Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A Modest Proposal.

Wow, this whole “I’m taking a step back from the Royals” plan is already paying dividends!

I had a good time in Kansas City over the weekend. I had a chance to meet many of you at the ballpark on Saturday night, and had a chance to meet many of my colleagues in the local print and radio media during my stay. I wish I could say that the Royals’ performance on the field made me reconsider my perception of the team, but I can’t. And I wish I could say that all the conversations I had with people over the weekend made me reconsider my perception of the organization. But I can’t.

The highlight of my weekend – hell, it might be the highlight of my career – came on Friday night, when unbeknownst to the Royals (or me), the participant in the between-innings “Match Game” promotion was a devoted reader of this blog. After winning the promotion, our good reader was given the microphone and asked to say a few words. He said only two: “Rany Rules!” The microphone was snatched away by the announcer at that point, but judging from the audience’s reaction, the damage was already done. The revolution may not be televised, but it will be broadcast over the PA system to a sellout crowd at Kauffman Stadium. (To continue with my “V” theme, this reminds me of the moment when Juliet Parrish peels John’s skin to reveal the lizard underneath on national TV. Old-timers can relive that moment here – advance to 7:30 into the clip.)

There’s an old and oft-repeated quote that “Comedy equals Tragedy plus Time,” which I think applies beautifully to the Royals weekend. When Trey Hillman left Joakim Soria in the bullpen Friday night rather than ask him to get four outs, and Juan Cruz gave up the game-winning homer to Evan Longoria…that was tragedy. When Cruz gave up the game-tying and game-winning hits in the eighth inning the next night, that was unfortunate. When Hillman said in his post-game comments that he was willing to use Soria for four outs instead of five, that was farce.*

*: Seriously…four outs but not five? In the history of baseball, has there ever been a situation where a pitcher could get four outs but not five? Especially given that Soria’s so efficient on the mound that the difference between four outs and five outs is approximately three pitches. And if Soria was available for four outs, then WHY DIDN’T HE COME IN FOR FOUR OUTS THE NIGHT BEFORE?

And then, when the Royals blew an eighth-inning lead again on Sunday, and again Soria didn’t pitch while the triumvirate of Jamey Wright, John Bale, and Ramon Colon surrendered two hits, three walks, and committed an error…that was comedy. I mean, what’s the point of being angry? I already wrote that column. And it’s too late in the season to be despondent about it. Really, the only proper reaction is simply to laugh.

So for those of you who enjoyed the last post I wrote – which was actually posted before Sunday’s game – in the spirit it was written, thank you. For those of you who didn’t think it was that funny, I’m sorry you didn’t find it funny. And for those of you who didn’t think humor was the proper response – I’m sorry, but I can’t think of any other response except humor for the predicament the Royals find themselves in. (And for those few of you who thought the news “item” was real – I’m sorry that the Royals have become such a joke that it’s hard to separate satire from truth.)

As hard as it is to believe, I sympathize with Hillman a little bit. His comments after Saturday night’s game were rather ridiculous, both because he could have used Soria for four outs the night before and because he had used Soria for five outs earlier this season (a decision which was instrumental in the Royals winning an extra-inning thriller in Minnesota…one of the games which deluded me into thinking that this season was going to be something special, in fact.) But the sad reality about where baseball is today is that Hillman’s thinking over the weekend doesn’t make him the worst manager in baseball. His thought process is the norm among baseball teams today.

That thought process can be summed up as this:

1) Joakim Soria is my closer.

2) The job of the closer is to earn saves.

3) You can not earn a save unless you finish the game.

4) Therefore, if Soria can only get four outs, they have to be the last four outs of the game.

Once upon a time, closers weren’t called closers; they were called firemen, and the distinction is critical. “Closers” are there to “close” things – they’re there to close out the lights, which means finishing off a victory. Firemen put out fires – they’re there to get out of the stickiest of situations, no matter when those occur. No rational person would argue that the situation Soria could have faced on Sunday – tying run at third, just one out in the eighth – is less critical than the classic closer role of starting the ninth inning with a one-run lead. There’s a margin for error in the ninth; in the eighth, a single will tie the game (and did).

But that’s where the game of baseball is today. The problem with Hillman isn’t that he’s not with the conventional wisdom in this regard – it’s that he’s not willing to go against the conventional wisdom, even though his bullpen is such a unique challenge (one of the top closers in baseball fronted by arguably the worst middle-relief pack in the game) that it begs for unconventional thinking. He’s afraid to think outside-the-box, and the Royals need a manager who thinks outside the box. So instead, we have a manager who used every reliever (as well as starter Bruce Chen) out of his bullpen except Soria and Robinson Tejeda over the weekend, then finally used Soria to pitch an inning with the Royals down by eight runs last night.

As some brilliant commenters pointed out:

1) Last season, the Royals were shutout (okay, no-hit) by Jon Lester, which started a 12-game losing streak. This year, the Royals were shutout by Lester, which started an 8-game (and counting) losing streak.

2) Five of those eight losses have been by three runs or less. Both of Soria’s appearances in the last eight games have been in games decided by six runs or more.

