Hi guys! This review with predictions has become popular among several Royals fans who are friends. I thought that some of you might enjoy it as well. Here we go-
David Glass- Stuff rolls downhill, and we fans are at the bottom, but it all starts at the top. This was the 10th year of official ownership for the groundhog, and any credit I used to give him for buying the team and keeping it here is pretty much used up now. In those 10 years, the Royals are 672-948 (67.2 wins per year), a .415 winning percentage, the worst in baseball over that time. The Royals have been outscored by 1316 runs, and have been outscored every year. 10 years in, they won only 65 games this year and were outscored by 156 runs. To put this past decade into perspective, the Royals were in existence 31 years prior to the decade. Their worst 2 year winning % was .414 (their first two years). There has been no other 2 year stretch as bad as the last 10. They had never lost 100 games. They have done that 4 of the last 10 years. Promising to be an active owner who would move to KC, he has seen more games in New York and Boston the last couple of years than he has here. He spent the first several years gutting the budget for the scouting department as well as the payroll for the team, in an attempt to prove that we could not compete. (the first couple of years we had a team that could have been something with a little money spent for pitching) He has made a profit every year (especially with revenue sharing) after a board of directors stocked with his family members gave him a cut rate price to buy the team. He put the kibosh on a downtown stadium, and received a sweetheart deal to refurbish the old one. He forced inequitable trades, including the Dye for Perez deal-which was him not Allard Baird. Every year he comes out of his hole to make a statement that he wants to win, and that this is unacceptable. Finally, In the last couple of years we have finally invested more money in scouting and player development, and in 2009 the payroll was not an embarrassment. He still made a profit. Our team still loses. It starts at the top.
Dayton Moore- Every piece of available evidence shows that the Royals would have been better this year if Dayton had simply not made any moves in the 08-09 off season. Given a little bit more money to work with, he reacted like a 12 year old at the mall with a pocket full of cash, spending it all in the first hour with nothing to show for it but a belly full of junk food. It is a shame because the end of the 08-09 off season was FULL of late bargains. What is even more of a shame is that this year is promising the biggest glut of free agents and non-tenders in the history of the game, and more of them will be young players with potential than ever. Patient teams will find bargains galore, especially in the late winter and early spring. Dayton is not patient, and indeed once again made maybe the first deal of this off season (We'll talk about that later). Because of money we are committed to from overpriced players we already have, (especially Guillen) we will probably not get any of those bargains this year. Part of the reason that I took so long to write this is because I was so disheartened by the way Dayton handled the second half of the season. Beginning with trading away a legitimate prospect for Betancourt, then not trading away players who we were going to be done with anyway at the deadline, (There were inquiries about Olivo and Mahay among others) while actively shopping Bannister, waiting until September to try out any other relievers, and calling up other players that we knew we were going to be done with, while ignoring the most intriguing prospects. While I am glad we are drafting for the future and putting more money into international scouting, the "process" at the Major League level cannot be defined or defended. We went 33-74 in the middle two thirds of the season, and Dayton arrogantly hung onto the thought that he had built a contender that had a bad luck stretch. We learned next to nothing about what players might help us next year. I'm sorry, but there is no evidence that we will get better in 2010. We might be worse. Until Dayton recognizes that you cannot win with a team that has terrible defense and can't get on base, we will be worse.
Trey Hillman- I am not sure that any manager could have won with these players, but Trey, in his second year, showed no signs of improvement. He will Waffle and flip flop, and defend every decision as though it were the only possible choice. I grew weary of him saying that we swung the bats well and had a good approach after each game. At the end of the season, he basically said that Royal's fans were impatient rednecks who did not have the mental capability to understand the process. After I Email this, I will post it on a blog that is run and populated by loyal, knowledgeable, passionate Royals fans even after 10 years of being 276 games below .500. We have seen one winning season in 15 years. We have not seen a postseason in 24 years. We have the patience of Job, and I resent even the insinuation that we are stupid or impatient. Dayton and Trey prattle on about the process, but never actually explain it themselves. It is the Super Secret Process. (They have a plan for world peace as well-but they can't tell you about it because you wouldn't understand) As near as I can tell, it includes getting a bunch of guys who are slow, have a low on base percentage and can't field.
