Fixing The Royals
So I did this little exercise a few years ago and now after another abysmal season (albeit under a different GM than the last time I did this) I can't help but put my thoughts and opinions down on paper. First, let's look at my philosophy. I've gotten very interested in sabermetrics and while my basic philosophy hasn't changed much I know have lots of new numbers to use to justify it (numbers which the current Royals front office largely ignores). I've always believed in pitching and defense, in stealing bases and manufacturing runs (the later runs somewhat counter to the sabermetrician within me). Baseball Prospectus did a study a few years back and it said teams that win almost invariably use more than 50% of their payroll for pitching so that seems to be a good measuring stick. Also, if one needed any more proof that pitching and defense are the path to success look no further than the Tampa Bay Rays of 2008. Granted that was a very good offensive line-up, but you get the idea.
So, now that we've got that out of the way let's go through and evaluate this year's team. We'll take a position-by-position look at who's staying, who's going, etc. (Note VORP is Value Over Replacement Player, which is the number of runs contributed beyond what a replacement-level player at the same position would contribute if given the same percentage of team plate appearances. VORP scores do not consider the quality of a player's defense.)
- Miguel Olivo: .292 OBP, 23 HR, 65 RBI, 14.9 VORP
- John Buck: .299 OBP, 8 HR, 36 RBI, 6.6 VORP
- Brayan Pena: .318 OBP, 6HR, 17 RBI, 5.7 VORP
For some inexplicable reason the Royals deemed it necessary to carry three catchers on their roster for much of the 2009 season. Olivio performed decently though his lack of plate discipline (126 K's and 19 BB in 390 plate appearances) is certainly not ideal. Olivo is adequate defensively and all the others are about the same if not slightly worse. Buck had some good games, but was hampered by injury. The Royals have a mutual option on Olivio and have the potential to non-tender Buck.
Billy Butler quietly had a breakout season, hitting 50 doubles, and driving in nearly 100 runs. Butler still managed to strike out 103 times but drew 58 walks making it somewhat acceptable. Jacobs was expected to provide pop in the middle of the Royals lineup and managed to fail mightily. Jacobs struck out more than any Royal (132 times), but that may only be because Alex Gordon didn't play a full season. Neither plays even average defense at first base with Jacobs being exceptionally bad. Billy looked pretty good at times, but still has a lot of work to do before he's even an average fielder.
- Alberto Callaspo: .356 OBP, 11HR, 73 RBI, 34.9 VORP
- Willie Bloomquist: .308 OBP, 4 HR, 29 RBI, 0.3 VORP
This was supposed to be Mark Teahen's position at the beginning of the season, but Alex Gordon's injury changed all that and opened the door to Callaspo, who, despite playing deplorable defense, hit well. Willie was, well, himself. Little to no power, versatility and plenty of grit (which Trey Hillman loves).
- Yuniesky Betancourt: .269 OBP, 4 HR, 27 RBI, -4.3 VORP
- Mike Aviles: .208 OBP, 1 HR, 8 RBI, -10.7 VORP
In Aviles' defense he was slumping early and did go down with an injury, but he definitely didn't look like the player he was in the second half of 2008. The Betancourt trade was exceptionally stupid and Yuni certainly do anything to change that perception. Unfortunately we're stuck with Yuni and his ridiculous contract for a while.
- Alex Gordon: .324 OBP, 6 HR, 22RBI, 2.0 VORP
Gordon was hampered by injury and Teahen played third more than twice as much as him. Gordon will be 26 at the Start of next season and the fact that he has still yet to reach his potential should be worrisome.
