Wednesday, July 15, 2009

More (and Moore) on Betancourt.

If there’s one silver lining to the Betancourt trade, it’s the reaction from the local media. I have to think that Dayton Moore was taken aback by just how uniformly angry the response has been – heck, I was – which may have prompted his appearance on The Border Patrol Monday morning to defend the trade.

It’s been said many times before, but a sidebar to the mess that Kansas City baseball has been for the last 20 years is the fact that there probably isn’t a media environment in any major league city that would have been as accommodating and respectful of a front office that embraced sabermetric analysis as there is in Kansas City. I mean, look at Boston. Everyone in New England trusts in the stat guys now – but it’s hard to distrust them after they broke an 86-year streak and won two World Series in four years. (Not that Dan Shaughnessy doesn’t try.)

But do you recall the mocking and the outrage that descended on the Red Sox front office when they tried the bullpen by committee back in 2003? “Bill James” became an epithet for most of that summer. It’s a testament to the quality of the front office – from owner John Henry on down – that they stuck with their analytical approach despite tremendous media pressure to dumb it down.

That media pressure never would have happened in Kansas City. And it certainly wouldn’t happen now. For a quarter century the Royals have obstinately refused to acknowledge the efforts, if not the existence, of statistical analysis – and for a quarter century the team has inexorably slid down from the peak of a world championship to the lowly depths of one of the most embarrassing franchises in American sports. You don’t have to be Pavlov to deduce that the first half of that sentence may have contributed to the second.

And I think that this fact is part of the reason why we – me specifically and the Kansas City media generally – responded as viscerally and vehemently as we did against the Betancourt trade. It’s not just the nuts and bolts of the trade that set us off – it’s what the trade represents.

I do think that there’s something to the idea, as Joe Posnanski put it, that “one of the more frustrating things about being a fan is when you root for a team that so clearly has a different philosophy about sports than you have about sports.” Since the time I picked up Bill James’ final Abstract when I was 13, my philosophy about baseball has been to use statistical analysis as one of the ingredients – not the only ingredient, but one of the most important ones – to build a winning franchise. But my frustration runs deeper than that. Let’s face it: we’d all rather that our favorite teams win with a style we don’t favor than to lose with a style we do. There are a lot of things the New England Patriots do that make their fans uncomfortable…but I’m sure none of them care so long as the team does well. That same style has been imported to Arrowhead Stadium, and as disgusted as I am by the Chiefs’ astonishing arrogance and secrecy*, the cold reality is that if they go to the AFC Championship Game in the next two or three years, I won’t care less what goes on behind the wall.

*: You know how some NFL coaches will talk about preparing their team as if they’re literally going to war? The Chiefs have gone one better: they’re acting like the NFL is MORE important than war. Seriously – our military was more forthcoming with the press during the Iraq war than the Chiefs are today.

So it’s more than just that the Royals aren’t doing things the way I’d do them. For one thing, they’re doing things their way and it’s not working. The Royals have had four different GM’s over the last four years, but just one offensive philosophy: swing away. For over 25 years – really, since Whitey Herzog was fired in 1979 and Darryl Porter joined him in St. Louis a year later – the Royals have deprioritized plate discipline. It took a few years for the results to kick in, but since then they’ve been kicking the team on a consistent basis – usually in the ass.

But it’s not just that the Royals continue to use a different baseball philosophy despite the lack of results; that was the case under Allard Baird as well. The difference is that the current administration gives off a sense of smugness about their approach. It’s not just that they think their method is superior – it’s that they’re so certain that they know what they’re doing that they can’t even be bothered to acknowledge that other approaches exist.

The culmination of this attitude was, as has been widely reported, Moore’s frank acknowledgment during his interview that “The defensive statistics – I still really don’t understand how some of those statistics are evaluated, I really don’t. When you watch baseball games every single day, it’s very apparent who can play defensively and who can’t.”

Look, I really don’t enjoy picking on Dayton Moore. I’m still trying to figure out how everything went so wrong this season – barely two months ago I was groveling at the foot of Dean Taylor on our radio show, and now I’m at the top of the Royals’ most-wanted list. In the middle of Moore’s interview he took an unprovoked shot at some – okay, one – of his critics. “And I know that because of our injuries, some of our medical team has taken some hits on that – and very unfairly…we’ve improved out medical team in waves of waves…and I feel bad that some of them have taken some heat because of that.”

Those words need no translation, particularly since I was slated to come on the show half an hour later: “Rany Jazayerli is a schmuck.”

I used to be one of this administration’s biggest cheerleaders, and I feel like I’ve accidentally become the leader of the resistance movement. You’d think I surreptitiously saw Moore swallow a live rat whole, then on my way out of Kauffman Stadium got into a fight with J.J. Picollo and ripped off his protective skin, exposing the green scales underneath. Maybe I should go by “Mike Donovan” from now on. (Kudos to the seven of you who get the TV reference. For those who don’t: rest assured I’m not saying the front office is made up of a bunch of lizards or snakes. I’m saying they’re a bunch of aliens.)

But really, this quote is just incredible in its hubris. If Moore had said he didn’t agree with the statistics, well, that’s fair – defensive statistics are still not fully mature, although they’ve certainly reached the adolescent stage.

But he didn’t say he didn’t agree with them – he said he didn’t understand them. And then he threw in the usual boilerplate about how you can only evaluate players if you watch baseball games every single day (because, you know, only people who work in the Royals front office watch games every single day.) That’s the team’s attitude in a nutshell: we know how to build a winning baseball team, and we’re so certain in our knowledge that we can’t be bothered to look at opposing points of view, even if only to refute them.

This attitude – of being proudly incurious – sums up what’s wrong with the Royals. It’s not that they can’t learn – they don’t want to learn. It’s not a matter of intelligence – as the poster Devil Fingers at royalsreview.com has pointed out, Moore has a master’s degree, while Billy Beane never went to college. It’s a matter of having a commitment to learning new things. The Royals appear to be afraid of having their horizons broadened. No one’s saying they have to agree with the defensive statistics that unanimously identify Betancourt as a terrible defensive player. But dammit, don’t they have an obligation to at least understand them?

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of baseball fans on the internet who understand not just the general premise of Ultimate Zone Rating, or John Dewan’s plus/minus, or David Pinto’s Probabilistic Model of Range, or Dan Fox’s Simple Fielding Runs, or a half-dozen other advanced fielding metrics – they also understand the nuances that distinguish between each of them. And they do it for no greater incentive than their own desire to better understand the game of baseball. Meanwhile, there are only 30 GM positions in the world – is it really too much to expect all 30 of the guys who hold that position to learn this stuff as part of their job?

The dichotomy between scouts and stats is a false one, because scouting reports and statistical analysis are simply two sides of the same coin. That coin is information. It’s a GM’s job to have the best, most complete information available when making decisions. Not all information is equally valuable – but there’s no way to sift out the nuggets of useful stuff from the chaff of data if you don’t have the data in the first place. Instead of looking at defensive statistics as information – as one piece of the puzzle – the Royals have made a prior decision that nothing of value could possibly be contained therein.

The most brilliant people can make the most terrible decisions – and this is true in all walks of life, from business to politics – when they’re afraid to challenge their preconceived notions, and ignore anything that might sway them from what they want to do. We know for a fact that Moore has pined after Betancourt for years, and it appears to me that, having long ago decided that Betancourt was a player he wanted, he found a way to make the information at hand today justify that decision.

When Moore was hired, his lack of a statistical background didn’t bother me at all. I figured that, he was obviously a brilliant guy (and he is), and would be smart enough to learn the statistical side as part of his job. It’s a lot easier to understand the numbers (or hire someone who does) than it is to learn how to scout, and I’d rather start with a GM who has proven he knows how to scout ballplayers and trust that he’d learn the other stuff. The guy I frequently compared Moore to was Dave Dombrowski, who I’ve long had the greatest respect for even though he’s a scout first and foremost.