Hillman’s intellectual atherosclerosis may not be treatable, but the woes of the bullpen are. Remember, Hillman didn’t use Soria all that differently last year; only seven times out of 63 appearances did Soria pitch more than an inning (although six of those seven were six-out appearances). The complaints last season were far fewer, though, because he had Ramon Ramirez to pitch the eighth inning. This year, he’s had Juan Cruz and Kyle Farnsworth. Farnsworth’s problems could (and were) predicted, but Cruz’s struggles were not so easily predictable. (And as Sam Mellinger finds out, they’re still mystifying.)

So allow me to make a modest proposal. The bullpen needs to be fixed, but the last thing the Royals ought to do is to trade some of their marketable guys (like DeJesus and Teahen) for some immediate relief help. The correlation between expense and performance is almost non-existent, something Dayton Moore has proven the last two seasons. His no-name set-up men last year, Ramirez and Leo Nunez, were far more effective than the two guys he signed for a combined $7 million a year to do the job this season.

First off, the Royals need to bite the bullet and get rid of some of their relievers. Frankly, none of their jobs should be safe; after Soria, Ron Mahay has the lowest ERA in the bullpen at 4.26. But Roman Colon should be an easy target; he has a 5.03 ERA, has allowed 31 baserunners in under 20 innings, and frankly his minor league track record makes you wonder what it was that Moore saw in him in the first place. (Other than the tomahawk on some of the uniforms he wore.) Tejeda, who has a great arm but also has walked more than a batter an inning, should also be fair game; if the Royals still think they can polish him, then they should take a long hard look at Jamey Wright, who isn’t terrible but also hasn’t really done the one thing the Royals brought him to do: the supposed groundball specialist has allowed 7 homers in 47 innings this year.

In return, they should find a spot on their roster for two guys. One is Carlos Rosa, who the Royals converted to relief this year because of concerns that he would not hold up physically as a starter (concerns about his elbow led the Marlins to nix the deal that would have traded him for Mike Jacobs, forcing the Royals to trade Nunez instead.) Rosa, perhaps still shaking off the rust from last season’s injury, struggled terribly at the start of the season; he had a 7.03 ERA in his first 32 innings, allowing 36 hits and 20 walks in that span. But over his last eight outings the light bulb has gone on; he has allowed just 4 hits and 4 walks in 14 innings, along with 14 strikeouts. If the scouting reports jibe with the sudden improvement in performance, then I think it’s time to throw Rosa into the pool and see if he can swim.

The other guy is Chris Hayes. I’ve had a lot of fun promoting Hayes as a prospect here and here and here and here, but I worry that some people – certainly some people in the organization – really do think that the idea of Disco as a prospect is a lot of fun, as opposed to something serious. At the start of the year, my goal was not to get Hayes immediately promoted to the majors – as well as he pitched last year, I understand that any pitcher whose fastball rarely touches 80 is going to have to prove himself in the high minors a little longer than the average prospect. My goal was simply to raise awareness that the Royals had a submarine prospect in their system, who ought to be taken seriously as a prospect despite his lack of velocity.

Well, that was March. It’s July now, and in the interim Hayes returned to Northwest Arkansas and pitched better than he did last season, with a 0.98 ERA in 37 innings. The Royals grudgingly promoted him to Omaha in mid-June, and he has continued to pitch well. His ERA in Omaha is 3.20, but he really hasn’t pitched much worse than he did in Double-A; he has continued to show tremendous control, strike out a little under one batter every other inning, and keep the ball on the ground (he’s allowed just one homer at each level). It’s just that a few more groundballs have gotten through. His BABIP in Double-A was .260, and in Triple-A it has been .315 – since a typical BABIP is around .300, Hayes was a little lucky in Double-A, and a little unlucky so far in Triple-A.

That’s splitting hairs, though, because there’s nothing to be ashamed about having a 3.20 ERA. For the season, Hayes has a 1.89 ERA, has allowed just 8 walks (two intentional!) in 62 innings, and has allowed just the two homers. If this isn’t the Dan Quisenberry starter kit, I don’t know what it is.

At the start of the year, even the most optimistic Hayes fan (i.e. me) thought it was unlikely he would earn a promotion to the majors before September, but this season has been a perfect storm of factors that have earned him a look. Hayes has continued to pitch well, of course, but beyond that you have a bullpen meltdown of a scale that I don’t think anyone predicted. During this eight game losing streak, here are the combined numbers for all Royals relievers (not counting the two innings Soria threw):

24.1 IP, 29 H, 26 R, 25 ER, 26 BB, 22 K, 4 HR

That’s just sick. Maybe Hayes wouldn’t improve on that hit total, but if all he does is throw strikes and keep the ball down, he’ll represent an enormous improvement on that performance.

