Matt Stairs has hit 207 home runs in the major leagues. Only 54 active players have more, a number which will certainly shrink given the likelihood that guys like Sammy Sosa, Tim Salmon etc have probably played their last game. Stairs is tied for 69th among active players with an even 700 RsBI, tied with Johnny Damon of all people. After years struggling on the bench and in part-time duties, Stairs thrived in Oakland, finding a franchise that valued what he could do rather than what he couldn't. Stairs bopped 122 homers in five seasons in Oakland, including 38 in 1998. In the storied history of the A's franchise, Stairs' 122 ranks as 16th All-time. In over 4300 plate appearances, Stair's career line is .267/.361/.489 (or better than Ken Harvey having the month of his life). .489 slugging lifetime? Thats pretty damn good.
The idea in recent years is that Stairs is a platoon player, hence Buddismo's preference for playing Joe McEwing at first/DH occasionally. This continues to be the thought heading into next season, as the franchise pointlessly turns to Minky as an answer. However, in limited duty last season, Stairs has managed a .259/.400/.389 line against lefties. Umm... I'll take that .400 OBP... Nea, the Royals have so many viable options, lets get cute and pray for an empty .290 batting average from the position. Yea, sounds good. Granted, in the last three seasons, Stairs' lefty split is not quite as good, .228/.338/.383.
Matt Stairs is 34th All-Time among KC Royals hitters with an astounding 31 homers in blue and white. Ever feel really bored and down on yourself? (You're reading a B-level Royals blog, is this question even worth asking?) Well, take a look at the Royals' All-Time Home Run Board. There just hasn't been much power on this franchise, and some of the more sluggardly sluggers have only been around for a few years... Mike Tucker is #29, Joe Randa is 12th, Aaron Guiel is 39th for goodness sakes. If Stairs gets to 15 homers next season, he'd creep into the low 20s, part of a threeway tie at 45 including the Mighty Quinn and Lou Pinella.
Not that it really matters -- since, of course, almost nothing is actually at stake -- but a nice benchmark for how sane the Royals are will be comparing Minky's playing time to Stairs'. Then again, Minky's probably more likely to be slightly below average, given Stairs' additional age. On the other hand, only Stairs has really any chance of being an above average player. For the record, Minky's career line is .268/.359/.405.
One last thing, anyone else expecting a Emil Brown collapse this season? Sign Ben Greive now!
I am one of the best 100 Royals ever. Eh, maybe Top 150.