Saturday, September 4, 2010

Forty Men. One Roster. Lots of Decisions.

Last September, the Royals elected not to bring up a prospect who hit .252/.392/.433 in Triple-A, and a certain writer blew his top and took a sabbatical. This September, the Royals have chosen not to promote Mike Moustakas to the majors, even though Moustakas has hit .324/.372/.638 for the season; if you like old-school stats, he has 36 homers and 123 RBIs. (He has 123 RBIs, and it’s not Labor Day yet, and he missed the first two weeks of the season with an oblique strain. Moustakas has 123 RBIs in 115 games*, which speaks as much to the quality of his teammates as to his own production.)

*: In the last 50 years, only 7 major-leaguers have had more RBIs than games played in a season. Six of the 7 played in the heart of the steroid era, from 1994 to 2000. The seventh player was George Brett, who in 1980 drove in 118 runs in 117 games.

And yet this same sportswriter agrees wholeheartedly with the decision to leave Moustakas in the minors, not to mention every other top prospect in what is arguably the game’s deepest farm system. What’s changed?

There are the obvious reasons – Ka’aihue was 25 and had spent two full seasons in the high minors, while Moustakas is just 21 and was in A-ball last year. Also, the Royals left Ka’aihue in Triple-A so they could play Mike Jacobs, whereas Moustakas would take playing time away from the far more intriguing Wilson Betemit (and the at-least-somewhat-worth-following Josh Fields.)

But the biggest reason is simple math. There are only 40 spots on a 40-man roster, and the Royals already have more than 40 players fighting for space.

In fact, the Royals currently have (as you can see here) 42 players on their 40-man roster. They can do this because players on the 60-day DL do not count against the limit. Gil Meche and Fields, both of whom were on the 60-day DL, were just activated, but the Royals asked David DeJesus and Luke Hochevar to take their place. (Jeff Bianchi has been out for the year, but if I understand things correctly, the rules allow teams to option a player to the minors even if they’re injured, so long as they didn’t play in the majors the previous year. Otherwise, Bianchi would be earning major-league service time. But I believe the Royals would have to promote him to the majors – accruing both salary and service time – in order to put him on the 60-day DL.)

Jason Kendall’s season-ending shoulder injury saved the Royals from having to release anyone to make room for Hochevar when Luke was activated yesterday.

(No injury is reason to celebrate, and I won’t. I will simply point out that while Kendall might have been a warrior to play through it, he also hit .200/.241/.225 in August. I love players who are warriors; I love players who don’t hurt their team because they’re too selfish to admit they can’t perform even more. Kendall's injury probably saved Brayan Pena’s career in Kansas City, and makes the acquisition of Lucas May far more significant than I ever thought it would be.)

So it’s no surprise that on September 1st, aside from Meche and Fields, the only player the Royals called up was May, who’s already on the 40-man roster. Even after the minor league season ends next week, I doubt we’ll see anyone called up who’s not already on the 40-man. The Royals have hinted at calling up a third catcher now that Kendall’s out, and conveniently Manny Pina is on the roster (although he’s with Northwest Arkansas, who will probably be playing in the Texas League playoffs until the middle of the month.) I suspect that the Royals will want to scratch their Jarrod Dyson itch, to use him as a pinch-runner and defensive replacement if nothing else. But I won’t be surprised if they are the only two additions to the active roster the rest of the month.

The only other player on the roster who’s a candidate for the 60-day DL would be Kanekoa Texeira. Which means that the Royals have, at most, one roster spot to play with before they start cutting guys. I’m not averse to cutting some of the guys on the 40-man roster – Gaby Hernandez and Victor Marte, I’m looking at you – but it complicates things.

What really complicates things, though, is that the Royals have to add a whole slew of guys to the 40-man roster between now and the Rule 5 Draft. In past years, the Royals looked at the Rule 5 Draft as a potential source of new talent, because they always had a high draft pick, and because they had so little talent themselves that they were rarely at risk of having one of their own players picked.

Here’s a list of all the players the Royals drafted in the last decade (not counting guys who were drafted only to be traded for cash to another team immediately afterwards.)

2009: Edgar Osuna (4th)

2006: Joakim Soria (2nd)

2005: Fabio Castro (1st) – immediately traded to Texas for Esteban German

2004: Andrew Sisco (2nd)

2003: Jason Szuminski (10th) – immediately traded to San Diego for Rich Thompson

2002: D.J. Carrasco (6th)

2001: Miguel Asencio (3rd)

2000: Endy Chavez (5th)

Some of these guys are busts, but when you consider how low the batting average on Rule 5 picks – even high picks – is, the Royals have actually done awfully well. Soria by himself justifies a decade of Rule 5 picks, but snagging Esteban German at the winter meetings in 2005 was one of Allard Baird’s last good moves for the Royals. Sisco gave the Royals one good year in relief, and was later traded for Ross Gload. Carrasco was a key part of the bullpen in the miracle 2003 season; he spent three years with the Royals, and his ERAs read 4.82, 4.84, and 4.79.