Staff- Mcclure is still secure, but some of the bullpen decisions are surely at least partially his. I expected Seitzer to be a sacrificial lamb, but he gets one more year at least to try and change the Royal's philosophy about walks. Dave Owens drive me crazy, but either we have had 2 bad 3rd base coaches in a row, or I am simply too hard on them. I just like saying Rusty Koontz. The Royals have completely overhauled their Training Staff in the off season.
The Players- I have completely included baserunning in my offensive numbers now, and have furthered the formula to runs above or below average. I will mix in the pitchers and hitters as they come up, and pitchers who save more runs are listed as positive for consistency. I will include fielding figures, using Fangraph's UZR, except for the catcher #'s, which come from the fine work of Devil Fingers at Driveline Mechanics. ( Good luck on your move to Fangraphs, DF! I hope you continue your catcher's fielding ratings there.) I will break down the hitters # by hitting (which will include base running) and fielding. The Royals were 166 runs below average last year, (the average AL team scored 10 more runs than it allowed because of dominance in interleague) and nearly 160 of those were due to the non pitching portions of the team. (offense, base running, defense)
Zack Greinke: +57.32 runs In 229.1 innings. What an amazing year! Zack's closest competitor was Felix Hernandez, who finished at +47.99. (however I have not adjusted Felix's for fielding, and Seattle was the best fielding team in baseball, so his would be a little less) No one else was close. I would like to thank Zack for giving me something to look forward to all season, and for saving the Royals from another 100 loss season.
Robinson Tejeda: +18.42 In 73.2 innings. Wow! He was very impressive as a starter at the end of the year, although he had the one start which showed that sometimes he will walk his way into trouble. I have been commenting about his nasty stuff and lack of control for a while, but we may have really found something. Despite the obscene # of walks, Tejeda makes hitters miss in a way that very few pitchers can. He should be stretched out again in the spring, and there is no chance that we find 4 starters who are better. We may have found something here.
David Dejesus: +17.28 (+2.28 hitting, +15.1 fielding) In 627 plate appearances. This means that David rebounded from a horrible start to the season to be the Royal's best overall position player, and it is not the first time. He is again rewarded with trade rumors. I am sorry, but in my mind it does not make any sense to trade him. I know David will be 30 next year,and makes a lot of money for Royal, but he is the perpetually underrated player. He does everything well, (except steal bases) but does not have the one thing that makes people go OOOH! Because of this, we would not get anyone nearly his caliber back in a trade. He is more valuable to the Royals than he would be considered elsewhere. It really does not make any sense to take the best defensive player off the worst defensive team. I root for one more year for David. I still don't think that he fits in the leadoff spot, but after slumping early in the year( while hitting elsewhere) Trey will not likely move him if he stays. PS- Just because the rest of the team makes DDJ look like the world's greatest fielder does not make him a legitimate gold glove candidate. Even if left fielders were ever given one, he still would not have finished first on my ballot.
Joakim Soria: +12.03 In 53 innings. Despite the nagging injuries at the beginning of the year, he was still the Mexicutioner. It is a great mental comfort having a closer, and the aforementioned injuries and post injury babying is a little bit of a deterrent to the whole starter question, but even if you gave him 5th starter innings, and penalized him a full run/27 because he would have to face guys more than once, he could still beat this # as a starter. Emotionally, I prefer the peace of mind of having a reliable closer, but he will still be only 26 next year, and it will always be a possibility.
Billy Butler: +9.65 (+16.35 hitting, -6.7 fielding) In 672 plate appearances. Billy will be only 24 next year, and the next few years should be exciting. His # was, of course, hurt by his base running. His effort this year was much better, and he is going to be a special hitter. Over the next few years, some of those doubles may turn into more home runs as well. He would probably be a DH for most teams, but we are full of those. He still reminds me of Sweeney.