It was thirty years ago this month that a much better Royals team – better in every facet of the game – nonetheless gave an opportunity to a submarining right-hander who threw in the upper 70s. Quisenberry was as poorly-regarded then as Hayes is now, despite strong numbers in the minors. In 1977 Quiz threw 74 innings in Double-A, allowed just 61 hits and 11 walks, with a 1.34 ERA; like Hayes, he was forced to repeat Double-A, and in 1978 pitched almost as well, with a 2.39 ERA in 62 innings. He got to Triple-A in 1979, and like Hayes didn’t quite match the success he had in Double-A – he had a 3.60 ERA in 35 innings when he was called up to make his major league debut on July 8th. He would never return to the minor leagues.

That 1979 team had bullpen issues much like this one does; aside from Quisenberry, five guys made more than 10 relief appearances for the Royals that season, and only one (Al Hrabosky) had an ERA under 4.50. The troubles with the pitching staff are what kept that team, despite scoring a then franchise-record 851 runs, out of the playoffs (the only time the Royals missed the playoffs from 1976 to 1981.) No doubt, Quisenberry got his shot at least partly out of desperation.

But here’s the thing: he got his shot. Whitey Herzog was a baseball man through and through, but he cared about winning more than he cared about conventional wisdom: he would have given a shot to a pitcher who threw with his feet if it would have helped him win. Quiz got his shot, and pitched well enough that year that even after Herzog was fired after the season, Quisenberry entered the next season as the team’s closer, and held the job for the next six seasons.

Maybe Hayes won’t pitch as well as Quisenberry, though from where I sit I see no reason why he can’t. But you know what? He doesn’t have to. Quisenberry had a career 2.76 ERA, including a 2.55 mark with the Royals. If Hayes can put up a 3.76 ERA, he’ll be an asset to this team. If he puts up a 5.76 ERA, he’ll still be better than Robinson Tejeda.

An organization that trades actual prospects for Yuniesky Betancourt is an organization that cares far more about how a player looks than how he performs. In some ways, the Royals are the worst organization for a guy like Disco to pitch for. But the shadow of Quisenberry still carries weight in Kansas City, if not with the organization than at least with their fans.

But I don’t want the Royals to give Hayes a shot because of the memory of a pitcher who threw his last pitch over two decades ago – I want them to give him a shot because he can help the ballclub. The Royals need a guy who can, if nothing else, stop walking the tying run to lead off the 8th inning – that’s Hayes. They need a guy who can throw two or three innings at a time – that’s Hayes. They need a guy who they can rely on to pitch four or five times a week if need be – that’s Hayes. And not to be crass about it, but they need a guy that they don’t perceive to be so valuable that they can only use him in predetermined situations. Emphatically, that’s Hayes.

This is probably the first column that I’ve written in a month that doesn’t come with a huge dose of anger or bitterness. I’m trying to play this one straight, because I am dead serious when I write this. Chris Hayes is not a freak show anymore. He’s a pitcher who can help the Royals right now. It’s time to bring Disco to Kansas City.

82 comments:

Tim said...

great piece Rany.
Its remarkable that this organization is willing to let player whom are percieved as "uber-prospects" like Gordon, Butler and Hochever (and to a lesser extent moose-tacos and Hoz) spend little to no time at all the levels, yet players like Kila, Aviles, and now Disco, players that have PROVED they deserve a shot are forced to repeat levels and languish in the minors.

It seems like Dayton can't seem to recognize that sometimes players that you didnt see potential in, breakout, and good teams give these players shots.

In fact I would say it is IMPERITIVE that a team like the Royals, MUST give these players shots, as its the only way to fill in the cracks from your "uber-prospects" cheaply.

GeorgeM said...

Two things: It was great meeting you over the weekend. I hope there are more Rany at the Royals nights to come.

As for Disco, I want to see him here, too. However, with his ground ball rate and our infield defense, we may need a five man infield. Even with that lousy defense, though, I'd rather see Disco here.

Brandon K said...

Anything, and I repeat, anything has to be better than the bullpen that we trudge out there for 4 innings every night. If any of the pitchers we have in the bullpen now, with the exception of Soria, have any options left, they should be down in the minors. It can't be any worse than it has been. Bring up Hayes, Hughes and Yabuta, take a look at Marte and hell, maybe Hardy. Point is, they can't be any worse with these guys as we are with the current clowns that we throw out there every night.

Sorry I missed you at the game on Saturday, we got there late and pretty much took our seats as soon as we got there. About the 7th inning, my wife asked me, "Are they going to blow this one too?" and I didn't have the heart to tell her no, because deep down, as soon as Greinke left before the ninth, I knew it was a loss.

It's tough being a Royals fan, especially a Royals fan that doesn't blindly think that things are getting better without looking for themselves. Keep up the good work.

Unknown Royals Fan said...

Great column, Rany. You have the ability to get back on the horse and write a straight column again. I can't, and until I can complete a paragraph without using the word "suck" more than once, my own blog will be quiet.

