Plain and simple. The defense has deep flaws, The relief pitching became far worse when DM thought "Inexpensive relievers were good, therefore expensive ones will be better", and the starting pitching fell apart due to the stretching out of most of the rotation.
But the offense put up the following stats in 2009: .318 OBP, .259 BA, .405 SLG, .452 Expected bases.
The Royals were 13th in runs (ahead of the Mariners), 13th in home runs (ahead of the Athletics), 13th in walks (ahead of the Mariners), 13th in OBP (ahead of the Mariners), 13th in OPS (ahead of the Mariners), 12th in OPS+ (ahead of the Mariners and White Sox). But the Royals are 1st in triples and they're 7th in sac bunts (Ryan must be shocked that being 7th in sac bunts isn't enough to make our offense more dynamic).
So why is Offense so important?
4 of the top 5 OBP teams are in the AL playoffs, or in contention. The worst OBP team in playoff contention is Detroit (.330). The top three OPS teams are the Yankees, Red Sox, and Angels. The top three AL teams are the Yankees, Red Sox, and Angels. The top 4 OPS+ teams are 4 teams in playoff contention (New York, Boston, Los Angeles, and Minnesota).
To have even a remote shot at the playoffs, your offense needs to be average. You cannot continue to rely exclusively on patching up the pitching and defense while ignoring the deficiency that places too much pressure on pitching and defense.
So why did our offense fail so often this year? We did not get any production out of the DH spot or the cleanup spot.
Here's the bloody numbers based on batting order position
With a .279 OBP batting 2nd and a .281 OBP batting third, it's a miracle that we got 100 RBI out of the three-hole. If having three of the worst offensive spots directly in front of three of the best spots isn't enough of a sign of how awful this offense was, what is a way to get that point across?
How about a breakdown of various spots of the lineup to summarize what went right and what went wrong.
Apologies to people who think that Crisp having 3 times as many stolen bases makes him better than DeJesus despite DeJesus being much much better at things that help the team out. Also gotta love that DeJesus scraped together 50 RBI hitting in the leadoff spot.
So, who hit 2nd for most of this year?
Good thing that we chose to have Bloomy anchor our offense (along with getting DDJ through the slump portion of his season in the 2 hole). Can't wait to see DeJesus shoehorned into the 2 spot next year as Scott Podsednik hits leadoff.
But the cleanup spot is another great tale of fail.
I can't wait to see Designated Hitter Jose Guillen batting cleanup next year. Mike Jacobs' year is pretty obviously bad. He only got 249 PA in the cleanup spot, so if he returns, expect Trey to give him 249 more. And Mark Teahen somehow did not live up to his reputation for clutch hitting in the cleanup spot.
And here is how the lineup looks if you plug the most frequent hitter into that spot
Can't understand how the offense has problems with that group of players.
In an ideal world
the Royals would dump Jacobs, Guillen, and Olivo. But Guillen is stuck here due to the idiocy of Dayton Moore. Jacobs should be gone (if DM actually consults with Trey on roster moves, Trey has given up on Jacobs), and Olivo should be gone, especially due to his glaring flaws. Then we need to sign or acquire a proven catcher just to strengthen our team if Brayan Pena turns out to be a fluke.
This team should
1. Either let DeJesus bat leadoff, or trade him for actual useful players. The next centerfielder to get a payday by this team is gonna bat leadoff due to the 1970s mentality of the braintrust.
2. Groom Gordon to hit in the 2 spot if he can prove that this year was a fluke. If DeJesus stays, then the top 3 should be DeJesus, Gordon, Butler. If DeJesus goes, then the top 3 should be Callaspo, Gordon, Butler.
3. Consider the possibility of transitioning Billy Butler into the cleanup spot. Batting Jose Guillen cleanup next year will likely fail to help this team's offense. As well, the team needs a good cleanup spot option for when Guillen is injured. So possibly, the top 4 could be DeJesus, Gordon, Callaspo, Butler.
4. Realize that they traded for a guy who will bad 9th and not contribute much on offense or defense. Not that they can do much with Yuni.
5. Commit themselves to keeping Alberto Callaspo. Trading/Demoting one of your best hitters after this disaster of an offensive year sends the message of "Another 2009". Callaspo hits the ball on a team where there's not enough of that. Perhaps Callaspo can be the next Royals DH when Guillen is hurt. YES DAYTON, YOU CAN HAVE A DESIGNATED HITTER WHO ISN'T CONSIDERED A POWER HITTER.
6. Consider the offers for Mark Teahen and make a move if we can improve the team down the road. Teahen has peaked and it's time to go another direction.
7. Get serious about Brayan Pena. If he has such obvious defensive problems, either work on the problems or trade him. Pena has been good in small doses, provided that he's not batting left-handed or playing DH.
8. Not bat Willie Bloomquist in the top of the order. If you insist on using Willie's speed, put him 9th and hope that he can move Yuniesky over a base.
The Royals should not
1. Bring back Josh Anderson. It's one thing to be fast and useful. But Anderson is only slightly faster than the usual player and not too useful.
2. Expect Willie Bloomquist to be a top of the order hitter. Use him in the role he played in Seattle, not the one he played this year. He does not have enough pop in his bat to be successful in the K.
Plain and simple, the 2009 Royals offense was one of the worst in Royals history and probably the worst when compared to the times we live in.
You could have Seaver, Ryan, The Big Unit, Clemens, and Pedro playing, with 9 gold glovers, and if your offense is 13th in the league, you will not contend.
It's time that this team's braintrust realize what plays well in this ballpark and in modern-day baseball. Because if they do not, then they will continue to lose.