Asencio is most notable for what might have been. In 2002, as a 21-year-old rookie, he had perhaps the worst major league debut of all time – 16 pitches, 16 balls – but recovered to post a respectable 5.11 ERA. In 2003, he was a big part of that 17-4 start; he worked as the team’s #3 starter behind Runelvys Hernandez and Jeremy Affeldt, and the Royals won his first 6 starts, the last a masterful 114-pitch complete game. That start might have ruined him; he struggled in two more starts, then required Tommy John surgery. Even worse, he was one of the few pitchers who failed the surgery and required a second operation – aside from 8 innings with Colorado in 2006, he never pitched in the majors again.

The Royals kept Endy Chavez on the roster all season, then waived him over the winter – he eventually landed in Montreal and had a nice sophomore season on his way to a nine-year (and counting) major league career.

That list would look even better if the Royals had found a way to hold on to another player – in 2002, the Royals actually drafted twice, and their second pick was Ronny Paulino. Paulino would be sent back to Pittsburgh the following spring, and he clearly wasn’t ready – but 3 years later, as a rookie catcher for the Pirates, he would hit .310, and he’s still catching most days for the Marlins.

The point is that the Royals have found a fair amount of talent in the draft, while losing almost none. Here’s a – much shorter – list of the players that were drafted from the Royals over the last 10 years:

2008: Gilbert de la Vera

2006: Adam Donachie

2005: Seth Etherton

2001: Corey Thurman and Ryan Baerlocher

Neither Baerlocher nor de la Vera made their new team’s roster – de la Vera was a bizarre pick, a pitcher with neither good numbers nor a good scouting report, and it’s never been entirely clear what the Astros saw in him. Etherton had just signed with the Royals as a minor-league free agent two weeks before the Padres drafted him; he didn’t make the Padres roster, and the Royals actually bought him back the following May. Donachie was drafted after a season when he hit .212/.310/.299 as a catcher in Double-A. You will not be surprised to learn that he didn’t make the Orioles’ major-league roster either.

That leaves only one player who made an appearance with his new team – Corey Thurman, who gave the Blue Jays a respectable rookie season (68 IP, 4.37 ERA) in 2002. I can only blame myself for his loss. You see, prior to that draft, in an early iteration of “Rany on the Royals” for Baseball Prospectus, I wrote about the upcoming Rule 5 draft and the risk that the Royals might lose some players. In particular, I wrote that “The Royals' decision to leave Corey Thurman off the 40-man roster, though, is much more dangerous, and nearly inexplicable.”

What I did not know – could not have known – was that at the very same winter meetings, my colleague Keith Law was engaged in discussions with the Toronto Blue Jays, discussions that would soon lead to a job in their front office. Keith would later tell me (after he was officially hired a few weeks later) that he had shared my column with J.P. Ricciardi before the draft. By highlighting a player I thought the Royals might lose, I inadvertently helped them lose him.

Anyway, Thurman would only pitch 15 more innings in the majors after his rookie season.

One of the big concessions the MLBPA made to the owners in the last Collective Bargaining Agreement was to give teams an additional year before drafted players would be eligible for the Rule 5 Draft – it used to be that players under the age of 19 were eligible to be drafted after their fourth season, while players 19 and older were eligible after their third. This was expected to weaken the impact of the draft, and it has.

Ironically, the first draft after the CBA changed yielded two impact players – the Royals took Joakim Soria 2nd, and with the next pick the Cubs drafted Josh Hamilton (who was traded to the Reds in a pre-arranged deal.) And Jesus Flores, drafted 5th, has shown a lot of promise for the Nationals as a catcher, though he's missed all of 2010 with shoulder surgery. But since then, the draft has been kind of pointless.

It’s easy to laugh at the Royals for drafting Edgar Osuna with their pick last year, given that the Braves thought so little of his talents that they declined to take him back for the bargain price of $25,000 at the end of spring training. But of the three players taken before Osuna, two (Jamie Hoffman and Ben Snyder) didn’t make their new team’s roster out of spring training, and the other (John Raynor) got two hits with the Pirates before they tired of carrying him and offered him back to the Marlins in early May.

Of the 17 guys who were selected in last December’s draft, only 3 have survived into September without being cut: Hector Ambriz, who has generally sucked out of the Indians’ bullpen all season; David Herndon, who has quietly pitched garbage relief for the Phillies; and Carlos Monasterios, the best of the lot, who has a 4.02 ERA for the Dodgers and has even made 11 starts this year.