The problem with Hillman isn't his inability to think outside the box, it's his inability to think, period. If a fan like me can predict that leaving Soria to rot during three potential game-changing opportunities would lead to him working a meaningless mopup inning just so he doesn't take root in the pen, why can't a great "baseball guy" like Hillman? Seriously, we're dealing with a lack of intelligence. And yet, we read that Hillman's focus this year was to get back more to his Bible, and how great and harmonious the atmosphere is in the clubhouse. Only a team of losers could be happy and congenial during this time, and that, unfortunately, is what GMDM hath wrought.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Rany for less hatred this time. You are right on!!!! I was telling my dad today that they need to bring up Rosa and Hayes if nothing else than to change some things up. I'm tired of dying the same death every day in the 7th and 8th innings. You are so right!

Joel

Taylor said...

Still my favorite Royal blogger, keep it up Rany. Disco needs a shot, if only so that when Teahen is traded away Disco can take over the TV spots and keep some humor in an otherwise humorless atmosphere.

By the way, as I'm typing this, the boys are up 6-4 with Bale pitching in the 8th, and Kendry Morales just hit a leadoff double, Colon is coming in. Do we have any doubt about what will happen next?

Scott A said...

Funny.. first post in a month that I've actually enjoyed is the first one that didn't come off as whiny or bitter.

Stick with stats/info and remove emotion.. it's what got you a following and remains your strength.

Unknown Royals Fan said...

AAAAAAARRRRRRRRGGGGGHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!

The Latin Asshole (literal translation of Roman Colon) just allowed the tying dinger. 8th inning, Soria sitting on the bench in the pen.

Jayboid said...

Rany.........you are the best. Keep it up. Would write a more supportive comment, but just watched a backup catcher launch one to lose a game for Banny. Urrrrppppp

Derek said...

Great article Rany. Until the club can put the pen back together we'll have to hope for the next best alterantive... if we can convince MLB to go to 7 inning games we've got it in the bag.

Keep it up Rany.

Dan said...

Following the statistics is clearly incredibly important in baseball--and I understand that fact very well. Still, one of my favorite attributes about Disco is not something that can be found on a stat sheet: his smarts. He is extremely intelligent (baseball smart and regular smart), and that can go a long way in a pitcher's success.

I was very excited to see you write this article now. It was just last weekend I was lamenting to my dad about the Royals former relievers (primarily Affeldt and Nunez) and it eventually led to me claiming the Royals needed to bring up Chris "Disco" Hayes. At first, he laughed at the idea, but then reflected and said "Y'know, I think Quiz threw in the low 80s." I suppose you can't bring up a submarine pitcher to an old Royals fan and not expect a Quiz reference, but your immediate post here seems like too big a coincidence.

Keep up the great work.

Fast Eddie said...

And as we speak Bale, Colon, and Wright have blown another one.

It looks like Jacobs has lost the job that Gordon got when he came off the DL.

Smithville said...

Hey Rany that was me playing (and ruling) the match game, I am a avid reader of yours, and a season ticket holder of the royals.

You are very welcome for the shout out you deserve it. Do I get any thing free? Or were can I e-mail you for a thanks?

Anonymous said...

The comment that this team is full of losers is a bit harsh...I would say that there are few if any players on this team, save Soria and Grienke, that have the heart of a champion. Champions wouldn't be taking this all in stride, like the majority of the players and coaches and the GM are.

Nope..winning organizations know how to find players with talent AND heart. Unfortunately, the new regime seems to be struggling in that area.

And, winning organizations would not be running the same thick-headed, mistake repeating players out there time and time again. They would be benching them, or shedding them from the team. There seems to be no fear of failure with this group, quite frankly because they have nothing to fear.

GMDM and Trey Hillman are good Christian men, but they need to show less compassion and more fire if they want to ever right this sinking ship.

Bret said...

Cruz still has the best stuff of anybody not named Soria in our pen. The other guys are jokes. Tonight is killing me. Banny deserved the win. It seems like I'm calling my dad nearly every night to vent about this team. I guess in a strange way the Royals collapse has served to unite us. I'm predicting a walk-off homer for Butler. We need it.

Bret said...

Can't watch the game...was figgins hit legit? this is pretty awful stuff. soria has got to be perfect...no margin for error. where's the silver lining?

Alex said...

As I write this, that awesome trio of Bale-Colon-Wright just gave up 5 in 2/3 of an inning to blow a 2 run lead. Your point about Hayes is only getting stronger as I change the channel from this never ending shit show that is our bullpen. Unfortunately, I'm thinking that if I'm the Royals' front office, I don't bring him up ever, just to spite you, Rany. The second they get wind about how much you love this guy (if they don't know already), he'll be demoted back to AA or given his outright release. Let's hope I'm wrong.

Anonymous said...

Good post, Rany.

To the other readers - I'm tired of reading people bitch about Rany bitch; kind of hipocritical. Put your pecker away and stop pissing and moaning about Rany and his rants. It's his site. Don't like it, go somewhere else and F-off (and as many times as you like).

Mikey said...

"It's his site. Don't like it, go somewhere else and F-off (and as many times as you like)."
============
pretty ballsy stuff from a guy named Anonymous.

Tim said...

Nice post, Rany. For a second, I thought you were going to all Jonathon Swift on us and suggest we all eat the Royals' bullpen.

Curtis said...

And Tim wins for best comment. Well played, sir.

