Saturday, August 7, 2010

Zack Speaks. Everyone Freaks.

As Sam Mellinger writes, the lot of being a Royals fan is that bad news trails after good like ants after a picnic basket. One moment we’re riding high, secure in the knowledge that Jose Guillen is gone and Kila Ka’aihue has a spot in the everyday lineup. The next, we’re laid low by our franchise player, who’s telling us in his own inimitable way, it’s not him, it’s us.

“There’s no reason for me to get real excited about it,” he said, “because the chance of more than one of them making a major impact by the time my contract is up is pretty slim.”

“It depends more on the team now,” he acknowledged. “We’ll see. This is at least the third full re-start/rebuilding phase since I’ve been here. And, obviously, none of them have worked. This one hasn’t even really started yet.”

“It’s not real exciting to have to go through it again,” he said. “It’s been six years with me, and most people (who are Royals fans) have been through a lot more than I have. But for me, it’s the third complete re-start/rebuilding phase.”

That’s not the part that hurts. The part that hurts is that he’s right. There’s nothing like the reality of the present to splash cold water on the dreams of the future.

At times like this, I prefer to take counsel from my trusty copy of The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, where it helpfully says on the front cover, in all capital letters, “DON’T PANIC”.

Seriously, everyone. Let’s all just take a chill pill – you too, Dayton – and think this through before we do something stupid.

Greinke’s words already have people arguing that the Royals should trade him as soon as possible. As I see it, here’s the thought process:

1) Greinke is fed up with all the losing.

2) As a result of being fed up with all the losing, Greinke wants out as soon as his contract is up in 2012.

3) While the Royals might be better in 2012, they’re probably not going to be ready to truly contend until 2013 or 2014.

4) Rather than keep Greinke now, only to have him leave right before the team is ready to contend, it’s better to trade him now for prospects who will accelerate the rebuild and be ready to contribute in 2013 and beyond.

Let’s address these one by one:

- Greinke is fed up with all the losing.

If I can quote Colonel James here: Oh, you think so, Doctor? You think playing for a team that’s lost at least 87 games every year of his career, that has a record of 431-650 since his debut season of 2004, might have worn him down some? The Royals have a .399 winning percentage over the last seven years. A .399 winning percentage. When the New York Yankees were the laughingstock of baseball in 1990, finishing with the worst record in the game, they had a .414 winning percentage. The Chicago White Sox, to pick a team at random that isn’t known for its history of success, have had two seasons with a winning percentage under .400 since 1951. The Royals have averaged under .400 for nearly seven seasons.

Of course he’s fed up with all the losing. I’m fed up with all the losing, and I can turn off the TV when I can’t take it any more. If Greinke wasn’t fed up, I’d have to seriously question his commitment to winning in the first place.

- As a result of being fed up with all the losing, Greinke wants out as soon as his contract is up in 2012.

This is what has everyone up in a panic, but I don’t think it’s nearly so cut-and-dried. I have no doubt that if the Royals are still losing in 2012, Greinke will want out, and won’t re-sign under any circumstances. I had no doubt that this was the case before he spoke out.

“Very rarely do guys come straight into the big leagues and make an impact, especially hitters,” he said. “Just look at the top prospects in baseball. Delmon Young was one five years ago, and he’s finally starting to play well.

“Alex Gordon was one four years ago, and he might be starting to play well now. So the problem (with the Royals’ prospects) is that it’s not like as soon as they get here that it’s going to be instant (success). Maybe by 2014.”

I don’t get the impression from Greinke’s comments that he’s upset with the way the team is playing now. I think he’s frustrated because he’s hearing all this talk about a youth movement, but the youth movement hasn’t even arrived yet. I think he’s frustrated because he – not unreasonably, I might add – figures that if Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer and Michael Montgomery aren’t even supposed to arrive in Kansas City until the middle of 2011, what are the odds that they’ll actually be ready to be in contention by 2012, with just a half-season of experience?

That’s a fascinating question, and one that deserves its own column. But for now, let’s acknowledge the fact that Greinke isn’t saying he’s made up his mind that he’s gone after 2012. He’s saying that, based on what he sees, he doesn’t think the team will be competitive in 2012, and if it’s not, he’s out of here. He might be right. But he might be wrong. The beauty of this question is that it doesn’t have to be answered right now, because Greinke can’t go anywhere of his own accord for two more seasons. So why not wait and see?

- While the Royals might be better in 2012, they’re probably not going to be ready to truly contend until 2013 or 2014.

