Preview: Royals Rooter
Trying to spread a little hope in Kauffman Stadium's air of despair.
Royals....Defending Their Buddy
Kansas City hires Buddy Bell and the sky is falling! I do not recall another managerial hire that has received the amount of bad publicity as the hiring of Buddy Bell. I am as guilty of bashing Bell as anyone, but doesn't it just make sense that the Royals go out and win the first two games against the Yankees after he gets the job? Obviously, Bell has not done anything in two days to change this team, but his presence might have been enough to wake some of these players up.
This is a team that by most accounts had become extremely comfortable. Maybe Buddy Bell sitting in the bullpen has been the proverbial pea under the mattress. It is hard to quantify effort, but there sure have been a number of nice defensive plays in these two games against New York. Are the players actually getting dirtier now that Bell has been hired? Where is the stat for that? As much as I would like to attribute this to Bell's managerial skills, any new manager would probably have the same effect.
Maybe the players read the Star yesterday, heard the less than glowing reports on TV and the radio and decided to fight back. Brian Anderson made it more than clear that he wasn't please with articles by Whitlock (his complaint was about the lenght of the deal, get a life) and Posnanski. Maybe the players are tired of the bad press, the team's reputation as a loser, and it has gotten them to give more effort on the field. It is alot harder to be critical of players when you can tell that they are giving everything they have.
Hopefully, the Royals will be bringing that same effort tonight against the Yankees. They will need it with Ryan Jensen facing Carl Pavano. Of course, last night DJ Carrasco pulled off a victory against Randy Johnson. That's the thing with baseball, for just one game anything can happen. I know I'll be watching to find out. I bet a bunch of other people will be as well.
Managers, Prospects, and Yanks
Yesterday was quite a day for the Royals. They disappointed most of their fans by hiring Buddy Bell. They called up yet another prospect in Shane Costa. Perhaps lost in the hoopla over Bell's hiring, they beat the Yankees.
There has been time to digest the Bell hiring now. After reading reactions from almost every source possible, I have found that there are not many differing reactions. The virtually universal prevailing view is that Kansas City *bleeped* this hiring up in the worst way. The national media has yet another reason to pile on to Kansas City, as if they needed more ammunition. After my search for the silver lining, the only thing that I have been able to come up with is that Bell is a no nonsense kind of guy who wants players to do things the right way. With all of the news coming out of Kauffman lately, it is apparent that some of these players to put them in their place. It isn't very shiney, but that is the silver lining that I found. There were guys who could do that AND manage a game who could have been hired, Terry Collins comes to mind.
I was hoping to see Shane Costa play last night, but he should be in the lineup tonight. I am not sure that Costa is ready, but he is 23 and should be able to deal with the struggles that are probably headed his way. Don't expect a lot of power from Costa, but he could end up a solid player. The best thing he has done to date is replace Marrero. It was time for Marrero to go, now how long does Lima have?
Kansas City beat the Yankees! On any other day, that would have been plenty to put smiles on the faces of the team's fans. Greinke finally got to replace that zero in the win column, even though he did not pitch exceptionally well. Mike Wood, Andy Sisco, and Mike MacDougal came in from the bullpen and pitched 4 scoreless innings combined. In the field, DeJesus made a couple nice plays, the leaping catch at the wall to start the game set a good tone. It was just one game, but I'll take a win against the Yankees anytime.
This might be it, the Royals move that pushes me right over the edge. I may just take my place in line behind every other Royals fan who has lost hope. I can always find some positive spin to put on Royals decisions and performaces. Not this time. I just don't see any good reason for Bell to be hired. I mean not one. His managerial experience is in running franchises that are just as bad as the Royals. His best finish as a manager is third. His best record is 82-80. It's kind of funny, if you look at his managerial record next to the Royals recent records, you may think he had already been managing in Kansas City. Let me look it up and check....
Bell: 5 plus seasons, 1 winning season, best finish 3rd, winning percentage .428
Royals: last 6 seasons, 1 winning season, best finish 3rd, winning percentage .421
I take it back, the Royals did find improvement.
edited: here is more on the Bell hiring
I guess its easier for the Royals front office to take out frustrations on the members of their cheap relief corps than to cut bait with their pricey offseason additions. This time it's Jaime Cerda who gets shipped down to Omaha and Steve Stemle gets his shot in the big leagues. As an added bonus, Shawn Camp gets designated for assignment to make room on the 40 man for Stemle. It isn't that any of these 3 guys figure to matter much to the long term success of the Royals, but it might be sending the wrong message. The worst performers on this team are still taking the field consistently, presumably because they get paid like major league players.
Another great start for Jose Lima. Tonight Lima gave up 8 earned runs in 4 innings, leaving him with a beyond lofty 8.13 ERA. It seems to me that the easiest way to improve the team's pitching would be to remove Jose Lima. At this point I'd rather see Chris George pitch every fifth day than Lima. At least George wouldn't be cocky about getting rocked.
Eli Marrero pitched in with no hits in four at bats tonight. He is now batting a robust .163. ONE SIXTY THREE !!
One thing about Steve Stemle's promotion...at least you can't say he is being rushed. This was his 7th season in the minors and he was impressive for Omaha. He also had a nice debut tonight with 3 scoreless innings.
