Thursday, March 31, 2011

Not A Prediction.

Just to be clear: I am not predicting any miracles for the Royals this season. I’ll save my playoff predictions for sometime down the road, maybe even next year. But you’d have to be crazy to predict that the Royals will win the AL Central in 2011. So I’m not predicting that. I’m predicting that they’ll go 69-93, and even that is overly optimistic for most people, to suggest that the Royals will have a better record than they had last season, after they traded their best position player and best pitcher in the off-season.

I’m not predicting that Luke Hochevar is going to prove his doubters wrong by giving the Royals 200 innings with an ERA in the mid-3s. I mean, sure, it could happen. Hochevar was the #1 overall pick in the draft for a reason. He has four good pitches, and has just lacked the confidence in his stuff to put batters away in the past. And last season, he quietly put up some good peripherals – he had more than twice as many strikeouts (76) as walks (37), and surrendered just 9 homers in 110 innings. After Ned Yost gave him a public vote of confidence on May 15th, Hochevar had a 4.05 ERA in his remaining 10 appearances. I wouldn’t predict that he will have a season out of the Derek Lowe Collection, but if he maintains his confidence and his health this season, he certainly could.

I also wouldn’t predict Kyle Davies to take a step forward. Davies is sort of an older version of Hochevar, with less time left to fulfill his potential – another guy whose stuff grades out as above-average, but for whatever reason has never converted his stuff into results. Davies’ wife just had their first child, and maybe that will refocus his priorities for the better – it certainly worked out for a lot of Royals last year. Davies is 27 this year, in his final year before free agency – the same age and situation another underachiever named Gil Meche was in when he started to turn his career around in 2006. It would be foolish to predict such a thing, but sure, it’s possible that Davies could lop a run off his 5.49 ERA this season, and give the Royals 32 league-average starts.

I also wouldn’t expect Bruce Chen to repeat the kind of season he had in 2010. Chen had a 4.17 ERA last season, even though he had a higher walk rate and a lower strikeout rate than he did in 2009, when his ERA was 5.78. So sure, Chen was awfully lucky last year. I don’t expect that luck to hold. I mean sure, it could, or it’s possible that he could throw a few more strikes this year or find the smoke and mirrors that crafty lefties often do in their mid-30s. I’m certainly not counting on Chen to give the Royals a steady stream of 6-inning, 3-run outings all season and give them a chance to win every time out. It could happen, though.

I also would not expect Jeff Francis to stay healthy and prove his shoulder and stuff are back to 100%, but it could happen. In 2006 and 2007, before his arm started to bark, Francis averaged 207 innings with a 4.19 ERA – pitching in Coors Field. The odds are against him coming close to those totals this season, of course. But if he does, he’ll be a more than adequate starting pitcher.

Maybe Vinny Mazzaro will figure out how to make his sinker sink in the major leagues. It didn’t sink last year, but he was only 23 years old, and he managed a 4.27 ERA anyway. I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for it to happen, mind you, but pitching coach Bob McClure has worked his magic before; maybe he’ll do so again.

And maybe it won’t matter if one or two of the Royals’ starting pitchers blow up, if some of the most-advanced pitchers in The Greatest Farm System In The History Of Whatever are ready to step in by June or July. Sure, it’s unlikely that they’ll make an immediate impact, but Mike Montgomery is starting the year in Triple-A, and Danny Duffy might join him shortly. John Lamb and Chris Dwyer are both just a half-dozen good starts in Double-A away from joining them. It’s possible that one or two of them could step into the rotation sometime around Flag Day and find immediate success, making 20 starts with an above-average ERA.

Just to pick a few southpaws at random, Cole Hamels did it for the Phillies in 2006, and Barry Zito did the same thing for Oakland in 2000. Hell, Zack Duke came up for the freaking Pirates in 2005 and fashioned a 1.81 ERA in 14 starts. Pitching prospects sometimes dominate the league their first time through, before word gets around on how to hit this guy. The odds are slim to none that the Royals make a rotation makeover at mid-season and storm down the stretch with five above-average starters. But the potential is certainly there.