The difference is that Dombrowski, as confident as he is in his own abilities (and believe me, he’s a confident guy), has never been too arrogant – or too intimidated – to factor in statistics when the need arises. A great example of this would be this off-season, when the Tigers decided to revamp the defense on their aging roster. The lynchpin of this renovation was to bring in a new everyday shortstop in the form of Adam Everett.

Now, Everett is a terrible hitter; always has been, always will be. He’s hitting .262/.318/.354, which are his best numbers in five years. But Everett has arguably the best defensive statistics of any shortstop this decade – which is to say, since advanced fielding metrics came into existence. He’s long been a cause celebre among stats guys, sort of the anti-Derek Jeter. (John Dewan and Bill James did a fascinating comparison between the two in the first edition of the Fielding Bible.)

Even though he’s lost a step this season, he has still been a huge upgrade for the Tigers in the field. The Tigers’ defensive efficiency has improved significantly since last year – and after giving up the third-most runs in the AL last year, they currently have given up the third-fewest runs in the league this year.

Essentially, Everett’s performance this year is what the Royals expect from Betancourt. The difference is that Adam Everett was signed to a one-year, $1 million contract. (And he didn’t cost anything in the way of prospects.)

As one friend put it to me, “this is worse than the Neifi Perez trade, because this time the GM didn’t have a gun to his head.” It’s hard to argue with that. Ownership gave Allard Baird 36 hours to trade Dye; it was Baird’s fault that he traded for Perez – the Royals would have been better off just releasing Dye – but there were extenuating circumstances. (The story just keeps getting worse. While ownership’s complicity in the Dye trade has long been well-known, I was informed me on the radio on Monday that a few months prior to the Neifi trade, Baird had agreed to trade Dye to the Blue Jays for Vernon Wells. Ownership nixed it.)

But you can’t blame the Glasses for this one. This one is all on Moore.

To respond to some of the criticisms in the comments section from my last post:

1) A few people have felt that my criticism of this deal is hypocritical given that I was advocating that the Royals trade for Jeff Francoeur, who has many of the same weaknesses that Betancourt does.

Sorry, but I don’t see it. I advocated that the Royals take a flyer on Francoeur, because his trade value had dwindled to the point that he could be acquired for almost nothing. (The Mets got him for Ryan Church, who wasn’t hitting all that well and had worn out his welcome in New York for off-the-field reasons – and the Mets are still being killed for giving up too much of the deal.)

I liked the idea of grabbing Francoeur because I thought he could be acquired without giving up a top prospect – if the Royals had traded Cortes for Francoeur, I would have argued that they gave up too much. But even so, I would have been a lot less upset than I am with this trade.

- Francoeur is 25. Betancourt is 27.

- Francoeur has a history of above-average performances at the major-league level. He had an OPS+ of 126 as a 21-year-old rookie, and an OPS+ of 103 just two years ago. Betancourt’s career-high in OPS+ is 93.

- Francoeur walked 42 times in 2007, and 39 times last year. Betancourt has never walked 18 times in a season.

- While Francoeur’s recent defensive numbers aren’t so hot, just two years ago he was 17 runs above-average in right field according to UZR; he’s +35 for his career. By contrast, the defensive numbers have always hated Betancourt. He topped out at 1.1 runs above average as a rookie, and his numbers have declined literally every year since: +1.1, +0.7, -1.1, -12.6, and -8.2 (in half a season this year). His career performance is -20.

- And most importantly by far, Francoeur is only under contract for the rest of this season. He’s making $3.375 million this year, meaning that if the Royals had traded for him, they would only be on the hook for about $1.6 million or so. If they liked what they saw, they could keep him for another season at the same price or less (it’s highly unlikely that he would have earned a raise in arbitration) – but if after an 80-game audition they didn’t like what they saw, they could cut him without repercussions. Betancourt, on the other hand, is guaranteed $7 million by the Royals even if they cut him tomorrow.

I can’t stress this enough: the problem with trading for Betancourt isn’t that the Royals got Betancourt – it’s that they got Betancourt’s contract. Dayton Moore claimed in the radio interview that if Betancourt had been a free agent, and the Royals had signed him to a 2-year, $5 million contract, they would have been applauded for it.

First off, he’s not counting the $2 million buyout of his $6 million option for 2012. The $2 million is a sunk cost, so really this is a $7 million contract with a $4 million option. Secondly: are you freaking kidding me? There isn’t a team in baseball – outside of Kansas City – that would have made that offer.

Forget Moore’s ignorance of statistics for a moment – an equally big problem here seems to be Moore’s ignorance of Betancourt’s reputation. The Mariners were DESPERATE to unload him. While the front office is a little too dignified to be publicly high-fiving themselves, everyone else in Seattle is. It’s not just the fans that are throwing parades – the sportswriters who cover the Mariners have been openly stupefied by how the Mariners were not only able to unload Betancourt, but how they could do so while 1) picking up just a quarter of his contract and 2) getting prospects in return. NO ONE in Seattle thought this was possible, for good reason.

Before Moore pats himself on the back for getting Betancourt signed to such a small contract, he might want to ask himself why, if Betancourt’s contract was so favorable to the Royals, no other team had any interest in acquiring him. And why the Mariners were so willing to oblige him.

2) A lot of commenters have defended this trade using the argument that even if Betancourt isn’t a great player, he is such an upgrade over Tony Pena that there’s no question the trade makes the Royals better, and you can’t fault Moore for a move that improves the team in the here and now.

I hate, hate, hate this line of reasoning, if for no other reason than the core of the argument is that the ROYALS HAVE TONY PENA ON THEIR ROSTER. Tony Pena isn’t just the worst quasi-regular player in the major leagues today – he’s perhaps the worst quasi-regular hitter in the majors in at least a generation. Since the start of last season, over the course of 276 at-bats, Pena is hitting .156/.178/.192. Read that again: .156/.178/.192. His OPS+ is exactly 0.

Since the time my dad bought me my first Baseball Encyclopedia when I was 6 years old, I have been fascinated with Ray Oyler, the shortstop for the 1968 Tigers, who hit a remarkable .135/.213/.186 that season in 215 at-bats. Oyler’s 1968 is generally considered to be the worst season by a hitter in the expansion era – he was so bad that after the Tigers clinched the pennant, manager Mayo Smith decided to bench Oyler in favor of fourth outfielder Mickey Stanley, who had never played shortstop before in the majors. Stanley took over as the starting shortstop the last week of the season, and was the starting shortstop in every game of the World Series – which the Tigers won in seven. Stanley would never start another game at shortstop in his career.

Amazingly, Oyler had a higher OPS in 1968 (399) than Pena has over the last two seasons (370). And that’s not even accounting for league environment – 1968 was the year of the pitcher, when the AL as a whole hit .230/.297/.339.

Tony Pena Jr. has supplanted Ray Oyler as the worst hitter to garner significant playing time in the last 50 years. If the best argument you can make for Betancourt is that he’s better than Pena…well, you’ve just proved my point.

The irony is that this was the same argument that was used when the Royals acquired Pena in the first place. Remember how desperate we were for a shortstop at the end of spring training in 2007? It was clear that Angel Berroa was not about to come out of his seasons-long tailspin, and the Royals needed a better alternative. The Royals stretched the meaning of “better alternative” to the breaking point, trading a decent prospect in Eric Cordier to Atlanta in exchange for Pena, who was out of options and was not a lock for the Braves’ roster.

A lot of Royals fans were just thrilled that the team had upgraded from a no-hit, no-field shortstop to a no-hit, good-field shortstop. The rest of us thought it was rather ridiculous that the Royals felt they had to give up a prospect in order to acquire a player who was about to be released – and who was no better than half-a-dozen other no-hit, good-field shortstops in Triple-A.

Here we are two years later, and the same shortstop that so many fans were thrilled to acquire has become such a piƱata that many of the same fans are thrilled that the Royals overpaid for Yuniesky Betancourt – who, again, was in danger of being released at some point, and who is no better than a lot of league-minimum alternatives. The circle of life is complete.

