Saturday, January 23, 2010

Rick Ankiel and the Radioactive Roster.

My children have won. For quite possibly the first time in my adult life (excepting special circumstances like jetlag or a surgery rotation that required me to be at work by 5:30 AM), I was in bed by 11 o’clock three nights in a row from Monday through Wednesday. Thursday night, I pulled back the covers right at 11 o’clock, but couldn’t resist checking Tweetdeck* on my iPhone one last time before getting some shuteye.

*: I fully agree with the person who wrote that “if blogging is cocaine, then Twitter is crack.” Naturally, I read that in a tweet.

It was at that point that I learned via friend-of-the-blog Greg Schaum that the Royals had just signed Rick Ankiel. You will not be surprised to learn that my bedtime was pushed back a little.

I like this move in the abstract, all the more because it was so unexpected. The Jason Kendall signing dribbled out over several days, like a runaway freight train that became impossible to stop no matter how dumb it was. Scott Podsednik was rumored to be coming to KC a month before he signed, and was predicted to be joining the powder blue by astute fans well before that. This Ankiel thing, by contrast, came completely out of the blue, even more so precisely because the addition of Podsednik seemed to close out the Royals’ outfield. More on that later.

Let’s square away the contract details first. This appears to be a simple one-year, $3.25 million contract. The “mutual option” for a second year is a smokescreen; a mutual option is a polite way of saying “no option”. Either side can break the option, and since a year from now, the 2011 contract will look unfavorable to one side or the other, it’s almost certain not to be exercised.

Its purpose is to guarantee the player a little extra financial cushion in the event he sucks in 2010 and can’t land a big contract in 2011. If Ankiel lives up to his contract, the Royals will exercise their portion of the option, but Ankiel will decline and walk away with the money he’s earned. On the other hand, if Ankiel disappoints, then the Royals will decline the option (as they did with Miguel Olivo), and Ankiel will get a small severance package to go away. It’s not clear how big that severance package will be - Olivo only got $100,000 - though I've heard it could be as high as half a million. It's not franchise-altering money.

For their money, the Royals are getting a player who has one of the game’s highest ratios of hype-to-production of the last decade. That’s not meant as a diss on Ankiel; on the contrary, Ankiel has garnered so much hype precisely because what he has done is so historic. Without rehashing the entire story here – it’s a long, largely sad story with a happy ending – Ankiel became the first player to reach the majors as a starting pitcher, then return to the majors as a position player, in decades. (I’m not sure who the last player to fit that criteria was, actually – but Wonderful Willie Smith was frequently used as a pitcher in 1963 and 1964 before transitioning to the outfield full-time.)

Ankiel was in a major league rotation in 2000, just weeks after he turned 20, and the following year he struck out 194 batters in 175 innings and finished 2nd in Rookie of the Year balloting. His pitching career then melted down in one sordid, can’t-look-away-from-the-car-crash playoff start against the Braves that October. Tabbed to start the playoff opener, Ankiel was staked to a 6-0 lead after one inning, but in the third inning, he walked four batters (including the leadoff hitter, Greg Maddux) and threw five wild pitches before he was mercifully relieved of his duties. His pitching career was essentially over at that point, although it took a disastrous spring training and April the following year, a demotion to rookie ball, Tommy John surgery, a seemingly triumphant return to the majors in September 2004 (he walked just one batter in 10 innings) – and then, the following season, a twinge in his elbow before Ankiel finally decided he’d had enough.

Thus began his quixotic dream to return to the majors as an outfielder, a dream which was realized in spectacular fashion in 2007, when – after hitting 32 homers in just 102 games for Triple-A Memphis – Ankiel returned to St. Louis on August 9th as the starting right fielder, hit a home run in his first game, then hit two homers in his third game. For the season Ankiel hit .285/.328/.535 with 11 homers in just 47 games. The following year, Ankiel started everyday and was hitting .282/.349/.543 through the end of July, before a hernia issue limited him to an 11-for-65 showing the rest of the way; his season was cut short by surgery in early September.