The bullpen, despite its inexperience – three of the seven relievers on the Opening Day roster are making their major-league debuts, and Jeremy Jeffress has thrown just 10 innings in the majors – could be one of the best bullpens in baseball. I mean, Jeffress throws in the upper 90s with a big-breaking curveball, and if he throws strikes, look out. Aaron Crow has the stuff of a first-round pick as a starter, and working in relief his stuff should be even better. Tim Collins is 5 feet 5 inches of pure awesomeness. All three of those guys could strike out better than a man an inning this season, and they’re just setting up Robinson Tejeda and Joakim Soria. Batters have hit just .194 against Tejeda since he joined the Royals. Soria is the second-best closer in baseball, and is in waiting to inherit the crown from Mariano Rivera.

Even the mop-up guys like Kanekoa Texeira and Nate Adcock have talent, and the Royals have a couple of lefties, guys like Blaine Hardy and Everett Teaford, who could bolster the bullpen by mid-season. Maybe Duffy or Dwyer gets brought up to pitch relief and air out their fastballs into the mid-to-upper 90s. It’s doubtful that everything would go right, naturally. But the talent is here for this to be the deepest Royals bullpen we’ve ever seen.

Mind you, even if the pitching staff doesn’t live up to these lofty dreams, it might not matter if the offense goes nuts. If it does, leading that charge will probably be Alex Gordon. Gordon probably won’t be an All-Star caliber hitter this year, but he has more of a chance than most guys who hit .215/.315/.355 last season. It’s not just that Gordon crushed the ball in spring training, although he did – .343/.459/.729 are pretty damn good numbers, thin air in Arizona or not. Hitting in Arizona is nothing new for Gordon; two years ago he hit .320/.400/.653 in spring training. The difference is that, after a winter of relentlessly working on his swing with Kevin Seitzer, Gordon has a new approach at the plate. Even casual fans have remarked that his swing looks different. The talent has always been there; you don’t win College Player of the Year and Minor League Player of the Year honors in back-to-back years without it. If his new swing unlocks that talent, look out. I’m not saying it will happen, naturally. But it wouldn’t be a shock to anyone if he hit .280/.370/.520 this season.

Gordon’s wingman in Omaha much of last season, Kila Ka’aihue, could also have a breakout season. No one really knows what to expect from Ka’aihue. Maybe the doubters are right; he did hit just .252/.392/.433 in Omaha in 2009, and after he was called up last season, he hit just .167/.239/.274 in August. But maybe they’re wrong, and maybe his bat speed really can go from “slider” to “fastball” with the flick of his wrists. He did hit .314/.456/.628 in 2008, after all, and .319/.463/.598 in Omaha last season, and in Kansas City in September, after the nerves had worn off, he hit .261/.367/.511. That last slash line seems like a reasonable approximation of what he could do. If he does – granted, it’s a long-shot – but if he does, he’d be the best DH the Royals have had since, I dunno, Chili Davis?

In reality, the DH role will probably fall more on Billy Butler, and if Butler builds upon what he has done the last two seasons, the Royals could have a truly formidable middle of the lineup. Granted, I don’t think Butler is going to double his home run total from last season – while I think he’s going to hit for more power over time, I think it’s going to be a gradual process as he learns to elevate the ball. But it’s possible that, after hitting 96 doubles over the last two seasons, some of those two-baggers start clearing the fence, and Butler hits 30 homers to go along with his .310 average. If Butler starts hitting more balls in the air, he would presumably also cut back on his double-play grounders, and his walk rate might climb as pitchers become even more reluctant to pitch to him.

Admittedly, it’s unlikely to happen. But would you really be that surprised if either Gordon, or Ka’aihue, or Butler hit 30 home runs? Or if any of them walked 90 times? Only once in Royals history (in 1985, ahem) have two different Royals hit 30 homers in a season, and no Royal has drawn 90 walks since 1989. The odds that either of those things happen this year is small; the odds that they both do are infinitesimal. But it could happen.

Speaking of “infinitesimal”, we shouldn’t completely discount the chance that Jeff Francoeur finds his swing this season. Yes, yes, I know, to even suggest that Francoeur won’t be one of the worst everyday players in baseball is grounds to be brought in front of the Sabermetric Tribunal for an inquisition. But bear with me here. Francoeur is, still, just 27 years old (one month older than Gordon, and two months older than Ka’aihue.) From 2005 to 2007, when Francoeur was 21-23 years old, he hit .280/.319/.463 in the major leagues. Is it that unlikely that, at the age of 27 – the most common peak year for hitters – he might simply replicate his performance from his early 20s? Seitzer has spent almost as much time with Francoeur’s swing as he has with Gordon’s. Certainly, it’s a shot in the dark to hope that Francoeur gives the Royals a .280/.320/.460 line along with durability and good defense in right field. But it’s not outside the realm of possibility.

