Monday, June 14, 2010

Royals Today: 6/14/2010

I’ll get back to my minor league review soon, but it’s been weeks since I discussed the happenings in the majors, so I felt I owed you all some updates.

- Thank God. Maybe Zack isn’t hurt after all.

I really had no reason to think he was, other than the fact that after pitching at an All-Star (if perhaps not Greinkesque) level for two months, only to be betrayed by his offense, defense, and bullpen, Greinke had only himself to blame in his last four starts. He gave up 19 runs in 20.1 innings, which is just as well, given that the Royals didn’t score a single run while he was in the game in any of those four starts.

But after the worst sustained streak of pitching from Greinke in two years (he gave up 21 runs in 24 innings over four starts in late May and early June, 2008), we had reason to be concerned. Maybe he was pressing, figuring he had to be perfect on every pitch given the lack of support from his teammates. Maybe it was just bad luck. Maybe it was a mechanical issue. Or maybe, just maybe, he wasn’t the same Zack Greinke anymore.

It appears that the correct answer was (c). As detailed here, Bob McClure had him raise his arms a little higher before he went into his motion before his start on Sunday. The result was 12 strikeouts and no walks, and a complete game in just 105 pitches. He did give up two homers to Joey Votto, but the first was a wall-scraper in a notoriously homer-friendly park, and the second came when he was just pounding the zone with strikes trying to close out a five-run lead in the ninth. Craig Brown has a good breakdown of his start here; I’ll just add that it was, in many ways, his best start of the season.

That isn’t to say he’s back to his 2009 form or anything. According to Fangraphs, the average velocity on his fastball this season (92.7) is a full 1.0 mph slower than last year, and the lowest since he returned from his sabbatical in 2006. Now, I don’t know if that is significant or not. Pitchers sometimes lose a little velocity for no reason, and sometimes it returns as mysteriously as it disappeared. It’s possible Greinke’s velocity is lower because he’s pacing himself more, much as he did when he first came to the majors. It’s certainly worth monitoring, but if he keeps striking out 12 batters a start, I won’t be all that preoccupied with how hard he’s throwing.

- It’s a moment that may one day occupy an exalted place in Royals’ lore, the day Luke Hochevar made his first start under new manager Ned Yost, who left him in there to work his way out of a jam in the seventh-inning, even as Hochevar coughed up 4 runs and the ballgame.

Afterwards, Yost made it clear that he left Hochevar in there, even if it meant losing a ballgame, because it was time Hochevar learned how to fight his way out of a jam:

“I told him, `Look, in those types of situations,’” Yost said, “`I’m going to let you pitch yourself out of trouble. You need to learn how. When you get yourself into those situations when you’re rolling, you need to learn how to get yourself out of those situations.’”

The message: Long-term gain is worth the short-term pain.

“That’s part of the plan coming in,” Yost said. “You manage two ways every night. You manage for the small picture. You do everything you can to win tonight, but you also manage for the big picture.

“We’re trying to change things around here. We’re trying to find ways to take ourselves to the next level…I’m pretty darn sure that Hoch is going to be a key part of that when we do get there.”

Well, since then Hochevar has made five starts, and in 35 innings has struck out 31 batters against just 6 walks. He’s given up more homers – five homers in five starts, as opposed to just one homer in his first eight starts. But the improvement in his control has made him more effective regardless. If the gist of Yost’s message was that Hochevar had to stop being a nibbler and start attacking hitters, the point got through.

And in the process, while Hochevar has been nicked up for runs here and there, he may have finally turned the corner when it comes to surrendering the big inning that has been his downfall for so long. Consider this: since giving up four runs in the seventh inning against the White Sox that night, Hochevar has not allowed 3 runs in any single inning since. He has now thrown 35 consecutive innings without allowing a three-spot. That’s the longest stretch of his career, surpassing a streak of 33.1 innings set as a rookie in early 2008.

Hochevar hasn’t gotten over the hump yet. But I suspect he’s standing at the top of it right now. The best is yet to come.

- The handling of Jason Kendall is just one more example of how, no matter how many of the little details the Royals are starting to get right, they still have a habit of making ridiculous decisions at the macro level due to an almost impossible dearth of common sense.

As Will McDonald has chronicled repeatedly throughout the season, Kendall has now caught 92.4% of the team’s innings this season, with Brayan Pena getting the other 7.6%. No other catcher in baseball has caught even 85% of his team’s innings this season. Kendall has started 61 of the team’s 64 games behind the plate – he’s on pace for 154 starts. No catcher has caught in 154 games – let alone started that many – since Carlton Fisk in 1978. Fisk started 150 games and relieved 4 times.

In the entire retrosheet era – from 1954 until today – only one player has ever started 154 games at catcher in one season: Randy Hundley, who in 1968 started 156 times. And given that the regular season was only 154 games long prior to 1954, Hundley is probably the only one.