Even so, between 2007 and 2008 – in which he played 167 games, basically a full season – Ankiel hit .270/.334/.515, with 36 homers and 29 doubles. He walked 55 times, an acceptable walk rate. Defensively, he showed merely adequate range in center field, but the numbers suggest he was above-average in both corners – and, of course, he had the arm of a former phenom pitcher. If you haven’t seen this clip, please watch it: even two years later, it’s still a joy to behold.

So what’s he doing, signing a one-year deal for Jason Kendall money? Because last year, he hit just .231/.285/.387 for the Cardinals. There were mitigating circumstances, though: on May 4th, he suffered a frightening head-first collision with the left-center field wall at nearly full speed, hurting his head, shoulder, back – pretty much his whole body was in pain. He returned surprisingly quickly, going back into the lineup on May 24th, but his shoulder bothered him most of the season, and it showed. He was hitting .247/.326/.395 when he got hurt – not great, but in a sample size of just 92 plate appearances, nothing so bad that it would make you wonder what happened to the Rick Ankiel of the previous two seasons. But after returning from injury, he hit just .227/.272/.385 and struck out five times as often as he walked.

Granted, it’s too easy to just dismiss his performance last season as the result of an injury – it is quite possible that his career as a hitter has gone south nearly as quickly as his pitching career did. Nonetheless, easy explanations are frequently easy precisely because they’re the right explanation. What we know about Ankiel as a hitter is this: in the minors, he showed only a modest ability to hit for average but tremendous power; in 2007 and 2008, he showed this exact same skill set to good effect in the majors; in 2009, he struggled mightly, but almost all of his struggles came after he tried to put his body through a (padded) brick wall.

Ankiel is still just 30; it’s doubtful that he suddenly got old, particularly when you consider he didn’t become a full-time hitter until he was 25. Occam’s Razor suggests that, if Ankiel is healthy in 2010, there’s no reason why he can’t go back to slugging .500. Granted, given his history - the collision last year, the hernia in 2008, Tommy John surgery, and he missed the entire 2006 season in the minors after he tore a tendon in his knee - it would be unwise to assume good health for Ankiel for any length of time. But a one-year deal (and a new training staff!) mitigates that risk.

Like pretty much every other player Dayton Moore has ever acquired, Ankiel isn’t much for getting on base. But if he slugs .500, he’ll be one of the best hitters on the team even with an OBP skirting the low 300s. But it’s probably too optimistic to assume that Ankiel will hit as well as he did in 2007-2008. So let’s add in 2009 as well, making Ankiel’s averages over the last three years .255/.315/.465. I think that’s a fair expectation for Ankiel, and if he hits those numbers and plays full-time, he’ll be worth the money spent.

You might be surprised that I’m so favorable about acquiring Ankiel, given that I was so negative about the acquisition of Mike Jacobs last year. Jacobs and Ankiel are very similar hitters – both are low-average, low-to-medium walk guys who can pound 30 homers in a full season. Over the three years before Jacobs was acquired last winter, he hit .258/.314/.483 – similar, and actually superior, numbers to Ankiel’s. So why am I much more positive about this acquisition than the last one?

For four big reasons:

1) Jacobs cost the Royals about $3 million and the services of a solid, cheap reliever in Leo Nunez. Ankiel only costs the money.

2) Jacobs blocked the path of Kila Ka’aihue, a minor league player coming off a monster season and who played the same position. It’s not yet clear whose job Ankiel is taking – more on that later – but he’s almost certainly a better hitter than whoever he ultimately replaces in the lineup.

3) Jacobs was quite possibly the worst defensive player in the major leagues – he lost the first base job to Billy Butler in barely one week. Ankiel’s defense is about average, depending on which outfield position he plays. If he does nothing more than keep Jose Guillen from ever playing the field, he’ll be worth the money.