Somewhat lost in the shuffle this spring training has been the Royals’ new shortstop, Alcides Escobar, even though Escobar hit .364/.400/.636 this spring and even popped five homers in 55 at-bats. Escobar was acquired for his defense, as everyone agrees that he’s a plus shortstop with borderline Gold Glove potential. But it’s premature to dismiss him as simply a glove-only shortstop. Escobar hit .328 in Double-A in 2008, .298 in Triple-A in 2009, and finished the 2009 season by hitting .304 in 38 games for the Brewers. He also stole 80 bases combined in those two seasons. Yes, he hit just .235 last year, with just four homers and 14 doubles, and only 36 walks. There’s a reason the Brewers were willing to part with him, after all. But he’s only 24 years old, and the offensive upside is still there. I wouldn’t bet on him hitting .290 for the Royals this season to go along with his speed and defense, but if he does, he’ll be one of the better shortstops in the league.

I wouldn’t bet on Chris Getz hitting much of anything this year, but I don’t have to, because if he’s not hitting by June, he’ll get run over by the Mike Moustakas steamroller. Now, it’s not reasonable to expect a rookie – even a top prospect like Moustakas – to be an impact hitter in the majors right from the get-go. But it could certainly happen. Moustakas hit .322/.369/.630 in the minors last year, with 36 homers and 41 doubles in just 118 games. After struggling in his first month in Triple-A, he crushed the ball in August and finished with a .293/.314/.564 line in Omaha. Another two months in the minors will only help him polish his plate discipline and his approach against lefties a little. Four years ago, another hard-hitting, free-swinging third base prospect named Ryan Braun started the year in Triple-A, and after 34 games (and a .701 slugging average) debuted for Milwaukee in late May. Braun crushed the ball so much – he actually led the NL in slugging as a rookie – that he won Rookie of the Year honors despite playing in just 113 games. I’m not saying that Mike Moustakas will have that kind of impact. But he could.

When Moustakas arrives, Mike Aviles can slide over to second base, where he played most of last season. Aviles has only had two healthy seasons in the major leagues, but he hit over .300 in each season, with a little pop in his bat as well. He’s already 30 and you can’t expect him to get better; on the other hand, he came back early from Tommy John surgery last year, and his arm only reached full strength in September, a month in which he hit six of his eight homers and slugged .568. It’s a stretch to think that he’ll hit that well again, or even that he can duplicate his rookie line of .325/.354/.480. But stranger things have happened.

In center field, the Royals are starting the year with Melky Cabrera, who led the Cactus League with a .468 batting average. Cabrera was awful for the Braves last year, but he did hit .274/.336/.416 with 13 homers as the starting centerfielder for the World Champion Yankees in 2009. If he doesn’t approach that line, Lorenzo Cain is just a phone call away. That leaves only catcher, where…well…maybe Brayan Pena will be allowed to bat 400 times, or maybe Jason Kendall slugs .330 with a healthy shoulder. I admit, this might be the biggest leap of faith of them all.

Look, I’m not saying that the Royals are going to win the AL Central, not when Baseball Prospectus puts their odds of making the playoffs at around 1 in 250. I mean, sure, VCU just made it to the Final Four, even though their odds of doing so before March Madness started were somewhere between 1 in 800 (according to Nate Silver) and 1 in 3000 (according to Ken Pomeroy). But it's still a remote possibility, the kind of possibility that you can only dream about on Opening Day.

I’m not saying that the Royals are going to shock the world this season. I’m just saying it could happen. And, you know, it wouldn’t suck if it did.


Jim M said...

I have been waiting for someone to dare to be a bit optimistic for this season. Now is the time! thank you again, Rany!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Rany.

I like it... after all, .... it could happen.

MoCrash said...

That was fun, Rany. I hope reality doesn't bite too hard.

Royals fans have been conditioned by years of dashed expectations to believe Murphy was an optimist. When it became apparent the Royals had some minor league stars, the tune "Just Wait Until 2012-13" has been replaced by many with "Maybe '14, Maybe. I for one don't think the Royals will stink too badly in 2011. They may even catch lightning in a bottle for a while; is this Opening Day roster any worse than 2003's, or the team's leadership worse? And that club didn't swoon until August. With what the Royals have coming up behind them, a late-season slump by some players could result in an immediate upgrade in talent.