Brian Bannister: +7.09 In 154 innings. Brian is a plus for the staff, but was shopped by the Royals at the trade deadline. He will never be a # 1 or 2 starter, but may be Dayton Moore's best acquisition. Every staff needs a Brian Bannister type of pitcher. He is inexpensive and up until his last month was actually much better than this. Was it fatigue or injury?-He was eventually shut down. Brian should be back next season.
Jamey Wright: +6.93 In 79 innings. Especially when you have a low scoring team, there is a tendency to think that nearly every relief pitcher is horrible. We forget all the decent outings and focus on the 3 run home runs. Jamey had two very good portions of the season, and, not coincidentally, they matched the Royals 2 decent periods. A free agent, He probably will not be back next season, and he was no Ramon Ramirez this year, but Jamey was an overall positive player this year.
Alberto Callaspo: +4.14 (+10.74 hitting, - 6.6 fielding) In 634 Plate appearances. Callaspo missed out on arbitration by 5 days, so he is an inexpensive, positive player who will be 27 next year. He is exactly the type of player a small market team should keep. However, rumor has it that the Royals are trying to trade him after picking up another 2nd baseman in a trade. (More on that later) Look, as far as I am concerned, there are different kinds of tradeable players. There is the "will anyone take this guy?" player, who you would take some cash and a throw in for. There is the "what will you give me for him?" player, who doesn't quite fit into your plans, but you try to get some value for him. Then there is the "He is available, but you'll have to really impress me with your offer" player. It seems obvious to me that Callaspo is in the third group. According to rumors printed by the KC Star, the Royals disagree. I would prefer that he remain with the team, and would be upset if he were dealt without a good return.
Coco Crisp: +3.38 (-1.12 hitting, + 4.5 fielding) In 215 plate appearances. There has been talk of the Royals offering Coco a lesser deal to stay with the club, and I think it would be worth the shot. In his first 155 PA's he hit .252 with 24 walks and 16 extra base hits. In his last 60, he looked crippled, slapping anemically at the ball and hitting .170 with 0 extra base hits and 5 walks. He is one guy that seemed to take the patience at the plate thing to heart, and he would be a plus in the field on a team that has few. There is even a chance that his throwing arm would be a little more manly if his shoulder is repaired.
Carlos Rosa: +1.35 In 10.2 innings. Carlos has some potential as a middle reliever, or perhaps a fill in fifth starter. He would have been better than some of the guys we had on our roster for longer. We will get a longer look this year.
Dusty Hughes: +0.54 In 14 innings. I wouldn't call Dusty a prospect, but he did not look overmatched in limited work.
Kyle Farnsworth: +0.08 In 37.1 innings. Yeah I said it! Did you know that Kyle only gave up 3 home runs this year? You probably remember all three of them, and in your mind that's all he did. We obviously overpaid for him, and I don't want him to be my 8th inning guy, but he is an OK bullpen piece. (‘cuz that money is gone now) There are whispers about making Kyle a starter. While I can see Mcclure's point form an obscure angle, (last year Kyle had a problem with high pressure stuations. He geared up to throw too hard, and threw fat straight fastballs up. Bob's angle is that if he dialed it down a bit-as you have to when you start- he might be an effective pitcher) with our other options it is certifiably insane. It might have been OK last year to let him compete against Ponson, but this year all you would do by trying to extend him is to mess him up more.
Juan Cruz: Even(-0.0) In 50.1 innings. I was surprised he wasn't a bigger minus, but we forget how solid he was the first two months. It seemed like he was tipping his pitches when he blew up, and I hope that's the problem because when he had nothing, the runs came in bunches. (Juan gave up 13 of his earned runs in a 5 appearance, 3 inning, two week nightmare) The biggest symptom of his problems was the sudden inability to make hitters swing and miss which was an important part of his skill set. I don't know his contract status but he is a guy that could rebound or may have simply lost his edge.
Roman Colon: -0.56 In 50.1 innings. Roman is one of the Royal's JARs (Just another reliever). When you get past Soria, (with Wright and Tejeda also being good this year) the Royals have a mixture of JARs and guys who suck. Most of the remaining relievers will fall into the suck category. (At least this year.) Roman will have a major league job next year.