As much complaining as there has been about the Royals payroll, they would be better off dropping it 10 million (Lima, Marrero, Long).
Manager Search Rolling...
Is this really it? Art Howe, Terry Collins, Bob Schaefer, Buddy Bell, and Jerry Manuel appear to be the short list of candidates according to the Star
. If this is what Kansas City came up with after narrowing down the list, I would hate to see what names got crossed off.
Buddy Bell, the current bench coach for Cleveland, was interviewed yesterday by Allard Baird and Dan Glass. What kind of incriminating pictures does he have hidden away? In his previous posts as manager with Detroit and Colorado, Bell has a record of 345-462. That's good for a .428 winning percentage.The 2000 Rockies were the only club under his guidance to finish above .500 at 82-80. Interviewing Bell is like calling Pena and asking him to take the job back.
I'll be the first to admit that I don't know a lot about Jerry Manuel. He was 500-471 managing the White Sox from 1998-2003. That sounds good enough, but I remember those White Sox teams as being very talented and always underperforming and coming up short of expectations. There is no room in Kansas City for falling short of expectations. This teem needs a manager who can push it to exceed expectations.
I am growing to like Bob Schaefer, but I do not think he is what the Royals are looking for in their next manager. They have said repeatedly that they want a manager with previous experience. I think that they mean what they are saying and I also think they want to avoid the media backlash of hiring the "cheap", inexperienced manager.
Art Howe...Yawn. Does Art strike you as someone guys would follow into battle? He just doesn't seem to have that "it" quality". Howe is the safe, uninspired choice.
Terry Collins appears to be the fiery and demanding manager of group. He has a reputation of wearing thin on players by demanding too much from them. What players on the Royals have enough pull to complain? If the time comes that Collins has worn out his welcome and enough players have developed into the type that can get a manager fired, Collins would have done his job. Bradford Doolittle has a good article
in the Star on veteran managers that focuses on Collins and makes him appear to be the right choice for the job.
My money is on Collins to get the job. The conspiracy theorist in me thinks that he is already Baird's choice. Baird is a maniacal workaholic and he must want to see the same from the guy he tabs to run the team and from the team itself. I think he would have liked to interview Larry Bowa, but the Keitzman/Bowa campaign for Bowa to get the job probably precluded the Royals from seriously considering it. That left Collins as the hardnosed, get everything from the players manager out there. What's the easiest way for Baird to ensure that the the Glass' go along with his choice of Collins? Put those other guys on the list. Regardless, please, oh please, no Buddy Bell.
Schaefer, The Early Returns
Bob Schaefer now has 11 games as the Royals skipper this season, and things have changed since he took over for Tony Pena. Are the Royals a good team now? No, but it is safe to say that they are a better team than they were to start the season. In their 11 games under Schaefer, Kansas City is 5-6, still not great, but not embarassing either.
There are, of course, other factors involved in Kansas City's improvement. Major league players, even young ones, can only hit .200 for so long. The 4 game series against Tampa Bay could not have come at a better time.
Schaefer has to get some of the credit though. He hasn't exactly been without issues to deal with himself. The team's only productive bat when he took over was on the shelf for a bit, and the pitching staff has sustained injuries. At this point, if Kansas City can't find a manager who brings something extra to the table, I hope Schaefer keeps the job. Judging by their performances under Shaefer I bet these guys would like him to stay on.....
After a horrible start, Buck has a .440 OBP and 9 RBI's in the 7 games he has started since Schaefer took over.
After a horrible start (sensing a trend), Angel Berroa has a .378 OBP, 2 home runs, and 10 runs in his 11 games under Schaefer.
After a horrible start (looks like a trend), Ruben Gotay has a .414 OBP in his 8 games with Schaefer as the manager.
After a horrible start (yep, its a trend), Emil Brown has a .435 OBP, 4 doubles, 2 home runs, 11 runs, and 12 RBI's in the 11 games since Schaefer took over.
Those are 4 guys who were about to be run out of town a couple of weeks ago. It could be Schaefer, it could just be things evening out, but it has been a lot more enjoyable to watch.
KC Draft Notes
With the second pick in the draft and the promise of another high pick next season, the baseball draft should be getting close attention from Royals fans. Having the second choice this year is fortunate as the consensus seems to be that there is quite a fall off after Justin Upton and Alex Gordon. Of course, for Kansas City things are never that easy, Rumors have come out that KC may be thinking cost on draft day and that they think highly of Cameron Maybin, who has loads of potential but is a higher risk than either Gordon or Upton.
According to Baseball America
, the Diamondbacks, who hold the first choice, have narrowed their options for that slot to four players. If BA is correct, Arizona will be choosing from Upton, Craig Hansen, Luke Hochevar, and Mike Pelfrey. It seems strange that Gordon is not on their list, but as someone who would like KC to take Gordon at two, I'll hope that's the way it goes.
Alex Gordon is a legitimate power hitter who should rise through the minors quickly. There are always "ifs" with prospects, but Gordon and Billy Butler could give the Royals legitimate threats in the middle of the order. The Royals Op-Ed page has an excellent write-up
The only downfall to the Royals selecting Gordon is that he is not expected to stick at third base. At that point, their top three hitting prospects would all be in the 1B-Corner Outfield, DH mold. Gordon's bat is still more than good enough to merit the selection, but I would like to see KC eventually develop some hitters up the middle.