Haven’t we learned from the Mike Jacobs debacle? When I ripped the Royals for trading Leo Nunez for Jacobs, one of the comments I received was, “Mike Jacobs gives us the lefty power bat that we lacked. He’s certainly an upgrade over last year’s starting 1B Ross Gload.” There were many others that delivered the same message: Jacobs > Gload, therefore Jacobs was worth acquiring. Really, guys? Was it really worth acquiring the guy hitting .222/.296/.412 as a DH, at the cost of a good reliever and millions of dollars? Or would it have been worth looking at the many, many other players out there who were better than Ross Gload, and trying to see if one of them was a better fit for the Royals than Jacobs?

Yuniesky Betancourt is better than Tony Pena. If that’s a reason to acquire Betancourt, then it’s also a reason to acquire half the starting shortstops in Triple-A. Hell, it’s a reason to acquire Angel Berroa, who the Mets just claimed on waivers. Does anyone doubt that Berroa can hit better than .156/.178/.192? Would you have been happy if the Royals acquired him?

The way to judge any acquisition is not simply to compare the acquired player to the guy he’s replacing. The way to judge the acquisition is to compare him to all the potential acquisitions out there. Whether it’s patching up the defense with another marginal hitter with a great glove, like Chin-Lung Hu, or trying to reclaim another player that has fallen out of his team’s good graces, like Julio Lugo, or taking a truly creative and ballsy gamble (Mike Moustakas for Alcides Escobar?) – the Royals had a lot of options to consider. All of them were better than sticking with Tony Pena – including just sticking with Willie Bloomquist for the rest of the season, then trying Mike Aviles again next year. (What happens when Aviles is ready to play next April? I’ll tell you what happens – the Royals will bury him, even though he has been a better player than Betancourt. They won’t bench the guy making seven figures for the guy making six figures.)

Trading for Yuniesky Betancourt didn’t have to be such a disaster. I see the Royals’ line of thinking here: Betancourt is a phenomenally talented player who might benefit from a change of scenery, and his price has never been lower. The fundamental mistake the Royals made was that they didn’t appreciate just how low Betancourt’s stock had fallen. If they had traded Saito alone – and made the Mariners pick up $6 million instead of just $3 million – this would have been a perfectly reasonable trade. And judging from the condolences I received after the team from front office types – no, not anyone who used to work at Baseball Prospectus – they still would have had the best offer on the table.

Instead, the Royals gave up Cortes and Saito, and are on the hook for $7 million. This is like buying Citigroup stock at $10 a share, and then when critics have the audacity to point out that the stock is only worth $3 a share today, defending yourself by saying that the stock was worth $50 just two years ago. Yeah, the Royals bought low. But they didn’t buy low enough.

3) Finally, I should address the criticisms that I’m bailing on the team as a fan, criticisms succinctly summed up by one commenter who called me “a pissy little bitch.” Fair enough. But I defy anyone to show me where I have ever expressed such a sentiment before. I didn’t bail on the team when they trade for Neifi, but this time it feels different.

Part of the difference isn’t with the Royals, it’s with me. When they traded for Neifi, I was 26 years old. Now I’m 34 years old and have three young children. It used to be that when the Royals would blow late-inning leads night after night, or make an incomprehensible trade that set the franchise back for years, I’d be in a funk for days, but that was my problem. Now there are innocent bystanders involved. I wasn’t pleasant company for my family to be around on Friday or Saturday, and that wasn’t fair to them. Frankly, I haven’t been great company for most of the last two months.

I gave a lot of thought to this over the weekend, about whether I could ever free myself of being a Royals fan. My old friend Jonah Keri has tried to tempt me, arguing that “It is so liberating not to have a favorite team. Your life will improve immeasurably.” But Jonah’s situation is different – he was a Montreal Expos fan. He didn’t abandon his team, his team abandoned him. Because of that, he never has to worry that one day his team might win without him. The reality is that however remote the odds are that the Royals might win, the notion that they might one day head to the playoffs without me is just too painful to consider.

So no, I can’t imagine rooting for any other team; if that makes me a flip-flopper, so be it. But I realized something else while I was out of town for the weekend – that I didn’t care how the Royals played in Boston, and more than that, the fact that I didn’t care was, as Jonah put it, liberating. Instead of sneaking peeks at my iPhone every few minutes, I could enjoy being with my family and friends all day, and then just check the box score at the end of the night. “The Royals scored nine runs and lost? Miguel Olivo was forced out at home plate by an outfielder? How funny!”

So that’s where I am now. For years, I’ve defended Rob Neyer from people who claim he’s no longer a Royals fan. You don’t have to be optimistic about your team to be a fan. You don’t have to live and die with every game to be a fan. If and when the Royals are in a legitimate pennant race in August, I have no doubt that Rob will be glued to his set. And I will be too. But like Rob, I think I’ll be a lot happier if I don’t show a greater commitment to the Royals than they show to me.

I can’t believe I’m about to paraphrase a line from Fever Pitch, but in all the years I’ve loved the Royals, they’ve never loved me back. And right now, they completely hate me – literally and figuratively. So maybe it’s time I stand up for myself and say, love can’t be a one-way street. We’ll still be friends, we’ll still keep in touch, I’ll call every now and again. But I can’t keep putting myself out there every night and keep getting rejected.

That “About Me” section has listed me as “pathetic Royals fan all the time” for the last two years. Maybe it’s time I stop being a pathetic Royals fan, and just be a Royals fan. When they’re good, I’ll care about them. When they’re not, I won’t. We’ll both be happier this way.

(If you want to tell me in person that I’ve become a fair-weather fan and a bandwagon jumper, make sure to come out to the park this Saturday at 5 PM. I hope to have a formal announcement up sometime tomorrow.)

79 comments:

Anonymous said...

wow, sand nigger night at the k! Can't wait! 1st 10,000 kids get a Muhammad bobblehead and all women get a (mandatory) Jeff Francoeur replica burkha!

Brian Chae said...

fantastic post. hope you enjoy the game!

Charles said...

I totally understand, Rany!

As the first guy to post an "I quit" a few days ago on this blog I now see that as an overstatement - but not so much of one. My wife told me not to take this so hard and I told her how silly the trade was.

And then, and then - I let it go. I haven't thought about it much since. I am going to be at the game Friday night since I already have tickets - but that might be the last game this year. I have home improvements to get done; I have kids to raise....

Why would I waste my time with a team that doesn't care at all about the game the way that I do.

Maybe someday they'll be good (though I doubt it with them being run this way). When they are I'll be there....

But not now.

blahblah said...

Well written, my friend...

thoughts-

V!

I think we need to stop talking about OBP and start talking about the inverse, Out %. Maybe that will be easier for Blue Crew to figure out. Outs are bad! You only get 27! You should try NOT to get an out 82% of your at bats!

I like your Citi example. I was just saying the other day that Dayton's comments about how everyone wanted Yuni "2 years ago" should have led him to believe he and everyone else was WRONG two years ago, instead of how lucky he was to get Yuni today.

Have fun saturday, wish i could make it.

Ryan said...

dear racists,

you post anonymously because you are pathetic, red-neck, cowards.

Rany, count me as one of the people excited when they traded for Pena, and who hate the Betancourt trade. Unlike others, I learn from my mistakes.

I hated the Jacobs trade too.

It's just utter stupidity coming from the K. I'm embarrassed my girlfriend bought a Royals hat when we visited on July 3rd.

Charles said...

Ryan, thanks for calling out the racist who I didn't see had posted before I had.

Anon (3:15): you are vile.

Anonymous said...

Great post. You've summed up the psychologically traumatic experience it is to be a Royals fan. I once likened it to battered wife's syndrome, so your relationship example makes perfect sense to me. I've been thinking about it all week and I've come to a similar conclusion that I simply can't take this team as seriously as I used to. I'll tune in for Zack games, maybe, and I'll TiVo the games and maybe fast forward to anything good, but otherwise, life is way too short.