The only other pick of note is Kanekoa Texeira, who was waived by the Mariners in June, but who pitched reasonably well for the Royals before his elbow started barking.

So anyway, the Rule 5 Draft has been declawed, and while that may have kept the Royals from finding some premium talent the last few years, it will almost certainly be a blessing now that the Royals are burgeoning with young talent.

As it is, the following players will have to be added to the roster after the season to keep them from being exposed in this December’s draft:

- Ed Lucas. He’s already 28, but he’s hitting .308/.396/.487 and over the last two seasons has played every position but pitcher and catcher. Scouts seem to think he can be at least a utility guy in the majors, sort of a cheaper, slightly better, Ivy League-educated version of Willie Bloomquist. Need to protect: moderate.

- David Lough. Drafted as a fairly raw college athlete – he played on a football scholarship, I believe – he has been slowly converting his tools into skills. He suddenly learned the strike zone halfway through the season, and since the Triple-A All-Star Break he’s hit .314/.401/.462. Need to protect: high.

- Clint Robinson. Yeah, he’s 25. He’s also hitting .332/.409/.625. Since June 1st, he’s batting .380 and slugging .746. Need to protect: insane.

- Derrick Robinson. He’s cooled off to a .283/.344/.375 line, but he might be the fastest player in the division (50 steals), and he’s still just 22. Need to protect: off the charts.

- Paulo Orlando. Hitting .308/.370/.470, with 24 steals, and excellent defense. Still just 24. And as a bonus, when he makes the majors, millions of young Brazilian boys will throw away their soccer balls and beg their parents to buy them a Royals hat. Need to protect: high.

- Everett Teaford. I don’t know what to make of this guy. The scouting report says he’s your standard-issue soft-tossing lefty. But his character is off the charts – in 2009 he won the inaugural Mike Sweeney Award, “which recognizes a player who best represents the organization on and off the field.” More importantly, after striking out 91 batters in 145 innings in 2009, he’s whiffed 117 batters in 104 innings in 2010. Need to protect: low to moderate.

- Nicholas Francis. I really don’t know what to make of this guy. Francis was suspended by the team and missed the entire 2007 season; the reasons were never divulged, but his co-conspirator Jason Taylor was later suspended by MLB for marijuana usage. He’s behind the development curve, but Francis is hitting .282/.328/.509 for Wilmington, and – you know this is coming – he’s hitting .300/.362/.582 on the road. (If his suspension year doesn’t count for purposes of Rule 5 eligibility, which I find unlikely, then he would not need to be protected.) Need to protect: low to moderate.

- Bryan Paukovits. Pitched great for Burlington, not so well for Wilmington, and he’s 23. Need to protect: low.

- Chris Hayes. Oh, wait…

And I’m not even entertaining the possibility of protecting guys like Tim Smith or Jamie Romak or a million mid-level relievers who might get picked but aren’t worth losing sleep over.

Conservatively, that’s at least five and maybe six guys who need to be added to the roster. I count only two pending free agents on the roster in Bruce Chen and Willie Bloomquist. That means that the Royals will have to DFA at least 3 or 4 guys after the season. That’s not necessarily a difficult point of order – in addition to the minor league guys like Hernandez and Marte, I can think of at least a few guys in the majors (Jesse Chavez, come on down!) who deserve the boot.

But every additional player the Royals add to the 40-man roster will require them to cut deeper, and eventually they’re going to run out of fat and start cutting into muscle. And keep in mind the Royals will probably want to keep at least a spot or two on the roster open for potential free agents to sign. The Royals might wind up promoting one of the guys I listed above this month, figuring that if they're going to be added to the roster anyway, there's no harm in getting a look at them now. But I will be stunned if they add anyone else. If Moustakas hasn't earned a look, no one has.

Be thankful it’s not worse. Under the old rules, where prospects gained their Rule 5 eligibility a year earlier, the Royals would have to protect their 2007 high school picks (Mike Moustakas, Danny Duffy), their 2008 college picks (Johnny Giavotella), and their young Latin American catcher (Salvador Perez) for starters. That would have been a potential bloodbath on the level of the 2003 Pittsburgh Pirates, who – in what has to be one of the most humiliating moments in major league history – had five of their players selected in the first six picks. Other teams were openly laughing in the draft room. (The last of those five players? Jose Bautista.)

So it’s okay to be upset that we won’t get a look at Moustakas this month, and that we probably won’t see Seabiscuit (Tim Collins) launch low-90s fastballs from his batboy frame, and that Louis Coleman won’t get the look-see that he certainly deserves.

Just understand that there’s a very good reason why. It’s the best of reasons, actually.

55 comments:

jonfmorse said...