Hundley, incidentally, hit .168/.228/.211 in his last 34 games, and finished with a line of .226/.280/.311. Even in the Year of the Pitcher, that was awful. The year before, he hit .267/.322/.403; the year after, he hit .255/.334/.391. I’m sure it was just a coincidence.

I see no reason to think that the Royals might change their approach. I’ve become quite the fan of Ned Yost, but let’s remember that two years ago, when Kendall started 149 games for the Brewers (most starts by any catcher since 1982) – Yost was his manager. Kendall hit .202/.295/.298 in September that year. (Granted, he hit rather lousy the whole season.)

This year, it doesn’t look like Kendall is waiting until September to let the effects of catching every. single. day. wear him down. Eight days ago he was hitting an impressive .299/.360/.361, and for all the complaints I had about signing him this winter, if he ends the season with a .360 OBP, I’ll happily eat my words about him. But in his last six games, Kendall has gone 1-for-25, dropping his seasonal numbers to .269/.328/.324, which is about what we could expect from him prior to the season.

If any other player, at any other position, were in a 1-for-25 slump, we’d expect them to have gotten a day off at some point, to clear their head if nothing else. Kendall has started every game since May 31st.

But at least his veteran influence is helping the pitching staff. After all, without him the Royals might not have the…uh…second-worst ERA in the American League? The Royals publicly stated that Kendall was brought in largely to help nurture the enigmatic arms of Luke Hochevar and Kyle Davies. Hochevar, as discussed, has been better, but 1) he hasn’t been that much better, not yet; 2) he could have been expected to improve regardless of who was catching him; 3) the improvement we have seen from Hochevar seems to be temporally associated with the arrival of Yost, not Kendall. As for Davies, he has a 5.48 ERA and seems to be the same slightly-above-replacement-level starter he’s always been.

So, to recap: Jason Kendall is on pace to start more games behind the plate than any catcher in 40 years. His surprising bat is starting to go dead. His veteran influence and leadership have not translated into better pitching performances. He’s thrown out only 24% of opposing basestealers; the league average is 28%. He turns 36 in two weeks. He’s under contract for another season.

I stand by my original position: signing Kendall was a mistake. The sad thing is, it didn’t have to be. If the Royals would just show a modicum of restraint in the way they’re using Kendall, he might actually be an asset.

That’s the funny thing about common sense. It’s distinctly less common than you’d think.

- Speaking of stopgaps under contract for another season, Yuniesky Betancourt is…Yuniesky Betancourt is…it’s hard for me to write these words…playing better than I expected.

Admittedly, he could hardly have played worse. But as I write this, Yuni is batting .281/.310/.424. Those numbers are a dead ringer for his performances several years ago; in 2006, he hit .289/.310/.403, and in 2007, he hit .289/.308/.418. This is who he is at his best: a shortstop who can hit .280, and has more power than the Rey Sanchezes of the world, but whose abhorrence of the walk prevents him from being even a league-average hitter.

Having said that, I must concede that while his numbers this year are virtually identical to his numbers from 3 and 4 years ago, the value of those numbers is not, because the overall offensive numbers for the AL have dropped significantly this year. In 2006, the AL batting line as a whole was .275/.339/.437. This year, the average AL hitter has a line of .261/.332/.410. Those numbers figure to go up a little now that we’re into the warm part of the season, but that’s a very real drop, and it means that Betancourt’s numbers are better than they look.

Yuni, in fact, is challenging my statement that he’s “even a league-average hitter”. His OPS+ at the moment is 98, which is to say he’s a rounding error away from average. And that’s average for all hitters – it’s considerably above-average for a shortstop. (The line for all AL shortstops is .260/.316/.366.) Betancourt’s OPS+ is essentially the same as Alberto Callaspo and Mike Aviles, who both sport 99s at the moment.

Betancourt’s defense still rates as bad, and while I Am Not A Scout™, I’d be hard-pressed to argue with the statistics based on what I’ve seen. Betancourt has never had much of a problem ranging to the hole, but he has an almost comical lack of range to his left side. Basically, if there’s a ball hit up the middle, the only way it’s turning into an out is if 1) the Royals have the shift on, or 2) the second baseman can get to it. Yuni won’t.

Last year, Betancourt’s defense rated as 20 runs below average for the season, which is abysmal. This season, he’s on pace to be about 10 runs below average. Those numbers correspond, I think, to the general perception of his defense: better than last year, but still bad.

If he can maintain this pace, Betancourt’s going to make the Royals look awfully smart, and make a lot of analysts – myself included – look awfully dumb. A shortstop who hits around the overall league average, even with subpar defense, has value. To a team that was trotting Tony Pena Jr. out there this time last season, it has a lot more value. Given that Daniel Cortes, the main prospect the Royals surrendered to get him, has a 6.54 ERA in Double-A at the moment…you get the idea.

