't require a 2yr$3M deal. And seriously, if you think Bloomie is needed to challenge Callaspo at 2nd, then shouldn't you be screaming for, oh, I don't know, Orlando Hudson by now?

This deal reeks. Just admit it and move on.

Anonymous said...


As you wrote:

"There’s one way that this signing can help the Royals: if it means that they boot Tony Pena off the roster (even better, and in all seriousness, if they try Pena in relief.) If the signing of Bloomquist is an acknowledgment that Pena no longer justifies a roster spot, and that the Royals are willing to pay a slight premium for a utility player who knows his role and isn’t a complete cipher at the plate, then this isn’t a bad move. Unfortunately, all the vibes suggest that Bloomquist is actually going to get to challenge Alberto Callaspo for the starting job at second base."

So you're raising the spectre of David Howard, and suggesting Moore is in over his head, because of vibes? Shouldn't we wait for something a little more concrete before suggesting that it's 1991 all over again?

"He'll have a chance to compete for the starting job" is the kind of thing that teams say when signing a player, particularly when there's no established veteran at the position. It means the Royals want to motivate Callaspo. It means they want to talk up their new player in case a trade opportunity comes along. It means they don't want to embarrass a new acquisition by publicly declaring him unworthy of starting. It doesn't mean Bloomquist is actually going to knock Callaspo off the keystone.

I've noticed something about the criticism of the Royals this winter. Most of it is predicated on the worst possible in-season roster management. People hated acquiring Jacobs because he can't hit lefties and they fear he'll cost Butler ABs. They hated the Crisp trade because they thought it presaged trading DeJesus. And now you hate the Bloomquist signing because you think he'll be starting at 2B, despite the fact that he's never had 300 AB in a year and we aren't paying him starting money.

But there's actually no reason to assume the worst. The Royals might well see Bloomquist as what he is--an upgrade over Pena--whatever they say publicly. They might platoon Jacobs with Shealy at 1B and leave Butler alone at DH. They might keep both DeJesus and Teahen, using Teahen in the role he's actually suited for on a contending team: as very good fourth-outfielder. If you look at these moves in light of intelligent roster management, rather than assuming Moore/Hillman will do everything wrong in spring training, the winter transactions look much less ominous.

This hasn't been a banner year for Dayton Moore: he missed out on Furcal and spent a lot of money on relief pitching. But I just don't see why everyone thinks it's been disastrous. We haven't signed anyone for more than two years, or traded away any top prospects. This team may well be better in 2009-2010 with the players he's added than it would be without them, and nothing has happened to damage our chances in 2011 and beyond.

This is a very minor signing, adding a perfectly serviceable utility player to a roster that lacked one. It isn't remotely expensive in MLB terms. It just isn't worth getting worked up about.

Jeff said...

Rany, you are spot on here. I am amazed that there are so many who are still defending Dayton Moore's moves this offseason. Obviously the issue is not the Bloomquist signing itself, but the generally misguided mentality that it reflects. Adding Willie Ballgame will not sink this team. The mindset that leads us to overpay for players such as WFB will.

What's even more amazing is that many of the posters here don't realize that you are the optimistic Royals blogger to Rob's uber-cynicism, something I don't think has changed one bit.

Anonymous said...

As long as GMDM continues to draft and spend as he has, I don't care about Willie Bloomquist. He's better than Tony Pena.

And Bell's Palsy would have been an awesome nickname for Ross Gload two years ago.

Anonymous said...

Neyer = Judas

Anonymous said...

You know what's great? This is more posts then I have seen on any Royals topic in a looooong time. I'm glad to see people are really starting to give a sh*t about the Royals again.....and that's a good thing. Let's judge this team in May after we've seen them play a solid month of real ball. You never know what can happen.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

OK 2 things are clear:
1) We love your posts Rany, thank you and keep it up.
2) We really really love our Royals and while we all know there's plenty to complain about, it stings when that complaining gets a bit too personal.

My 2 cents:

Burrell was not signing here for that price (extend this logic to all other FAs in his caregory)

I think one of the most important things going on here is a change in atmosphere. Some of these players we've traded for/signed may not be ideal, but they are all actual major leaguers. Filling out the roster with career minor leaguers to absorb the Royals culture of losing is a bad idea. There is a terribly deep seeded problem with this team's mindset that needs to be fixed before anything else can.

Pop Quiz: What do the numbers 268 and 217 represent?
Answer: The combined record of the teams Crisp, Jacobs, and Farnsworth come from

Bloomquist is of course the exception here but hey, I thought of this theory before we signed him.


Anonymous said...

Willie F***ING BLOOMQUIST?!? Dayton, what in the HELL are you doing? Dayton is making me start to miss Allard Baird.

Anonymous said...

Willie F***ING BLOOMQUIST?!? Dayton, what in the HELL are you doing? Dayton is making me start to miss Allard Baird.

Anonymous said...

I am a big fan of Mike Arbuckle, and assume that as senior advisor to the GM, that he put his stamp of approval on it. If so, then I am confident that it may accomplish some things that we are not aware of. I still believe there are "Moore" transactions and moves to come. Still hopefull, anyway.