- David DeJesus: .347 OBP, 13 HR, 71 RBI, 15.5 VORP
- Coco Crisp: .336 OBP, 3 HR, 14 RBI, 4.9 VORP
- Jose Guillen: .314 OBP, 9 HR, 40 RBI, -4.1 VORP
- Mark Teahen: .325 OBP, 12 HR, 50 RBI, 11.1 VORP
- Mitch Maier: .333 OBP, 3 HR, 31 RBI, -1.5 VORP
- Josh Anderson: .297 OBP, 1 HR, 18 RBI, -4.7 VORP
DeJesus had a solid season hitting pretty well and playing gold glove quality defense in left. Crisp has a club option for next year, which I doubt the team will pick up given he had surgery on both shoulders this summer. If he does come back it will be with a new contract at a discounted rate. Guillen might be done for good, as his knee problems seem to have sapped him of his strength. Teahen played well for a utility guy, but not well enough to be an everyday starter. Maier and Anderson are ok. Maier is a pretty solid fourth or fifth outfielder.
- Zack Greinke: 16-8, 2.16 ERA, 88.3 VORP
- Gil Meche: 6-10, 5.09 ERA, 5.2 VORP
- Brian Bannister: 7-12, 4.73 ERA, 8.5 VORP
- Luke Hochevar: 7-13, 6.55 ERA, -12.9 VORP
- Kyle Davies: 8-9, 5.27, 6.0 VORP
All of this rotation with the exception of Greinke was hampered by injury this season, but still well below expectations from all except the presumptive AL Cy Young winner. Grienke's season looks even better when you look at some of the defense independent pitching metrics and add in the fact that he allowed 1 or 0 runs on 6 occasions and didn't come away with a win. Hochevar continued to look awful, making us look even stupider for taking him over the likes of Evan Longoria, Clayton Kershaw, Tim Lincecum, Max Scherzer, Joba Chamberlain and Ian Kennedy all of whom were taken later in the first round in 2006. The Royals desperately need a lefty in the rotation!
- Joakim Soria: 3-2. 2.21 ERA, 30 Saves, 21.0 VORP
- Kyle Farnsworth: 1-5, 4.58 ERA, 2.9 VORP
- Juan Cruz: 3-4, 5.72 ERA, 2 Saves, -0.3 VORP
- Roman Colon: 2-3, 4.83 ERA, 6.5 VORP
- Jamey Wright: 3-5, 4.33 ERA, 1.9 VORP
- John Bale: 0-1, 5.72 ERA, 1 Save, -0.1 VORP
- Robinson Tejeda: 4-2, 3.54, 19.2 VORP
Soria was also hit hard by injuries this season, but still managed to get 30 saves. The rest of the bullpen was shaky at best and made most fans shudder every time a name other than Soria was called. Expect Bale to be non-tendered and Wright is a free agent after this year.
Ok so there's the current team. Not terribly impressive is it? Pitching is downright awful (Grienke and Soria excepted of course). Is there any help on the way? Let's look at some of the top prospects in the minors.
1. Mike Moustakas, 3B, 20-He hit .250 at High-A Wilmington this year with only 16 homers and, by all accounts, his defense is pretty bad at third. Next year is crucial for him. He needs to find a position and hit well to ensure he remains in the Royals plans.
2. Eric Hosmer, 1B, 19-Played even worse than Mike in Wilmington, granted he only played 27 games at this level he still hit .206 with only 1 HR. Not exactly the kind of performance you want from your best power prospect.
3. Michael Montgomery, LHP, 20-Pitched well in both low-A and high-A ball this year. In 9 starts at Wilmington went 4-1 with a 2.25 ERA and 46 K's in 52 innings.
4. Tim Melville, RHP, 19-Melville went 7-7 in 21 starts at low-A Burlington with and ERA of 3.79. He struck out 96 in 97 innings. This kid has talent and should move up to high-A to start the year in 2010 and may finish in AA.
5. Danny Duffy, LHP, 20-Pitching at Wilmington Duffy had one of the best years of any Royals prospect. He went 9-3 with a 2.98 ERA and 125 K's and only 41 BB in 126 innings.
6. Aaron Crow, RHP, 23-The Royals' top pick this year better be good. He throws in the low 90's with a plus slider and an improved changeup. If Crow isn't in the team by the end of 2010 he'll be a disappointment.