By happy coincidence, the day after Greinke made his comments, Kevin Goldstein published an article at Baseball Prospectus entitled “Ladies and Gents: Your 2013 Kansas City Royals.”

When I revealed my Top 25 Prospects list last week, I thought about including a hypothetical roster for the Royals in their first game after hosting the 2012 All-Star Game. I decided against it because it seemed a little too optimistic, even for me – it was a roster in which ALL 25 PLAYERS had spent their entire major-league career with the Royals, and something like 20 of the 25 players are still in the minors today. It just seemed unrealistic that a team could put together a roster that was THAT young and THAT home-grown.

And then Goldstein, who’s never been accused of being a Royals fan, publishes a roster that’s almost the exact same one.

Everyday Starters
C: Lucas May
1B: Eric Hosmer
2B: Christian Colon
3B: Mike Moustakas
LF: Alex Gordon
CF: Derrick Robinson
RF: Wil Myers
DH: Billy Butler

C: Manny Pina
CI: Kila Ka'aihue
MI: Mike Aviles
OF: Mitch Maier
UT: Ed Lucas

The only 2 significant differences I had was that I had Myers behind the plate, Hosmer in right field, and Ka’aihue at first base; and I had Colon at shortstop and Johnny Giavotella at second base. The first one is a case of wishful thinking, I know; the odds that Myers can develop behind the plate in time are slim. But I really do think that the Royals are committed to Colon at shortstop, even with less-than-perfect range. (If they can put up with Yuni at shortstop, Colon should be a piece of cake.)

ST1: Zack Greinke
ST2: John Lamb
ST3: Mike Montgomery
ST4: Chris Dwyer
ST5: Sean O'Sullivan

CL: Joakim Soria
SU: Tim Collins
RH: Louis Coleman
LH: Danny Duffy
MR: Luke Hochevar
MR: Aaron Crow

The only difference here is that I put Hochevar in the rotation instead of O’Sullivan. Really, the problem is that the Royals simply have too many good starters right now; Hochevar or Duffy could both slot into the rotation, as could Tim Melville or Tyler Sample if they break out next year. There’s no reason to worry about this right now; injuries have a way of thinning the herd.

Take a look at that roster, and for completeness’ sake add Giavotella and slide Colon to shortstop. O’Sullivan pitched for the Angels; the other 24 guys have never played a game for another major-league team. Aside from Greinke, the only players who will definitely be arbitration-eligible are Soria, Butler, Gordon, Aviles, and Maier. That’s a team that’s young, that’s cheap, and that ought to be competitive at the very least.

An e-mail from a scout last night led to a deeper thought, however, as he sketched a quick outline of a Royals roster of the future, leading me to put some real detailed thought into the process. What I came up with surprised even me. "This team could be really good," said the scout. "I realize that's weird, and like saying the Los Angeles Clippers are going to be good, where it just doesn't sound right, but that's a lot of talent."

This is Goldstein’s vision of the 2013 Royals. The only difference between the 2012 and 2013 Royals is that Greinke is a free agent. Butler and Gordon would be free agents after 2013; Soria, Aviles, and Maier after 2014. Everyone else is under contract through 2016.

I have no doubt that the Royals ought to be a better team in 2013 and 2014 than they will be in 2012, even if Greinke doesn’t re-sign. But it’s simply too early to write off 2012 yet. You don’t see waves of young talent crest on a single team at the same time very often. When it happens, the results can be immediate and spectacular.

The 1991 Braves weren’t as young as people think – their entire infield was made up of veterans – but the pitching staff was young and talented, as the only pitchers over the age of 25 to start for the Braves were Rick Mahler, who made 2 starts, and Charlie Leibrandt. The Braves lost 97 games in both 1989 and 1990. In 1991, they were just 39-40 at the All-Star Break, then went 55-28 in the second half to take the division.

The 2007 Devil Rays lost 96 games, after losing 101 games the year before, but they had a very young rotation as well – just 20 starts came from pitchers over the age of 25. In 2008, a 26-or-younger pitcher started every game of the season, the lineup added a 22-year-old rookie named Evan Longoria, B.J. Upton moved to centerfield, they traded for Matt Garza, the defense went from sucktastic to stellar, and they won the AL pennant.

The odds that the 2012 Royals do that are slim – with the exception of Longoria and Steve Avery, the key players on both teams had spent a full season in the majors. But then again, the 2012 Royals don’t have to be as good as the Braves and Rays – who won 94 and 96 games – to be competitive. A winning season would be enough to be “competitive” in the AL Central, and more to the point, would be enough to convince Greinke that the Royals are worth re-signing with.