Yes, anything is possible, which is why the Royals will be one of baseball's most interesting teams to watch as 2011 unfolds. If they've shown nothing by Memorial Day again, then when does GMDM pull the trigger? If they are actually competitive, then there's the sheer enjoyment of that.

First Baptist Church, Stephens said...

It would be interesting to look at the best-case scenario for each team going into spring training. (A buddy of mine just drafted Brett Wallace ahead of guys like David Ortiz and a bunch of other guys in our fantasy league because he's an Astros fan, and Wallace hit .340 this spring).

It's silly to believe this is going to happen for the Royals, but Opening Day is supposed to be fun, and you're supposed to dream a little. The '03 team was supposed to be every bit as bad as the '03 (119-loss) Tigers. The Padres were supposed to be a threat to lose 100 games last year. Things happen.

Nathan said...

Well, the offense certainly isn't inspiring any confidence through 5 innings. Hochevar actually looks pretty good, middling numbers notwithstanding.

Unknown said...

Here's a hypothetical:
There's a 2B out there who over the past 3 seasons, if you remove all games in which he didn't play the entire game (PH, defensive replacement, PR, etc.), you come to a total very close to 1 complete season. Maybe 15 games short or so.
Over that time, defensively this player has only committed 9 Errors, turned 109 DPs, and has a Range Factor right around 4.90. Offensively, this player has hit .266/.327/.339, rarely strikes out while also not adding outs despite the additional BIP (only 7 GDPs), walks a decent amount and steals bases with regularity at a 92.5% rate.
Now assume that your team can't afford, or does not currently have, a player like an Utley, Cano, Weeks, Uggla, etc. I think there is a minimum of 9 teams currently on which that player would be starting every day. Cubs, Rockies, Marlins, Astros, Royals, Dodgers, Mets, Mariners and Rays. An additional 4 to 6 teams would possibly need that player depending on how their current 2B play, including the Nationals, Twins, Indians, Pirates, Tigers and the like.
Sure, you'd like that player to have a better OPS than .666, but keep in mind that he's a 2B and the MLB OPS was .728 last season.
So, this player hits better than league average, a higher OBP than league average, better defense at 2B than the league average, an upper level base stealer that supplements his lack of power with the ability to actually use his speed and defense. That player would slot perfectly into the 9 hole on an AL team.
Wouldn't it be nice to have that player?

That player is Chris Getz. So what is with the Getz bashing?

Antonio. said...

.260 .327

His BA is barely above average. His OBP is average. His "slugging" should always be referenced to with quotation marks. And hitting is far and away the most important thing a player can do. He's not a good hitter. His defense isn't great. He's a starting pinch runner, basically.

Dave Farquhar said...

They lost today, but I saw a few things that were encouraging. Hochevar didn't get blown out, and the Hochevar of past seasons probably would have. He pitched like a #5 and not an ace, but if he pitches like this from here out, he'll have his uses. And Yost used his bench, pinch running, and moving people around in the late innings. Aviles to 2b, Gordon to 1b, Cabrera to lf. Recent Royals managers have been afraid to do that.

Unknown said...


The most important thing a position player must be able to do is field their position, otherwise you should just make them all DHs. Or maybe you could start watching cricket. Hitting is already a losing proposition when a hitter fails nearly 70% of the time. When a player does get on base they need to do all they can to score and avoid getting an out. By going 1st to 3rd on base hits, stealing bases, etc, Getz does exactly that. Something the vast majority of players cannot do while they also hit a similar average and get a similar OBP. In reality not every player hits 20 or more HRs like they do in what I assume is your video game fantasy world. Just a quick perusal of some 2B last year I see about half had SLG of about .385 and lower. Outside of Figgins no other 2B stole as many as 20 bases. And contrary to your ridiculous assertion, Getz's defense puts him in the top 1/3 of all ML 2B no matter which way you look at it. You could check my most recent blog at where I break down his defense further. Or probably not. You could just stick with your knee-jerk "Royals suck" reactionism.

Reb Moti said...

I'm predicting 89 losses this year. Because I'm determined to predict fewer than 90. And if you can't be optimistic on opening day, when can you be?

Nathan said...