7. William Myers, C, 18-Reported to rookie ball at Idaho Falls and played in 18 games before the season ended. What and 18 games they were. .488 OBP, 4 HR, 14 RBI. This kid may not always be a catcher (he's got a Joe Mauer type build)
8. Carlos Rosa, RHP, 24-Has a perpetually injured arm and though the Royals have long viewed him as a shutdown reliever that ship may have sailed particularly given his struggles this year.
9. Kila Ka'aihue, 1B, 24-Kila didn't put up anywhere near the numbers he put up in 2008 and this season was a struggle for him with his power, but one thing you can say about the man is that he works the strike zone. Despite hitting .261 he still had a .398 OBP and drew 85 walks. How the Royals continue to ignore him is beyond me.
10. Christopher Dwyer, LHP, 21-Another pick from 2009. In his 4 appearances at Idaho Falls he wasn't terribly impressive, but let's give the young man some time. Needs to be pushing for playing time by 2011 or 12.
Well, there it is. Kind of depressing right? The two top "talents" are still years away from being major league ready and pretty much all pitchers and hitters had bad years. Fixing the Royals long-term is going to require some shrewd drafting and trading in order to shore all this stuff up.
This is definitely a franchise that needs some help. So what's it going to take? In a word, money. Royals owner David Glass has shown a willingness to increase payroll over the last few years and lets be honest he's going to have to do it again. However, Glass and the Royals will have to spend intelligently. No more big ridiculous contracts to the likes of Mike Jacobs, Coco Crisp, and Yuniesky Betancourt. According to Forbes the Royals made $9 million last year (which given the nature of sports finances means they probably made a lot more) and they had an attendance of 1.7 million (ranking 25th in the league), which was a 13% increase over the previous year. So the money is probably there. The Royals have the 21st highest payroll in the league at just over $70 million. The payroll will probably need to be increased by about 25 to 30% in order to bring in the players that this team needs.
We've looked at the team, done a quick evaluation of the finances, and now it's time to make my shopping list. So what do the Royals need? They need pitching, power hitting, guys that get on base, and guys that play defense. So...everything. We need a centerfielder, maybe another corner outfielder, and 3 and 4 starter (maybe a 2 and 4 if we can afford it) one has to be a lefty, a couple dependable relievers, and a big bopper to play DH (preferably some one that bats righty). So here's the players I'll be looking at:
(Note UZR refers to ultimate zone rating per 150 games which measures how many runs a player saves or costs a team over the course of a season as compared with the average player.)
- Mike Cameron: .342 OBP, 24 HR, 78 RBI, 9.0 UZR
- Cameron will be 37 at the start of next season, but he still manages to put up pretty good numbers and play good defense in centerfield (his UZR was 4th in the league). The knock on him is that he's a little bit of a hassle in the clubhouse and with Jose Guillen already on the team do we need more of that? Given that we could probably get him for somewhere around $4-7 million a year. Not sure it's worth it.
- Scott Podsednik: .353 OBP, 7 HR, 48 RBI, -3.6 UZR
- Scotty Pods is definitely our cheap option. Yes he's a below average fielder, yes he lacks power and for a leadoff hitter really doesn't score that many runs, but if he could be had for less than $1 million would you turn it down?
- Rick Ankiel: .285 OBP, 11 HR, 50 RBI, -7.2
- Ankiel need a big year to cash in on his first run at free agency. He bombed, he's thirty and surprisingly his defense is consistently pretty bad (statistically speaking). No doubt he'll command more money than he's worth. His power is intriguing and UZR doesn't take into account his incredible arm.
- Carlos Gomez: .285 OBP, 3, HR, 28 RBI, 5.4 UZR
- Gomez was the centerpiece of the trade that brought Johan Santana to the Mets and at times you can see why he was so highly regarded. He's probably the best centerfielder in baseball, but his bat holds him out of the lineup. This is a guy that needs AB's and a team that will be patient with him. Is that the Royals? Maybe, maybe not. He's a big kid and people keep saying he'll develop power. The main problem is he's not a free agent. We'd have to offer the twins something of value in return for him. Think something like Teahen plus a prospect.