I was sitting on the couch a couple of hours ago, we had just scored to take a 6-2 lead into the seventh inning. And I thought we had a 45% or so chance of losing the game.

That is really sad. That it came to pass is almost beside the point. The fact that it was that predictable is depressing.

Larry said...

When Guillen mysteriously didn't appear for his at bat in the second inning, I had the briefest of dreams that he had been traded. Sadly, it was only "sudden right leg pain." It was very disappointing.

skeptic said...

I was actually encouraged that Hillman would:

1. Use Soria in the 8th with the bases loaded and 1 out.

2. Attempt a suicide squeeze in a tie game in the 5th.

Roy in Omaha said...

Rany, I emailed my sister in K.C. just this morning and gave her a list of a dozen things I'd do to fix things as best as possible with the options at-hand. One of those things was bringing up Chris Hayes.

My pipe dream list:

1. Release Jose Guillen. Recall Jordan Parraz, hand him a glove, and tell him he's the new right fielder until he either hits or plays his way out of the job.

2. Make Billy Butler the full time DH.

3. Recall Kila Ka'aihue, hand him a glove, and tell him he's the new 1st baseman until he either hits or plays his way out of the job.

4. Bench Mike Jacobs and use him only as a left hand pinchhitter off the bench or to spell Butler every once in a while (against right handed pitching only) at DH.

5. Hand Bryan Pena a catcher's mitt, and tell him he's the new catcher until he either hits or plays his way out of the job.

6. Get rid of either Buck or Olivo. My preference to disappear is Olivo. I think he is at least partially responsible for the pitcher's "issues".

7. Recall Chris Hayes and stick him in the bullpen.

8. Release Sidney Ponson.

9. Recall Kyle Davies and stick him in the rotation.

10. Put Chen in the bullpen with a use emphasis against left handed hitters.

11. Release Juan Cruz. The Diamondbacks obviously knew something.

12. Send Jamey Wright to Omaha (913 strikeouts to 818 walks ratio in 15 year MLB career!)

New lineup:

1. Alberto Callaspo 2B
2. David DeJesus CF
3. Mark Teahen LF
4. Billy Butler DH
5. Alex Gordon 3B
6. Bryan Pena C
7. Kila Ka'aihue 1B
8. Jordan Parraz RF
9. Yuniesky Betancourt SS

Bench:

Jacobs
Buck or Oilvo
Freel
Bloomquist


Rotation:

Greinke
Meche
Bannister
Hochevar
Davies

Bullpen:

Hayes
Chen
Bale
Soria
Mahay
Tejeda
Colon

This lineup puts the best OBP guy on the team in the leadoff spot. Pena is a switchhitter and is and will be a better hitter than either Buck or Olivo. We find out if Parraz is for real and why he has an minor league career OBP of .382. Ka'aihue, to me, is already a proven enough commodity that he will be a upgrade at the plate no matter whose spot in the lineup he takes. If either of these guys hits better than what we have (which is very likely), up in the lineup they go.

Lubanski just came off the DL and I don't know what Shealy's situation is in that regard right now. If Shealy were available, I'd release Jacobs and get him up here. Lubanski would have been a younger and cheaper alternative to Freel, who, at soon to be 34, has zero upside and is damaged goods, besides. Lubanski just turned 24.

3 lefties in the pen, and, 4 righties.

Next spring, with a new manager, this team has to rid itself of, at minimum:

1. Jacobs, can't hit, can't field.
2. Betancourt, can't hit, can't field.
3. Freel, too old, no upside, cheaper, younger alternatives exist.
4. Callaspo, fields so bad it does not offset his hitting.
5. At least some of the guys in the pen. The only untouchable is Soria.

My fixes only optimize things as best as possible with the tools the Royals have at hand, now

Sorry for the long post but I felt like I had something to say.

Anonymous said...

OK. Poor Trey. He finally goes with the "un" conventional thought of using his "closer" as the fireman he's supposed to be but picks the point in the inning (bases loaded) when you'd have to be Sandy Frickin' Koufax to put that fire out. Next time, AND YES, there will and should be a NEXT TIME, bring your best gun in with only one runner on base. DON'T even think about using tonight as a rationale/justification for going back in to your 9th inning only "defensive" mode.

Grain of Salt said...

Hilly waffles so much, his next press conference will be sponsored by Bisquick.

Hilly's Top 5 Ipod Songs of the week:
5) "Crazy on You" - Heart
4) "Hysteria" - Def Leppard
3) "I'm a Nut" - Leroy Pullins
2) "Desperado" - The Eagles
1) "Purple Haze" - Jimi Hendrix

Anonymous said...

Soria would have been perfect if he was brought in before the bases were loaded. The liner would have been caught with the infield back and the sac fly was out #3.

Hillman had no problem bringing Wright in for the THIRD time, but it's much too perilous to bring in Soria in the 8th (until it's too late). I almost wonder if he wanted it to fail so he could say "I told you so"?

Hillman worships the SAVE, plain and simple.

Anonymous said...