Hard to see what's controversial about Getz...he's a below average starter, but not an embarrassment like many Royals starters of recent ilk. He's a useful player, and the Royals don't have a better 2nd baseman.

There's little doubt Wilson Betemit is a better hitter, but between playing him at third and putting Aviles at 2nd, there are defensive issues to consider. Both players can contribute, and neither is a complete player. So my hope is that Betemit and Getz both get regular playing time in matchups that make the most of what they do well. There's no need to have an inflexible starter/bench standard. Let them both start whenever they'll be more useful.

With Hochevar and Mazarro on the mound, I want my best infield defense out there. So starting Getz in those circumstances seems like a good idea.

kcghost said...

You know you suck when people try to justify Getz as your starting 2B. The guy has some speed, but really he isn't special at that. His actual career numbers are 252/315/320/635. That's only one hundred OPS points below league average for the position. Throw in his average defense and there isn't enough speed on the planet to justify having him as your 2B and thinking it is a good thing.

I was at the game and saw basically the same old Hochevar. Crow had the Angels talking to themselves. His slider is a true plus weapon. And he worked fast. Loved it. Adcock and Collins had to work out of some trouble but they gutted it out and got the job done. Adcock was aided by an ill advised dash home from 2B by an Angels runner on a short single to right. Francoeur threw him out by ten feet.

kcghost said...

The offense was dreadful. You have to give Melky credit for three singles and a walk. All the hits were either soft or had eyes but they were hits. Gordon just absolutely sucked with three K's. He did miss a game winning HR by a few feet on a long drive down the left field line. Kila hit a couple balls hard but one was foul and one was right at the CFer.

Francoeur and Aviles each hit HR's. Aviles played poorly in the field with one error and another misplay on a foul pop. Francoeur struck out in what was probably the most pivotal AB for a Royal all day. The pitch was a fastball about chin high.

Jered Weaver had the Royals totally off balance for 7.1 innings. Butler and Gordon didn't have a clue as to how to hit him.

The game was marred by very poor defense by the Royals. Avile, Getz and Hochevar all made errors. Gordon seemed very slow in going after balls hit down the line.

MoCrash said...

Getz is the prototypical good glove, weak bat middle infielder. Nothing more, except some speed, and nothing less. Why would anybody get their panties in a bunch about Getz when he's merely a placeholder until the arrival of Colon? Same for Betemit for Moustakas, Ka'aihue for Hosmer, Cabrera for Cain, Treanor/Kendall for Perez and Francouer for Myers. Considering all the Opening Day starters who will be replaced within the next two years, the Royals aren't an altogether awful collection. But for actual talent to arrive, it's a waiting game.

Antonio. said...


1 run scored is equal to 1 run allowed. Runs allowed are mostly on the pitcher. 1 run scored is completely on the offense. Offense is more valuable than pitching by a small amount and that small amount is defense. Most defenders can get to most balls. The difference between the greatest hitter and the worst hitter is much larger than the difference between the greatest and worse defenders.

Antonio. said...

To succeed as a hitter, you must fail 70% of the time. To fail as a defender, you have to fail 10% of the time. It's much easier to succeed as a defender, once again making hitting more important.

Antonio. said...

And most outs occur trying to get on base, not after they're already on base. Ask Getz. He knows PLENTY about failing to get on base.

Antonio. said...


It's not knee-jerk reactionism. My favorite team does suck. It's just how it is. And I hope on your blog--which you're right, I probably won't visit--will have better defensive stats than errors and RF, questionable stats to say the least. I also hope that you realize a 62-point OPS difference between Chris' stupendous suck and average is quite large.

Antonio. said...

I probably also don't have to mention that in limited at bats (315), Wilson Betemit had a 1.5 WAR (BR). Nor do I have to mention that SuperStar Getz had a -.1 WAR (0 oWAR, plus a defensive stalwart -.1 dWAR) in limited at bats (248).

I'm glad I didn't have to mention that stuff.

Jayboid said...

A healthy Getz, a slugging first sacker or two, or three, a Crow flies in the distance, reserve troops waiting for call ups, pinch runners worthy of a pitcher's glance, we Adcock and subtract Jose G., a real honest to goodness shortstop,a quiet starter even the name sounds nice Francis,

Reminds me of the famous line from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

"who are these guys"

Anonymous said...


That was a fun series with three walk off wins. Winning is pretty fun, guess Charlie Sheen is right.