Will Carroll said...

Great stuff as always. Only quibble I have is that I don't care whether or not Moore or any GM understands the metrics. I care whether they have someone on staff who does *and* that the person has a seat at the table. For the Royals of all teams - with James, Neyer, Rany, Sickels, and more - as fans, you'd think they would have had the easiest time finding someone (probably for free just a few years ago) to be a consultant.

Beau said...

Abandoning ship is the easy thing to do...

Rany said...

Regarding the first comment: welcome to my world, people. I thought about deleting it, but I think it's better to just leave it there as a monument to what Muslims like me have to put up with every day.

blahblah said...

I don't really know who Joe Hamrahi is, other than a blogger and occasional BP.com commentator... but apparently he is a part time scout/consultant for the Royals. Is he a "stats guy" (in the parlance of our times), or just a guy?

big baby giv said...

Will, is there any way to have somebody who "gets" UZR and the like to have a seat at the table when the GM shows know interest in learning about it?

He didn't just say he didn't understand them, he also dismissed them, which is the scarier thing.

Collin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Collin said...

great post Rany! I think sometimes the situation dictates what course of action you're supposed to take. The Royals 'situation' isn't healthy for people who understand statistics or for people who like winning. Take your break from 'checking the iPhone every few minutes' for the rest of the season and check back next year (or maybe 2011?) to see how it feels then. I'm with you, though.

God Is My Codependent said...

Rany,

Also regarding the first comment: I'm a Jewish Yankee fan, and I love your writing.

Tim said...

Its absolutely ridiculous that the Royals dont seem to understand the damage they did with this trade.
EVERYONE knows there are only 2 ways to win:
1. Sacrifice now to win later, which the Royals are incredibly hesitant to do, refusing to call up players who have deserved it to see if they could contribute.
2. Sacrifice your future to win now.
And this is where the problem is, time and time again we see the Royals making boneheaded moves to help the team "win now" at the cost of money and prospects that could be saved or better spent else where.

And thats where they alienate their fanbase, maybe the casual fan (like my dad, who loved the Bentancourt trade)still likes them. But the casual fan doesn't buy tickets, or concessions, or merchandise.

To use an example, I'm the only hardcore fan I know. Since april I have brought more than 15 people with me to 10 games and bought about 40 tickets. I WAS on pace to essentially have bought season tickets to the Royals.
Now I don't think I will see another game, and I doubt any of my friends will go if I don't invite them.

wizman said...

I'm starting to think Moore has seen "Major League" too many times and is trying to duplicate that team's success.

Keith Jersey said...

Maybe Betancourt will stay hurt. Think about it, he is on the DL now and due back soon, but that was with the Mariners. Now that he has the Royals medical staff looking after him it may turn into a season ending injury!

I guess I am still hoping the Royals improve in the second half DESPITE the Betancourt deal. Gordon is coming back and I would love to see him blossom.

GO WHALE! said...

Jonah is wrong. I loved the Whalers -- arguably the Royals of the NHL, and now I could give a ratfart about the NHL. I used to love watching and following hockey, but now I have no interest at all. Liberating? Hardly. It's disheartening to have no passion for something that I used to really enjoy.

Curtis said...

The general lousiness of the team has meant that in recent years, by this time I am one of those guys who pays more attention to my fantasy team than the Royals. I hate being that guy, but what is there to do?

So I am a Royals fan in Texas, but I have learned to lessen my emotional investment in the team. And so was wondering if I should really stop calling myself a fan.

And yet, on July 4, I took my daughter to the K for her first big league game. We had a chance to go to an Astros game earlier in the year, but I declined because I wanted her first game to be where mine had been. And we had an absolute ball. We got there early, she took some swings at the Little K, and shagged balls out there for close to half an hour, got a picture with Sluggerrrr, and then totally fell in love with Soria when he came in to all the hoopla to save the game in the ninth. It was a magical Sunday afternoon.

I am not the same kind of Royals fan I was ten or maybe even five years ago - but there is no debating that this is my home team. So the kind of allegiance you outline seems perfectly reasonable to me.

I tend to agree with leaving the first comment up, by the way. Light overcomes darkness.

genuinebeat said...

I grew up in NJ and for years my friends have been telling me that the Royals suck. I am starting to beleive them. But I cannot bail on my team. I will continue to be optimistic and hope that Betancourt will have a magical turnaround.
I think Moore's biggest sin is that he has given us hope!

Anonymous said...

"as disgusted as I am by the Chiefs’ astonishing arrogance and secrecy"

Jeez, Rany, whine much? Disgusted? Really? Probably not the best way to refute charges of pissy little bitchdom. Just saying.

Elder Eddie said...

Man, I get tired of reading your column Rany. You are completely consumed in negativity to the point you sound like you are no longer a fan and hate the Royals. If that is the case please stop writing about them. I don't agree with all the moves they have made, but I am still a fan and hope they can get better.

Juancho said...

Hey, Anonymous, fuck off.

Charles said...

Friday will be my ninth and final game of the year. I have brought 14 people out to the new park and was on pace for essetially having purchased a partial season ticket.

I have owned partial season tickets in the past.

Juancho said...

Rany, I agree that y'all Muslims do have to put up with some racist BS in the States. But it's at the level of people writing ignorant horseshit on message boards, instead of the level of lynchings and pogroms and race rioting.

I'm an American living in Spain, and every day I have to put up with idiots who think I'm a cowboy because I come from Kansas, or that I don't know how to read because you know how stupid those Yankees are, or that I'm some kind of Nazi because Bush happen(ed) to be the president.

Anyway, I sympathize with you, but this is the lot of obvious minorities everywhere in the world. They've got stereotypes about our groups, and we've got to put up a defense, but if you let what a bunch of ignorant assholes think affect your life negatively, they've won and we've lost.

As for the Royals, we suck and should probably admit that this rebuilding effort is not working. That means tearing it down from the foundations, and restarting with the few positives you've got. Keep Zack and Jack and Gil and Banny and Butler and Callaspo and Teabag and DDJ and Gordon, as well as all the guys in the minors, and fire everyone else on the payroll. Starting at the top.

Keep Bloomy if you want, since at least he's performed as advertised.

Jonah Keri said...

Go Whale! - I hear what you're saying about the drawbacks of losing your passion for a team.

But here's the thing: Baseball is not hockey (and I say this as a fan of both sports). You can appreciate baseball on many more levels. Rany, like me, loves to dig into the numbers, loves to play Strat-O-Matic (I owe Rany forever for his decision to pick me for his Strat league), loves to appreciate all the intricacies of every pitch, even if he's watching the Pirates and Nats duke it out in some random April game.

You can do all that while weaning yourself off the heartbreak that comes with following a perennially lousy team. It's totally fine for your favorite team to be your fantasy team (or your Strat/DMB/OOTP/Scoresheet team). The advent of technology and proliferation of both stats and stat-driven games allows us to do that. And then if your team stinks, you have no one to blame but yourself - and moreover, it's far more stimulating intellectually to fix your own team's problems than to stand idly by and watch a third party muck things up.

Having said all that, I do like the Neyer Doctrine as a compromise. Royals fans have suffered for a quarter-century. They deserve immunity from any further suffering between now and the next time they become good, whenever that might be.

Anonymous said...

>>>>It’s a matter of having a commitment to learning new things. The Royals appear to be afraid of having their horizons broadened.<<<

Moore is probably deathly afraid of the fact that once he acknowledges the validity of statistical analysis as a way to help run a baseball team then the Royals will actually go out and hire someone who understands things like oh say...defensive statistics for example.

JWalker said...

Rany,

Thanks for putting the 'Yuni is better than TPJ, so this is a good deal' argument to rest. Like I said last time, how ridiculous would it be if we signed TPJ to a 2 year, $6 million extension. That would be stupid, and we have made an even more ludicrous decision, value-wise, in this trade.