Ryan Freel: -1.82 (1.32 hitting, -0.5 fielding) In 49 plate appearances. Ryan is the type of marginal player who plays with a lot of effort and joy. You like to watch a guy like that play-for someone else. If he has a spot on your roster at this stage of his career, it's a sign of bigger problems.
Horacio Ramirez: -1.97 In 22.2 innings. We signed him for too much, tried to make him a starter when he clearly was not, and then released him as he started to look OK. He had a 6 inning scoreless streak with 1 base runner per inning immediately prior to his release. John Bale never had a streak like that. In Ron Mahay's season long 6.1 inning streak he had 11 baserunners. Hey, I'm not trying to say that Horacio is good, I'm just saying that he was the best lefty in our bullpen, and the guy who was best at getting lefty hitters out. We let him go, and carried worse guys all year.
Victor Marte: -2.05 In 12 innings. Marte looked overmatched and wild. He has done well in the minors, so we could see him again at some point as a fill in.
Anthony Lerew: -2.07 in 13.1 innings. Lerew will be filler on a AAA team next year. No prospect.
Alex Gordon: -3.02 (-2.12 hitting, -0.9 fielding) In 189 Plate appearances It was a lost year for Gordon, with the injury and then never getting untracked. I am not ready to give up on him at all. While he is never going to be the .300, 30 homer guy we all wanted, he still has a good shot at .270 with 25 the next couple of years. Alex walks more than any other Royal and will be 26 next year. With health, I predict his number will be a positive one next year.
Doug Wachter: -3.98 in 5.1 innings. Doug got injured early, came back late, and looked terrible when he did.
John Bale: -4.07 In 28.1 innings. John will be 36, has been injured most of his career, and was not at all effective last year. It is time for the Royals to look elsewhere for a lefty.
John Buck: -4.91 (-0.11 hitting, -4.8 fielding) In 202 plate appearances. Despite his anemic average, More than half of his hits were for extra bases. They were obviously phasing him out at the end of the year, so I expect to see someone new at catcher next year.
Tug Hulett: -4.55 (-2.85 hitting, -1.7 fielding) In 19 plate appearances Incomplete. He looked really bad in limited time. He has shown an ability to walk in the minors and could be back at some point, but he is at best a 25th guy on the roster type.
Brayan Pena: -5.36 (-2.46 hitting, -2.9 fielding) In 183 plate appearances. I don't know about Brayan. They don't seem to have any confidence in his catching, and he is not a good enough hitter to keep just to hit. He might get better at handling game calling with experience, and he was no worse fielding than anyone else we had. I would guess he will be on the roster next year as a backup. He seems to have good energy when he plays.
Kyle Davies: -5.81 In 123 innings. Kyle can be maddening, but there are teams that have it worse at the #4-5 starter. Kyle seems to be a much better pitcher when he comes out confident and works quickly. When he is less confident, he scuffles around on the mound and nibbles, leading to walks and home runs. There were thoughts that the Royals would let him go, but he has been resigned. Kyle did his second consecutive late season tease, going 5-1 with a 2.95 ERA over his last 7 starts before being shut down for the season. But like many other back of the rotation pitchers, he will give you some quality starts and he will pitch you right out of other games quickly. 5th starter next year.
Luis Hernandez: -6.80 (-7.00 hitting, +0.2 fielding) In 81 plate appearances (I had almost forgotten where the + sign was.) If Luis is on your roster, you have some problems. Luis is the first shortstop on this list, so now would be a good time to tell you that we were an amazing -65 runs at shortstop last year (hitting and fielding combined) The only reason it is not worse than that is that Bloomquist actually hit much better during the time he was starting at short.
Mitch Maier: -8.89 (-8.19 hitting, -0.7 fielding) In 397 plate appearances. He is a good baserunner though. It is not a good sign when he may be your starting center fielder, as he is a bad hitter in the midst of a lineup filled with them. He would be a bottom of the roster guy on most teams, if he was on the roster at all.