I remain unconvinced that Betancourt can continue to play this well. After the trade last season, in a larger sample size than we’ve seen this year, he hit .240/.269/.370. In 131 career games with the Royals, his line is .259/.288/.395. If that’s the real Yuni, then he remains a true liability for a team that can play Aviles at shortstop and wants to give Chris Getz the opportunity to prove himself every day.

But the possibility that Dayton Moore and the Royals will eventually be proven right about a trade that was savaged by everyone outside the organization – scouts, analysts, sportswriters, fans – has to be acknowledged. I’ve always tried to let the evidence guide my opinions, no matter where the evidence leads. If that means using my face to crack an egg, and washing that egg down with a black gamy bird, so be it.

At this point, the jury is still out. And I still hold out every hope that Christian Colon makes Betancourt expendable at the end of next season. I suspect the Royals feel the same way.

- Finally, to end on an inarguably happy note: David DeJesus is on pace for his finest season. In 17 games since the birth of his son, he’s hitting .429/.493/.619, bringing his seasonal line to .314/.392/.479. His numbers are eerily similar to Billy Butler’s, except of course he’s a fine-fielding corner outfielder as opposed to a below-average first baseman.

Bob Dutton has an article today which explores the Royals’ options when it comes to DeJesus, who can be kept for another season if they so choose. I plan to write about this more later, but of all the players the Royals might conceivably trade in the next 2 months – and there are a ton of them – DeJesus might be the only one whose absence would significantly hurt the team in 2011. If he is to be traded, it needs to be for quite a haul, particularly since whatever team trades for him would almost certainly get one draft pick (and possibly two) when he leaves for free agency.

I just wanted to bring DeJesus’ numbers to your attention because I think he’s one of the most underrated players in the history of the franchise. He’s spent the equivalent of about 6 full seasons on the team’s roster, and he’s beginning to enter the all-time Royals leaderboard in several categories.

He’s played in 847 games, 13th all-time, but just 50 games behind John Mayberry in 9th place.

He has 933 hits (9th).

He has 182 doubles (8th).

He has 45 triples (7th).

He has 489 runs (10th).

He has 383 RBIs (12th).

Heck, even his 61 career homers ranks 17th on the Royals’ list. And with 70 HBPs, he’s just 8 behind Mike Macfarlane’s team record.

So I’ll just throw this out there, and feel free to discuss in the comments. If DeJesus were traded tomorrow, I’d vote him to be included in the Royals’ Hall of Fame when he’s eligible. And I’m optimistic that one day he will find himself enshrined there.

57 comments:

Anonymous said...

DeJesus in the backbone of the Royals. He goes out and produces every night with the bat or the glove or his feet. He is the Royals to the fan for this decade and synomanous to Kansas City and it's people and the identity we want to protray.

Anonymous said...

That is truly incredible!

David Dejesus has just been so steady for so long I really have just taken him for granted.

To see how far up he is in some of those all time categories makes me have to agree with you - he's a Royals hall of famer. And if he finished this season and plays at least half of the next for the Royals then he's an absolute shoo in. He may even go down as a Top 5 player.

Really amazing. I think we fans need to appreciate him more!

Jeff

Anonymous said...

We would have to get something big big big in return for David. He is why mlb is so fascinating to follow. Is he worth this much to another team?

There are better hitters, base runners, outfield arms, gap power, on and on........but how many players could have done what David did over the past 6 years. Always with a smile on his face. Pay him and let him retire a Royal.

I love to watch him play!

kcghost said...

DDJ is quietly having a nice career. The problem with the atrocious signings of Kendall and Betancourt is that they were for multiple years.

Curtis said...

The bottom line for me is we have to have Gordon and K'ila in the lineup with the big league club everyday sometime soon.

Guillen will be one of the casualties - he is no part of the future, and so we are playing him now to trade him.

If Gordon is going to be a corner outfielder, then either Maier, Podsednik, or DeJesus has to give way. Of those, it is clear to me that DeJesus would have the most value to a contender. And with an option year that is reasonably priced, you are getting a good player for a year and a half, not just for a couple of months. So I think it just makes sense to move him.

But I have appreciated his play and his professionalism day in and day out the last several years.

Quality said...

Next post: Will the Royals trade DeJesus and, if so, what should they target?

sw said...

"But after the worst sustained streak of pitching from Greinke in two years (he gave up 21 runs in 24 innings over four starts in late May and early June, 2008)"
Huh. Maybe Zack just goes into some weird annual slump around this time of year. Even last year's late May to mid-June featured a dismal 20 runs (15 earned) in 26 innings over four starts. Weather warming up requires transition in approach, or something? The failure to discover his mechanical flaw is just so Royals however. Mike Boddicker's been talking about it on 810 for weeks and they only just now fixed it. What exactly do the coaches and scouts do such that they don't find these things in time (Hochevar's tipping pitches last year being another example)? Everybody else's top starters were working out the kinks in their mechanics back in April!