Rany, I'm sure you realized that you outlined nine guys. But did you realize that you did so in an order which, if you were to pretend that they were all hitters and it was a batting order, actually correlated their importance to the team to the conventional wisdom* of the importance in the batting order? You have the 2nd-5th guys on your list as being of paramount importance, and the 3-4 guys as absolutely critical.

I just happened to notice it, and whether it was deliberate or not, I got a kick out of it.

* - I figure conventional wisdom still worries more about a fast guy at the leadoff spot than a guy who can actually get on base.

Anonymous said...

Rany, the major league service time issue comes up a lot in these kinds of analyses. Do you know of a good reference explaining service time?
Thanks, KRMannMD

Anonymous said...

There's no room on this loaded team to actually promote good players? Thanks for the fluff, Rany.

Anonymous said...

Bloomquist, Marte, Chavez need to be DFA immediately. Lots of other scrubs won't hurt to see go either. Anyone in the bullpen other than Soria and Tejeda- the replacements in the minors are ready.

Bigge point you missed Rany is that if there is too much talent, it's time to trade a big package of prospects for an established Major League star. I'm looking at you BJ Upton. Or Robinson Cano. Hanley Ramirez anyone?

KHAZAD said...

It is actually a good thing to have these decisions. I guess the question is whether Dayton will make the moves necessary to protect these guys.

He has shown a disturbing tendency to want to hang on to replacement level or worse guys. I will be livid if we lose one of these guys to keep Marte, Chavez, Hernandez, or even spare parts like Miller.

You have to set up your roster solely to protect guys with potential from being drafted before the rule 5 draft. Afterwards, you can juggle to field the major league team you want. The Royals have a lot of eminently replaceable players.

Anonymous said...

KRMann- you must be new around here. Rany is too big time to answer our questions. He used to but fancies himself as too good now.

He doesn't have time to educate us.

Anonymous said...

Rany there is another roster spot taken next year: Jeff Francouer. His spot is as certain as Zacks.

Anonymous said...

wow. a couple of anonymous Rany haters here this morning...

11:17am anony... please take the time to outline the 'fluff' in this piece. Moose and others don't need to be on the 40 man yet as he hasn't been in the minors long enough. assuming you are really a Royals fan, you should have read about his status the other day in the Star: http://www.kansascity.com/2010/08/31/2190691/moustakas-wont-be-among-teams.html are you willing to start his major league service time NOW with the team 21.5 games out of first? why would you want to just piss away service time? are you a Yankee or BoSox fan or something?

i can only equate this logic to a player like Kendall being severly injured, yet insisting on playing. selfish. to hell with the rules designed to help teams keep players from free agency for an extra year, maybe two, you want to see these players NOW! selfish.

11:27am... let's see, husband, dad, dr., small business owner, insane Royals fan and blogger. i don't know where i would even have time to read too much Royals propaganda, let alone write about it with just the first two titles. i don't care if Rany answers a question here. i see this as more as our discussion board on his site. i'd be willing to bet Rany will follow this up with a little bit on service time very soon, since service time will become a big issue real soon. that and he completely ignored it for this post as Dr. Mann's question highlights.

Anonymous said...

Rany, you outlined 5-6 guys to definetly keep. So let's play a game called "Guess That DFA!"

The easy ones are off the board:
-Marte
-Big Gaby
-Chavez

Some candidates:
Henry Barrera: 25 years old, and I haven't seen him. But why not Barrera? Probably because he is awesome. In AA, he has a 3:1 K/BB ration, and a sub-2.00 ERA. Also, an awesome mustache. BAM!
Dusty Hughes: He should be a lefty specialist only, but isn't too bad at that.
Bryan Bullington: Super-start against Yankees was an awesome fluke. He is old.
Davies/Bannister: Both are arbitration eligible due to sucking. They might be moved in a non-DFA move.
Jai Miller: Super athlete with a bad swing and no real upside.
Brian Anderson: Weird move to pitcher. Even weirder? He hasn't been half bad. I would rather have him than Teaford.

My guesses:
-Hughes, Bullington, Miller.

Anonymous said...

Why the fuck do people think Willie Bloomquist deserves a spot on the roster?

Chavez and Mendoza are the same person. I'm certain of it.

Anonymous said...

Why the fuck do people think Willie Bloomquist deserves a spot on the roster?

Chavez and Mendoza are the same person. I'm certain of it.

Anonymous said...

Butler, Zack, DDJ, Soria. That leaves 36 spots open on the 40 man roster. This ain't rocket surgery folks. This team sucks and you hacks think that everyone needs protecting? Give me a break. Any of those 36 spots won't hurt to lose. Seriously, look at the 40 man roster- it's full of garbage.

Troy said...

I agree completely with the Anonymous comment that the Royals should be looking to trade a package of these prospects if they are going to have to expose half a dozen of them to the Rule 5. Looks to me like salary considerations win out again.