Josh Anderson: -9.54 (-8.64 hitting, -0.9 fielding) in 123 plate appearances. Even Josh forgot how to play outfield while he was here. Josh has been non tendered, because, even for a Royal, he is an anemic hitter who cannot walk or run well. He will be out of baseball soon.
Bruce Chen: -10.36 In 62.1 innings. Chen was pretty bad. I still think it can be a cost effective move to sign a pitcher or two coming off of an injury to see if you can catch a little lightning in a bottle. The Royals struck out with Chen and Ponson last year. Chen did show an ability to get lefties out, and he is still in the fold, so he could be a one or two out guy to get a lefty or two. His days as a starter look to be over, but he could still find his way back.
Ron Mahay: -11.52 In 41.1 innings. Mahay was truly awful last year. There was some interest at the deadline and I would have traded him for any warm body. Mahay was actually a very lucky pitcher in 2009, so his pedestrian ERA does not do his suck level justice. Realizing he was not going to improve to last year's level, the Royals DFA'd him to make room for Yabuta, which is a nauseating thing to have on your resume, even if you are 38. Ron will get another shot with someone because of his history, but this might be the end of the line.
Yasuhiko Yabuta: -12.12 In 14 innings. Yabuta convinced the last few believers left that he was not a major league pitcher. (I would assume this would be Dayton, Trey, and his wife or partner) I hope to never see him again.
Gil Meche: -13.14 In 129 innings. I am one of the few people who do not blame his infamous 132 pitch start for his troubles. He was looking for a shutout, and was cruising. A really tough 10 pitch at bat to end the game sent his pitch count up. I am a firm believer that a major league starter can jump up to 135 pitches on occasion when they are low stress pitches. It is what they did afterward that pissed me off. In his next game, he seemed to be laboring from the get go, and it all fell apart in one of the worst innings of the year (8 runs by the Cardinals off Meche, Tejeda, and Wright) After the game he complained of some pain, and no pitch life. He and the team called it dead arm and the theory was that he should rub some dirt on it. They talked about skipping a start, but did not. In his next start, I watched on TV and you could tell in the 1st inning that all was not well. He labored through 5 innings and 84 pitches, with trainers coming out to look at him in the 3rd and 4th. Once again they spoke of skipping a start or a DL stint. They did neither. Instead they ran him out there for 121 pitches! Let me tell you 121 pitches when you are hurting and laboring is 10 times worse than 132 when you are cruising. It was criminal. Discussion again ensued as he still did not feel right; decision again made to keep pitching him. Next start 114 pitches! Gil was struggling, although he only let up 1 run in 5 innings. I was livid when they brought him out for the 6th. His last two batters both walked (after a home run) and he was tossing the ball in and had nothing, looking toward the dugout beseechingly. More pain, more discussion, surely he would go on the DL now? NO! They ran him out there again. His next start was 87 horrible pitches when he had nothing and was gutting it out. That's 101.5 pitches per start after being informed of the problem, 235 in the two starts when he was keeping the team in the game. He finally went on the DL. Then they sent him to the DL but no doctors. They rested him, he came back for 4 starts in august but was never right again. Now that I have that out of my system, what about Meche in 2010? I expect him to somewhat regain form and be a solid # 2. If he has a good first half, he might be trade bait at the deadline, or they might ride out the last year of his deal in 2011. The Royals have an all new training staff this year.
Sidney Ponson: -13.53 In 58.2 innings. I think the Major Leagues have seen the last of the portly, pouty Sir Sidney. It was worth a shot to bring him in, but it was obviously not to be. I don't think the Royals will need to bring in an aging (or washed up) veteran this year as they have choices at starter.
Tony Pena Jr.: -14.04 (-12.14 hitting, -1.9 fielding) In 12 less plate appearances Tug Hulett and the Royals Pitchers got the exact same # of Hits, walks, doubles, and grounded into double plays. So they would have to go 0-12, and then they still would have a sacrifice that TPJ did not and would have made one less out on the bases. Tony is in the minors as a pitcher with the Giants, and he can actually pitch. There is a decent chance that he will show up on the big club this year as a pitcher. He already hits like one.