4) Jacobs was coming off the best season of his career – when he was 27, the most common age for a player to have his career year (sorry, J.C., but I’m not buying it.) Ankiel is coming off the worst season of his career, one interrupted by injury.

And I’ll admit it: the little fanboy inside of me is excited to root for Rick Ankiel in a Royals uniform. Between Ankiel and Zack Greinke, the Royals might have the two guys in baseball with the greatest combination of hitting and pitching skills. All we need is to lobby MLB to reduce roster sizes to two players and we’ll kick ass.

So yes, I like this move, at least in a vacuum. My only problem with it is that it doesn’t make any sense.

A lot of Royals fans are equally confused. Joe Posnanski is completely baffled. Even Matt Taibbi has come down from on high to weigh in on Ankiel, calling him “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.” No, wait, that’s what he called Goldman Sachs. But he did write of the Ankiel signing, “what the hell is going on in Kansas City?” and “this stuff just makes me scratch my head.”

Taibbi’s protestations aside, everyone else has the same concern about the Ankiel signing. I’ve long accused the Royals of lacking an understanding of simple mathematics, but the Ankiel move suggests they lack even the skill of counting. So let’s count for them, shall we?

Catchers: Jason Kendall, Brayan Pena. That’s two.

Infielders: Billy Butler, Alberto Callaspo, Yuniesky Betancourt, Mike Aviles, Chris Getz, Willie Bloomquist, Alex Gordon, Josh Fields. We’re up to ten now.

Outfielders: David DeJesus, Scott Podsednik, Rick Ankiel, Brian Anderson, Mitch Maier, Jose Guillen. That’s 16.

Now, there’s no way the Royals are going into the season with fewer than 11 pitchers, and if history is any guide they’re going to go the risk-averse route and go with 12 pitchers. So they’ll open the season with either 13 or 14 hitters on the roster. The Ankiel signing allegedly puts the Royals at their payroll limit, but more problematically, it puts them well over their roster limit.

Over two months ago, when writing about the Mark Teahen trade, I wrote that “[t]aken in isolation, trading Teahen for Getz and Fields makes sense. But this trade can’t be fully evaluated until we see the other moves it triggers, because as it stands Getz and Fields are both without positions to play.” I figured that, by now, Moore would have made some roster moves designed to clear the logjam of players.

Instead, he’s done the opposite – adding Brian Anderson, adding Scott Podsednik, and now adding Rick Ankiel. The Royals have shed one catcher from last year’s roster, but they turned Teahen into two players, and they’ve added three outfielders without getting rid of anyone else. It’s as if the Royals signed Podsednik thinking that he was better than Anderson, then signed Ankiel thinking he would be an improvement on Podsednik, not realizing that they actually have to keep all three of them.

The math doesn’t work here. I suppose it can work, if Aviles starts the year on the DL, and if the Royals exercise options on Brian Anderson and Chris Getz. (It would be galling to send Anderson down to Triple-A after signing him to a major-league contract for $700,000, but these are the Royals, who last year optioned two of their players – Brian Bannister and Luke Hochevar – to Triple-A to start the season, even though both were making seven figures.)

In that case, you would have a roster that looks like this:

C: Kendall

1B: Butler

2B: Callaspo

3B: Gordon

SS: Betancourt

LF: Podsednik

CF: DeJesus

RF: Ankiel

DH: Guillen

Bench

C: Pena

IF: Fields, Bloomquist

OF: Maier

This roster presents multiple problems. For one, the Royals are already making hints that they won’t go with the outfield alignment I’ve listed, preferring instead to play Ankiel in center field and DeJesus in right. Hmm…we’ve got an outfielder whose arm is a little short, but has played centerfield well in the past, and another outfielder who doesn’t have great speed but has a cannon for an arm. I know! Let’s play the guy who doesn’t run well in center, and the guy who can’t throw in right!

Second, you have an all-left-handed-hitting outfield, and your primary backup outfielder also bats left-handed. Fields would make a fine platoon partner in one of the corners, and Bloomquist can play the outfield as inadequately as he can play the infield, but you’re setting yourself up for some matchup problems against left-handed starters.