I still would not be shocked if the Royals ended up selecting Maybin, but I would be disappointed. With his potential, it would be a defendable choice on their part, but in their current state Kansas City needs a player who is likely to rise quickly through the minors.
It is not likely to happen, but I would be thrilled if Jacoby Ellsbury is still available when the Royals make their second pick.
It won't happen, and it shouldn't, but I would find it amusing if Kansas City took either Drew or Weaver, should they end up back in the draft. It would ALMOST be worth it just to see the look on Boras' face.
In a note on a prospect already in the Royals system, Luis Cota is dominating hitters for Burlington. He has a streak of 22 straight scoreless innings which has dropped his ERA down to 1.60. Opponents are batting only .189 against Cota and he has 52 K's against 22 walks in 45 innings pitched.
Eli, Not What The Royals Need, Royals Lose
As a Royals fan, I have grown accustomed to watching players struggle. After Knoblauch, Roberto, and Neifi, you get used to it. Eli Marrero is doing his best to join that list. After his 0-4 performance tonight, Eli is down to .171 on the season. Now that John Buck has crossed the Mendoza Line (congrats John), Marrero is the last remaining member of the Medoza Boys for the Royals. The worst part is that he is supposed to hit lefties, but his average against southpaws is .220 so far this season. No, the worst part is that he's getting paid 3.2 million to hit lefies and he isn't hitting them. Teams like the Royals shouldn't spend that much on part time players and it is even worse when those players aren't even doing their part.
- Doesn't it figure, the Royals give Greinke some support and Zach gives up 6 runs? It looks like that's just the way things are going to be this season (that means KC gets the breaks next season right?).
- The game was actually fun to watch though and I had myself deluded into believing the Royals would win right up 'til the end.
- Schaefer has done something for the offense since taking over. The longer it takes Allard to find a new manager, the better Schaefer might look.
- I owe Emil Brown a bit of an apology. I was advocating the Royals cutting him before they sent Diaz down, but he has looked good lately. I still don't think he should be a starter in the long term, but if he is the fourth outfielder next year, that may be a good thing.
Need The Help Of Red Sox Fans
I have been making links pages to the sites of various teams and tonight decided to do the Red Sox page. Wow, there is A LOT of Red Sox stuff out there. Anyway, I have gotten quite a few links for the Red Sox, but I'm sure that I have missed quite a few. If you could send me links to Sox sites, I would appreciate it. My Red Sox page is here
, if you know a site that isn't listed, please send it my way.
On a bright note, Kauffman Stadium should be packed with fans for the weekend series with our friends from across the state. On a down note, red will probably be the primary color worn by those fans. I have to admit that the proposition of having the opposing team's fans outnumber the fans in blue bothers me a bit, but I am really looking forward to these games. The fans should be interested in more than the kiss cam and the limbo for at least 3 games. Besides, I believe the ability of this team to actually disappoint me is gone.
If the Royals are going to take any game against the Cards, tonight figures to be the night. Greinke is due, well past due, for some run support and I actually think the Royals have a decent shot at getting some runs off Mulder. KC's starters for the next 2 games, Lima and ?, don't exactly have me brimming with optimism. Anyone who still thinks its Lima Time needs a new clock.
Jeremy Affeldt is heading off to Omaha on Monday for a 2 week rehab assignment. It should be interesting to see how he is used when he gets back to the big club. He doesn't sound enamored with the idea of working in the bullpen without a set role. Personally, I would like to see Affeldt given back the closer's role to build up his trade value. He could very well live up to his potential, but there are enough reasons to bet against him that trading him would make sense.
The Royals bats seem to be waking up just as their pitching is coming apart at the edges. Cliche, but if it wasn't for bad luck, this team would have no luck at all.
Interview With HD Mavs GM Bruce Mann
Bruce Mann, the General Manager for the High Desert Mavericks was kind enough to answer some questions that I sent him. He shares his opinions on current Mavs Billy Butler, Mitch Maier, and J.P. Howell. My favorite quote from the Mav's gm was "he was born in the grass with a glove in his hand". That has to be from a movie, or it should be. The interview
is posted on The Pine Tar Rag. One thing about the interview, yes, there are questions that should have been asked, and they probably were. He picked out which questions he wanted to answer. I'm just a geek with a computer, not exactly in a position to be picky.
Mama Said There'd Be Days Like This...
The end of 2 and the offense has come through. The Royals are leading the game 8-2 with their opening day starter on the mound. They win this game right? RIGHT? RIGHT?
Jose Lima gave up 7 runs in 3 innings, giving the Orioles all the boost they needed to make it up the comeback trail. The time is fast approaching for the Royals to let Lima go. If not for the injuries to Brian Anderson and Denny Bautista, I would say the time has come.
Lima was not the only culprit in the Royal demise last night. Jaime Cerda gave up 2 runs in 2 2/3 innings. I am not going to lay this at Cerda's feet, instead I am going to blame misuse to Cerda's problems this season. As a situational lefty, Cerda is at least adequate. Putting him out there to face an entire lineup is asking for trouble. Against lefthanded batters this season, Cerda's WHIP is 0.93 (1.12 in '04) and his BAA is .219 (.185 in '04). Facing righthanded batters, Cerda has a WHIP of 3.00 (1.88 in '04) and BAA of .304 (.282 in '04). It seems to me that Cerda should be kept away from facing righthanded batters.