Mike Jacobs: -14.16 (-14.56 hitting, +0.4 fielding) In 478 plate appearances. Not only was Jacobs bad, Hillman never understood that he was simply lost against left handers. On at least 2 occasions in the second half, there were perfect pinch hitting situations for Jacobs. (Right handed power pitcher, representing the tying or winning run, needing a home run) where Trey did not use him. In both cases I wondered if they were just going to stop using him at all, or release him. In both cases, he made a start against a tough lefty within the same week. Jacobs actually seemed to try and walk more, but seeing more pitches seemed to mostly get him down in the count, and become tentative rather than aggressive. It is maddening to watch someone tentatively strike out 132 times. He will not be back in 2010, but we will see his mirror image. (more on that later)
Lenny Dinardo: -14.36 In 21.1 Innings. Dinardo was wild, overmatched, and downright ugly as a pitcher. No prospect, we should not see him again.
Miguel Olivo: -14.69 (-5.89 hitting, -8.8 fielding) In 416 plate appearances. The Royals bought out his contract. I was pleasantly surprised. There was some interest in Olivo at the trade deadline, and when we did not trade him, I thought we would see him next year because he is Zack's catcher. If we were going to get rid of him, we should have done it then, and just played Buck and Pena. It is not very often that your team leader in home runs does everything else so poorly. He led the league in passed balls and in swinging at pitches that were not strikes. He had a flurry of walks with 9 in his last 14 games, but still only had 19 on the year. I am glad to see him go.
Willie Bloomquist: -15.83 (-12.23 hitting, -3.6 fielding) In 468 plate appearances. Willie played a little bit over his head for a little while but fell back to reality with a thud in the second half. He should never see this much action on a major league club, and hopefully will not get even half this many plate appearances next year. Trey is in love with Willie, though, so we shall see. He did add a little speed on a team that had none without him.
Mike Aviles: -16.14 (-13.44 hitting, -2.7 fielding) In 127 Plate appearances. Everyone expected Mike to fall back from his stellar 2008, but no one expected this. He is expected to be back around May, so My best hope is that he was injured from day one, and that he will be closer to the 2008 version than the 2009, forcing them to play him and saving me from having to watch Yuni.
Luke Hochevar: -16.80 In 143 innings. Luke is an enigma wrapped inside a mystery encased in a puzzle. He showed us both years of Jose Lima in one frustrating season. He had probably the three best non Greinke starts of the year, and some of the most lackadaisical, terrible pitching performances I saw by anyone last year. (and often talked about how it was "almost" a good outing) At one point it seemed that he was tipping his pitches, and he seems to go back and forth between thinking too much and not thinking at all. In one of the goofiest plays of the season, he backed up home plate, faked a throw to second (as the batter went to second on the errant throw) and then walked slowly out to the mound with his head down while the runner waltzed to third. At this point, overall, I think that Davies and Tejeda are better starting options, but we will see Hochevar from the beginning. He needs to work on pitching from the stretch, as he stranded the lowest pct. of baserunners of any MLB starter last year. (This would be even worse in the bullpen.) He has shown enough flashes to be hopeful, but more than enough suck to be scared.
Mark Teahen: -18.37 (-6.17 hitting, -12.2 fielding) In 571 plate appearances. Mark was traded after the season, and it was time to say goodbye. I will always remember him fondly, as he was a team player. I watched him work to become a better fielder at a couple of different positions, but this year, moving around, he deteriorated everywhere in the field, as well as at the plate, where he walked less, and on the basepaths, where he made some previously uncharacteristic gaffes. I wonder if we could have gotten a better deal mid-season. One of the hot trade rumors in last year's off season was Teahen for Franklin Gutierrez and another player. Gutierrez was probably the best defensive center fielder in the league last year. Having kept Teahen through this season, we were not going to keep him next year anyway, as his probable salary had outpaced his skill, and at this point they are going in different directions. He was traded for Josh Fields and Chris Getz. I do give Dayton credit for getting something for him, since we waited until other teams knew we were going to deal him, but I can't help but wonder where he is going with this. More on that later.