Also, Rany, I don't think the team's incompetence is the only factor leading to your loss of support, but it certainly adds to it. I'm only 22, and my interest in the team is as much as it ever has been, but I don't expect to have the same interest when I'm 35 and have a family.

Even if you dial back the support a bit, you'll still be more of a fan than most.

Chris B said...

Anonymous, i dare you to say that again in person. I would be happy to kick the shit out of you racist ass anywhere in KC. You are the worst kind of person. If you had balls you would leave your name. Name the time an place bigot.

Chris said...

Rany -

First, good post. I particularly enjoyed your comments on the weakness of the Bentencourt > TPJ arguments. Didn't we have a player on our team not 2 weeks ago that was better than TPJ (i.e. Hernandez)? Now, once again, I find myself amidst an argument of futility about our SS.
Additionally, I think that argument gets at what has frustrated me for so many years about the Royals, and many of my Royals fan friends. We all seem to have accepted the mediocre. In fact, it seems as though the mediocre is viewed as exemplary for us. What better way to prove that point than by fans saying that "At least yuniesky betancourt is better than tony pena jr." I think the reason why I enjoy your posts so much is this lack of acceptance for the mediocre. While I don't agree with every word, I find myself all too often supporting my arguments with citations from your posts in my many Royals-related debates.
I don't hate on you for a second in seeing the positives of being a "Diet Royals fan." Living in Chicago as well, my baseball options are frustrating right now (I can't think of an appropriate metaphor for the number of unspeakable things I would rather do than listen to Hawk Harrelson speak). But regardles, please keep up the good work. It helps keep me at a controllable level of insanity.

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that Rany and Moore look at the statistics in two different ways. One must admit the statistics say two things about Yuni. In 2006 and 2007, it said that he was an average major league shortstop and had a value of 1.7 wins above replacement. Then, he tanked in 2008 and 2009. Moore obviously thinks that the 2008 and 2009 numbers are statistical aberrations and backs this up with his scouting. His scouts think that Yuni still has the tools and is better than his numbers. Rany thinks that the 2006 and 2007 numbers are statistical aberrations and does not believe that Yuni has the tools (or the desire) to be a good player. The question is whether Rany or Moore is better able to say which of the two sets of statistics is an aberration and which is real. If we think that Rany and all the other stats guys who hate this trade are better judges of baseball talent, then go with them. If we think that Moore is a better judge, then go with him. Or, we can just wait and see what Yuni and the pitchers for whom he was traded do in the future.

Anonymous said...

Rany,
I grew up in the SF Bay Area rooting for what was once a laughing stock of a franchise: the Giants. HORRIBLE 70's and early 80's teams (need I mention Johnny "Boo" LeMaster?). I stuck with the team, bled orange and black (still do) and when my family moved to KC in 82, learned what a "winning" franchise was about. Now the Giants are winning, and even with a couple of bad years, find a way to get back on (or near) top.

The Royals, who I follow but not as passionately as some here, will be back. It's when.

I do agree with several posts I have seen in this column and others, though, in that the team needs a new owner! Change starts at the top! I rest my argument on the Giants again. It wasn't until Peter Magowan came in and committed to the Bay Area that the Giants rebounded. THE ROYALS NEED THAT KIND OF REINVENTION!

So sit back like me, and hope someday someone in Blue will wise up. Until then, Bleed Orange and Black! (Yes, I am suggesting you jump on a Giant Bandwagon!)

Heath said...

Rany,

Giving up is Bullshit...so is not caring. You are a beacon of light in the midst of (very) dense fog. Who cares if they don't like you? Your calling was never to be a credentialed member of the media...you're a skin guy, with an awesome blog. It was your desire to be more than that that is causing this internal strife. Accept what you are and enjoy, because you're fantastic at it.

Anonymous said...

Rany-

I am looking forward to meeting you for breakfast on Saturday with Mellinger. I am embarrassed and angry of the post below mine.

I don't always agree with you but I am always a fan of anyone that bleeds Royal blue

Greg Schaum

Anonymous said...

Rany - sometimes you rely too much on statistics to make your points. I have been using statistics for multiple proffesional and personal reasons for several years. Two points, stats are no more then a measure of certainty, not fact and you can ALWAYS find stats that support your point of view. You reference UZR on your post but the variability of that measure simply sucks and for any given year for any given play the UZR is only good at +/- 5. For example, over a six year period, Omar Vizquel's UZR ranged from -6 to 24.

I think we agree that fielding percentage is also not a good measurement of defense, but I think the range factor is probably the most realistic, and statistically sound measurement for defense. Looking at that, Betencourt not only improves defense at short, the trade also improves the defense at 2B and RF (the two positions that Bloomquist will probably spend a majority of his playing time).

Assuming Bloomquist's offensive performance is somewhat of a fluke based on historical performance, then we also see an improvement on the offensive side from the shortstop position.

You make a lot of valid points and Betencourt is a gamble but for years I have heard nothing except for the organizations unwillingness to spend money. Now they are spending money and as long as they continue to sign their draft picks and continue to give long term contracts to the younger players, I don't have any issue with paying for Betencourt.

I don't have time to go through all you past blogs but I would say your initial projections on player acquisitions or disposals is no were near the "statistically" significant factor of 95% accurate.

Dan said...

Rany, come on man.
I know its hard right now but you have been an optimistic royals fan for too long to just quit now. I have at your blog countless times for optimism when i was upset with the royals. You cant quit on us now..
think of a couple years from now when we have greinke crow duffy montgomery bannister soria butler gordon hosmer moustakas bianchi.. i know that is way-over-the-top-optimism, but thats what baseball is all about, believing your favorite team can do it no matter what others say, and thats why i have loved your blog so much.

Think how painful it will be when we make the playoffs and you cant say you have been with us through the thick and the thin.

Jason said...

Well, Eddie, no one is making you read them.

Rany, as much time and energy as you've put into thinking about the team, I imagine it will be very tough to turn into a truly casual fan.

But I can tell you, as someone who was born and raised in KC and still lives within 90 miles, becoming a casual KC fan has restored sanity to my life! I can watch both the Chiefs and the Royals without negative effects on my marriage or the rest of my family.

Jason said...

Rany,
I am Follower of Christ which tends to conflict with your religous beliefs but I am embarrased as a baseball fan to have someone so ignorant to be able to post to this blog as the Mr. Anonymous did in the first post.

Anyway, I made the change you are making right now about a month ago after watching them play for the first time on TV this year. I live in Indianapolis and don't get a chance to watch them much. I was very dissappointed in the lack of attention to detail that little leaguers pay attention to. Their defense sucked and their hitting was worse. I am tired. I have been a die-hard for 35 years (all my life) Grew up going to multiple games a year. But I can't do it anymore. Until proven otherwise I will root from a distance. I have enjoyed your blog and hope you continue to blog. But thank you for your heart!

Nathan said...

It hurt too much for me to be a Royals fan when they were in that ridiculously long loosing streak a year or two back. I had to stop following them until I heard from a friend they had won. I then got on my computer and read the game summary and smiled.

I know that isn't being a good fan. I never left the Royals, picked a new team, or stopped following baseball. I just took a break. I felt happier. Maybe I need a break again.

I am also a cockeyed optimist. I still hope a new team, new town, and magic will make YB a better player.

Nate

Anonymous said...

Hi Rany,

#1-Ignore the jerk with the first post. We have always had jerks, and we will always have jerks.

#2-Casual fandom is not so bad. You follow the team closely when they are winning, and not so much when they stink. It's a lot less stressful. The hard times are like this year, when they suck you in with a couple of improving years, and then head for the basement again.

Jim

Anonymous said...

Rany - What happened to wait and see? In the past you have (with statistics galore) expressed your beliefs about a move. But you have never been so over-the-top emotionally. You are usually analyticl and calm. The last six weeks you've been like a hormonal teenager.