One thing stood out for me, though, and that was the abysmal use of substitution made by Yost.

I think it would be worthy of a post to look at how he substituted and how it should have been done. And I know it is much easier to sit here and second guess, but there were a few moves that were no brainers and he totally botched them. The worst one that I can think of was putting Dyson in with a runner in front of him. Thursday's game I believe.

Anyway, just a thought. I think Dyson could be a big time weapon if he is used right, but the use of him in this series, and a lot of other substitutions had me really wondering what was going on.

Anonymous said...

rany, im gonna have to ask you to write an article on this 3-1 start. also one about whether crow can have a zack greinke 08 shift to the rotation to take someones spot.

Eric said...

With Joe Posnanski moving on to bigger and better things, there has been a void in my life. Thank you for carrying the torch of Unfiltered Optimism on opening day. Nobody should have to suffer the thought that their team is out of the playoff picture in March.

dougl said...

Speaking of substitutions...Yost has said he has two sets of relievers. One set when the Royals are down by three or more and one set when within three runs. O'sullivan is in the first set. Why was he in Sunday’s game in the 7th inning instead of Collins? Yost then demonstrated he is willing to use Collins for 3 innings when the game is tied? Did Yost really think O'sullivan gave us the best chance to get the game to Soria? A win is a win but the Royals sure made Sunday’s win look harder than it should have been! Rany please enlighten us!

Anonymous said...

Adam, Antonio, and Rany,

I agree with Adam's support of Getz because 2nd base is a very tough place to find an offensive, base-stealing commodity and plus defense. It's so rare in fact I suggest in the next two years that we make a trade: couple one of our top lefty pitching prospects(Dwyer--dont like his name) with a David Lough, and throw in Will Smith to gather a Chase Utely or Ian Kinsler. These are very rare players for their position. This would add punch, stardom and leadership to our team

George said...

Jeff Suppan back in Royal blue...or is it Storm Chaser blue???

Antonio. said...

Joe Royal, he's still a below average player given the starting position ahead of someone that would do more overall for the team.

Michael said...

If all we have to complain about is Wilson Betimit not getting enough at bats, then this is going to be a good year!

I mean seriously, we are one of the few teams in baseball that this would even be an issue. In most organizations, Betemit is in AAA. You're asking them to trade one below average player for another. Not something I'm going to get worked up about.

Antonio. said...

And yet, he's still better than Getz...

And when 3-1 turns into 18-32, I'm sure we'll have a few other things to complain about.

Michael said...

Just wanted to point out that according to WAR, Getz and Betemit are about equal overall.

In 1590 plate appearances, Betemit has a 2.4 WAR.

In only 670, Getz has a 1.5 WAR.

Getz has under one half of the career plate appearances than Betemit, but has more than half of his WAR. So, actually, overall Getz is the better player.

Anonymous said...

I think its pretty obvious that Getz's defense is better than any other 2nd baseman on our team. He moves great--giving him more range. Aviles has a good arm and moves average, which makes him an ideal 3rd baseman for our ballclub.
I think we've disagreed on Getz's defense before Antonio. I'm telling you Getz came here because of his defense not in spite of it. He once lead off for the Sox on a day to day basis.

Antonio. said...

Yes, thank you, I know this. He lead off for a White Sox team that has no belief in OBP. His OBP was a below-average .324. And they now have Juan Pierre leading off. What does that say about the White Sox?

And yes, career-wise, your numbers are right, Michael. But when looking at a player with very few career at bats (Getz) and comparing him to a player who has received very infrequent at bats (Betemit-never had 500 at bats, only 400 once [2006]), looking at career at bats isn't going to give you a healthy comparison. Wilson had a break out year. You'd have to imagine that he's bound to regress, of course...and you have to imagine that Getz might be healthier than last year, but his BABIP was about 20-30 points below average, which would push his average up to a below average amount, his OBP a below average amount and his slugging would be on par with Kendall.

Last season:
Getz; 0.0 oWAR and -0.2 dWAR
Betemit; 2.6 oWAR and -1.3 dWAR

His defense is bad, but even Getz had slightly below average D last season. And Betemit is still the overall better player. Hoche/Mazzaro would get Getz/Aviles for me, but the others would get Aviles/Betemit.

And I know Getz came here because of his defense. And that's because the Royals think D = O and it simply does not.

(Getz looked pretty ugly tonight.)