@ Roy in Omaha:

Nice. I'd also:

1) Start a two- or three-man Stats Deparment (hire Rany?); consult accordingly.

2) In the interest of time, only draft proven college junior/seniors (over high schoolers) . I suppose 'a bird in hand is worth two in the bush' also applies here, at least generally.

Clint said...

Poor Disco Hayes.. In the Royals' eyes, a Rany endorsement is like the kiss of death. You just ruined a young man's baseball career, Rany. And I'm being serious.

Chance said...

If the Royals seriously downgrade Disco Hayes because one of our most devoted fans (former fan, anyway) thinks so highly of him, then I don't know what to say. Disco is not in the majors because he doesn't "look" the part. Sad but true. Production doesn't matter to GMDM as much as pedigree and "potential".

Roy in Omaha: Nice plan. Not sure if GMDM has the balls to admit he made so many mistakes, though.

BIG COMPLAINT: Why is there some notion that GMDM is a master at building a bullpen? Is ours any good? Hmmmm?

royalfan said...

Excellent points made!! I could not agree more about the current mind set in baseball today regarding closers. I remember well the day of Firemen relievers like Quisenberry. Your best relief ace to put out the fire in a game and perhaps close it out as well. A team like the Royals, who have so few ideal situations to even put one of their best players in the game illustrates this point even more. Soria is with out question the best relief pitcher on this team but because of the ineptitude of the team and by only using him in final inning save situations one of your best players rarely plays the game.

Anonymous said...

Rany, you read my mind on Rosa. I'd be all for seeing Disco in the bullpen too. If he gets lit up, well, it's no different than the current situation. My gut says he'd be good for at least two weeks until the league got a read on him.

Patrick said...

My son came down and looked at the TV and said "Dad thats awesome the Royals are winning" I hadnt the heart to tell him that a 6-2 lead for the Royals is the equivalent of a tie game and that no matter the score the Royals had already lost.

This is getting more pathetic with each passing day.

Steve said...

If you need any relief pitchers, you may have any of ours. Any of 'em. Really.

Signed,
Mark Shapiro

Crembo said...

My sentiments exactly. Was preparing to add that to the Star article yesterday. Get rid of Wright and Colon and bring up Disco and Rosa--and I would consider bringing up Yabuta who appears to have gotten things a bit better.

Ryan said...

"Rany Rules." Hilars. I'm glad we're infiltrating their games. Now if we can sabotage "kiss cam" with couples holding up "Fire GMDM" signs, then everything will be complete.

Anyone see that Buster Olney "Freakonomics" Q&A on the nytimes blog? He said something about teams not investing in older players in their early 30s, because they don't trust their longetivity post-steroids era.

Oops.

Anonymous said...

It would be nice for once to see trey hillman shut the clubhouse doors and give them a good chewing out, has that happened EVER in his tenure here? i doubt it.

my point is ... it would be nice to see a little emotion and life out of the manager! he's as laid back as can be, someone light a fire under this man!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for getting back to your baseball analyses and away from the pure bitterness. While there is plenty to be frustrated about with the Royals (trust me, I'm as upset as anyone), I can handle the anger side of things on my own. I come to this blog for insight, intelligence, and a different perspective on things. This is your sweet spot so I hope to see more of it.

Anonymous said...

Out-of-town owners
As long as the royals and chiefs have out of town owners, neither team will appear in a superbowl or world series. That is not the goal of either owner making money or not spending money is.

I will bet everybody now the al davis will see an oakland raider team in the superbowl before the chiefs. And for as long as walmart owns the royals they wont be anything more than a .500 team at best.

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

The Omaha Royals bullpen has now gone 14.1 consecutive scoreless innings. Last night, Waechter and Rosa finished up (Rosa's 6th save). Surely somebody from Omaha can do as well as the current collection? Just saying.

Anonymous said...

wal-mart does not own the royals. david glass used to work for wal-mart, but no longer does, nor does he serve on that company's board of directors any longer, having retired earlier this year.

tilly uhlich me so...roughly said...

Please bring the bitterness. I think it a tad folly that the discussion in mid July is what effect on the team bringing up two minor league relief pitchers would be.

Boycott this arrogance! These are the people that we are giving 250M to and they not only act like they built the stadium themselves but they triple the ticket prices. Oh and then provide a sh** product.

The mensa members running the team talk about differentiating their product from other entertainment options in town.

Mission Accomplished.

Shelby said...

Tilly Uhlich Me is right-on

Anonymous said...

Rany. I agree that humor is the only way to follow the Royals and still enjoy the team. I went to the game last night, July 22, and I was very angry during the 8th inning blowup and after the game. It's not the right attitude for a game that is supposed to be fun. I am trying to recover so I can enjoy the Royals again. Humor will be my watchword. Thank you for the therapy!

Kansas City said...

Good post by Randy. Andit produced an iInteresting thread.

Unknown Royals Fan raises a legitimate question about Hillman's intelligence. It is a combination of him saying dumb things and saying them with certainty/arrogance. I have never heard a guys sound so confident in spouting nonsense.