You have gone from being Petro to being Keitzman!

For every Jacobs move we can find a Bloomquist move. You give me Guillen and I'll give you Soria.

Maybe Kevin Seitzer watched every at bat of Yuni for the past four years and said; 'I see it! I can correct that swing in ten minutes!'

Who knows?

I think the radio show has changed you. My sense is that you feel the need to be more argumentative. More adversarial. More opinionated. Before it was; 'I don't like this move and here is why...'. Now you have become borderline mean in your writing.

My advice is to dump the radio show and just be a guest with Petro. Go back to being the old, analytical, clever, funny Rany we all loved....not the mean-spirited, vitriolic person you are becoming.

Lou

Anonymous said...

count me in rany. I'm sure you'll post all the details, but I want to know if we are all getting tix together. Also, keep up the critiques. don't listen to anyone saying you're too negative, because they don't want a winner in KC. they're the same people against a downtown ballpark. Keep GMDM and D Glass' feet to the fire so they know some of in Kansas City DO want a winner.

Anonymous said...

From Home Run Tony Cogan

Rany-

Love reading your stuff. I listened to the Moore interview and I have to say, I didn't hear it like most people apparently did. The man stated that he has two statisticians on staff and also later in the interview stated that he uses stats to back up and validate what his eyes have told him.

Now, he obviously could be full of shit, we all know that. However, I do think it's a little unfair to state that the Royals not only don't pay attention to stats, but openly disdains them.

In short, this is a bad trade, one that probably only will be measured in varying degrees of bad. However, I don't think it's the time to just throw up your hands and say it's a hopeless cause. Lots of organizations make bad trades. It doesn't excuse it, but it isn't the end of the world.

There are still many, many good things going on with the organization. I hope that Moore is able to do more good things than bad in his tenure, and makes them a consistent contender. I do think that the Royals would have been in contention this year without the injuries. True, all teams have them, but when the depth is razor-thin such as it is, it's going to be that much more difficult to come back from.

I do understand the feeling of being past the breaking point; I have been at that point with the Chiefs for several years. I'm still a fan, but I don't have the same interest as before.

I would just ask that you and other Royals fans "at risk" consider the totality of what Moore's done to this point and at least give what he's doing a chance to succeed or fail before burying him and his regime.

PS poster #1 is an absolute loser.

Anonymous said...

Well I guess the formal announcement is the ending or suspension/hiatus of your blog and that's too bad.


IF YOU QUIT NOW, THEY WILL VIEW IT AS A WIN AND VINDICATION OF THEIR VIEWS.

I can understand that it is too much of a burden personally and professionally. If, however, there is even a 2% chance that you can make it through the season (and beyond) at the same or similar pace, please do so.

The Royals aren't going to get that Stats guy or the Stats view apparently any time soon so that voice isn't "at the table." That voice, however, might be out in the street raising a ruckus and cause the insular Royals management to at least listen out of fear to some of the information even if not by friendly design.

We know they read this stuff or have information passed to them. We need someone fully versed, armed and eloquent in the presentation of sabremetrics. Help us know that someone is shining the light towards one of the paths out of darkness and helping the Royals overcome their ineptitude.

If you can't go on, please let us know some of the folks you would suggest we turn our lonely eyes to...

Thanks so much for all of the enjoyable commentary and insight over the years.

P.S. Maybe you would feel energized to soldier on by remembering that plucky little team from '85 that was down more than few games at the All-Star Break and just scuffling along, came back to win their division in the last week with a sweep. That team then went to the divisional playoffs went down an impossible 3-1 but used the newly expanded format to come back and take that round and we all know the same happened in the World Series. No matter how many victories and oh, so many losses, they can't take away fond memories of a looping line drive falling in and so much more.

Ryan said...

I haven't listened to your podcast/radio show, but to say that it has made you more negative is ridiculous. The Royals have hit the bottom and will keep getting worse because of stupid moves by their front office and you've just been reacting to that. You're reacting like most fans this season.

Rany's writing and p.o.v. has followed the same path as both Sam Mellinger's and Posnanski's.

Brandon said...

Somebody please delete that first comment. Thank you..

Anonymous said...

Rany
Believe me, I feel your pain. I've been a R's fan since '73 and it just breaks my heart to realize I might not live long enough to ever see this team return to respectability.

I was optimistic when Moore was hired (he HAD to be better than Baird, right?) but his track record so far has been horrible.

Going all the way back to his first trade (Howell for Gathright) he has shown poor judgement.

Now we're paying $12m/yr for Guillen, who is giving us basically the same production that Emil Brown did (at 10% of the cost) and now they're paying roughly the same money for Betencourt that we paid for Berroa. Wow.

It looks like Meche will make over $1m per win. At this point Gordon has been a flop. Dispite his Ruthian build, Billy Butler is really just a singles hitter who couldn't catch a cold. Mike Jacobs looks like a .220 hitter.

And to the previous 'anonymous' poster- "die in a fire, you racsist a**hole!"

Alex said...

Does anyone doubt that Berroa can hit better than .156/.178/.192? Would you have been happy if the Royals acquired him?

I literally laughed out loud at my desk at work when I read this. People who defend this trade just don't seem to realize how stupid their argument is.

Anonymous said...

In the interests of accuracy, didn't Moore say he didn't understand how the defensive statistics were EVALUATED rather than simply stating that he didn't understand them? I heard that interview live, and I took what he was saying as an acknowledgment of what those stats said about Betancourt while at the same time questioning those stats themselves. There is a big difference between saying you don't understand them, and saying you don't understand how they are evaluated (which means you question their accuracy/validity/significance).

Also, did I not hear Moore say in that same interview that the Royals have 2 sabremetricians? Whether they "have a voice at the table" might be debatable, but his statement that they have 2 of them would indicate that the Royals aren't completely ignoring statistical analysis.

I love your blog, but I think your last 2 posts are really over the top.

Jcarter5 said...

Rany, My only problem with your comments is that just a few weeks ago you wrote

"By that, I mean that when Moore has acquired a player who has yet to establish himself in the major leagues, or a player who is established but who the Royals feel is capable of making a leap forward, he has done well. When Moore has acquired an established major league player based on what that player has already done, he has done terribly."

Now its debatable how Moore perceives Betancourt, but I would doubt that he is acquiring him based on present value. He is acquiring him on what he could become and hoping he can make a leap forward. You yourself wrote that these have been some of Moore's best signings. Sure Betancourt has had very brief glimpses of arriving at the MLB level, but I don't see how his career is any different than Meche's from a development standpoint. Attitude and baggage aside, Betancourt is a player that has the tools to make it at the MLB level, he just hasn't yet for some reason. I'm not saying this will be a great signing, but I also don't think it is as bad as everyone is making it out to be. Like you wrote earlier, Moore seems to be good at finding guys who can't reach their full potential and have future value and I don't see why this one can't be any different.

Mark said...

To the guys who are saying "Why are you so upset about this, what happened to your wait and see optimism you had with people in the past - before condemning them", its what we gave up the logic that went into it. Its a logic that will never take us anywhere good because what it comes down to is a lack of understanding of value. We gave up Cortes and Saito and picked up too much of his contract because we paid what we think he can become instead of understanding we could give up much less than that to take the chance on him. What is the point of taking a risk is you pay the price of the best case scenario of the risk? There are two sides of the stock story Rany used in his post. We have to believe the stock will go up, but don't pay what we believe the stock will go back up to! It's just like Farnsworth, you have to understand what other people value a guy at. NO ONE was going pay NEAR the price we paid. For Betancourt or Farnsworth. And can no one SEE the fact that trading a guy who makes 400,000 for a guy that makes 6 million, then replacing the guy who made 400,000 with a guy who makes 4.5 million - comes out to spending 10 million??? Thats the Coco trade right there. And (best case scenario) if he doesn't get hurt, he costs us 12 million next year. I'm not bashing the Crips deal, because I think we needed Coco, I just don't think we needed him 22 million worth - and I don't think the front office gets that.