Anonymous said...

Rany, isn't it time for a Posnanski-like makeover of the entire site design? You know, like every couple weeks? I mean, come on, the start of the Willie Bloomquist Era demands a new and more exciting blog lay-out!

Anonymous said...

"But there's actually no reason to assume the worst. "

Did you miss Ross Gload playing everyday last year, Nathan?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous @5:14,

Point taken.But if you evaluate every signing on the assumption that the player will be horribly misused, you're usually going to be disappointed.

Bloomquist would be a poor every day player, but he's fine as a bench player. If he's the in the opening-day linup, I'll be a lot more concerned. But even then, the fault lies in how he's used, not in signing him.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a more athletic but slightly weaker Mark Grudzielanek to me.

Anonymous said...

In the course of my career, I've received job offers from many different markets. I've chosen to take jobs in markets that i felt the most comfortable. In my field, I seem to be the exception to the rule. Most colleagues will go where the biggest offer is, regardless of what the living conditions are, schools, etc. Baseball mirrors my profession, in that aspect. To say that "big time" free agents won't come to KC, regardless of the contract, is silly, if not borderline lunacy. These guys will go whereever there is cash to be had. Sometimes, they'll use family as leverage to get more money. Seldom you'll see anyone refuse a deal based on teams winning potential. You'll hear that alot, but, again, it's leverage (most "winning" teams are also teams willing to spend).

I don't pretend to the know the inner workings of a Major League front office ... BUT, it seems logical to spend the money that you are budgeted a tad more wisely. It seems odd that the ONLY players willing to brave (no pun intended) living & playing in Kansas City are MARGINAL talent, regardless of "stathead" or "i've-been-watching-baseball-my-whole-life-so-i-know-baseball" observations. Are Willie Bloomquist, Horacio Ramirez, Coco Crisp (to anonymous @ 2;19 on 1/12, just because the guy was "on" the Red Sox, doesn't mean he's responsible for those wins. You have a couple of MVP candidates & an ace pitching staff to thank for that) & Mike Jacobs the BEST examples of "money well spent"? Why people would make excuses for a man's mismanagement of funds is frustrating to understand.
For the record, I 100% agree with this post. It is the 1st time reading this blog, 1st post was the latest defense of THIS post, I was directed here from
As a NY Yankees fan, it troubles me to see where our Luxury Tax money is being spent. Essentially, we're giving KC money to pay Kyle Farnsworth, a headache of a guy, we couldn't give away fast enough. That kinda bothers me.

Anonymous said...

I am advid reader of yours Rany and I always appreciate the insight whether it is Royals or policately stated.

I care about the offseason moves I was in favor of Jacobs and Crisp. Not in favor of Farnie at all. But what continues to give me hope is the drafts that we have had the last 2 years. I really like the depth that is being built in A ball. This year at some point that should start trickling up through AA and contine up through AAA in 2010.

I don't think we realize how bad we really were. I know I didn't realize it. My assesment is before we deam Moore a failure lets see how these draft picks end up performing. Now don't get me wrong Guillen has been a bad signing, and Farnie will come back to bite us in the end. But we still have the makings of a good foundation.

Again thank you rany!

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to tell Rany that Joe Posnanski stole this blog entry and is using it as his on It's not word for word, but all your points are there. It's obvious he reads this blog. I'd call him out....

Anonymous said...

I understand and share some of your frustration about talking up the importance of OBP, but seeming to execute otherwise.

I see things a little differently and continue to support Dayton's approach and here's why: he understands that a small market team cannot afford to invest 20% of its payroll into one player and have that contract go south, potentially crippling the club for years to come. I think each move has the potential to be an improvement for the club without putting the future in jeopardy. Like the Twins, our focus needs to come from the farm and/or trades, not expensive free agent signings with huge risk for a small market/small budget club. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I can't recall any really big free agent splashes by the Twins, yet they have been consistently competitive for several years now.

Your argument that it would be better to sign one expensive guy vs. 5 marginal / questionable guys fails to recognize the need for to KC not to put all eggs in one basket. I'd rather see us with 5 chances to be incrementally better than one all or nothing signing that may not have the projected impact.

Antonio. said...

The possibility of a Dunn succeeding is much higher than that of a Guillen, a Jacobs. A high level player is always going to be much better than a B player mixed in with two Cs and a D. And that's basically what the Royals have done this off-season. The most important player to sign this offseason, Zack Greinke, has basically been ignored.

And as for the Twins, they were a very terrible for a very long time under their current GM--reason being that they basically used ONLY the draft to better their team. And they had wave after wave after wave of young talented players come up--and they let those players, other than Hunter and Santana, go as they got expensive because they had numerous replacements to replace those players. And then they eventually let Hunter and Santana go. The Twins were never tied to a player so they could get precious few marginal wins out of a season. The Royals don't do this. They don't attempt to trade Riske to help their weak upper level farm system. They don't attempt to bring in a player that's not MLB-ready for Dotel. They didn't trade Mahay. The Twins would have done that knowing that they weren't going to win the division or be near winning the division and therefore needed to look to their future.

Anonymous said...

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