And Jason Kendall's playing time seems to be some kind of joke around the league that baffles opposing announcers. The Royals are the only people convinced that he has positive influence on the staff, since it certainly doesn't show up in the statistics. I can only conclude that he's Yost's Gil Meche, the guy who bullies the manager into more staying out there long past regard for his own health and effectiveness.

Anonymous said...

383 RBIs is 12th for the Royals' all time list? That sounds crappy. That's three seasons for some guys.

Nathan said...

Curtis,

A major league team needs four playable outfielders, not three. Meier and Pods are both well suited to the fourth-outfielder/PH/occasional-DH role. I don't think the Royals need to trade another outfielder after Guillen.

You need 13-14 position players, not 9.

Nathan said...

Rany, I strongly agree about DDJ. He's the second best hitter on a team with two good hitters, yet gets no press. Glad to see you changing that. I also think he is the kind of player who could age well, and hope to see him re-sign with the Royals. There's little question he can contribute to the hopefully competitive KC teams of 2012 and beyond.

setupunchtag said...

I posted most of this on the Star site, but it's appropriate:

DDJ is in the middle of his best season, and he's 30. His value will not likely be higher. He's not someone the Royals are going to give another contract to--or shouldn't--at age 32, when he will be up to re-sign. Keeping him around makes him a stop-gap--an excellent one, but a stop-gap, none-the-less. I like DDJ quite a bit. He doesn't do anything spectacularly, but he does almost everything well. He's a part, not the heart, though. On this team, with the holes in this line-up, he does not have the offense (with the exception of his current season) to play a corner position.

And if the Royals are going to fork out dough to an outfielder, they need a RH bat, not another LH (Moustakas, Hosmer, Kaaihue, Maier, Gordon, Getz all LH, and all figure into the Royals future in some way beyond '11, at this point in time). If Cuddyer is cut lose by the Twins I'd rather have him for a couple of years in RF than DDJ.

Take a look at the Major League rosters and who they have playing LF or RF. Look at who's in contention (and therefore likely seeking to improve themselves), and anwser the question, "Who needs DDJ?". I'll save you the time. Not many. In fact, I would put it to you that there is only one, MAYBE two teams. San Diego, definitely, and possibly Boston. That's IT, folks. I think Elsbury would be worth it but I doubt Boston would--who knows? And San Diego has a number of young excellent bullpen arms.

Rany brings up an excellent point about DeJesus garnering an extra compensation draft pick or two for whomever he leaves to go FA. That has to factor into it, too, if they decide to trade him.

Curtis said...

Nathan,

I'd agree with you, but Yost is not a guy who gets much use out of anyone except his top nine. So long as Gordon and K'ila are in the lineup and Maier or Podsednik is the fourth outfielder, then I am fine with it.

But having Gordon or K'ila get another round of the Betemit treatment doesn't do anyone any good.

We are not talking about a theoretical construction of a lineup, but what the Royals are doing. We all know what they really want is nine regulars, a back-up catcher to play when the lead is 18 or more in either direction, and Bloomquist to be a back-up for all other positions. This way, we can carry 14 pitchers.

Anonymous said...

I don't like the idea of trading David if we can't get a top 20 talent out of someone. The sandwich pick would be of more value. Remember that's where Montgomery came from.

Anonymous said...

You know what's comical, Rany?

I heard Robert Ford, resident idiot on 610, say a few weeks back that no way the Royals pick up the $6m option on DDJ, because he is not worth that.

One of the dumbest comments Ford's ever made, and that's saying something. Fangraphs has his value for this season at over $10m so far. Suffice to say, whether he stays or goes, ANY team in baseball would be glad to excercise that option

Anonymous said...

I back David in the Hall of Fame 110%. He has been a rare bright spot in a dark decade. Nothing makes me sadder than when you see all these Royals Alumni events and the players are all from the 70's and 80's.....plus Joe Randa. The Royals needs to acknowledge the player that David is and what he meant to the club and community while he was here. This is starting to sound like a eulogy.....I don't want to trade him unless we get an offer we can't refuse. We can clear Ankiel, Guillen, and Podsednik to make room for Gordon and others. Let's give next year a real shot.

Dave said...

Quick DeJesus story I read in the Star Letters from a man in Brooklyn some time ago. He wrote in to tell a story about taking his kid to a batting cage in NY. He said the guy in the next cage was just ripping the cover off the ball. When he finished, he walked over to his son's cage and observed him take a couple hacks. After watching him for awhile, he gave some advice and pointers on ways to tweak his swing. The father said the guy spent a good half hour working with his kid. When the father and son were leaving, they asked the man at the front desk who that guy was. The dad was asking if it was some local college player or coach. He was shocked to hear it was David DeJesus of the Kansas City Royals. The Dad said the point of his letter to the Star was to let the fans of KC know what kind of player they had in David DeJesus. Now, if that isn't a stand-up guy and worthy of the KC Hall of Fame I don't know what is.