Olentangy said...

DFA Bloomquist, Marte, Chavez, Hughes. If this team has Willie Bloomquist on it next year, Dayton Moore should be fired.

Anonymous said...

This team has Bloomquist on it this year. Dayton Moore should be fired.

fast Eddie said...

If Jeff Francoeur is on the team next year, Dayton Moore should be fired.

Anonymous said...

You mean WHEN Jeff Francouer is here.....easiest prediction since the Podsednik and Bloomquist signings.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, that was extremely valuable and interesting...I will be back again to read more on this topic.

Kyle said...

Bannister, Barrera, Chavez, Hernandez, Hughes, Marte, Bloomquist are all easy ones. They can go now.

What do you do with Miller, Parraz, Wood, Texeira, Humber, Bullington, O'Sullivan, Holland. There are guys in the system that are better, but I'm not sure they are ready.

I would like to see Anderson and Dyson up the now.

A bullpen with Anderson, Meche, Collins, Coleman, Hardy, Soria, Tejeda isn't horrible. I doubt it happens, but having Chavez, Texeira, Wood pitch in mop up work instead of setup will be a much improvement.

The rotation for 2011 is going to be Greinke, Chen, Hochevar, Davies, O'Sullivan. I hope there is another option for a real #2, but I don't see the Royals spending much this offseason.

Bob said...

Rany,

I know Eibner is on the Chukars roster but I haven't seen him in the line up. Do you know why he hasn't played?

Thanks

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Ted said...

It looks like St. Louis will probably be trading Colby Rasmus this winter. It would probably take quite a bit to pick him up, but he has legitimate star potential and already is a pretty good player with four years remaining until free agency. Would Danny Duffy, Derrick Robinson, and Mike Aviles be too much? Would it be enough?

Major Nelson said...

Let's watch I Dream of Jeannie
She'd look great in bikini
To-ny is such a weenie

His friend is Major Healy
Bellows is touchy-feely
Haji is a big meanie

They had a very good time slot
and only had one plot
That's really all they've got

Bryan said...

What package would you put together to get someone in return.

Rasmus would be a great option, and if the Cards would take the package mentioned I think that is a no-brainer, but won't the Cardinals realize he is talented with a big mouth and quick temper. I think they'll end up keeping him, but that would be a great get.

Shin Soo Choo is one I thought of to go after. I know he has some situation with army service in South Korea but if that could be figured out and he could be had that would be a nice pick up.

Any others? Any possibilities? I agree with the post above that they need to look really hard for a #2 starter as well.

The talent is there to be able to make some moves. Will DM be able to pull the right strings and make anything happen?

Anonymous said...

Oddly, a day to remember: 9/6/10, the day Alex Gordon passed Yuni in OPS. For all of Yuni's heroics, and all of Alex's (understandable) "bust" talk and the genuine disappointment he's been...he's still better than Yuni right now. Astounding.

succotash said...

Good point about Gordon's OPS passing Yuni's. But Yost loves Yuni, and was quoted in The Star saying that Yuni B. has already secured the starting SS job for NEXT YEAR. Barf.

Anonymous said...

Lot of tough choices? I can't remember the last time KC had tough roster choices on a 40 man with players that either should be on a MLB roster or know how to win.

Anonymous said...

You know this is a solid 40 man roster when you can go to www.kcroyals.com and watch the highlights from last night's game that include, "Pena's RBI groundout". Wow, thats a fun clip to watch. This team only rebuilds. There are at least 10 guys on the 40 man that would have a struggle being on any other teams roster.

Anonymous said...

I think after tonight's game, Bannister is another easy cut from the 40 man roster. I'd keep Davies over Bannister since Davies has been serviceable recently

FAst Eddie said...

Jim Thome now has 586 homers. It sure seems like at least 100 have been against the Royals.

Michael said...

Actually, he's only hit 47 against the Royals, and we are third on his list of victims behind Detroit (63) and Minnesota (57).

I love baseball-reference.com.

Anonymous said...

Rany, I think you are well off the mark with Tim Smith who has now hit over .300 for the third straight year in a row and whose numbers project with the same at bats right along with those of Paulo Orlando, with better plate dicipline (BB vs. K's) and less defensive errors. Further, Smith accomplished this under difficult circumstances with regards to irregular playing time.

There is no comparison with regards to consistency. Smith's numbers remain consistent across the board since coming out of his Rookie year. Orlando's average was .261 in 2009, .261 in 2008 and .253 in 2007.

While Orlando certainly had an excellent year in 2010, it is not consistent with his previous seasons and if your call on him is "high" to protect than it should be higher for Smith who has demonstrated a consistent ability to get on base, drive in runs, steal bases and show some power.