Offensively, there are reasons to hope. Angel Berroa picked up 2 hits, continuing his improvement since being moved into the leadoff spot. Emil Brown picked up 2 more hits. He has actually looked like a hitter lately. Mark Teahen continued hitting, getting an RBI double. Ruben Gotay had 2 hits and has been improving.
With the loss last night, the Royals have guaranteed going 76 series without a sweep. The major league record is 79. Cross your fingers.
I was letting my happiness show when the Yankees were struggling early and now they have put up 10 straight wins. The Yankees are still the Yankees, and the Royals are still the Royals. BLEEP!
Reasons to head to the K tonight.....
Off Day Notes
The Royals win their second series of the year, the first at home, and now get to sit back and wait for the Orioles and Cardinals to come rolling through town. Bon Schaefer has got to be feeling pretty good watching the Royals take 3 of the first 5 games with him at the helm. On the flip side, Lou Piniella has got to be even more miserable than usual. I was, and still am, against moving Berroa into the leadoff spot, but it is hard to argue with the early returns. Angel is 6 for 19 (.316) with 3 runs and 3 RBI's since assuming the roll. Of course, he has not taken a walk which is why I still don't like the move.The early returns for DeJesus in the second spot are not great. In those 5 games, David is 4 for 19 (.211) with 2 runs, 2 RBI's, and 2 walks. Batting third and playing 3rd base for your Kansas City Royals....Tony Graffanino! Alrighty then.0-4 and 3.09.....numbers that should not go together. So far though Greinke has taken the lack of run support fairly well. After his start against Toronto, he was quick to point out that the team had given him a run. When a reporter told him that the Royals were shutout in one of his starts, he was the first to say that he had allowed 6 runs in that game and deserved to lose. It should be interesting to see who gets called up to take Bautista's turn in the rotation. I'm sure that the Royals felt like they had decent starting depth at Omaha before the season started, but it hasn't worked out that way so far. George (5.55), Gobble (7.52), and Tankersley (7.52) have all struggled, so Jensen and his 4.30 ERA seems like the likely and unexciting choice.If you are looking for a young, not ready, rotation filler to continue the pattern of Burgos and Nunez, maybe the Royals surprise everyone and promote Kyle Middleton or Mike Stodolka, who are both at least throwing strikes in Wichita.The Manager SearchIf you listen to Allard Baird and Dan Glass, the Royals' next manager will have experience as a major league manager. Baird says that he prefers that and Glass has said it is the only way that he wants to look.Art Howe seems to be everything that Kansas City wants in a manager. He was successful in Oakland when they were rebuilding around the big three of Zito, Mulder, and Hudson. By most accounts, Howe is an organizational guy who does not rock the boat. Without seeing the Royal's list of candidates, I would rate Howe as the early favorite. Matt Stairs, whose opinion I think Baird values, is a big fan of Art.Frank White appears to be on the outside looking in at this point. If the next manager has to have experience, he's out. If White ends up getting the job, it probably means that the Royals could not get who they actually wanted.Bob Schaefer is the longest of longshots, but if Tampa Bay stayed in town his odds might get better. The only way he gets the job is if the Royals win, win, win.Keitzman'z choice, Larry Bowa, still does not appear to make a whole lot of sense. If you listen to the majority of people who cover baseball, Bowa would be absolutely the wrong choice. I think that his odds improve significantly if he lands an interview. He is inspiring to listen to and says all the right things.Other choices could include Bob Brenley, Buck Martinez, and Terry Collins. Jim Leyland could be a darkhorse candidate for the job. He has a good name and has been a winner, but would he want the job? [...]
Finally, Back to the K
After an absence of many years, I returned to Kauffman Stadium last night. For the past 12 years I have lived in Florida and there were easier ways to see my team play ball. Once a year I headed to Tampa Bay to see the annual clash of the titans there. I also went with my family every year to see the Royals series in Boston. I also went to see them play in Atlanta. Coming all the way back to KC to watch them play in Kauffman never happened though. Now I am back, transferred to Kansas City and close to my team. I literally felt like a little kid driving into the parking lot and walking past the statue of George Brett outside the stadium. I thought I would share my impressions of Kauffman after so much time away.
- There is nothing like watching your favorite team play in their home park. Attending Royals games in places like Tampa, Boston, and Atlanta was nice, but needless to say I was a lonely Royals fan in those stadiums. Hearing people actually cheer for the Royals was a foreign experience to me.
- There doesn't seem to be very much passion in the stadium. I know that the Royals are losing, but I have felt more passion from fans at minor league games from fans who don't know the players' names. It made me feel genuinely bad for the players. Maybe it was because there were only 17,151 fans in attendance at a stadium that holds over 40,000. Maybe the Royals would be better off playing in a stadium that holds around 30,000. Maybe it was because it was cold. The wind blew all night and as happy as I was to be there, I was miserable by the late innings. I will admit, the place did come alive for the final 2 innings.
- The view past the outfield fence is horrible. I-70, Denny's, and Clarion do not make for a beautiful backdrop.