Jim said...

Wait...you said, "If he can maintain this pace, Betancourt’s going to make the Royals look awfully smart,..." and no one has ripped you yet about being a Dayton-monger? What up with that?

I haven't watched the Royals much this year, but every time I have, "Batter Nine You Sucky" has managed to drive in a couple of runs.
Maybe he is the one we can trade for prospects?

Keep DeJesus! We need someone to root for, and David is the guy for me!

Charles said...

On Betancourt: sample size? Is this sample size relevant yet?

I've still got very serious doubts. This is the best you can possibly get and we got it for 2.5 months... if he now posts 3.5 months of last year's numbers -
well then he'd be the very definition of a worthless ballplayer.

If he posts 3.5 months of numbers about 5% less than his current line we'll be looking at a finish of what? .270/.300/.400 or so.... that would still be valuable.

But what reason do we have to expect that he will?

Furthermore, do we have any reason to expect that he can repeat the season? He's 28 now. That's nearer to a player's peak than he ever will be again. What I hate is that this year - even if good - will be bad because management will not have learnt their lesson.

So, he finishes with .270/.300/.400... whoopdedoo. Next year he starts with an April flourish and he's .300/.330/.430 and we see management decide that the position is filled. Then they trade Colon for some middle relief prospects because he is struggling.

That's the Royal way. That's why I hate Betancourt succeeding for even 2 games. That's why I hated watching Pena hit .267 for one year. That's why I hated watching Podsednik get off to his fast start.... it sets all the stats just high enough to where you can't tell the guy sucks until September. Wait, you can tell the guy sucks way before September.... you have to look at more than one season's worth of stats...

That isn't the Royal way either.

keith jersey said...

Then they trade Colon for some middle relief prospects because he is struggling.

That's the Royal way.

Charles, what top prospect did the Royals trade away that you regret recently? They have kept all of their top guys and they are playing in Omaha, NW Arkansas, and Wilmington right now.

keith jersey said...

Then they trade Colon for some middle relief prospects because he is struggling.

That's the Royal way.

Charles, what top prospect did the Royals trade away that you regret recently? They have kept all of their top guys and they are playing in Omaha, NW Arkansas, and Wilmington right now.

Jackie Ballgame said...

Rany's right, it doesn't make any sense to trade Dejesus. Anthony Ranaudo, Bryce Brentz, and Asher Wojciechowski were some of the names taken in the sandwich round this year (and last time WE had a sandwich pick we took Mike Montgomery). These are all high ceiling players; I'd say two of those in exchange for Dejesus is a damn good return, which is exactly what we'll get if/when he leaves via free agency.

It was very frustrating for me to watch the Redsox get first round picks this year and the perennially contending Angels get FIVE first round picks. If we are going to compete we must find a way to get ourselves a sandwich pick or two every year (we never did get one for Grudzielanek--insert frowny face).

I would argue that trading Dejesus even for a Danny Duffy level prospect is simply not a good enough return. Trading him for someone's version of Duffy and, say, Johnny Giovotella is still not good enough; I wouldn't even take those two + Manny Pina or Salvador Perez. Why? Because by not trading him and simply letting him walk when his contract expires, we get Bryce Brentz and Anthony Ranaudo, or Mike Montgomery, or Johnny Damon. Sandwich picks are just huge difference makers, it can't be overstated.

If you want to make room for Gordon--and that must happen too--trade Scotty Podsenik for a bag o baseballs.

Charles said...

ok - none on the top prospects...

so I amend the previous statement - then they trade away Mike Aviles because the position is filled.

Bryan said...

Rany, good stuff as usual.

Jackie is dead on. He is priced right for this year and next year, and then there is most likely two picks for him. Getting his production for two years and then getting two picks is better than almost anything that could be received now.

Unless you could get the Yankess or Twins catching prospect. Then I would pull the trigger.

Also, Gordon and Kila need to be called up yesterday. Trade Podsednik, Ankiel and Guillen as soon as possible.

I really like Maier. I still think he is developing and he could develop into any everyday CF. I agree that his production currently is a fourth outfielder but I think he is still coming into his own.

Rany, when you go back to discussing the minors can you discuss whether or not you think Myers will be moved to OF, and if the consensus is that he will, what is the holdup?

As for DeJesus for the Royals Hall, I don't think so yet, but after another two years he would probably be in.

paul said...

What about moving hosmer to the outfield? Plus arm, and he's fairly athletic. Rightfield would seem ideal. keep ddj. Cut guillen and ankiel yesterday. And while at it, make soria a starter.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised Rany the Traitor got Daytons balls out of his mouth long enough to spout out another puff piece.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised Rany the Traitor got Daytons balls out of his mouth long enough to spout out another puff piece.

Chris M said...

Anon @ 7:17 is the reason kids shouldn't be allowed on the computer without supervision. What an idiot.