But primarily, you’ve locked yourself into a roster of players who, aside from Butler and Gordon, can’t be sent down to the minors. What do you do when Mike Aviles comes back healthy? Why trade for Getz and sign Anderson if they're going to spend all year in Triple-A? What do you do if Jeff Bianchi or David Lough or Jordan Parraz crush the ball in Triple-A and deserve a look? What do you do – again – with Kila Ka’aihue?

Moore’s moves this winter are great news for fans of the Royals. Unfortunately, they’re great news for fans of the Omaha Royals, because without any space on the major league roster, it looks like a lot of major league-ready hitters are going to be stuck in Nebraska most of the season.

Meanwhile, the (Kansas City) Royals are not – or should not be – playing for 2010. They might be playing for 2011. The #1 priority this year should be sorting through their young talent to find a combination that might win a year from now. How can you sort through your young talent if, once again, you’re blocking all that talent from playing in the first place?

The main thrust of Posnanski’s disillusionment with this signing is that, in signing yet another veteran player, the Royals are either blocking the path of a young prospect, or they’re admitting they don’t have the prospects in the first place. I’m not nearly as down on this signing, because it’s not Rick Ankiel’s fault that the Royals don’t have anyone as good as him ready in the minor leagues. But between Lough and Parraz, the Royals might have a major-league ready outfielder by mid-season, and at this point there’s no place to play him. To say nothing of their continuing efforts to lock Ka’aihue away in a dungeon.

You have to think Dayton Moore knows this. You have to think that he’s working on ways to open the spigot and drain some of his excess roster space. Maybe the Royals will eat a sunk cost and release Jose Guillen. That would be good. Or maybe they’ll DFA Mitch Maier, who is basically Scott Podsednik without the hype and at a quarter the salary. That would be bad.

Maybe they’ll trade David DeJesus, the type of slightly above-average player that has always fit better as a supporting cog on a good team than as a key player on a bad team. That could be a good move for the right package of talent – I advocated trading DeJesus nearly two years ago. Maybe they’ll trade Alberto Callaspo, although given how bad the market appears to be for all-hit, no-glove guys, I’d much rather the Royals keep him if the alternative is to give him away for cents on the dollar.

But the bottom line is that the Royals have to do something. A roster stuffed with too many players is like an atom stuffed with too many neutrons: it becomes radioactive, and destined to break down sooner or later. I’d like to think that Moore signed Ankiel with that in mind, and that very soon now he’s going to put the final domino in place and his off-season plans will come into focus. But then, I thought that when he traded for Fields and Getz back in November, and things just keep getting blurrier and blurrier.

41 comments:

Jason Dixon said...

"Blurrier and blurrier" is a good way to put it. I feel the same way; why not have Ankiel with his arm in RF? It seems so obvious given the rest of their roster that the Royals are even considering him in CF. That said, I don't hate the signing, especially if he's in RF.

Great take as always, Rany

Royalpug said...

The sad thing is that the best roster the Royals could field, is only obtainable if 3-4 starters get injured.

If Guillen gets injured, then Kila could play.
If Yuni gets injured Aviles could play.
If Kendal gets injured Pena could play.
If Podsednik gets injured Maier could play.

How bad is your team's leadership when the backups are arguably better than the starters?

Steve said...

Well written and I agree with most of what you had to say. I thought that there was a good chance Aviles won't be ready until June??? And do you really want to jettison Guillen knowing it is already money spent and that he just MIGHT be injury free and motivated being that it is his contract year? He might just mash again however unlikely that is. I just believe we have to give him the chance to show us if he has any ability left.

I'd still advocate packaging Callaspo with a prospect or Banny or even Fields and see if we can get bullpen help or a servicable lefthanded starter. Just my thoughts.

Thanks for the blog, Rany!

Go Royals!!! C-ya, AusSteveW

Aquaman said...