Its disheartening that Glass has said "Ok, I want to not suck as an owner and I'll spend 20+ more on payroll" and we have seriously messed up an opportunity to improve vastly at the MLB level.

rutbag said...

I think it is personally reasonable to back off your love of a sports team that doesn't love you back. I don't necessarily equate not winning with not loving you back, though that is an ingredient. If you can look at your team and see that they do not have the current pieces to succeed and seem philosophically opposed to doing things in a way that will allow them to succeed, why would you invest emotions in that team's success? One thing about being a sports fan is that you are emotionally investing in something you have absolutely no control over. When something you cannot control is so likely to end up in pain and disappointment, what else can you do but distance yourself emotionally?

Wait until it at least looks like they're trying to do the right thing and get back on board as they climb back toward success - don't emotionally invest in the impossible and don't ignore them then jump on the bandwagon next time they look like they could make the playoffs. Wait until they look smart organizationally and then start following them closely again, enjoying and struggling through their growing pains so you can totally savor their success if/when it comes.

Jay in Houston said...

Why even debate? It's too one-sided. There really isn't one.

The Royals have acquired the worst defensive shortstop in the majors who also happens to be the the worst offensive regular in the majors.

If you're the worst defensive and worst offensive player by every finite measure, then you're the worst player in baseball.

And we're paying him $7 mil. This is the beginning of the end for Moore.

Rick Jones said...

Boy, I know how you feel, Rany. I'm a Jays fan... so it hasn't been AS bad, but it's been depressing.

I felt moved to commonet on this (And give you a shout out) but you said it better than I ever could.

http://rickthegreat.wordpress.com

Anonymous said...

Rany, you mentioned a couple of points that I've been thinking about as well.

First: "swing away." During the Buddy Bell era this was "swing agressively!" I can't tell you how much I dislike this approach. It seems (to me) to put the focus on a part of the game that does not require any baseball skill. Give me a bat, and I could wave it around with bad intentions - so could my grandma - so could you - so could just about everybody. Speaking for myself, I have very little chance of actually making contact off of a major league pitcher, but I could meet the "swing away" requirement. How about we focus on actually hitting the ball (agressively!)?

Second: Betancourt vs. Pena. You are right on here. It's not about Betancourt being "better" than Pena. These two are not competing against each other on the Superstars obstacle course. It's about how Betancourt compares to the rest of the SS out there. "Better than Pena" is a VERY low standard. Instead of using "better", maybe we should say that Betancourt doesn't suck as bad...

BTW - thanks for the "V" reference!

Wabbitkiller said...

Great post as usual Rany.

The first post came from a chickenshit bastard; all racists are.

As far as the Royals go, apathy has already set in for me. I'll still watch them if I have nothing else to do, but that's it. Considering that I've been a fan since 1977, that's saying something.

Dayton's comments about stats pretty much PROVES that the Royals aren't as committed to winning as they should be. Teams that are serious about winning will do ANYTHING (even cheat, see Bill Belicheat and the Patriots) to gain an edge over the competition. The fact that Dayton Moore and the Royals are utterly UNWILLING to do WHATEVER IT TAKES tells me all I really need to know.

Dayton is letting his ego factor into his decision making process. That NEVER works out very well. King Carl was ALL about his ego, and look at how the Chiefs ended up because of it.

In short, if the Royals don't give a shit, why should I?

Carl said...

One of the frustrating things for me about all of this was how when DM first got here, he traded Elmer Dessens for Odalis Perez, 2 prospects, and cash, simply because the Dodgers were so desperate to get rid of Perez. At that point I was so overjoyed that we finally had a GM who understood the relationship of value versus salary. That there were players out there that other teams would pay you to haul off. Isn't it likely that we could've literally given them Cortes and gotten Betancourt, $5MM AND a better prospect that Cortes? You don't have to understand the fielding metrics to realize that Betancourt's reputation has fallen that far. I am truly flabbergasted that GMDM doesn't realize that.

Dukuboy said...

First off I am sorry that some racist, back water, jackass, some how figured out how to turn on his "puter" and connect to the "inner-web thingy" and post racist trash. To you sir on the first post you are the biggest pussy I know and I would enjoy nothing more then beating your ass in the parking lot of the K before Saturday's home game. Please do America a favor and figure out how to kill yourself without harming others.

As for the post it was critical but one that needed to be spoken. This team needs to be held accountable for ridiculous actions but unfortunately we are left with what we have. We can't change the past and we are stuck with what we have. I hope YB proves everyone wrong and can become the SS his talent will allow him to be. But the trade is what it is and I can hope we figure out a way to undo it or overcome it to make the team better. Maybe we can flip him to the Braves for Escobar or get enough service from him for a 1 or 2. I am with you on as a fan that has been beat down so much I have to roll with the punches. Be happy when they win and put on the happy face of indifference when they lose. I say I won't let it bother me but it always will on some level somewhere. Enjoy your life and family but know some things will always be with you, the Royals are who you are and will never go away no matter how much you say you don't care, you still will. Please keep writing as I enjoy reading about the Royals and there are so few places to go. You have contacts to the national media and if you bail we'll never get mentioned by the national media ever.

GO WHALE! said...

Good points all around Jonah. I guess I'm guilty of rooting for uniforms. I enjoy the passion and drama of a game and a season more than the stats or other more intellectual levels. The way I see it, if I'm going to invest 3 hours to watch a game, I'd rather watch an edge-of-my-seat, gut-wrenching game where the Royals lose, instead of watching a Royals blowout. I don't find the same stimulation in tracking statistics, trading cards, etc. I feel that for baseball, just like I felt that for hockey. I enjoy the discussions and the debates on trades, etc., but at the end of the day, when I turn on the TV, I just want to be entertained. I prefer to leave the analysis to the GMs. Well, I guess I'll leave that to GMs other than GMDM. And I guess I leave it to you and Rany too, because I so much enjoy reading this blog.

Isaac said...

Rany, I'd like to say something quick about your valuing of Moore's intelligence by using his level of education compared to Billy Beane's. Level of education and intelligence are two completely different things. A person can make it quite far in education with a work ethic while an Einstein clone who has lived in a jungle for his entire life is simply uneducated but not unintelligent.

Regarding the Royals. What is the difference between the 2009 Royals and the 2006 Royals? Thirty million dollars and about 6 wins if you take their current winning percentage. To put this in perspective, let's look at the 2008 Yankees who had one of their worst seasons in many years and have had the highest payroll for ever. That year, they paid about $2.3million per win. The difference of the 6 wins with us since 2006 has cost this team $3.8million per win. That's how sickening this front office is. The Yankees spend 60% of what we have spent to get an estimated 6 wins this season.

The thing about the SS issue that bothers me the most is that we have known we have had problems at that position for about 7 or 8 years and exactly nothing has been done to fix it. Even if you simply look at the time that DM has been here that is still long enough to have found someone good enough to be a starter and someone to be a backup. Yet, nothing was done for either issue and now we suffer and get Yuni to solve a situation that doesn't exist. I mean it doesn't exist in the sense that we are not going anywhere this year and could have held off until the off season to make a deal with someone or picked up a FA. When I hear of this team negating a trade for Wells with Dye or that Detroit got Everett for virtually nothing, it makes me want to cry. There very well was something out there, we just weren't looking.

Anonymous said...

Did JJ Picollo not tell Dayton he could have drafted Grant Green? That's what I was hoping for. Instead we get Yuni. Billy Beane says thank you, once again.

CRUSH said...

To be quite sincere, the Royals are horrible. Any trade that improves the product on the field is OK with me. Who really cares about all of this other B.S. Until David Glass gets off his a$$ and spends some cash on the Royals organization that improves the team on the field, the Royals will continue to be horrible. You can't heal a broken leg with a small band-aid. But, I would imagine from this blog that Rany would perform a major surgery for a zit on a butt cheek instead of just popping the damn zit and getting rid of it.