As for DeJesus, unless we do get bowled over by a trade offer we should keep him, pick up the CHEAP option on him next year and then let him go free agent. But everyone has to remember that the Royals have to offer arbitration to get the draft picks and he has to decline. Will the Royals do that? That is why the draft is so ridiculous, allowing the good teams to pick up extra picks. The Angels with five picks before the Royals make their 2nd pick is stupid beyond belief. But MLB has their head in the sand, as usual, and wont do anything about it.

Ted said...

Looking forward to more on our minor league guys, especially Wil Myers.

Anonymous said...

If the Royals offer arbitration, then the question would be, does Dejesus reject or accept it? At 32, his best option might be to take the arbitration and get a raise on that $6mm option that the Royals most assuredly will exercise.

setupunchtag said...

"It was very frustrating for me to watch the Redsox get first round picks this year and the perennially contending Angels get FIVE first round picks."

ABSOLUTELY, Jackie Ballgame. The whole sandwich pick thing needs to be overhauled. First, NO playoff team should get a sandwich pick. Period. Secondly, Type 'B' FA's should be picked after the 3rd round. This draft there were freaking 20 picks. It's like a whole other round. What a crock. Had the above system existed the Royals would have picked 39th instead of 54th in the 2nd round. It's yet another part of baseball that does NOTHING to improve competitive balance (in fact, it makes it worse) and is yet another inequity in favor of the larger markets. Ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

So some of you are suggesting that MLB should penalize teams that are successful, teams that sign and develop quality players and win with them, by denying them compensation picks when they lose free agents. But teams that are unsuccessful should be able to get the picks.

I'm sorry, but that's bosh. The only reason the Royals never get sandwich picks is because they always trade away their best players before they get free agency. We're told that this is because they Royals can't afford to pay them--yet the Royals seem to have millions of dollars they can spend on people like Jacobs, Podsednik, Ankiel, Betancourt, Farnsworth and Kendall (when there are 50 guys in Triple-A who can do the same things just as well for the minimum salary). There's also the point that in trading away these players, the Royals should presumably get top-notch prospects who are just as valuable as sandwich picks in the draft. Of course, the Royals usually trade for guys like Neifi Perez. It's not the fault of the Angels or Red Sox if the Royals get fleeced in trades, and they shouldn't lose their compensation picks because the Royals are incompetent.

The Royals certainly don't play on a level playing field with the Angels or Red Sox, who play in larger markets and therefore have more money. But the playing field isn't stacked so badly that the Royals can't win; the Twins win every year with the same handicaps as the Royals. The difference is that the Twins don't trade Joe Mauer for a stiff so they don't have to pay him, and they don't sign five stiffs at $2 million each so they can't afford to pay Joe Mauer. Instead, the Twins prefer to give that money to Joe Mauer.

Jason Dixon said...

"The only reason the Royals never get sandwich picks is because they always trade away their best players before they get free agency."

Who would that be? Octavio Dotel? He's the only Type B guy Moore's traded at the break and he's traded zero Type A players.

"the Twins win every year with the same handicaps as the Royals."

Win what? Their division? The Twins haven't been in or won a WS in 19 years. They're really the paradigm of small market success, aren't they?

Anyway, anonymous commenters are gutless and are either completely uncreative or too lazy to even come up with a handle. Stand by your words with your own name. It's bosh.

KHAZAD said...

DDJ would be a bargain at $6 million. It would be terrible to trade him, because we would not get good enough value for him.

I have my own version of Runs above average which takes into account hitting, baserunning and fielding. More years than not (including last year) DDJ is the #1 position player on the Royals.

Yes, part of that is the team, but he is definitely the most under rated Royal ever.

Nathan said...

Does anyone here (Rany too, of course) think the Royals can compete in 2011? It seems to me that would change the equation with regard to trading DDJ. I still would rather see the Royals keep him--peak age isn't uniform and DeJesus' trends are still good--but I can certainly see the argument the other way if we're going to punt 2011 already. But if competing next year is a goal, I really think you have to be blown away by the trade offer to pull that trigger.

Curtis, I see your point, but think the solution is for GMDM to have a quiet word with Yost, not to assume the horrible roster management will continue forever.

Nathan said...

Also, even if we can't compete--and I think the something bad would have to happen to the Twins--is a solid 80+ win season a legitimate intermediary goal while we wait for the kids to grow up? It's not hard to see an average-plus lineup next year, and the pitching has its moments, too.

You don't sell the farm for 80 wins, but a decent season has some value to such a moribund franchise. Keeping someone like DeJesus could partly pay for itself at the gate. Measure that, plus 2 draft-picks, plus the lotto-ticket possibility that Morneau and Mauer collide at the plate during spring training (or somesuch), and it seems to me that we should be in no rush to trade our best position player so far this year.

Anonymous said...

Wow Rany. When you decide to sell out you do it in style! First, Dayton is doing a great job and now Betancourt is a good SS? Wow. Just wow.