Maybe it’s a pipe dream. But it’s a dream holding on to anyway. Look at that team again – Soria is under a team-friendly contract, Aviles and Maier are backups, and the only other guys on the roster that can expect to earn seven figures are Gordon and Butler. (Actually Crow, by virtue of his major-league contract, would as well.) The entire roster, sans Greinke, would likely cost no more than $25 million, $30 million tops. Even if they re-sign Greinke, you’re looking at $45-50 million in payroll. Even David Glass would understand that he can afford to pay for one or two choice free agents to take the team over the hump.

And that’s the danger of trading Greinke now – not only do you trade his contract in 2011 and 2012, you trade the option to re-sign him for 2013 and beyond. Greinke is that rare superstar player for whom the bright lights hold little appeal. Rather than worrying that Greinke wants to leave, we should be thankful that there’s any chance that he’d want to stay in the first place. Think about how hard it is for the Royals to land top free-agents, how they offered millions to Torii Hunter and were rebuffed, how Andruw Jones told them their money was no good here, and how they were forced to settle for Jose Guillen.

The Royals have 90% of a contending roster in place for 2013 – the 90% that gives you tremendous value for your money. What they need is the 10% of the roster that takes 30-40% of the payroll, but provides the star power that’s backed up by the other 90%. The Royals have the luxury that they can seriously contemplate going after the best free agents on the market in a year or two. Losing Greinke would take them a step away from that goal.

Hell, if you really want to speed up the rebuilding process, and prove to Greinke that you’re serious about winning, you can go the other way and trade prospects for an established young player. The Royals have so much talent that they could afford to part with some excess. Imagine if the Royals packaged, I don’t know, Chris Dwyer, Johnny Giavotella, and Tyler Sample. Could they go to, say, the Orioles, and offer that package for Nick Markakis? Markakis is 26 years old and under contract through at least 2014. He’s making $11 million on his current contract, but the Royals could easily afford that given this roster, and afford the prospects too.

Maybe that’s not enough to get Markakis, although I think it’s a good starting point. But the point is that by virtue of having a stellar farm system, the Royals have a LOT of options at their disposal. They can trade prospects, and they can take on payroll – the two hardest things for any organization to do in today’s game. The ability to do those things should help the Royals land a player like Greinke, not trade him away.

- Rather than keep Greinke now, only to have him leave right before the team is ready to contend, it’s better to trade him now for prospects who will accelerate the rebuild and be ready to contribute in 2013 and beyond.

If the choice is between trading Greinke now for prospects, or losing him as a free agent and getting the draft picks – yeah, I’d say trade him now. But that’s not the choice. The choice is between trading him now, or trading him in 2011, or trading him in 2012, or letting him go to free agency.

If you hold him now, you get the option to see what happens in 2011. Maybe next year’s team has a little 2003 in them, and gets off to a .500 start into June, when Moustakas comes up and bangs 7 homers in his first month, and Montgomery wins his first three starts, and the team is a game out of first place in July, and the Royals announce that Greinke has signed an extension.

Or maybe the Royals play under .500 and are out of the race in July, but Moustakas comes up and plays well, and Montgomery and Lamb are in the rotation and show a lot of promise, and the Free Eric Hosmer! movement begins in earnest. Maybe Greinke isn’t ready to commit, but the Royals decide they’re close enough that they can make a run in 2012, and they keep him.

Or maybe – perish the thought – the Royals have a season not unlike what’s happened to the Orioles this year, when seemingly every top young player has regressed. In that case, Greinke goes on the market next year…and judging from the haul the Blue Jays got for Roy Halladay with a year-and-a-half left on his deal, the Royals could get two or three additional top prospects. Halladay’s price was inflated by his willingness to sign an extension with the Phillies, but still, there’s no question Greinke would be worth a ton.

Even if the Royals keep him until 2012, and then find themselves still languishing in last place that summer, they can still turn him into a top prospect then. The Mariners turned Cliff Lee into Justin Smoak and three other prospects last month. It was a disappointing return, large because it’s an established fact that the Yankees had offered Jesus Montero – one of the five best hitting prospects in baseball – and change.

If the worst-case scenario to keeping Greinke is that they simply flip him in two years for one of the game’s best prospects…I say keep him. What’s the rush?