From a purely baseball standpoint, Moore should send DDJ to the Yankees for a couple lottery tickets and invest the savings in amateur talent. From a marketing standpoint, however, he won't trade one of the franchise's most recognizable players for such an intangible return. Maybe there are discussions ongoing-- either with the Yankees, or someone else-- and maybe Dayton Moore thinks it somehow helps him in those discussions for the counterparty to think Ankiel will play CF for the Royals this season.

If there are no further changes, I'm optimistic (perhaps wrongly) that common sense will prevail and DDJ will play left, Pods will play center, and Ankiel will play right, with Maier as the 4th OF and Anderson in Omaha. Between Ankiel's injuries and Podsednik's age, 300 PAs for Maier seems like a reasonable expectation. Having Anderson available as a defensive sub when someone is on the DL will be a nice luxury, albeit one the club probably should have done without.

I never saw Getz and Fields as anything more than odds-and-ends the White Sox gave the Royals for a player they otherwise would have nontendered (Teahen), so it wouldn't bother me to see them both in Omaha. It also wouldn't bother me to see Getz start and second base, though in that case I think they should trade Callaspo-- as low as his value is now, it will drop to zero when it becomes absolutely clear that the Royals don't think he can stick at second defensively (because that's the only reason not to play him there). Because they aren't trying to win in 2010, I'd like to see Callaspo play 2B for at least a couple months to see if he can hack it defensively (the metrics are mixed); then, if Getz is the 2B of the future, you can trade or cut bait on Callaspo, depending on how his first-half audition goes.

Anonymous said...

All you can say is that Moore thinks the general fanbase are a bunch of dummies (not you guys) and satisfied with just a "valid" MLB team - one that has players whose MLB status has been conferred by other teams.

Of couse, Moore - what can you say?. Frankly, no one wants these players. Ankiel was dfa fodder, Podsednik, et al.

Stuck. They are not tradeable. Giveawayable yea.

Anonymous said...

I want to address the point about the lefty OF lineup. 2 things:

1) our IF is predominantly either switch or right handed (Gordon is the issue); and

2) Mitch Maier has reverse splits. His AVG is .075 higher against lefties, the OBP difference is over .100, and the SLG .125.

The sample size is small, but the roster might actually do OK against lefties.

Anonymous said...

I would like to throw another thought out there...

I don't think the Royals will move anyone off the roster until spring training. Here's the reasoning:

First, they argue that the reason the season failed last year is lack of depth. They have fixed that issue right now. It's incorrect (lack of talent might be a better way of putting it), but that's the thought.

Second, they are picking up talents, even the older ones, that they think they can improve either from the park effect (Pods is not a power hitter -- he can run out more bloop hits in a bigger park for XB compared to the Sox park) or from coaching (Ankiel reportedly has a hole in his swing). They also pick up some underachieving talent (Anderson, Fields), thinking that they can maximize their abilities. It won't work for all of them, but one or two of the four might pan out as a good move, and that could make a difference.

Third, the approach to the pitching staff has been the same -- something that everybody mentions in passing, but has yet to garner a major article by a writer. They have picked up have a dozen underachieving arms to match with their young rule 5 guy and the others already on the roster. If you look at what was invited to camp, they have like 10 potential starters, maybe more, with some real ability. If one or two work out, then the back end of the rotation could be really good. They are doing the same with the bullpen.

Fourth, the complaint about blocking talent is a year too early. Lough and Parraz have yet to play any meaningful innings in AAA. They have the chance to crack the roster, but only as a Sept. call-up. All the good pitching is just hitting AA now.

Fifth, everybody on the roster, except people that we do not want to trade, only has replacement level value, or slightly higher. Pieces like DDJ and Callaspo become more valuable once teams start sustaining injuries or finding out that they lack any good bench depth. Come April, I expect some bodies to be moved, both pitchers (all 87 we're inviting to camp) and hitters.