Mentioning Smith in the same context as Romak further indicates the flaw in your analysis.

Should the Royals end up losing Smith, it will be their loss and certainly another team's gain.

thelaundry said...

Rasmus is probably a very longshot to be traded, but if LaRussa stays, he has the juice to force out guys he doesn't click with - look at the Ludwick deal this year.

As much as a strong package of prospects sounds good on paper, TLR's motto is Win Now, and the fans deep down feel the same way.
I think it would take Soria to get Rasmus.

That's a tough one for me, but it's worth thinking about. They are both under club control through 2014, though Rasmus would command more in arbitration years than Soria's fixed contract. Soria has been money, but most closers have a shelf life, and he has been through surgery. Rasmus is immature, but he's also a center fielder with middle of the order power in his early twenties. There is zero chance of him sticking around in free agency, but if Soria is still good he will have a high price tag as well.

The key question is what is easier to find - an effective closer or a potential superstar centerfielder. The answer is clear, and that makes me lean in the direction of pulling the trigger. Especially if the Cards throw in Brian Anderson, a lefty catcher with a nice bat who's not getting a shot in the majors.

Nathan said...

I agree with thelaundery, no way a package of Aviles and middling prospects will land Rasmus. It would take a big chip like Soria. And it I would consider trading Soria for someone like Rasmus. Not sold on it, but it's not insane from the Royals point of view.

But there's something else I'd try first. Soria in the rotation. We have no evidence that he wouldn't be an elite starter, and an elite starter is worth way, way more than an elite closer. He might have a better chance of staying healthy, too.

Chance said...

Soria is a waste of talent on this team as a closer. I like the idea of trying him in the rotation. Or trade him for someone who canhelp every day, or at least every fifth day.

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

The ghost that is "Soria as a starter" died 2 years ago. It's not going to happen, at least not on the Royals. If they trade him, it may, but I still highly doubt it.

Kyle said...

Soria's arm would fly off if he started. Look at Meche. Soria is a great closer, and will be a great closer for a few more years. He just has nasty stuff for an inning. I don't know that his stuff would play the 2nd or 3rd time through the lineup. I guess will never know unless we try though. I just don't see it happening.

Nathan said...

I'm sure there would be an increased injury risk during the transitional period, but I don't see why Soria would have any more long-term injury risk as a starter than as a reliever. Starters are generally more healthy than relievers. As for how he'd do, there's no way to be certain, but he was a starter up until he fell into the closer's gig his rookie season, and the plan at that time was to move him back to the rotation eventually.

As great a closer as he is, imagine the 2012 Royals with Greinke-Soria-Montgomery at the top of the rotation.

I know you may expect that all our minor league starters will have filled up the rotation by then anyway, but history suggests that many of them will struggle at the beginning of their MLB careers. To compete in the next couple of years, we're going to need more than one, good, established starting pitcher. Moving Soria to the rotation is the Royals' best shot at a 1-2 punch worthy of the playoffs in 2012. So I don't see why the idea would be written off, and if it isn't at least being considered I think that's a mistake on Moore's part.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed reading your blog. Keep it that way.

Jayboid said...

I often post as anonymous, for it's easier.

Also, I have mentioned my disdain for too many statistics hurting younger fans understanding and attending games.

Not stating I do not like them, but see why all your statheads love um.

Starting to see the mathematics. So this question.

Bit o background saw and remember early 60s baseball, although young.

I was in a girls wing of a Frosh female dorm 73 when Hammering Hank broke Ruth's record. I was a male soph.and perhaps the only fellow who wished to watch this moment on a 13 inch black and white rabbit eared aluminum foil enhanced television keeping a semi drunk hottie at bay promising a Sat. real date.

Millions watched Hank, my guess is only 4 or 5 horny college students were pushing off a coed's advances to watch the Braves.

*Oh God to I regret this today, had no clue we could see it on demand a few years later.

To young fans, no ESPN, No DVR, No VHS back in the day.

My question to Rany and the group is this.

With all the stats available, I still wonder if the Royals are on the right track bringing up the younguns in 11?

We may begin 11 with 20 mil. tied up in a relief pitcher and his battery mate. Neither can play.

I do not see Hosie being a good free agent sign.

Yet, time after time I see free agents making a difference. I puke a little in my mouth when I hear the Yank's Swisher drove in a 9th inning game winner.

Should we finally go after some real quality free agents. Or better yet, should we quit looking?

One more point. I do not think there is one player in MLB who would walk away from a an extra nickle.

I do not think KC needs to overpay.

Michael said...

To get quality free agents, they do have to overpay. No one is going to choose the Royals over, say, the Yankees, Red Sox, Rays, Cardinals, Phillies, Braves, etc. if they are offering similar contracts. Why would they?? The Royals have not been to the playoffs for 25 years and counting!!!