The greatest concern I have with Greinke right now isn’t his words, it’s his actions. A day after making his comments, he went out and allowed six runs to the worst offense in baseball. In his previous start, he allowed three runs in eight innings to the Orioles, the worst team in the league; the Orioles ran themselves out of some rallies and Greinke was lucky to escape with the win. The start before that, he allowed eight runs in four innings to the Twins, and the Royals suffered a historic beatdown, 19-1.

If you want to make a case for trading Greinke, the case starts with the argument that he’s not mentally giving his best right now. Unlike last year, when the Royals were in first place early on, and Greinke had personal glory to shoot for late, he really has nothing to pitch for, and we know from experience that Greinke has trouble motivating himself for meaningless games. This is the guy that once said he’d rather pitch for Wichita in a pennant race than for Kansas City when they’re in last place.

Greinke started this year pitching almost as well as last year. But after his start on May 18, when he had a 2.72 ERA and just one win to show for it, he’s been – there is no nice way to put this – pretty awful since. In his last 14 starts, he has a 5.07 ERA. He’s pitched better than his ERA would indicate, and his stuff seems as good as ever – but for whatever reason, the results aren’t there. As tempting as it is to blame Jason Kendall, you have to wonder if his heart isn’t in it.

As Dick Kaegel writes:

This was the first time that Greinke had ever faced the left-handed-hitting Langerhans and he decided to fly by the seat of his pants. He didn't scrutinize Langerhans' tendencies prior to the game.

"I was going to just make good pitches and learn from them as the game went on, but he likes it away, he likes it down a little and it was kind of down, middle away," Greinke said.

Yeah, you might want to do your homework next time, Zack.

But even so, it’s no reason to give up on him. Not giving your all isn’t an admirable trait, but I’d rather have a pitcher that doesn’t get up for meaningless games than one who shies away from the big stage. Greinke’s performance isn’t close to the worst case I’ve ever seen of a pitcher who just mailed it in – Randy Johnson in 1998, who had already decided he was leaving Seattle after the season, and pitched for four months like he had a plane to catch. The Mariners dealt him at the deadline to Houston, and the light bulb immediately went on – Johnson won 10 of his 11 starts with a 1.28 ERA, one of the most impactful trade deadline acquisitions of all time.

Greinke’s struggles bother me. But I don’t think they’re permanent.

DON’T PANIC. If the Royals turn things around in the next two years, I still think Greinke will not only pitch like the pitcher we saw last year, but that he might stay beyond 2012. It’s not like he made these statements in a press conference designed to put pressure on the Royals to trade him immediately. He made these statements on a road trip to Bob Dutton, who by virtue of the fact that he’s there for every single game, is the one member of the media Greinke trusts the most.

“I like Kansas City,” Greinke said. “It’s a town that fits me pretty well. But I don’t know … at least put a team together that has a fighting chance (to win).”

That doesn’t sound like a player who’s got one foot out the door. It sounds like a player who’s fed up with losing, and isn’t going to stick around just based on the promise of a better tomorrow. It sounds like a player who wants to see results.

The Royals have two years to deliver them. I suggest they use all the time they have allotted.

I’m not sure if “DON’T PANIC” is written on the cover of The General Manager’s Guide To The Process. It should be.


Josh said...

Nicely said rant. We will see what turns out but I am
personally optimistic of our future. Greinke seems to be blowing off steam and doesn't seem to be interested in
leaving the club. I do remember him saying
he'd rather pitch for the royals in a
pennant race than anybody.

sw said...

The Royals need to sign someone like Erik Bedard who could push Greinke when healthy. Last year he had the Cy Young to shoot for and the year before his competition with Gil Meche. Greinke enjoys learning from other good pitchers, he ain't learning anything from anyone on the Royals staff, and has gotten bored and lazy. The most alarming thing for me in that article was Greinke saying he felt mentally as drained as he has since 2005, in which he had one of the all time worst seasons by anyone. One of the symptoms of depression is not trying to succeed because it hurts less to fail when you know you didn't try. The efficacy of antidepressant medication does wear off over time in some cases so who knows what's happening there.

Back on the topic of the Royals staff's horribleness, I hope Ned gets a new pitching coach for himself next year. Granted the talent blows, but 5.10 team ERA is not acceptable especially considering how much lower the league ERA is circa last year, and neither are the numerous uncorrected mechanical problems among the pitchers that Mike Boddicker harps on constantly on 810. I also blame Jason Kendall and his tendency to call for pitches in the middle of the plate, but like he's going anywhere *sigh*.