The season is now lost, so it is easier to laugh about his explanations regarding the use of Soria. The four out versus five out explanation was nonsense, and he did not follow his own rule either on Friday or on Wednesday.

In a less noted comment, I heard him on the radio saying he would not bring Soria in for a few outs in a crucial 8th inning and then use someone else in the 9th if he thought Soria should not finish because he did not have confidence in the guys he would need to use in the 9th -- EARTH TO TREY, THOSE ARE THE SAME GUYS THAT YOU CURRENTLY ARE USING WITH THE GAME ON THE LINE IN THE 8TH.

The whole deal about number of outs is silly, since presumably the criteria to judge demand on a pitcher is pitch count, not outs, and Hillman is in complete control of how many pitches Soria or anyone else throws. He also yesterday offered the comic explanation that a day off today made a difference - he is in complete control of giving Soria a day off whenever he needs it.

Roy in Omaha also has a lot of good ideas on changes. The only one that made me pause is releasing Cruz. He has a good enough track record and good enough stuff not to give up onhim based on one slump.

It would be harsh and expensive to give up on Guillen and Jacobs and Buck and/or Olivo, but logically you can see the reason to do so. As to the cheaper older players (e.g., Ponson, Freel) it is almost a no-brainer to stop using them and get he young guys some playing time.

Anonymous said...

no the man that ran walmart and chased all the companies to china

And was one of the owners to kill the world series during the strike

And the man that doesnt show up to the games anymore

Anybody think ewing would have done any of those

FAst Eddie said...

Guillen on DL, Maier up. No further comment.

GeorgeM said...

Tim's Jonathon Swift reference may be the funniest blog response I've seen this year. Good stuff.

I don't think that your endorsement will do Disco any harm. Unless I'm forgetting something, I've not ever seen GMDM make a move for petty reasons, and not promoting Disco because you endorsed him would be the height of pettiness. We may not like all his baseball reasons for his moves, but from what I have seen, if he thought Disco would help and was ready, he would be here.

It makes the KC club harder to watch today, but I still prefer the "learn in Omaha" to the "promote from Wichita too early" of years past. Having said that, the "learn in Omaha" phase went a bit far with Aviles. It hasn't gotten ridiculous yet for Disco - he's only been there for less than two months.

As for Kila, I wish they'd call him up now. They may see something in him that makes them think he'll fail. If that's the case, they are probably right, but let's find out now - he'd be cheaper than Jacobs next year, and if we get a couple months to look at him at this level, they'll know more about what they have.

Anonymous said...

c'mon rany, we want more from you! post everyday brotha! love the stuff. how bout bringing up kk, can't be any worse than jacobs, and much cheaper, and i totally agree with you on the rosa/hayes thing.

let's get some young guys up here! at least we'd have a future and hope to root for.

listeng dayton? i KNOW you read this blog.

Anonymous said...

not like i had high hopes for him as a big leaguer, but Joe Dickerson retired. weird. i think he was injured. anyone know more? what's the over/under on Derrick Robinson retiring? Moustakas? :)

Rob said...

Somebody already mentioned that Quiz wasn't exactly a fireballer...his game was all about control.

The all-time MLB saves leader, Trevor Hoffman, hardly ever breaks 85 now yet he still is regarded as one of the premier closers in the league, still finds ways to get guys out. Changeup after changeup and a Peggy Lee "is that all there is" fastball seems to work just fine for him.

This fetish for pitchers who can throw a snowball through a blast furnace without it getting soggy (h/t Bill James) is something that a small-market, small-budget "moneyball" team would be wise to avoid.

Anonymous said...

Rany, You have gone after the players, trainers, doctors, managers, GM, etc.... but WHY have you not gone after our apathetic, non-existent, and incompetent owners, Dave and Dan Glass?

Have they even attended a game this year, much less given two shits about how the team is doing? I'm sure they are very pleased with the attendance thus far, counting the dollars and laughing to themselves back in Bentonville, Ark.

Glass family, please gracefully turn the reins over to a local KC-based business/family to buy the franchise and you can fade back to Arkansas.

Anyone have any ideas what local Kansas Citian or businesses could buy this team?

KC FAN IN NOLA said...

What is your Royals Return on Commitment™ (R.O.C.)??


http://www.businessweek.com/managing/content/jul2009/ca20090714_025633.htm?link_position=link17

Juancho said...

I'd say my Royals Return on Commitment is pretty low, since I'm enough of a fan to buy the Internet radio thing to listen to the games, and when I'm in KC I always try to see at least one game. Therefore, I'm committed financially.

My emotional commitment is strong enough that I remember the playoffs and the Series and how great that was, and I'll never forget it.

So, yeah, really, I'm not getting much back (in terms of winning games) from my commitment. On the other hand, I do really like pro baseball, even if my team's not playing, and being a Royals fan gives me a certain status, since you gotta be hardcore to confess your allegiance in, say, New York or Chicago.

And we'll always have Brett, Quiz, McRae, White, and Saberhagen to talk about.

gbewing said...

never more than 4-I mean 5 - absolutely no more than 6 outs -aw hell he's starting both games of the next double header

Hillman such a man of integrity

Dayton Moore said...