- Jordan Schafer: .313 OBP, 2 HR, 8 RBI, -3.2 USR
- Played only 59 games total this year due to a wrist injury. Flashed some brilliance, but then struggled mightily at the plate. At his stops in the minors he's shown the ability to get on base well and seems to have pretty good plate discipline, but that all went out the window when he made it to the bigs. Another guy that we'd have to trade for, but would cost less than Gomez as the Braves don't need him to play CF now that they have McClouth.
- John Lackey: 11-8 3.83 ERA
- The headliner of a really week free agent pitching class. This guy is going to be the one that teams are going to fight over and he's going to make bank. At 30 years old he's been pretty consistent. If I thought there were any chance he'd play for the Royals I'd aggressively pursue him. As it stands we may make a decent offer, but expect him to sign with one of the big money contenders.
- Randy Wolf: 11-7, 3.23 ERA
- Wolf put together a good season for the Dodgers. He's a lefty, which is something our rotation desperately needs, but can he have the same success in the AL that he has had in the NL? Not to mention why would he want to leave the NL with the way he handles the bat? My gut says no and I have a feeling we'll be priced out of the market for him early on.
- Erik Bedard: 11-7, 3.24 ERA
- Another lefty, but who knows what you'll get. Jayson Stark of ESPN says it best: "He'll have exploratory shoulder surgery in two weeks. So theoretically, we'll know more about him then. But if there's any chance Bedard will be healthy, he'll be every bottom feeder's favorite free-agent attraction." I'm not sure I like being characterized as a bottom feeder, but if he pitches like a number 2 or 3 starter I'd tale a shot at him.
- Brad Penny: 11-9, 4.88 ERA
- What's the deal with this guy? He's started an all-star game, won World Series games, and yet sometimes he seems indifferent. This is the guy that's going to see a short-term contract with lots of incentives. I'd be happy to give it to him if I didn't think Davies/Bannister would put up comparable numbers.
- Brandon Webb: 0-0, 13.50 ERA
- Hasn't pitched since opening day. The D-backs have a club option, which I expect they'll pick up, but if they don't Webb is suddenly a big deal. However, if the D-backs don't pick up the option, what does that say about how hurt he is? If I could get him on the cheap I'd definitely make a play for him.
- Jon Garland: 11-13, 4.08
- Well, nothing is terribly remarkable about Garland other than the back-to-back 18 win seasons he had for the White Sox in 05 and 06. Other than that he's just a durable guy. Makes his 30 starts and gets his 180+ innings. To be honest I wouldn't mind having him on my team. The question is, is he an improvement over Bannister and Davies?
- Jason Marquis: 15-13, 4.04 ERA
- He's unspectacular. He's healthy and a workhorse. He's never been great and wouldn't be much better than a 3 or 4. Still, on the back of 15 wins he'll draw plenty of attention. Probably more attention than we're willing to pay him.
- Joel Pineiro: 15-12, 3.49
- Very enigmatic. Formerly a spot starter and long reliever hadn't had much success until this year (Correction: he did win 16 and 14 games for Seattle in 02 and 03 respectively). Is he winning games on the back of Cardinal bats or is it all Dave Duncan and weak NL bats?
- Doug Davis: 9-14, 4.12 ERA
- Another guy who's had a modicum of success in the NL and by modicum I mean 88-95 lifetime. Again he's a lefty, but a 4th starter at best a spot that I'm much more comfortable giving to a proven AL pitcher or someone who'll come a little cheaper.
- Rich Harden: 9-9, 4.09 ERA
- What can you say about Harden? He has great stuff, but he gets hurt a lot. He averages just over 5 innings a start and he's never started more than 30 games in a season. His K/9 are great topping out around 11, but will he hold up and make 32 starts and get to 200 innings? Probably not. Still an intriguing option though.