Anonymous said...

Good aritcle Rany, but the one thing that bothers me most about Greinke's comments is that it seems that he SOUGHT out Dutton to say these things

Who knows, maybe I'm making a mountain out of a molehill.


Anonymous said...

Dave Cameron argues against the accepted wisdom about RJ in 1998. Ultimately, he argues that the big unit could have been a bit distracted and we have a textbook argument against judging a pitcher by wins and ERA.

Tom said...


Thank you. Finally the voice of reason, rather than the eviscerating I've been seeing and hearing from virtually every fan, media outlet, blogger and message board regarding this situation. So unbelievably fickle.

This is easily one of the best entries I've read, and again, I thank you. Dynamite stuff Rany, keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

So who is going projected to be free agents in 2012 and 2013?

ChrisM70 said...

Something I haven't heard discussed - How much different would Greinke's pitching (and attitude) be if he still had his "personal catcher" Miguel Olivo instead of the game-starting machine known as Jason Kendall?

KHAZAD said...

Good article. I don't think there is any doubt that Greinke has been bored , unfocused, and not very good lately. I also think with a good #2 and a pennant race he would wake up.

I may not like that he is possibly not giving 100%, but I do not doubt his ability.

Local sports talk is talking about an off season trade THIS YEAR! That would only make sense if you had a crystal ball and knew he would be injured in a major way, and it would be a PR and attendance disaster.

I don't feel that Zack needs to be addressed until 2012.

MightyMO said...

There are two items here. One is how good are the Royals going to be by 2012 ?.. and (2) Will Greinke want to play for the Royals beyond 2012?
The Greinke issue first, since it is the easiest. Greinke is already contracted to make 13.5 million in 2011 and also in 2012. Let's say he has two decent years. Let's say the Royals become good. What are the chances we give Greinke a 100 million 5 yr contract? That's probably what it will take. It's not going to happen, not with a Glass owned team. If the Royals are good, they'll build with on-going prospects on what they have. If the Royals are still bad, they'll try to trade him. The only way we can sign him is to give him a below market offer and he accepts. The odds of that happening is more wishful thinking than reality. Our current option is to enjoy Greinke's services for a year or two more. Greinke playing for the Royals in 2013 is highly unlikely in any scenario.
OK, How about the Royals in 2012?
Greinke is wrong that a team can't turn it around quickly. You only need to look at the Royals in 1983,1984, and 1985. The 1983 Royals won 79 games. In the minors, at AA that year were two pitchers, Bret Saberhagen and Mark Gubicza. Bypassing AAA in 1984, both pitchers played for the major league club and both became starters that year. The 84 Royals were a little better and won 84 games. As you all know, the Royals won the world series in 1985 with Bret winning 20 games and Mark 14 games. The royals didn't get any great positions players in 1985. Lonnie Smith hit .257 replacing Pat Sheridan who hit .282 in '84. Jim Sundberg became the catcher and as a hitter batted .245. Brett and White had good years but Hal McRae had a below average year hitting .259 with 14hr and 70rbi' as the DH. Balboni belted 36 homers but hit only .243. The point here is, other than Brett, the position players, from an offensive standpoint probably are not any better than the position players we can field in 2012. The Royals going into '85 did have three other good starting pitchers along with Saberhagen and Gubicza. The current Royals have one in Grenike. However, with the pitching talent we have in the minors, as acclaimed by the national media, it's quite possible we can have an excellent group of starters in 2012. Along with Greinke, the chances of Montgomery and Lamb being decent MLB pitchers are quite good. Coupled with the chances of Duffy, Dwyer, Sample, and Crow and others being ready by 2012 also are favorable. In addition, the Royals have some excellent relief prospects as well (Collins, Coleman, and B. Hardy). Pitching and defense made the difference in the '85 timeframe. It's very possible the same could occur in 2012. Rany also makes the point that we could ever get a free agent to round out the team where needed. The Royals made a number of very well documented errors in 2009. However the moves in 2010 appear to be very good. We need to stay on this path. If we do, things look very positive in 2012 and beyond with or without Mr. Greinke.
One last quick example. Although the conditions might have been different, Detroit went from 71 wins in 2005 to 95 wins in 2006. It can happen.

Anonymous said...

Not sure how wise is it to try to build a franchise around a pitcher who would need to win his next 8 starts to reach .500, has lived up to his potential one season out seven and has a history of being a flake with mental problems.

If Steve Carlton could win 27 games for a team whose final record was 59-97, is it too much to expect for Grienke to at least win as many as he loses?