Finally, the Royals, unlike their fans, do not see a mid-70s win season as spinning the wheels. In this division, mid-70s means you probably are in the playoff conversation until July or August. That type of success translates to a few thousand extra people at the ballgame, generating some revenue that the team really needs. If we want a larger payroll, if we want more money in player development, it has to come from a bigger fanbase (or higher revenue sharing). And that makes the investment for an extra five wins this year worth SOMETHING. You have to spend money to make money.

Moore spent the cash on older players, but they are on short-term, largely inexpensive contracts. If they spend the budget every year, always having a 70 million payroll, but spend it on 1 year contract players, I could care less. Slowly, but surely, building a fan base for a mediocre team (rather than a historically bad one) will pay benefits in both the long-term payroll and player development.

Anonymous said...

A few things...

1. Again, its time to get off the Kila bandwagon. The guy had one good season 2 years ago in 7 minor league years. He's a one-dimensional player!

2. Royalpug, Maier is not as good as Podsednik. That's just a ridiculous statement. The only area he's better in is defensively, and that difference is only marginal. Pods is a much better hitter and has a ton more speed.

3. I agree that this only muddles the waters for us fans as to who will be on the Opening Day roster, but who cares? We have not had depth in our organization like this in God knows how long! I actually enjoy this. At least we know that if someone gets injured, we don't have to worry about bringing up some nobody who has no business playing in the major leagues.

Anonymous said...

One thing I've learned is that these things ALWAYS find a way to work themselves out.
someone will get hurt during spring training. and regarding the guys in the minors if they start killing the ball, something will happen to bring them up and evaluate.
baseball is a long season, 162 games in about 180 days.

every year you see those articles for about half the mlb teams during spring training about the roster crunch.
guillen, gordon, and ankiel are coming from injury plagued seasons. brian anderson and scotty pods are not everyday players. leaving getz, callapso, fields, and maier to get some work in.

I see it as moves regarding depth. someone goes down you don't have to see bloomquist, TPJ, luis hernandes, ryan freel, or josh anderson play every day.

Hammy said...

Great entry Rany, love reading your stuff!

Jonathan Sher said...

In response to anonymous #4.

Your point about Pods and speed might make sense if he an Maier were running track but they are playing baseball and Pods' "speed" hinders rather than helps his team As you have already conceded, Maier is a better fielder so Pods' speed doesn't help him there. And on the basepaths, Pods' speed has been a liability - including five pickoffs and 13 caught stealing he was caught 38% of the time. (There some confusion on pick-off numbers because some may be counted as caught stealing to so I have used the LOWEST possible pickoff number independent of caught stealing)

Robert said...

Surely Ankiel won't play center. Even Dayton Moore isn that stupid.

Right?

Please.

Professor Cameron said...

You can only hope that the Royals do the right thing and cut him, like the Dbacks did with Eric Byrnes. Why not let a young guy have a shot? I can't imagine the team could do much worse, and at least a young guy has potential upside (and hopefully no issues with steroid allegations and attitude).

Anonymous said...

I agree with anonymous 9:58. Last year we started off well, but when Crisp went down (along with the left side of the infield) the wheels fell off because there was so little talent in Omaha. Now, we have outfielders to spare, thank God, and Fields to back up Gordon. Aviles does need to be healthy. And yes, we now have a boatload of relief pitchers on minor league contracts, even though Cruz ought to be better than last year. Farnsie, ehh.

That said, I too expect some trades before opening day, probably for prospects, but maybe a starter or a middle infielder who plays D.

Anonymous said...

Rany you're too wordy and mostly a hack. Stop posting.

mstrchef13 said...

Rany:

Can Ka'aihue hit at the major league level? Yes, he's blocked by Butler, but the Donk is clearly a major league hitter right now if not a major league fielder. If Kila (I'm not trying to spell THAT again) is a legit prospect, I'm sure that here in Baltimore we'd be happy to give KC someone out of the pitching inventory of equal shaky stature for him. Troy Patton comes to mind, as does Jason Berken.