- Getting in and out of Kauffman compared to other baseball venues is incredibly easy.
- The concourses and bathrooms that I have heard people complain about are not as bad as advertised. Maybe it is because I have watched a lot of games at Fenway, but I did not give them a second thought.
- I walked around the stadium some before the game and there really aren't many bad seats in the place. I think next time I'll go with the cheap seats and have money left over for some $6.50 beers.
- Proponents of a downtown stadium are right about the atmosphere outside of the stadium. I would have loved to be able to walk across the street for a drink afterwards, but ended up in my car driving home.
All in all though, once the first pitch is thrown, it is a baseball game. Watching the Royals play at the K was my favorite game in years.
Here Comes The Rain
The Royals earned their first victory of the post Pena era last night, thanks in part to a thunderstorm that ended the game in the seventh. At this point, a win is a win and I'll take it. The offense seems to be coming around a bit, scoring 7 runs after scoring 9 the day before. It had to get better eventually.
Mike Sweeney was scratched from the game. According to the announcers, it was due to a strained oblique. With Mike, health is always an issue and I would hate to see the season he is havin affected by injuries.
If you are looking for players developing as the season goes on, look no further than Mark Teahen. He is not the same guy who was blinded by the bright lights on opening day. In 8 games since coming off the DL, Teahen is batting .308, with 2 doubles and a .357 on base percentage.
Nice to see John Buck get a couple of solid hits, including a double. Buck is probably my favorite young Royal and watching him struggle is tough. Buck may end up the right handed half of a catching platoon. He has hit lefties this season at a .300 clip with an OBP of .440 and SLG of .400. Those numbers are only in 20 at bats, but he is noticeably better when facing a lefty.
Speaking of Royals catchers, Allard Baird was on 810 this morning and Justin Huber came up. Obviously Baird isn't going to sit back and watch his young players battle Mendoza forever. Allard listed 3 positions where Huber could end up playing for the Royals, 1st, outfield, and catcher. Buck needs to heat up if he is going to keep his job.
I still don't believe in the guy, but Emil Brown is starting to show that "hitterish" thing that Brett said he had.
Watching the D-Rays play, I envy their speed, especially in the outfield. Speed is a readily available and relatively cheap asset to acquire. That Gathright guy is still stuck in AAA for the Rays.
Ruben Gotay was 1-2 and his out was a solid shot to 3rd. He's got about 3 weeks before Donnie Murphy is healthy.
David DeJesus was caught stealing AGAIN. Maybe the first question Allard should ask potential managers is if they will let DeJesus continue to attempt steals. Either that or they should get someone in who can teach David the art of stealing. He isn't smoking fast, but he is faster than a 20% stolen base rate would indicate.
Matt Stairs does not get nearly enough credit. He is one of those guys who shows up for work and always does his job well. Other than Mike Sweeney, Stairs has been far and away KC's most consistent threat offensively. There will be temptation for the Royals to trade Stairs this summer, but I hope they hold onto him. "Veteran presence" may be overrated, but a team needs at least a bit of it.
It's looking like Lima won't have much if any trade value at the deadline. Oh well, he's still helping out my Hacking Mass team.
Ken Rosenthal Can Kiss My Royal....
Ken Rosenthal, nationally respected baseball writer, wrote a piece generally trashing the Royals and David Glass specifically. I'm sure most of you have seen it by now. Maybe Ken was at a loss for topics, or maybe he was hurried to meet a deadline, but more insightful articles on the Royals can be found on just about every corner of the internet. Lets break down a bit of Ken's genius.Two years ago, Pena was voted American League Manager of the Year after leading the Royals to a surprising 83-79 record. The Royals then made several misguided free-agent signings, flopping miserably.How misguided did You think those moves were at the time? I can not say for sure what You thought of the moves, but I do remember quite clearly that most members of the media were absolutely glowing about the Royals. Hindsight is a tremendous weapon, but when you use it, you're really just talking out of your......Now, surprise! — they're back in cost-cutting mode; their $36.9 million payroll to open the season was the second lowest in the majors, ahead of only the Devil Rays.Starting a youth movement, Kansas City should have found a way to spend and additional 10 or so million just to make their payroll look good? It sure as heck wouldn't have made them a winner this year. The worst part of this statement is that you are attacking Glass when the fact is that the payroll is purely a result of the team's circumstances. By every account I have ever heard, Glass would have given the green light to add payroll last year had the Royals been in contention and he never gave a directive for the payroll to be reduced this year. When the time is right and the money will make a difference, I have little doubt that the payroll will increase. As the Royals have learned, spending money is not always the answer. Umm, weren't you just bagging on the team for not spending money?Other low-revenue teams find a way to compete.What first place team right now is "low-revenue"? I know, I know, You are really talking about Minnesota and Oakland, which is actually 2 teams. Isn't Minnesota that team everyone was bagging on a while back, the one that was almost contracted? The funny thing is that at the same time, they were positioned to become a contender. Most people didn't look deep enough to see that part though, did they Ken?General manager Allard Baird, one of the game's hardest workers, deserves his share of blame — his trades for Jermaine Dye, Johnny Damon and Carlos Beltran have yielded little.I'll give You the Dye and Damon trades, but the jury is still out on the Beltran trade. If You have already written off Teahen, Buck, and Wood then You really don't have alot of patience. Funny You didn't include the acquisitions of Huber and Bautista for basically nothing. You went pretty far back, so I'll have to bring up Ibanez as well. The Nunez kid looked pretty good the other night. What did Allard give up for him?The Way I See ItMost people are naturally shortsighted and baseball is not a game for shortsighted people. In the NFL and NBA turnarounds can be accomplished quickly. Look at what can happen in the NBA. Two years ago the Cavaliers were an awful hopeless team. Their reward was drafting Lebron James. Bingo, bango, the Cavs are a decent team and they have a marketing monster on their roster. Things aren't quite the same in baseball. In 2004 Kansas City was terrible. They don't get to take the 2nd pick for that until halfway through the 2005 season. When they do choose their guy, it will be someone who most of their fans have never heard of and probably won't see for 2, 3, 4 years, if ever. That's just the way baseball works. Once a team starts doing well [...]