- Justin Duchscherer: 10-8, 2.54 ERA (2008)
- Converted from a reliever and looked pretty good in 2008. Missed all year with an elbow injury and then was diagnosed with depression. He's available and maybe projects more as a spot starter or long reliever. He is an option though if we get priced out of everything else.
- Jarrod Washburn: 9-9, 3.78 ERA
- Washburn will have offseason knee surgery so there's no telling how he'll recover from that, but assuming he makes a full recovery this lefty is intriguing. He is 35 though and hasn't had a winning season since 2004 (going .500 this year doesn't count in my mind). It will be interesting to see what the market is for him.
- Octavio Dotel: 3-3, 3.32 ERA
- Dotel was good for us before and he was good for the White Sox this year. Turns 36 in November, but can still get it done. I'd welcome him back in a flash.
- Mike Gonzalez: 5-4, 2.42 ERA, 10 Saves
- Pitched well this year for the Braves as a set-up man. Given Trey Hillman's dislike of the situational lefty the least we could do is give him a lefty that doesn't suck. Plus he's a former Brave, the Royals love former Braves.
- Rafael Soriano: 1-6, 2.97 ERA, 27 Saves
- Another former Brave. He operated as closer mostly and may be unwilling to step back into a set-up role. Someone will probably be willing to pay him to be the closer, but if not he's another excellent piece
- LaTroy Hawkins: 1-4, 2.13 ERA, 11 Saves
- Pretty consistent over his career as a reliever. Throws hard, which KC loves, but I'd definitely put him behind Dotel and maybe even Gonzalez on my list.
- Carlos Delgado: .393 OBP, 4HR, 23 RBI
- He's allegedly 37 and he didn't play a full year this year. Chances are he'd like to play for a contender. But it certainly wouldn't hurt to float an offer.
- Adrian Beltre: .304 OBP, 8 HR, 44 RBI
- For a guy with a reputation for playing big in contract years Beltre didn't play very well. He's a good fielder, but not sure if we can afford him.
- Russell Branyan: .347 OBP, 31 HR, 76 RBI
- Broke out this year in Seattle. I can't see them not retaining his services, but he would certainly be a serviceable option at the 1B/DH position. Definitely has some pop, strikes out a bit too much for me though.
- Adam LaRoche: .355 OBP, 25 HR, 83 RBI
- Seems to have decent pop and pretty good plate discipline. Not sure if he can get it done in the AL and he's a lefty. We don't need more lefties in our lineup.
- Jason Bay: .384 OBP, 36 HR, 119 RBI
- Probably going to be the most sought after free agent on the market. Showed he can do it the AL. Making $7.5 million a year currently, probably going to command (at least) double that in free agency. But he's probably worth it. Almost certainly wouldn't sign with the Royals though.
- Matt Holliday: .394 OBP, 24 HR, 109 RBI
- Played awful for the A's and amazing for the Cardinals. Probably has more value to an NL team as a result. He plays above average defense in the outfield and works the strike zone well. Makes $13.5 million currently, you're looking at $15-18 million if not much more to sign him. He did sign with the A's though, so maybe he'd come to KC
- Vladimir Guerrero: .334 OBP, 15 HR, 50 RBI
- Played only 100 games. The post-season will be big for determining how high his value is. He's making $15 million currently and on the open market he may not be worth even that much. Doesn't strike out much for a guy with a rep as a free swinger. Looks more like a DH than an everyday RF.
- Jermaine Dye: .340 OBP, 27 HR, 82 RBI
- Former Royal!! Dye's future was pretty much sealed when the White Sox acquired Alex Rios. His defense in right is way below average (-17.5 UZR this year up from -21.4 the last few years). But he can still hit. He's making 11 million now, not sure he'll get that on the open market. Would be a steal for $6-8.5 million.