Anonymous said...

Well said. At some point, those who practice critical reasoning have to seriously ask themselves what is the value of being so emotionally invested in a futile, consistently maddening exercise. Your arguments regarding Betancourt are not made in isolation. They are one in a series that includes - just to name a few - Rosado, Dye, Colt Griffin, Pena Jr., Guillen, Jacobs, and so forth. That track record defies reason, and anyone with a sensible view on life can understand the position you're making. You shouldn't be spited for it, nor should anyone be particularly surprised. Anyone who takes issue with your position clearly isn't rational.

John said...

Hey "Anonymous" from 7/15,

An Arab-American night (to use the proper term for the group of people you are referring to), would sure beat the hell out of having ignorant, narrow-minded cowardly jerk night. But if they ever have one of those, be sure to go because you'd fit right in.

Anonymous said...

>>Chris B said...
I would be happy to lick the shit out of your ass anywhere in KC.Name the time an place>>.

I'm sure you would be be happy to that! But calm down there bruno! What do you do, jut go around the internet offering to toss strangers salads? I'm gonna pass on your offer, but if I ever change my mind and want someone to lick my ass I promise to let you know.

A lot of pussies who are whining because "the bad man said a "wacist" word" need to calm down and think things through. How can calling someone a "Sand Nigger" be RACIST when they shouldn't even be considered a part of the human RACE.

If anything it was speciests. Your Arab is much closer to an monkey or chimp than a human being. (even though they smell worse than either - Apparently Allah thinks soap is a sin) This why they make their women wear those long dresses - about one in three Muslim women are still born with a tail. The burkas are the only way they can hide it.

Not that I personally have anything against Muslims as long as they know their place. And in the U.S, their place is in the zoo or circus.

I'll be happy to start posting using my name on one condition. Rany must first promise in writing on his blog (so there will be a record of it) that neither he, nor his family, nor anyone from any of the terrorist groups he might be a part of will try to crash a plane into the side of my house or place a roadside bomb in my driveway.

That only seems fair, right?

Anonymous said...

When the Phillies signed Ibanez, general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said they considered Ibanez an average defender, perhaps a tick below average. Never did they bother with statistics that claimed Ibanez among the game’s worst fielders.

“I do not buy numbers defensively. At all,” Amaro said. “I look at fielding percentage. But that other business? I don’t buy it a lick. I think defense is subjective. You know, if you watch a guy, whether he has range or not. You can’t study a guy’s routes to the ball by the numbers. It doesn’t happen.

“We subscribe to what our guys see with their eyes, especially when it comes to defense.”


If only that guy didn't have last year's world series ring, we could bitch about him also not believing the BS that is UZR.

And Everett vs. Betancourt this year:

Everett: .968%, 3.9 RF, 2.0 UZR
Betancourt: .967%, 4.2 RF, -8.2 UZR

When you get to more balls, on a team whose pitchers have a lower groundball%, and field them at a very similar fielding%, it only makes sense that you should be considered worse.

Call me when there are actual fielding metrics.

Anonymous said...

http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news?slug=jp-ibanez050609&prov=yhoo&type=lgns

Here's a link to that above quote.

Barton said...

It seems to me that being an all weather fan is overrated. Fair weather fans give organizations an incentive to improve performance on the field. When teams make wise choices fair weather fans go to games and buy hats. Fans who care should not encourage poor management by giving their money to bad teams and letting the team think that performance is not linked to income. When teams get confused about such incentives they become, well, the Cubs.

JPM said...

I officially find this blog trite.

Anonymous said...

Thing is, you have no choice. You ARE a fan or you are not, but the reason behind it is beyond your control. I am a Braves fan and I have no idea why.

Dan said...

Anonymous, nobody gives a shit what you think so just stfu.

If your gonna be so literal about Chris B's ass licking line, then name me one damn time where someone flew a plane into someones house on purpose in america dumbass.
And i can guaruntee you wont be there tomorrow night at the game because you are way too much of a pussy to say this to Ranys face.

Anonymous said...

You = me.
Royals = Pirates.

Divorce was finalized 3 years ago.

Juancho said...

Barton has a good point about bandwagon-jumping. My feeling is you stick with your team, win or lose, even if it's mostly lose.

But you'll see people like me out at the game 10 times a season instead of two if the team's good that year. And I might buy a Zack jersey, but there's not much chance of me buying a Ryan Creel or Freel or Deal or whatever his name is T-shirt.

Anyway, if I weren't on the wrong side of the ocean, I'd show up with you all to see Zack pitch against the Rays, who as we know have some good hitters.

As for Mr. Anonymous, he seems to be genuinely a bad person, someone who wishes ill on people who have never done anything to him. This guy is operating outside every known ethical code.

The most common clues to identify a child as a future psychopath are 1) torturing animals 2) setting fires 3) prolonged bed-wetting.

I'm guessing Mr. Anonymous is guilty of 3, possibly guilty of 2, and probably not guilty of 1 yet, since your average dog could certainly chew his ass and he knows it.

Anyway, next time a series of hookers from the Independence Avenue strip get found in the Missouri River, I think we have a lead for the cops.

Anonymous said...

Rany,

I like the wait and see approach. I just want to know that you will admit you were wrong a year from now if the move works out. It is easy to criticize now but nobody knows for sure what is going to happen that is the bottom line. You may be 100% right but i just want to know that you will admit you were wrong if this move works out. Otherwise good post.

I also agree with another poster that as long as the royals are spending money and signing draft picks the we should have an uptrend of the royals getting better over time.

I know you and royals are not on the same page but if you keep writing can you write about some positive things (if any) or about some prospects? Do you know anything about Bianchi or Lough? Parraz was putting up good numbers before he got hurt. Do you know anything about these guys? Thanks.

Joel

Anonymous said...

Some spic named Juancho said...

A bunch of stupid shit that isn't worth anyones time. He tries so hard to be funny, but he's just not bright enough to pull it off

Anonymous said...

"Great stuff as always. Only quibble I have is that I don't care whether or not Moore or any GM understands the metrics. I care whether they have someone on staff who does *and* that the person has a seat at the table."

Will, I don't care if a front office uses advanced metrics, ouija boards, chicken bingo, or late night calls to Miss Cleo as the primary guides for their decision-making processes as long as get the answers right often enough to be competitive.

The biggest problem with a "solution" like this is that it's not a solution. The Royals haven't moved the ss position from the "Problem" box to the "Done" box; they've only moved it from Priority #1 to Priority #(some small N > 1). They have spent time, energy, millions of dollars, and two prospects and have done very little. Kind of like how Pena replacing Berroa didn't solve the problem.

"[W]hat happened to your wait and see optimism you had with people in the past?"

Mark, I pointed the gun down again. I pulled the trigger again. And gosh darn it, my foot really hurts AGAIN.

John said...

You were wrong about one thing. Mickey Stanley did play quite a bit of shortstop after 1968. In fact, he was pretty much the Tigers' everyday shortstop until about June 15 during the 1969 season. I can't see anytime that he started there after 1969, although late in his career he made a few more appearances at short.

Anonymous said...

Rany

I was at the beach so Im in catch-up mode on all the Royals talk but I agree with you on this 110%.

I am in your demographic age-wise, and for 30+ years have had my heart and soul in the Royals even though Im geographically challenged living up in WA.

The MLB extra innings package had been a Godsend for me the past 5-6 years, but this year Ive definitely seen a change in my watching habits.

Im sure my wife can confirm I would watch 70% of the games available on the package and live and die with every game. If the Royals won, I was having a good day.

This year Id say Ive watched about 40%, and Im seeing the downward trend continue.

I hate to play the small market card, but can the Royals ever really compete when teams like the Yanks have an offseason spending budget larger then KC's payroll?

Bill
Vancouver, WA