The Post Pena Era
Proving that not much changes in 24 hours, the Royals dropped the first game of the post Pena era to the Blue Jays 12-9. The game was by all acounts ugly and one look at the box score confirms that. To sum up the ugliness, the Royals committed 2 errors (Teahen and Castillo), issued 11 walks, and were caught stealing twice (Berroa and Teahen). That is no way to win a game.
Bob Schaefer's first real decision as interim manager was moving Angel Berroa into the leadoff spot. This move is questionable at best. An on base percentage of .271 does not a leadoff hitter make. To makes things worse, this move is basically rewarding Berroa, who has become a symbol of what is wrong with the Royals. One night Berroa makes one of the worst baserunning mistakes imagineable (for those who do not know, Berroa was doubled off second base last night when he wandered too far on a Sweeney fly out), the next day he is leading off.
I know that the Royals need to find a way to score runs, but, even without doing statistical analysis, I am certain they have cost themselves runs with their baserunning this season. After being caught stealing twice today, the team is 13 for 29 in stolen base attempts this year. The new leadoff hitter is 3 for 7.
Perhaps the worst news of the day was that Denny Bautista had to be pulled because of tightness in his shoulder. Due to his slender build, Bautista's ability to hold up has often been questioned. Hopefully, he was pulled just as a precaution. I am having thoughts of Hernandez, Bautista, and Snyder.
It took 1 game for Bob Shaefer's career winning percentage to be cut in half from 1.000 to .500
Tony Pena joined the list of former Royals managers
with a winning percentage of .410, the worst of any Royals manager with more than 100 games. Even the last Tony managed .428
Who Is Behind Door Number 3?
Tony Pena is out, time to move on. Frank White, Larry Bowa, Art Howe, George Brett, Buck Martinez, Bob Brenley, Mike Hargrove, Grady Little, Jamie Quirk, Jimmy Williams, and on and on. Until there is a known short list, a ton of names will be tossed around as a possible replacements for Pena. On talk radio, callers have even brought up Whitey Herzog as the right man for the job. The problem with the search will be that it takes two. It isn't just that Royals have to want to hire someone, that someone has to want the job. This has to be one of, if not the, least attractive managing jobs in all of baseball. If you are someone out there who has aspirations to manage, you probably do not take the Royals' job if you know you have a legitimate shot at landing the manager's job with another club within the next year or two years. This job could ruin a career before it starts. Who would take the job? Larry Bowa was out for this job before there was even an opening. His name was first thrown out as a possibility by Kevin Keitzman of Sports Radio 810. Bowa appeared on the show, saying that he would love the opportunity. I find openly angling for a job that belongs to someone alse to be in bad taste. Since his name came up a couple of weeks ago, countless baseball people have been on the radio talking about Bowa and not one has endorsed him for the job. Their answer when asked if Bowa would be a good manager for Kansas City has been a unanimous "NO". The only silver lining to Bowa getting the job is that the team would get the kick in the pants that it totally deserves. Who will not take the job? George Brett is not going to be the next manager of the Royals. Some fans will be bringing his name up, but that quest will be pointless. Brett did himself no favors by leaving the door open, saying in The Star "I would consider it, but I doubt I would take it". Brett has nothing to gain by taking over as the manager of this team. His legacy in Kansas City is unmatched and he does not need the job. I doubt he will actually consider it and if he does, I hope he keeps his senses and decided against it. The Popular Choice Frank White wants the job and the Royals organization probably owes him the job. The two negatives that are attached to White are that he doesn't have major league managerial experience and that one day he would be fired. As far as experience goes, there probably is not a manager out there with experience, who would be a good hire, that would take the job. Frank White does have experience as a coach in the majors and as a manager in the minors. The fact that if given the job White will one day be fired is the one most used as a reason that he should not get the job. There is no denying that he would probably end up fired, as most managers are, but I am pretty sure that White would be coming into this knowing how things work. If he is the right choice for this team, this argument really doesn't hold water. There are a lot of positives that White brings to the table. He is a tie to the glory days of the Royals. After George Brett, White is probably the player most associated with the past successes that the team has enjoyed. His hiring would be a public relations bonanza for a team desperately in need of some good will in the community. Whoever ends up being hired has to understand the position and direction of the organzization. As a current member of the organization, White passes this test. As the manager of Wichita, White knows much of the core of the Royals youth movement, those in the majors and in the minors. He has a grasp on what th[...]
