At the beginning of the 2006 season, Royals Review asked readers "What Are We Looking Forward to in 2006?". 12.7% of you voted for "Mark Teahen's Miracle Run at 10 Homers" the second highest total ("Greinke Turning it Around (Really)" took the field at 23.7% of the 455 votes).
As we all witnessed last night Teahen's miraculous run at 10 homers is over, and before the Royals have played their 100th game of the season. Not surprisingly, "loyal2theroyals" has honored Teahen with "Boyfriend of the Day" status. Going further, its never too early to revive the Teahen for All-Star campaign, either. Despite our best efforts to rock the vote for our favorite Canadian, Teahen fell juuuuuust short of A-rod in the voting.
If we dedicate ourselves to this for the next 11 months, nothing, repeat nothing can stop us. Vote or Die: Teahen for All-Star in 2007!
Now that Teahen's blasted his 11th homer, its time to wonder just how good he might become. Don't look now, but he's slugging .500, something I wasn't sure a Royal was ever going to do again. His season line stands at .270/.336/.500, and thats with his .195/.241/.351 April & May factored in. I can't express how satisfying it is to see a Royal prospect/young player actually improve over time. Usually we rush them to the majors, invite them to fail, then act shocked when it happens.
Mark Teahen, the Official Hero of Royals Review
Jeff Sackman, who blogs on the Brewers and is something of a rising star in the blogging/writing/sabermetrics world has this to say about the Graffy trade:
Graff is a useful stopgap, as he can play any infield position, and he isn't an offensive cipher. I like the fact that we've pulled the plug on the JDLR experiment, if only so we don't have to fret about giving him a roster spot into perpetuity. At the same time, it sucks that we were basically forced into making some deal like this. I wouldn't have minded giving up next to nothing for a lesser stopgap (like Keith Ginter, natch).
While the Perez trade represents a potentially interesting -- if not bizarre move -- from D-Moore, the Graffy trade seems so minor its almost hard to analyze. The Brewers needed a 2b/SS guy for the short term, and so they sent us a guy with an ERA in the 8.00s.
We should note, D-Moore has turned two relief pitchers and a position player, all over the age of 30, into six live arms to add to the pitching cadre of the system.
And, on cue, JoePo chimes in today with a column praising Moore,
This is what I like about Royals new general manager Dayton Moore. The guy's got an idea out there.
There's no guessing how well Moore's five early trades will work out. It's pretty meaningless to instantly judge trades that involve young players. We won't know for years whether Mike MacDougal or Tyler Lumsden is the better pitcher.
Then, the value of each individual trade is not the point right now. The point is Dayton Moore is making moves. He's taking fliers (Dayton Fliers --get it?). He's uncompromisingly reshaping the Kansas City Royals. The guy's got an idea. He's going after it. And that's fun to watch.
Agreed. Beyond the Beltran trade, the Baird-era always seemed to leave us guessing if trades would ever be made. Maybe Glass was tying his hands, maybe he wasn't, but clearly, the Royals aren't messing around this time.
Frankly, its worth saying that sometimes these things don't work out well. As I've tried to point out over the years, not every "youth movement" ends up working, in fact, most don't. A nice example would be the mid-1990s Twins, who peaked in 1996 with a 78-84 record. The Twins had players like Scott Stahoviak (26), Chuck Knoblauch (27), Pat Meares (27), Marty Cordova (27), Rich Becker (24) and Matt Lawton (24) who looked like they would lead the Twins back to prominence. Well, the Twins went 68-94 in 1997, 70-92 in 1998 and 63-97 in 1999. They completely cratered and had to rebuild again -- from a team that never actually became good -- with the Torii Hunter-generation.
Still, its plain that Moore has no choice but to rebuild young, which is obviously the point. I think there's something to be said for GMs making too many moves, too quickly when they first take over, but its tough to say if Moore will do that; just a week ago he was a "do-nothing GM".
Lastly, and this is important, Moore's stated plan of "Power on the corners, speed and defense up the middle, consistent starting pitching and power arms in the bullpen" is a venerable one, but also problematic. Because its essentially the generic Blueprint for a baseball team going back to at least 1960, its also what everyone sorta wants. The problem is that when everyone wants the same thing, the price of those things goes up. Moore doesn't have the wallet of the Dodgers, or (wait for it) the Braves, who can afford to pay retail for guys like Joey Gathright who can do one thing but not three others and the 10 "power arms" you'll need to secure in the hope that three of them work out.
If the Royals want to win under Dayton Moore (a question embarassingly legitimate at this point) then the team needs to also think outside the box. This isn't a question of a generational preference I have, or a question of fashion. Its imperative. The Royals have to be creative to win in this market, with this owner.
Whether Dayton Moore is the man to do that remains to be seen.