- Johnny Damon: .365 OBP, 24 HR, 82 RBI
- OK, OK, so he's not going to hit 24 homers at the cavernous K and his defense is pretty awful, but having him and DeJesus batting 1-2 sounds pretty good doesn't it? Making $13 million and I'm not going to offer him anything near that. Good luck with that Johnny.
Alright, there's the list. So who's coming? Well, that's easy. Here's my list:
1. Mike Cameron-2 years $13.5 million plus incentives-couldn't pass up his glove and his power potential. Failing landing him I'm trading for either Gomez or Schafer.
2. Jermaine Dye-2 years and $16 million plus incentives-I'm content with an outfield of DeJesus, Cameron, and Teahen/Guillen giving me the ability to sign Dye for the DH spot. Plus he and Cameron as power hitting righties help balance out our lineup.
3. Erik Bedard-4 years $32 million-Honestly, I don't care what I pay for this guy. I'd pay him Gil Meche money to put him in a Royal uniform in 2010, which is of course, assuming his shoulder checks out. If it doesn't I'll be looking at either Washburn or Davis on one or two year deals for low salary, but packed with incentives.
4. Rich Harden-3 years $17 million-I'm wary that his price may get driven up because the starting pitchers market is awful, but I don't see to many teams willing to commit long-term deals and lots of dollars to him. The Royals have 3 guys in Bannister, Davies, and Hochevar who are capable of being the 4th or 5th starter much like Harden would be, but none of them, with the possible exception of Hochevar have the same kind of stuff Harden does. I'm happy to pay him to hold down a spot and use one of the other three as his fill-in. Really he's just holding a spot for Aaron Crow.
5. Octavio Dotel-2 years 8 million-Given what I spent otherwise we're not going to be able to go wild and get both Gonzalez and Dotel. Dotel will be a good set-up guy and will work well with Juan Cruz (hopefully). The problem is now I need to move either Cruz or Farnsworth (preferably Farnsworth). The rest of the bullpen will be cobbled together by trades and guys on the farm.
So that's who I signed. I'd love to be active in the trade market, but aside from Teahen and potentially Alex Gordon I don't have many pieces that people are going to want. I'd love to be able to dump Betancourt and Guillen (partly because of their contracts and partly because they suck) in favor of other players but I can't see any takers out there. I may just cut Guillen and eat the salary same thing goes for Willie Bloomquist. I'm going to non-tender John Buck and Mike Jacobs. Pick up Olivo's option and hope he does the same (of course I'll do this before I release Buck, I'm not that dumb). Here's what the team could look like after all is said and done.
1. Miguel Olivo
2. Brayan Pena
No more of this ridiculous three-catcher roster. I suppose I will continue to let Miguel catch and strike out as much as he likes. Please God let William Myers be ready soon. After next season Olivio will be a free agent and maybe I'll bring in another veteran on the cheap for a couple more years.
1. Billy Butler
2. Kila Ka' Ka'aihue
This looks a lot better without Mike Jacobs, not that Kila is any better defensively, but he certainly has better command of the strike zone. Look for Billy to improve on an impressive 2009. Hopefully he'll hit around .315 with 25-30 HR, and 100+ RBI. That would make me feel a lot better about our first base situation. Alex Gordon or Mark Teahen can play here as a late inning defensive replacement if necessary.
As far as I'm concerned Callaspo has earned this spot with his bat. Yes he plays absolutely awful defense, but we can't afford Orlando Hudson and show me a 2B prospect in our system that is close to ready (Irving Falu maybe, but he's only ok). Yes, Willie is back. He's just so damn versatile and gritty. Damnit...
2. Mike Aviles
I'm rooting for Mike to put it back together especially since he put together such a good year in 2008. If he manages to find his stroke and his glove he's back to the starting shortstop until then it's Yuni's job to lose. If we didn't owe him so much money he'd be gone. I'd also be wiling to use Aviles as our utility guy as opposed to Bloomquist. We'll see how that works out.