Seems about as likely that 2011 Zack will be closer to the 2005 version than 2009 model. Or he might decide he doesn't like pitching anymore and wants to go home again.

Nathan said...

I agree with you, and for that matter, I agree with Greinke. It might be considered impolitic for a player to criticize his team this way, but isn't everything Zack said exactly true? I say if you have a player who doesn't care much when the team sucks but will dominate the league when the team sniffs success, keep that guy. You win when you can, and until then you just get slightly better draft picks.

The only thing that worries me is the risk that Greinke get's injured sometime in the next two years. In fact...

If the worst-case scenario to keeping Greinke is that they simply flip him in two years for one of the game’s best prospects…I say keep him.

This is definitely not the worst-case scenario. The worst-case scenario is that Greinke let's his mechanics get out of whack and blows out his shoulder. Then you get nothing at all either from him or for him.

That said, I don't think the Royals should trade Greinke. The correct response to this kerfuffle is, indeed, DON'T PANIC. A lot can happen in two years.

Chris said...

Great read as always, Rany. You took the time, broke down each possibility, and gave "what if" scenarios. Its a far cry from some of clowns on Royalboard who immediately want to trade Zack because they have "iron clad proof!" he wants to be traded. Maybe that day will come, but as of right now patience is the order of the day. As long as he doesn't get injured, which no one can predict anyway, the Royals options are plentiful. Thanks

Karte said...

I think everyone is missing the genius of Zack. He basically called out Royals brass - "make the team better or trade me."

If the Royals trade Zack (especially this winter), they are in essence agreeing with Zack - the team will not be any better in 2012 than it is today.

If they keep Zack, they have to do everything they can to make the club a contender sooner, rather than later.


Unknown Royals Fan said...

First of all, Rany, I appreciate you interrupting your love affair with Grienke to note that he has sucked dead ass for most of this season. As he has done, actually, for most of his big league career. I have to agree with "Anonymous" who wrote:

"Not sure how wise is it to try to build a franchise around a pitcher who would need to win his next 8 starts to reach .500, has lived up to his potential one season out seven and has a history of being a flake with mental problems.

If Steve Carlton could win 27 games for a team whose final record was 59-97, is it too much to expect for Grienke to at least win as many as he loses?

Seems about as likely that 2011 Zack will be closer to the 2005 version than 2009 model. Or he might decide he doesn't like pitching anymore and wants to go home again."

I'm really sick of this drama queen. He's getting paid millions of dollars to work roughly 35 days a year, and doing so for perhaps the only organization that would have put up with all of his BS over the years. Is it unrealistic to ask that the little turd give it his all?

Kyle said...

Rany, Great Stuff! I think it is a waiting game. I don't think his stock is as high as it could be right now, so trading him now is not a good idea. He has shut down this year, the Royals might as well shut him down too. He is too mental, but he is a great pitcher.

I do not like the idea of trading prospects for anybody just yet. Let the kids come up together, and there should be a nice stock pile to pick from over the next few years. A rotation with Greinke, Lamb, Monty, Dwyer, and Hochevar should be damn good by the end of 2011 or beginning of 2012.

The bullpen can be made very easily and very inexpensive from the farm system starting this Sept. The kids have already started trickling in. Holland, Chavez, and Wood are already up. Hardy, Collins, and Coleman are right there and ready. Add them to Soria and that could be one of the best least expensive bullpens in the league.

Mostakas should probably start 2011 in AAA, but should be up very quickly. Then after that Hosmer, Myers, and Colon should trickle in by Sept of 2011. A power hitting bat would be a nice addition in FA, but I doubt anybody would come to KC next year.

John said...

I don't think the formula used by the 1985 Royals is realistic for assembling the next championship team in Kansas City.

The 1985 Royals probably had the best pitching staff assembled in that decade. The starting five pitchers on that team won 672 games between them in their careers, and they had a closer who was Hall of Fame caliber in his prime (and called up Steve Farr during the season, who had 132 saves and a 128 ERA+ in his career). They got 158 starts in 162 games from their top five starters.

If Bud Black hadn't had an off-season in 1985, it would have been one of the greatest team pitching performances of the last 50 years. It may have been anyway; it wasn't like Black was terrible.

As far as the hitting goes, it wasn't good. But George Brett was unreal that season; you just didn't see a 1.022 OPS from a hitter back then. The 1980s, except for '87, were a pitcher's decade. You could win a title in 1985 with one superstar hitter if the pitching was great. In today's game, you'd need more.

kcghost said...