As for Ankiel, my hope for you is that he was signed with two expectations: (1) one of the Omaha guys would be ready for their close-up at the trading deadline, and (2) Ankiel would prove himself healthy and productive enough to bring something useful back in return at the trading deadline.

Casper said...

I personally think there are more deals to come. If anything, to Moore's credit, he's acquired some trade pieces this off-season that may fit nicely on a contender come the trade deadline. That would allow the Lough's and Parraz's the opportunity to be called up for the last half of the season.

Anonymous said...

No mention of HGH or steroids? Wow- you are quite the homer, Rany.

Anonymous said...

To anonymous @ 2:33pm: Your mother moans like a whore.

Anonymous said...

I'm tired of all those complaining about Pods caught stealings and saying things like his speed hurts more than it helps. That's just stupid. You're failing to factor in those times that he does take that extra base, goes first to third, or scores from second on a single, those types of things. He's worth at least 1 or 2 more wins over Maier over a full season.

Royalpug said...

But he's not Anonymous, he's really not.
The difference in speed between Maier and Pods is negligible. And for all his stolen bases, when you factor in the pick offs, Pods is WELL below the break even threshold.

I wouldn't be surprised to find out that Pods actually costs his teams runs on the base paths, Let alone be a full win better than Maier.

Just to prove a point. Chone predicts 1.7 Wins for Maier...and 1.4 for Pods.

Dave said...

I don't understand why flat out cutting Guillen would be a good thing. If there is one thing we know about that guy, it's that he plays well when motivated. How much more motivation do you need when you are playing for your next contract? You want to talk about trading someone at the deadline, if Guillen starts out hot and has a good first half teams would trade for him. We are paying him anyways, we might as well keep him around and see how he starts. You can always cut him in May if he's got nothing left.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the post, Rany.

Have to respectfully disagree with one item you posted - I simply see no way the Royals option Getz to AAA, regardless of the roster situation.

As I recall, there was an unnamed high ranking Royal official who was quoted as saying something along the lines of "we didn't acquire him to sit on the bench". Assume this means they see him as the everyday second baseman.

Not saying I agree with the Royals brass, if this is true (hell, we all seldom do!) - just reminding everybody what was being discussed immediately following the Teahen trade.

For all we know, Moore really believes that crap about last season being derailed by injuries, and is trying to acquire sufficient depth (albeit shitty depth) to prevent that from recurring. Quite delusional, but would it surprise you?

Anonymous said...

They didn't acquire Getz to ride the bench because they anticipated Callaspo being moved. If they can't trade Callaspo then they will be forced to DH him most likely resulting in Guillen's release. I will say I agree with Dave and think they should keep him, however. That being said, there have got to be trade talks ongoing on multiple players.

D-Man said...

Does this mean we could be snagging Damon next?

Maier<B. Anderson<Podsednik<Ankiel<Damon

It would only make sense

Jeff Polman said...

Day in an day out, I marvel at the endurance of Royals fans, especially yours, Rany. What you need is a handy time portal back to 1977 or something...

Anonymous said...

Is anyone surprised that Dayton Mooreon is making moves that don't make any sense? After all, he did trade away actual talent for trash like Mike Jacobs and Yuni Betancourt, sign Farnsworthless and Kendall to rediculous contracts just to hit the tip of the iceberg.

Dayton Mooreon has proven that he's capable of ANY feat of stupidity at this point, and because of that I'm EXPECTING him to f*** things up as much as humanly possible.

At this point I'm counting the days until David Glass sends this mouth brather packing...or the mouth breather proves me wrong. I'd love nothing more than for Dayton Mooreon to prove me wrong, I just don't think that he will.

Anonymous said...

As long as I can go to the "K" this summer and not suffer through watching Mitch Maier play I'm all for the signings they have made this offseason.

I would be shocked if Fields, DeJesus and Callaspo are all still Royals by the end of the spring. I look for at least one of those three to be traded for prospects.

Anonymous said...

maybe they could trade fields and getz for teahen.