1. Alex Gordon
Let the great disappointment continue. The top of the 2005 draft was pretty good. The Royals needed a third baseman. They took the local kid and probably the worst one (granted Ryan Braun is no longer a third baseman). Just think we could have and his .364 OBP, 33 HR's, and 109 RBI's here instead. But no, we have Gordon's subpar defense and 15 homeruns. Hurray! We better hurray up and switch Moustakas to third...
2. Mike Cameron
3. Mark Teahen
4. Mitch Maier
Dye and Guillen will probably see some time here, but Maier is a better fielder at all the positions and a decent enough hitter to get the nod as the 4th outfielder. I'd definitely be willing to part with Teahen if it brought me a good prospect that was close to major league ready of a solid starter. As it is the best I'd probably get for him would be a middle reliever. I don't like the sound of that. David will continue to be strong and maybe hit a little better. All in all this looks like a pretty solid outfield.
1. Jermaine Dye
2. Jose Guillen
As I said above these two could see some time in the outfield and it does seem silly to have two righties at a position. Well like I said if I can dump Guillen I will and Dye hits righties pretty well (.333 OBP of them in the last three years), but there's always Kila to throw into this mix too.
1. Zack Greinke
2. Gil Meche
3. Erik Bedard
5. Rich Harden
Zach finally gets the start on opening day, as he should have this year. Meche and Bedard may be interchangeable, but I like having the lefty right in the middle. Bannister holds down the 4 spot in the rotation and Harden takes the 5th. If Harden gets hurt Hochevar should slot in there, but he's starting the year in AAA. Davies has been a disappointment and he's gone. Shipped off for a prospect, a reliever, or a player to be named.
1. Joakim Soria
3. Juan Cruz
5. Dusty Hughes
6. Carlos Rosa
7. Chris "Disco" Hayes
Here I have the bullpen rounded out with some guys from the minors. I'm pretty happy with the top 4. Tejeda is ok as a spot starter and long reliever and I feel much more comfortable giving the ball to Dotel than I would to Farnsworth. Hughes looked good in September and Rosa should perform well. "Disco" isn't going to get many opportunities so he has to make the most of this one. Otherwise I have no problem bringing someone else in. The glaring weakness here is that we don't have a lefty with experience. Hughes may be good, but I want someone I know can get people out. Looks like I'll have to package up Willie, or Teahen, or Betancourt for someone. Maybe I'll get lucky and they'll want Guillen.
1. Callaspo (S)
2. DeJesus (L)
3. Butler (R)
4. Dye (R)
5. Cameron (R)
6. Gordon (L)
8. Betancourt (R)
I really wrestled with this line-up. The team lacks a true leadoff hitter, but Callaspo gets on base well, is a switch hitter, and doesn't strike out much. For me, he's either batting 1st or 9th. If he's batting last DeJesus bumps up to leadoff. The 2-5 slots look pretty solid to me. DeJesus and Butler should be on base frequently for Dye and Cameron. Cameron and Butler could be interchanged, but I like this look here because it will get Butler more AB's. Gordon comes next to break up the block of righties and is followed by Olivo. There may be a lot of strikeouts from those two spots in the order; hopefully Gordon will show some more discipline. Next is Betancourt (or fingers crossed for Aviles) and Mark Teahen bats 9th, not because he's the worst hitter (that's why Betancourt bats 8th) but because he'll act as the second leadoff hitter and help with lineup turnover.
So there you have it. That's 25-man opening day roster for my 2010 KC Royals. Is it capable of winning the World Series? Probably not, but it is capable of at least going .500. They key for my run as Royals GM will be spending wisely and drafting well. The 2010 draft will be big for me, especially since we have the 4th pick. We need to take someone who's close to ready, whether that's a college pitcher or a college position player. I want someone who can come in for 2011 or 2012 and make an impact. That's it. That's all I've got. If you have any thoughts, comments, or suggestions please let me know!