Greinke's comments are nothing to get your panties in a bunch over. Never hide from the truth and that's all he said. Don't worry about it and continue to develop the kids on the farm. If Greinke decides to leave after 2012, so be it. Life will go on.

The last thing we want is GMDM to 1) rush to kids to the bigs or 2) start trading them off to win now.

Sean said...

You think he's fed up with an offense that can bunch these four studs in a row? Bloomquist, Getz, Blanco, and Kendall? How are we not wining more games with these bats? I hope by 2012 this lineup is geared to compete in the American League. I'd rather have Dan Haren come up to bat right now than any of those 4. Yet again, more rebuilding coming and another roster overhaul will come next year. The bright spot being that Kila will have a 2 months to groom and Gordon looks like he's finally starting to click.

Anonymous said...

If you're looking at the 2013 roster, don't forget that we're going to have a top 10 if not top 5 pick next year. Plus a likely top 10ish pick in 2012. Not out of the realm of possibility that that player wouldn't contribute. We'd just need to draft an advanced player like Aaron Crow....

One Royal Way | Travis said...

I have multiple issues with Greinke's comments.

Sure, the team isn't producing... But he is the "best" pitcher on a bad overall staff... Try being a leader.

More of my thoughts on my blog -


Chapin said...

I heard recently that Zack won't throw his slider when he is losing. Any truth to this?

Monty said...

I know this is off topic, but food for thought....

Given all our young talent expected to be together on the team for an extended period of time, would it make sense to move the outfield walls at the K back in (about 8 feet or so)? We could do it in preparation for the 2012 All Star festivities.

gbewing said...

You said it-his actions we trade him because he has a flaw in his mental approach, this isn't the first time he mentally took off a half season or more- that's not the anchor to a pennant winning team, trade him because he's not the guy for the next level

Anonymous said...

Stephen Drew.

Anonymous said...

should be the SS in 2011/12.

Steve said...

I say stick to the plan and make the plan work. We all saw what happened when you make desperation moves to make a superstar happy in Cleveland.

Anonymous said...

My first new car had an option for air conditioning. Nothing option wise near what I drive now. Time marches on.

Baseball has changed too, as we all know. Perhaps we in KC need to embrace the fact players are not going to "Frank White" a career anymore. To be fair, Frank White retired in Boston me thinks.

The more I follow modern MLB, the more I distrust the fragile arms of pitchers. Let's see what Zach will bring during the hot stove season.

Anonymous said...

Why did he choose to sign last year? I don't think 'the process' has strayed too far from where it was 15 months ago. What he said isn't earth-shattering, but the team's outlook was the same last year when he decided to stay.

Charles Winters said...

I keep hearing all the negative on Alex Gordon and now I'm wondering why? Have KC's fans just given up on him completely? Maybe they should watch a little more closely... It's just a 10 game sample, but in the last 10 we have a guy who has hit 4 HR's and whose slash line is .281/.343/.688.

I know it's only 10 games. Since coming back up it's a bit more pedestrian: .232/.283/.482 (unacceptable OBP)...

I have noticed that a lot of folks have been unhappy with his pitch taking tendencies and I've read discussions that suggest that his strike zone isn't quite right. But if fans would just quit fixating on BA they'd realize that his overall offensive value is way better than Callaspo or Bloomquist or Betemit or any of the folks with whom the Royals insist on replacing him...

Fast Eduardo said...

I still say, trade for Felix Pie!

Michael said...

Royals make another big international signing. 16 year old Humberto Arteaga, a Venezeulan SS, get 1.1 million from the Royals. Just another sign that this team is headed in the right direction!!

Charles Winters said...


Why not Soria?

Charles Winters said...

to the wall... that's about right....

Charles Winters said...

Hunter to wall in CF, Matsui to wall in LF... comforting

Charles Winters said...

wow - wood doesn't destroy game:
Hunter to wall in CF
Matsui to wall in LF
Izturis single up middle,
Izturis steals second,
Kendrick IBB,
Mathis strikes out on some pitches that are way out of zone....

Charles Winters said...

I sure am glad we didn't waste Soria on a non-save opportunity. It would have sucked if he had got the win.

Donald Zackary Greinke said...

Thanks to Dayton Mooreon for the weak lineup that just cost me yet ANOTHER victory. Trade me to the Yankees NOW!

Unknown said...