Nevermind, lost in all this Dayton Is Great mania, this team is 10 games under .500 and on pace to lose 90. Again. In. Year. Four.

But I guess major league records no longer matter huh? I guess because this team starts one of the most unlikeable, untalented lineups in history: Pods, Kendall, Bloomquist often, Ankiel soon, Betancourt, and Guillen. Does anybody LIKE this collection of mercanaries? Anyone proud they wear a KC jersey? This team is garbage and Dayton shows ZERO ability to build a major league roster. But I guess that wins and losses at the major league level no longer matter...

Thanks for another poorly thought out puff piece, Rany. Does Dayton Moore write your articles now? When did you become such a mouthpiece for the regime?

Your ex-fans deserve an anwser to why you turned into another Kaegal or Dutton. Seriously, what did Dayton give you?

Thanks for the hard hitting journalism Rany. You should be real proud. Everytime you look in the mirror I hope you are ashamed.

First Dayton is great and now Yuni? Seriously?

Dave said...

I think it is only fair for Rany to acknowledge Yuni's year. I think the Yuni trade caused him to have a stroke and go so far as to claim "I'm done". It takes a big man to acknowledge a mistake and Rany has by recognizing Yuni's start. Will he keep it up? Unlikely, but isn't that part of being a fan? Hoping that he does?

bankmeister said...

1) It's hard to quantify favorite posts on this site, but considering the drought of feel-good posts around this time last year, this one ranks pretty high up there. Well done, sir.

2) The Yuni' stuff kills me. It's been difficult to ascertain whether or not I've enjoyed his thus-far, above-expectations performance this year, but it translates to wins, so I dig it.

I was very, very pleased to read this: "he has an almost comical lack of range to his left side...if there’s a ball hit up the middle, the only way it’s turning into an out is if 1) the Royals have the shift on, or 2) the second baseman can get to it. Yuni won’t."

This drives me insane. It's like watching tennis when those good shots seem getable and the players don't even try. Sometimes it looks like he doesn't even try for grounders up the middle.

What's more is the quote from the anonymous sponsor of Yuni's B.R. page: "According to one scout, well respected by the sponsor of this page, Yuniesky Betancourt is a serious dark horse in the American League MVP race."

I'd like to smoke some of what that human being is rolling.

3) I can think of no bigger head-scratcher than the Kendall starts. Give him. A day. Off. I'm begging you.

4) David DeJesus has been my favorite Royal since he debuted in Kansas City. Absolutely love the guy. Love the comments and stories about him in this post, and I've been thinking all season that this will be his last with the team. I don't want that. At all. He's meant more to this team than Mike Sweeney did in the early part of the decade: the constant beacon of hope in that dark, dark tunnel of losses.

5) It's amazing what a little slice of optimism, flanked by occasional win streaks, does for the baseball soul.

Thanks again, Rany.

Anonymous said...

I guess Rany needs to write another "the sky is falling" article for the head hunters to be happy.

Really, you guys are pathetic. You sit at home all day long and bash Rany and Dayton, without even understanding what the issues are that Moore has had to deal with. Rany has finally, and has seen the vast improvements to the overall organization that Moore has made. I do grant you that it hasn't yet translated into major league wins yet, but it was a lot of long, losing years under Terry Ryan before the Twins started winning too.

Do I like the moves for Kendall and Yuni, and Farnsworth, etc? Heck no. But like I've said before, someone has to play on the big league team. And it's not like any of them are blocking major league ready talent right now either.

Anonymous said...

So Guillen isn't blocking Kila?

Think before you write, tool.

Anonymous said...

DeJesus is far better than he gets credit for being. He should be signed to an extension and can become part of the resurgent future Royals with Moose, Hosmer and a bevy of fine young pitchers. And as agood as Yuni has been, I still look forward to him being gone and perhaps Aviles at SS and Getz at second.

Anonymous said...

There are a lot of things that could go wrong between now and opening day 2012. for all we know, Dejesus regresses next year and or gets hurt and the royals offer him arbitration and he takes it, so then we are left with a guy that we kept so we could maybe get some draft picks for but then get nothing. And he is not guaranteed to be a type A guy anyways, not with free agency a year away. Im not saying they should trade him. Im just saying that the reasons for keeping him shouldnt start with the thought that he will automatically get us two draft picks.

Anonymous said...

Kila is not the answer, idiot. If he was such an overwhelming prospect, why hasn't some other team attempted to trade for him?

Besides, Guillen is gone after this year, hopefully before the end of the year.

Anonymous said...

We don't know if Kila is the answer or not. That's the point moron. We will never know as long as mercenaries like Guillen block him.

Anonymous said...

>>We don't know if Kila is the answer or not.>>

For that matter, we don't KNOW if I'm the answer or not. I've never been given a chance to prove that I can't hit at the major league level. However, Since I haven't played baseball since I was twelve, it's a safe bet that I'm not.