Anonymous said...

"Dribbled out ... like a runaway freight train"?

Anonymous said...

I don't know whether to cry or laugh at the comment to trade Fields and Getz for Teahen.

What a horrible off season when the reverse trade would make sense at this point in time.

When I first saw the comment I laughed pretty hard. Then I started to think about it and it would actually make some sense. Then I just got this overall feeling of hopelessness. Such is life as a Royals fan. If anybody comes up with that time machine I say we all hop in and set it for August of '76.

Juancho said...

Signing Ankiel makes no more sense than signing Podsednik or Kendall or Bloomquist or Anderson or whatever. 2010 is a write-off, a rebuilding year. There's no way the Royals are going to win more than 70 games with this roster.

The only moves Dayton ought to be making are ones that will help the team in 2011 or 2012. Signing Ankiel for one year is not one of those things. Instead, it's a waste of money that could be spent developing young players, signing draftees, hiring coaches and scouts and trainers.

I can see it making some sense if there were a team option for a second year that the Royals could exercise in case Ankiel turns out not to suck next season. That would help the 2011 team.

But there ain't one of those.

Anonymous said...

Want if Ankiel tears the cover off the ball and brings back prospects at the trade deadline? Would that fit your criteria for helping the team in 2011 and 2012? Quit being so negative....

Kansas City said...

Signing Ankiel makes no baseball sense unless: (1) he defies the market and has a good year; and (2) the Royals play above their talent level and get into the division race. It also is a long shot that Ankiel will be good enough to snatch a top prospect, and certainly no reason to make the signing.

The idea of Avilles being a top player is wishful thinking. He had about three months of decent play; he seldom walks and is very unlikely to be a top player.

Jason said...

Can we trade the obnoxious balding guy at The K who gets on the mic between innings and gives stuff away? Who hired that dude anyway...

Anonymous said...

Aviles is still a better player than Betancourt.

And Juancho, there is zero proof that signing these stopgap players has had any effect whatsoever on scouting, drafting, signing international free agents, etc. They have been very active, doling out $7 mil to Arguelles, giving $1 mill to a 16 year old SS prospect, etc.

All these guys are stop gap players to keep the team somewhat competitive this year. Hopefully, come 2011, the Moustakas, Cook, Melville, and Hosmer's of the farm system are ready to contribute and turn this franchise around!

Nathan said...

My two cents goes with those arguing that a cluttered roster is a self-correcting problem. Injuries will happen. Unexpected performances (good and bad) will happen. As long as the team is responsive to those situations, having a few extra MLB-caliber players around is a good thing.

However, I do think the team needs to work out some way of playing Aviles on a regular basis, even if he doesn't have the same position every day. He was injured last year, and a return to 2008 form is not a possibility to be squandered lightly.

And not starting Gordon would of course be unconscionable. But I'll believe that ugly rumor when I hear it from Moore or Hillman.

Casper said...

Hearing rumors from Dave Cameron via MLBtraderumors.com that the Mariners and Royals are discussing Callaspo. If that's the case, we're screwed. Not because we'd be losing Callaspo, but Moore negotiating with Jack Zduriencik (so far that guy's made some damned smart moves, imo) is an unabashed FAIL for us. Maybe we'll get Dan Cortes back - HA!

Shelby said...

Casper:

It appears that Moore and Zduriencik are discussing a deal involving Callaspo and single-A catching prospect Avon Betancourt, 2nd cousin to one Yuniesky Betancourt. Apparently the younger Betancourt had a lot of potential at one point to be a middle-of-the-order on-base guy with moderate power, but has never lived up to expectations, and has often shown signs of ambivalence and boredom.

Anonymous said...

And in their next move, Moore is going to trade Zack Greinke and Billy Butler to Zduriencik for three guys in the Dominican Summer League and a box of wiffle balls.

Anonymous said...

Dayton Moore should be sent to the guillotine! OFF WITH HIS HEAD! SAVE THE ROYALS!