I think that Mellinger got it right the other day--we are going to spend time seeing who can cut it under pressure and who cannot. of course we know that Soria can cut it, so we have to test the other guy's mettle. I agree that if we were in the thick of things, then this is messed up. but at this point, I want to see these guys tested, and if they fail, then hopefully we won't have to see them next year. I have a hard time with the losing, but better now than next year (not that I have much confidence in next year either). Rany--do you think that Yost will change up how he manages the games and pitchers when it begins to matter? that is the only thing that does scare me, is that Yost may not be able to change...

Anonymous said...

I think that Mellinger got it right the other day--we are going to spend time seeing who can cut it under pressure and who cannot. of course we know that Soria can cut it, so we have to test the other guy's mettle. I agree that if we were in the thick of things, then this is messed up. but at this point, I want to see these guys tested, and if they fail, then hopefully we won't have to see them next year. I have a hard time with the losing, but better now than next year (not that I have much confidence in next year either). Rany--do you think that Yost will change up how he manages the games and pitchers when it begins to matter? that is the only thing that does scare me, is that Yost may not be able to change...

Anonymous said...

Rany, I was wondering what you thought the chances of keeping Soria until 2014 are? With Zack looking to go out now, I was wondering if Soria would be a reliable guy to look at as our face for quite awhile. For lack of a better word(s), is making Soria my next jersey purchase smart? Thanks!

Nathan said...

I will be so disappointed if they trade Soria. Soria = Rivera.

Also, the worrying thing about Greinke, to me, isn't his comments. It's his poor performance of late, coupled with shoulder soreness a few weeks ago, coupled with rumor that he doesn't like to throw his slider.

If pitching has become painful to him, that, combined with the futility of trying to win games in front of the present offense and defense, might explain his sour mood. The real danger is that he's on the verge of arm trouble.

Anonymous said...

He's not on the verge of arm trouble. If that was an issue, he would have torn up his arm years ago, like three-quarters of young power pitchers do. He pitched way over his head last year because he had incredible luck on balls in play. This year, he isn't having that luck, and the Royals can't hit their plate with a fork, so he isn't winning.

Next year, he'll probably have average luck on the balls in play, post an ERA of about 3.00, and the Royals will get rid of some of the riffraff and bring up some real players. (I think the Royals could field a team of prospects right now that could beat up the major-league team and steal its lunch money.) And Greinke will win somewhere between 12 and 18 games.

Anonymous said...

Rany- No, we havent forgotten, you fucking pussy. We remember........

Friday, September 11, 2009
I'm Done.
So the Royals have improbably swept the Tigers, as the trio of Bruce Chen, Robinson Tejeda, and Lenny DiNardo led the Royals to victory over Rick Porcello, Justin Verlander, and Jarrod Washburn. After eking out a win tonight in Cleveland, the Royals have won five games in a row for the first time since they were, yes, 18-11. Seems like a good time for some positivity.

If that’s what you’re thinking, I’m afraid I have to disappoint you.

I’ve let this column stew in my head for a few days now, in the hope that time would dull the sharp edges a little bit. As harsh as this column might read, trust me, if I had written it two days ago it would have been much, much worse.

On Tuesday the Royals announced their final September callups of the year. Two days after the Royals rushed reinforcements to Kansas City in the arms of Dusty Hughes, Victor Marte, and Carlos Rosa (and the glove – certainly not the bat – of Luis Hernandez), the team brought back Alex Gordon after he had served penance for his sins at the plate, and brought up Lenny DiNardo in order to fill out a rotation that is suddenly down Gil Meche and Brian Bannister.

But it was the player the Royals didn’t call up that has exposed this organization once again as having blinders on to any kind of objective analysis of what the issues are with this team. Much as the acquisition of Yuniesky Betancourt spoke volumes about how clueless the Royals are when it comes to a rational evaluation of a player’s worth, the decision not to promote this player from Triple-A is damning evidence of the same thing.

Anonymous said...

Anon, if you ever want to do the world a favor, arsenic works faster than strychnine.

Mark said...

Anyone who says the Royals should trade Soria must not remember how bad it was after Jeff Montgomery retired.

But I'd like to see more comments on Mesch. Are we happy with an eleven million dollar middle reliever? I know Greinke and Soria set the table for Dotel for a while, but they weren't making eleven mill.

Anonymous said...

setting: 10 year old boys back in the day

Knock knock knock........

Hello Mrs. Jazayerli how are you? Can Rany come out and play this afternoon?

Thank you Mrs. Jazayerli