To a less drastic extent you could say the same about Kila

What most fans these days seem to forget is that stats don't predict the future. They just tell us what happened in the past. That's helpful to some extent, but there is a reason teams hire MANY more scouts than they hire people to evaluate the statistics.

Kila's attitude and the hole in his swing is blocking his path to the majors at least as much as Guillen is.

Anonymous said...

>> he's a Royals hall of famer. And if he finished this season and plays at least half of the next for the Royals then he's an absolute shoo in>>

I like the guy too, but I really dont see that happening. On a contending club he'd be the fourth outfielder unless someone got hurt. He's a slightly above average player on teams that were very much below average. That makes him look better by comparison

>> He may even go down as a Top 5 player.>>

Now you're just being silly. Never been an all-star. Never won a batting title. No MVP. No Gold gloves. No post seasons. As far as I remember he's never lead the AL in anything except getting hit by pitches.

He might make the top 50 list, but not the top five. And if you count pitchers as 'players" he wouldn't even make that list.

Anonymous said...

>>I think it is only fair for Rany to acknowledge Yuni's year. I think the Yuni trade caused him to have a stroke and go so far as to claim "I'm done".>>

It's not like it was the first time he's done that. He does that at least five times per season.

keith jersey said...

DeJesus a 4th outfielder for a contender???

He is hitting almost .330 with nearly .400 obp. Please show me the team that has 3 outfielders better than that.

Typical of his time in KC, DeJesus doesnt get enough credit from the fans because he doesn't hit enough HR. Funny thing is, if other guys could hit the homeruns, nobody would care. He would be hailed as a great table setter.

Ted said...

I love DeJesus, but I would accept a trade involving him if it brought back quality talent. Trouble is, I don't think many teams would offer quality talent, and I don't trust Dayton Moore to get us decent players in a DDJ trade.

Also, and off topic, Wil Myers! Wil. Myers.

Matt Davis said...

Rany - speaking of the Kendall mistake, I have had a question on my mind recently.

Why in the world did the Royals let Miguel Olivo go? Sure, I know he can't block a ball to save his life, and he strikes out too much.

But it is uncanny to me that he was the personal catcher for Greinke during his Cy Young season and, at a 2 million dollar salary, he is now catching this year's probably NL Cy Young winner. Jimenez was no slouch last year, but this year he is a phenom.

I know you mention that the Royals have found a mechanical issue that has led to Greinke's recent struggles, but in the middle of said struggles I kept thinking about how Greinke last year used to give so much credit to "Miggy". When you have Zack under contract, why bat an eye at retaining a 2 million dollar backup catcher that he likes to throw to? Especially when that catcher does still have some pop in his bat?

I have no stats to back me up - just the dreaded hunches and intuition. But is there something to Miguel Olivo potentially catching back to back Cy Young winners on different teams. Was he key to Greinke's performance? Was letting him go one of the worst mistakes Moore has made, despite his very obvious flaws?

Kansas City said...

Great point on Olivo catching Greinke and now Jimenez.

It is awful to see Olivo and Buck having big years. Olivo at 133 ops+ and Buck at 125. Olivo is pls 7 in fielding and throwing out over 50% of runners.

Even putting the idiocy of Kendall to one side, how could the Royals misjudge TWO catchers on their roster, each of whom is now a successful starter with a better team. Amazing.

SydHawk said...

Rany -- we're now 2 games over .500 in the Yost Era with pretty much the same personnel that Hillman drove to the cellar. Would love to see your analysis of why this is the case. Is it as simple as Yost being a better manager? If so, what of substance is he doing differently? Other factors?

keith jersey said...

Sydhawk,
Without doing too much analysis, I think its the bullpen that is making the difference in wins and losses. They simply aren't blowing leads like they did earlier this year. 4 of the 7 relievers that KC broke spring training with are no longer on the team(which make me wonder if the Royals really understand what spring training is about-this seems to happen to them alot). Yost has given them defined roles, which relievers always say makes their job easier. Hillman had this idea that his gut could always pick the right reliever for the right situation and the bullpen was terrible during his tenure.

Anonymous said...

In light of the success that Yost has been having, I believe it is now clear that Trey Hillman should commit seppuku!

Skurd said...

What happened to Rany on the Radio? I know last week he got bumped by all of the Big 12 stuff, and frankly I was pretty pissed. Do we really need 12 hours a day of the same subject? Today I was looking for the podcast of the show that was supposed to run last night, but alas it is not there. Did Rany get bumped again? The Royals are actually not completely embarrassing and I would certainly rather listen to Rany than more Big 12 analysis, or hear about Keitzman's golf game. What can we do to help insure that you keep your regular spot on Thursdays?

Anonymous said...

Kila is not the answer people. He's a AAAA player at best. No one, other than the stat-geeks that are on this board, are falling all over themselves to have him on their big league roster. No one. There's a reason for that. He's not that good.

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