I will not call up Chris Hayes! Forget it, Rany Jazayerli. You cannot play for MY Kansas City Royals unless you are also deemed to be a great athlete capable of throwing a baseball 95 miles per hour or running the 40-yard dash in under 4.5 seconds. Anyone failing those tests will remain in Omaha.

Which would you rather have, an awesome athlete like Yuneskiy Betancourt, or some fat, unathletic slob like Prince Fielder? If you would rather have Prince Fielder, that just shows my superiority to you!

Shelby said...

TPJ

Shelby said...

is it just me or has Ponson performed as good or better than we could have hoped?

Jimmy said...

Rany, in case you haven't seen the great news yet:

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=4357116

Casper said...

Rany, you have to give credit when it's due now - Hillman used Soria in a 6-out save and the Royals are moving TPJ to the mound. I think both are indicative of, if nothing else, learning from previous mistakes.

Cody said...

Rany give us your take on Hochevar's latest anamoly - 13 K's no walks in 7 innings. That along with his last outing where he had 9 or 10 k's plus his 80 pitch CG this year are making me feel better about Cool Hand Luke!

Unknown Royals Fan said...

Shelby - Ponson has performed better than expected, simply because everyone expected him to be biblically bad. I thought yesterday's performance was good because he was able to battle and get out of jams. His physical stuff has always been good, but it's been the area between the ears that's been his problem.

Chris said...

Soria's 6 out save was the product of Soria himself begging to be used in the 8th to "stop the bleeding." I don't think it has anything to do with Hillman learning from any mistakes.

gladbag said...

I don't know what the big deal was supposed to be about our bullpen. With the exception of Cruz who is simply dreadful right now, the rest of the relievers are basically career average to 1/2 run ERA worse than average for the season to date. I'm sure that 1/2 run can easily be chalked up to the poor defense. So, the pen has performed about as expected-better early in the season and worse lately. The problem is, they were all mediocre pitchers to begin with so expecting the bullpen to be a strength was ALWAYS irrational.

Cody said...

What do u think about the royals batting Freel and Bloomquist 2, since they are out of it why don't we bat Gordon there and get him as many AB's as possible instead of wasting AB's on fringe big leaguers!!

Anonymous said...

Nothing quite as depressing as a fan than to watch a 39-59 team stand pat at the trading deadline... seriously... no trade rumors at all bubbling up??? Come on, Dayton, at least leak some "discussions" so we have reason to believe you are TRYING to improve the ballclub!

Cody said...

I guess he figures there is no trade to make - unless we can pick up another utility player like Ryan Freel and Willie Bloomquist and give them 500 plus at bats!

FAST EDDIE said...

CASPER, I THINK THESE ARE A RESULT OF HILLMAN LISTENING TO SABRMETRICIANS AND OTHERS IN ORDER TO LEARN HOW TO MANAGE!

Fast Eddie said...

The Boston Herald reports the Red Sox may be interested in acquiring Willie Bloomquist. Anyone know more?

Anonymous said...

Bloomy? Never! Too valuable to the last place Royals.

Chris said...

Maybe the goal is to "catch" the Nationals and get the #1 pick - so we can pass on Bryce Harper and pick a high schooler from Georgia - you know, since the Braves are scouting him...

Chance said...

Bloonquist isn't worth anything to the Royals as a on-field player. His only value is as a tradeable asset. Why he hasn't been traded, is beyond me. We can easliy replace his fill-in capacity, and with him tailing off offensively as of late, losing him won't really hurt much. And, we are already a lock for a top 3 pick, so hanging onto a player that gives us that small of an uprgrade only looks foolish to me.

Cody said...

agree with Chance, especially when you have his twin brother Chris Freel on the roster. No reason to have basically the same player, career wise Freel is the better of the 2. Might as well cash in on Bloomquists results while you can, because the more at bats he gets the more his value will plummet like Betancourts On base percentage

Dayton Moore said...

2 out of 3: Hottest team in baseball!!
Looks like Betencourt isn't as bad as you thought Rany!!
His 150/152/200 make TPJ look like Lou Gehrig.

Anonymous said...

trades'zem... trades'zem all before it's too late!!!

aerobica said...

Whew. Thank God the bullpen blew up again last night. I was beginning to worry.

Fast Eddie said...

Now batting for the Royals, Yuniesky Pena.

Anonymous said...

Will rany ever post again?

Cody said...

Come on Rany - throw us a bone.

Anonymous said...

Rany. Do you have any clever names for Trey Hillman? After last nights game, the best I could come up with was Trey Killwins. The dartboard approach to the blowpen has me at wit's end.

Stephen said...

- Royals - GM Dayton Moore overpriced Mark Teahen, David DeJesus and Willie Bloomquist. Incredibly, he wants to keep the same pieces in place for 2010.

That quote was from an article on "circling the bases" about the trade deadline moves.

I usually take most articles with a grain of salt but those guys are usually spot on when it comes to analysis.

I wonder who we were asking for in return for them.