Bryan said...

I like the idea of obtaining Rasmus. I don't think we have to give Soria to get him though.

We have enough talent in the system to put together to get him if he is available.

If the Cardinals said Soria or nothing I would do it, but I would try to give up the prospects first.

I am in agreement that Soria should be tried again as a starter. He has four quality pitches. That would translate very well to starting. Plus he just seems like such a smart pitcher. All of that seems to be wasted as a closer. He is a great closer. I really think he could be an even better starter.

Mariano is the ultimate closer. He has remained a closer because he only has the one pitch. It is a dominant pitch, but having only one pitch would not translate to starting. Other closers seem to have a certain mentality or they have the heat. While Soria has a very good approach, his ultimate calmness, that approach would really translate well to starting. And he has the other pitches. I think originally the Royals didn't want to tinker with him because they were protecting his arm and because they had found lightning in a bottle and that was all the team had and they didn't want to screw that up.

Now is the time to revisit that and try him as a starter. He is several years removed from surgery, though he does seem a bit injury prone.

Bryan said...

Jayboid- I was one of the ones to respond to you and be critical of you saying that the stats were turning people away from the game. It may have come across as harsh, but it wasn't meant to be. I am interested in the discussion as much as anyone.

I understand your point. You think that the game is fun to watch and if you get all of the stats in your head and all you think about is the stats you are missing the beauty of the game.

I love watching the game as much as anyone. I love watching Soria dominate the ninth. I love anticipating his comic book curve and making a hitter look silly. I love Gordon's swing. (I don't understand why he is not doing better now. I think they have gotten into his head a little bit which may turn out to be a good thing, but now he isn't playing very well.) I love the game.

The stats help me to understand the game better. I don't sit and watch the game with a stat book in front of me. I study the stats when I am not watching the game. It gives more meaning to the game, and leads to deeper thinking about the game and a better understanding of the game.

I think you can enjoy the game without the stats, but for me the stats give so much more to the game.

I can't understand how anyone would be chased away from watching the game because they were afraid or intimated by the stats, but maybe I am not looking at all sides of the argument.

Anyways, I shouldn't be being nice to you, Jayboid, as I am a KState grad, but it is Sunday morning and I am feeling simpatico this morning and would like to further our discussion and not have you think I am a hardliner who won't consider your ideas.

As far as 2011, I don't think the Royals are bringing too many people up in 2011. They may start the year with an additional relief pitcher or two. Moustakas should probably be brought up midyear. A starter or two might make it up at some point. Hosmer will probably make it up in September. If Colon advances rapidly he might make it by September. Myers has an outside chance to see the big leagues next year.

But for the most part the talent on the way is not quite ready.

Should they sign some free agents? The right ones maybe, but I don't see too many who are attractive. Maybe Werth, but I have heard he is worse in the clubhouse than Guillen was. Carl Crawford would be a homerun, but he will probably be costly. I anticipate him returning to the Rays, just a hunch.

The long term plan is a good one, it is just frustrating to watch it come so slowly. And too many times the Royals have diverted from the long term plan for an attempt at success and have been burned. They probably just need to wait for the talent to develop and concentrate on developing more talent.

Only my two cents, and sorry this got long.

Bryan said...

Jayboid- I was one of the ones to respond to you and be critical of you saying that the stats were turning people away from the game. It may have come across as harsh, but it wasn't meant to be. I am interested in the discussion as much as anyone.

I understand your point. You think that the game is fun to watch and if you get all of the stats in your head and all you think about is the stats you are missing the beauty of the game.

I love watching the game as much as anyone. I love watching Soria dominate the ninth. I love anticipating his comic book curve and making a hitter look silly. I love Gordon's swing. (I don't understand why he is not doing better now. I think they have gotten into his head a little bit which may turn out to be a good thing, but now he isn't playing very well.) I love the game.

The stats help me to understand the game better. I don't sit and watch the game with a stat book in front of me. I study the stats when I am not watching the game. It gives more meaning to the game, and leads to deeper thinking about the game and a better understanding of the game.

I think you can enjoy the game without the stats, but for me the stats give so much more to the game.

I can't understand how anyone would be chased away from watching the game because they were afraid or intimated by the stats, but maybe I am not looking at all sides of the argument.

Anyways, I shouldn't be being nice to you, Jayboid, as I am a KState grad, but it is Sunday morning and I am feeling simpatico this morning and would like to further our discussion and not have you think I am a hardliner who won't consider your ideas.

As far as 2011, I don't think the Royals are bringing too many people up in 2011. They may start the year with an additional relief pitcher or two. Moustakas should probably be brought up midyear. A starter or two might make it up at some point. Hosmer will probably make it up in September. If Colon advances rapidly he might make it by September. Myers has an outside chance to see the big leagues next year.