Brian Anderson was placed on the 15 day DL today with elbow inflammation. Called up to take his place was Leo Nunez, who was acquired from the Pirates in the offseason for Benito Santiago.
According to Anderson, his elbow has been a problem since last season. This problem was brought to Tony Pena's attention by Mike Sweeney.
Nunez had only recently been promoted to AA Wichita and had only logged 5 innings there. He allowed 1 run, 3 hits, 1 walk, and struck out 5 in those innings. Those are the only 5 innings he has pitched above A ball. Andy Sisco and Ambiorix Burgos have apparently convinced the Royals that AA and AAA are unnecessary steps in the evolution of a pitcher.
The Royals bullpen has to be the youngest in the league at this point...
Anderson's replacement in the rotation has not been announced. The likely candidates appear to be Mike Wood and Kyle Snyder. I doubt it will happen, but there has to be some temptation to see what Andy Sisco would do starting games.
Burgos, Sweeney Lead Royals To Win
It is only one win, it only brings KC to 8-23, but at this point, every win is precious. Royals fans should savor every win as though it could be the last. Ambiorix EARNED the win out of the pen and Captain Mike had another good game at the plate.
Game Notes: Royals 10- Orioles 8
- On Saturday, both Mark Teahen and Ruben Gotay were on the bench with Tony Graffanino and Joe McEwing taking their spots in the field. I wasn't thrilled seeing both youngsters out of the lineup, but everyone needs a day off. Then Sunday's game rolls around and once again Graffanino is starting over Gotay at second base. To say Gotay has been struggling would be putting it mildly, but if he is on the team, he should be playing.
- When Brian Anderson was removed from the game prior to the 3rd inning due to a sore left elbow, I actually felt better about the Royals chances to win the game.
- You have to give Tony Graffanino credit for staying in the game after colliding with Chris Gomez at first base. Gomez had to jump to snag a high throw and when he did his knee caught Graf square in the ribs. Of course, Tony did come out between innings.
- Ambiorix Burgos had his best game to date in the majors. He went 2 2/3 without allowing a hit or a walk while striking out 4. More importantly, he got KC out of a bases loaded, 1 out, jam in the 7th. With his history of starting, there is no reason that Burgos can't be used for more than one inning in the future.
- As nice as the win was, the Orioles lost the game every bit as much as the Royals won it. When the opposing team commits 4 errors and a phantom balk brings in a run, you had better win the game.
- Do the Royals need 3 lefties in the bullpen? Jaime Cerda better hope so or he is headed to Omaha when Affeldt comes of the DL. After giving up 3 earned runs in 1/3 of an inning today his ERA is 9.39.
- Matt Diaz has hit 2 home runs since being demoted. Why again did Emil Brown stick with the big club over Diaz? Brown is a nice story, but a bad player. How long will it take for Allard and Tony P to realize that Brown is not the second coming of Raul Ibanez?
- With the Royals troubling outfield situation, Allard should be on the phones with Chuck LaMar. The Rays have outfield depth and might be willing to part with either Joey Gathright or Jonny Gomes. Either player would represent an upgrade for Kansas City and a package to bring one to KC should be possible. Of course, if LaMar wants a repeat of the Kazmir trade, forget it.
- Could the Royals do better with a lineup made up of their minor leaguers? No. Could they be improved by bringing some of them up? I think so and make some comparisons in an article on The Pine Tar Rag.
Pena makes BRILLIANT Decision
Tony Pena won the game for the Royals today. Tony Pena, the man so maligned he should be called Tony Pinata, made an absolutely tremendous decision in today's game. He decided to bring in his closer when the game was actually on the line instead of going with convention wisdom and leaving him in the pen until the ninth. Burgos was brought into the game in the bottom of the seventh with the bases loaded and one out. Had he failed, this would have been one more reason for fans and the media to ridicule Pena. Burgos came through with 2 strikeouts to escape the 7th and Tony looks like a genious. Not only that, but Tony left him in to finish out the game, which he did, giving the Royals a win. Tony has made many questionable calls that have cost the Royals some games, but he came through today. Great move Tony, remember it.
Royals Lose, Happy Mother's Day
I could go on and on about how bad this team has been so far this season. After all, the Royals do stand at 7-23, reaching ever further into the depths of despair. But, it's a holiday, almost anyway. No complaints about the Royals in this post, in honor of my Mother.
The Royals scored 3 runs in today's game and all three were driven in by none other than Mike Sweeney. Sweeney was 3-4 with a home run in today's contest, further elevating himself in the race to be Kansas City's all-star representative. I will say, once again, the Royals can not trade Mike Sweeney.
Andy Sisco was was fairly dominant today. It was nice to see him come back strong after his last outing. I got to see Sisco pitch twice in Daytona last season, and while you could see the potential, I would not have guessed he could begin this season as strongly as he has.
Jose Lima.......woops, I said no complaints. Jose Lima is doing great things for my Hacking Mass team over on Baseball Prospectus.
The Yankees broke their losing streak, but George's horse, Bellamy Road, finished a disappointing 7th. Think George is going to give Bellamy Road and trainer Nick Zito a speech on performing like Yankees?