But for the most part the talent on the way is not quite ready.

Should they sign some free agents? The right ones maybe, but I don't see too many who are attractive. Maybe Werth, but I have heard he is worse in the clubhouse than Guillen was. Carl Crawford would be a homerun, but he will probably be costly. I anticipate him returning to the Rays, just a hunch.

The long term plan is a good one, it is just frustrating to watch it come so slowly. And too many times the Royals have diverted from the long term plan for an attempt at success and have been burned. They probably just need to wait for the talent to develop and concentrate on developing more talent.

Only my two cents, and sorry this got long.

Bryan said...

Jayboid- I was one of the ones to respond to you and be critical of you saying that the stats were turning people away from the game. It may have come across as harsh, but it wasn't meant to be. I am interested in the discussion as much as anyone.

I understand your point. You think that the game is fun to watch and if you get all of the stats in your head and all you think about is the stats you are missing the beauty of the game.

I love watching the game as much as anyone. I love watching Soria dominate the ninth. I love anticipating his comic book curve and making a hitter look silly. I love Gordon's swing. (I don't understand why he is not doing better now. I think they have gotten into his head a little bit which may turn out to be a good thing, but now he isn't playing very well.) I love the game.

The stats help me to understand the game better. I don't sit and watch the game with a stat book in front of me. I study the stats when I am not watching the game. It gives more meaning to the game, and leads to deeper thinking about the game and a better understanding of the game.

I think you can enjoy the game without the stats, but for me the stats give so much more to the game.

I can't understand how anyone would be chased away from watching the game because they were afraid or intimated by the stats, but maybe I am not looking at all sides of the argument.

Anyways, I shouldn't be being nice to you, Jayboid, as I am a KState grad, but it is Sunday morning and I am feeling simpatico this morning and would like to further our discussion and not have you think I am a hardliner who won't consider your ideas.

As far as 2011, I don't think the Royals are bringing too many people up in 2011. They may start the year with an additional relief pitcher or two. Moustakas should probably be brought up midyear. A starter or two might make it up at some point. Hosmer will probably make it up in September. If Colon advances rapidly he might make it by September. Myers has an outside chance to see the big leagues next year.

But for the most part the talent on the way is not quite ready.

Should they sign some free agents? The right ones maybe, but I don't see too many who are attractive. Maybe Werth, but I have heard he is worse in the clubhouse than Guillen was. Carl Crawford would be a homerun, but he will probably be costly. I anticipate him returning to the Rays, just a hunch.

The long term plan is a good one, it is just frustrating to watch it come so slowly. And too many times the Royals have diverted from the long term plan for an attempt at success and have been burned. They probably just need to wait for the talent to develop and concentrate on developing more talent.

Only my two cents, and sorry this got long.

Anonymous said...

Rany. You fat fuck. When's ur lazy ass gonna write another piece? Fuck.

Michael said...

C'mon Anonymous, it's the offseason. Give him a break!

What? Oh, they are still playing??? I didn't even notice....

Kyle said...

stubhub.com is an option to sell the tickets. I have used it to sell sporting event tickets, but never a concert.

Back to baseball, the 2011 Royals should have a few bullpen guys from the system. The position players and starting pitchers are still at least half a seasson away. Collins, Coleman, Hardy, and Anderson are four names that should be in the KCRoyals bullpen to start next year. Add them to Soria, Meche, and Tejeda, and that turns into a pretty good fairly inexpensive bullpen (minus Meche's 12 mil).

May, Kila, Dyson, and Miller will be back and play for a full season. We could also see Moustakas, Lough, Parraz, Bianchi, Lucas, and Falu.

Thomas said...

From Raney's 2001 Prospectus Article. Makes my head hurt

"The Royals did a lot of this in September, purchasing the contracts of Angel Berroa, Ken Harvey, Mike MacDougal, Brad Voyles, and Brandon Berger when each player was brought to the majors."

Anonymous said...

I hear the Rangers would be willing to trade Francoeur to us in exchange for Greinke and Butler. Come on Dayton Mooreon, get your man!

Anonymous said...

Wee Willie is off the Royals Roster!!! This is a great day Royals fans!

Anonymous said...

Mark quit panhandling you bitch.

TyRoneN9NE said...

Ten Days. One Rany. Zero posts.

Ha just kidding, kind of. But I need something to read! Brayan Pena is POTW! What!?!?!

Anonymous said...

Twelve days and counting. Perhaps Rany will soon emerge from days of quiet contemplation, and announce that he is changing his allegiance to a team worthy of his sabermetrical genius.

Bill James escaped from Royal suckitude, perhaps Rany will do the same.