One more Derby note, I hope no one went out and put money down on Bandini after my endorsement. I did admit I knew nothing about horse racing.
To all the Mothers out there, Happy Mother's Day. For those of you lucky enough to still have your mother in your life, give her a call or go see her. For those of you who are not so lucky, remember her fondly.
One More L, Derby's Tomorrow
That's 4 losses in a row. This one makes KC 7-22. The Royals did manage 1 run. They may set some records this season.
and a few thoughts for the night....
- There are alot of things to like about David DeJesus' game. His base stealing ability is not one of those things. He was caught stealing in tonight's game, leaving him with 1 stolen base in 4 attempts this season. This is after last season in which DeJesus was caught in 11 of 19 attempts. This is not a team that can give away outs. DeJesus needs to be given a near permanent red light.
- Teahen's trip to the disabled list apparently did something to help his fielding. He looks worlds better in the field since his return. Maybe his back was bothering him from the start of the season and it affected his fielding. Regardless, Teahen is doing much better now. He absolutely robbed Chris Gomez tonight, spearing a line drive to his right.
- You have to feel for Tony Pena. He has to be wondering what media reaction is going to be to every one of his moves.
- How good would Sweeney be if he could lay off of balls that are low and away.
- Yankees lose! Yankees lose! 11-19. The Yanks are finally giving me a reason to cheer.
Kentucky Derby Thoughts
*Bleep* this *bleeping* team. They lost another *bleeping* game, giving up 2 *bleeping* runs in a *bleeping* inning where they didn't give up a *bleeping* hit. 4 *bleeping* walks and a hit *bleeping* batter. Tony *bleeping* Pena took out his best *bleeping* pitcher after 85 *bleeping* pitches. This *bleeping* team is 7 and *bleeping* 21. Bring on the *bleeping* Orioles. *BLEEP*!
Well, I feel a little better now. Let's see if I can be a little more constructive.
Zach Greinke is the Royals' ace. He is their best pitcher, the pitcher they should want on the mound with the game on the line. He gets taken out of the game after just 85 pitches? Yes, he had walked a guy and hit a guy, putting 2 men on base. Top of the rotation pitchers get out of that situation. The Royals have to let Zach Greinke get out of that situation. It was his game. He should not have had to sit on the bench as his two runs were walked in by other pitchers.
Andy Sisco and Ambiorix Burgos are both good young pitchers with loads of potential. They are also both still working on their control. These are not the guys that should be brought in with runners on base. If they start an inning, a walk or two may not be costly. With runners on, a walk (or three) can make all the difference. Of course, who else would they bring in right now? Yeah, Greinke should have stayed in the game.
Mike Sweeney has more than twice as RBI's as the next closest Royal, 24 to Ruben Gotay's 10. When was the last time a player had more than double the number of RBI's as the next guy on the team? Sweeney has a good shot.
Gotay is second on the team in RBI's. It speaks volumes about KC's offense that a guy who currently has a .539 OPS is second on the team in that category.
I am starting to think that Mark Teahen might work out at third base. He has only been back for 3 games, but he has looked comfortable at the plate and his approach has been good. He won't be batting at the bottom of the order for very long.
Kansas City is currently a surprising 13th in the majors in home runs. Power was supposed to be their biggest problem offensively, but their problem has been getting on base. The team is last in OBP with a pathetic .292.
How about those Yankees, 7 games under .500. Their team ERA is worse than the Royals, 5.17 to 4.99.
Bleep, Joe Bazinet
Sweeney Quieting Critics
Not a bad game, just not a win.
- So much for the winning streak. The Royals played well in last night's game though, and it is, for once, hard to argue with the moves that Pena made. He figured out how to use pinch hitters by bringing in Terrance Long and Matt Stairs to hit for Brown and Buck. You can't argue with Sisco pitching the 8th. It didn't work out, but he has been KC's most reliable reliever and everyone gives up runs at some point.
- Sweeney has really turned it on, hitting a pair of home runs in each of the past 2 games. Nice to see him healthy (knocking on wood) and performing well. I am not a proponent of trading Mike, but if that is the plan, at least he is helping out his value.
- Prior to the game, Mark Teahen was recalled and Matt Diaz was sent down to Omaha. I still believe that Emil Brown should have been the choice to be demoted. He would have had to go through waivers, but what team would have picked him up? The odds of either of these guys being a long term solution are loooong, but Diaz has the better chance of the two.
- The time has come to trade Jeremy Affeldt. If Ambiorix Burgos keeps the closer role when Affeldt returns, Jeremy's value to the team is extremely reduced. He still has a ton of potential, but it doesn't look like he is going to realize that potential, at least not with Kansas City. The Royals are better off trading him while his perceived value is still high. Jimmy Gobble could have gotten good value in a trade last season, now he has no value at all. The Royals should learn the lesson and trade Affeldt soon.
- Ken Harvey is 0 for his last 10. Pickering should have gotten a fair shot.
- With Colorado sitting at 6-18, the Royals aren't even on track for the first pick.
- Royals' fans can at least take heart in the Yankees early season struggles. Even if they come back to playing like the "Yankees" this season, they are OLD and have issues. If George planes on the team staying on top, he is going to have to reach deep, deep into his pockets.
- Is Butler ready yet?