Yuniesky Betancourt: -27.56 (-14.56 hitting, -13.0 fielding) In 263 plate appearances. This move almost made me stop watching. The fact that my team would choose to trade for this guy is beyond me. Besides being an absolutely wretched fielder, he had the worst on base percentage of any major league regular in 2009. It pains me to watch him play, and to hear Ryan Lefebvre (designated Royals shortstop apologist) laud him every time he makes a shortstop like play. (or even when he comes close.)
Jose Guillen: -30.07 (-11.37 hitting, -18.7 fielding) in 312 plate appearances. He is absolutely the most god-awful outfielder I have ever seen. There are 3 outfielders who were more runs below average fielding in the majors, but you might remember that Jose missed nearly half the season and was a DH for at least one third of the time when he did play. Also, those 3 guys would have instantly become the best hitter on the Royals, while Jose was also awful at the plate. Even more amazing than our starting shortstops combining for -65 runs is that our cleanup hitting right fielder was -30 runs in half a season. Jose's contract and his subsequent suck has been a backbreaker for this team. 12 million dollars this year and untradeable. He was the first move that Moore made where I thought it showed signs of crazy. 32 years old at the start of the contract, a noted clubhouse cancer who was coming off PED's, he has become a heavy anchor weighing this team down. They still doggedly hit him 4th in 64% of his plate appearances last year, and 5th in 34%. The Royals could lessen the drag on the team by hitting him down in the lineup, never letting him play the field, and hoping beyond hope that he has something left and will give it his all to try and get one more contract from someone. Personally I would just release him and the money be damned.
Aaron Crow: First round pick. No impact this year. I really wanted Grant Green, the shortstop taken by the A's with the next pick. I hope I am wrong this time. The Royals and I have not agreed on first round picks since 2005. My picks: 2006-Tim Lincecum (I was very vocal about this, and I still dream of Lincecum and Greinke together), 2007- Matt Wieters, 2008- Buster Posey ( If we had already taken Weiters I probably would have gone for Beckham or Smoak, but I mistakenly thought Beckham would be a shortstop). It will be nice to have a Mizzou boy on the team when he arrives, and I will root for his success!
Noel Arguelles: Probably no impact this year, but a needed splash in the latin-american market. This is something we need to do to compete, and whether he pans out or not, it was an important signing.
Edgar Osuna: Edgar is a rule 5 pick from Atlanta. He was one of Dayton Moore's signings his last year with the braves. (Go figure) While he is Mexican, he is no Mexicutioner. A lefty with not as much stuff as Soria, he is still only 22. (they sign the Latins young.) He had good success at a tender age in the minors, then Atlanta tried to convert him to a starter with mixed results at best. His role on this team, if we kept him, would be a lefty out of the bullpen.
Jorge Campillo: Jorge is an ex Brave and Mariner. If he had been with the White Sox, it would have been Dayton Moore's dream player. (It seems as though a lot of his players have ties to those 3 organizations.) Jorge toiled in obscurity for years, complete with Tommy John surgery, before having a really nice year as a starter with the Braves in 2008. Last year he was the odd man out as he battled injuries and a pitching staff that added 2 veteran free agents, a Japanese pitcher and a young phenom. He would probably be in the bullpen, and even if he was in the minors he would be an easy call up if we had starter injuries. A good depth pickup.
Josh Fields: Josh is a younger, better fielding, right handed Mike Jacobs. He has some pop, but will strike out a ton. There has been talk of starting him at third over Gordon. That would be asinine. Gordon is a better fielder at third, a better hitter, and has more potential. However, there is a role for him on this team. We now have 3 lefty outfielders and a lefty third baseman. That is fine with a righty on the mound, (we could actually field a team against a righty with 7 left handed (or switch) hitters- It would involve starting Getz at second, Dhing Callaspo, and putting Pena behind the plate. No righty wants to face 7 lefties, even if they are punch and judy hitters) but Fields hits much better against lefties. There are starts for him with a left hander on the mound, and pinch hitting opportunities as a power bat off the bench. Fields was -16.49 runs last year in 268 plate appearances. (-11.09 hitting, -5.4 fielding)
Chris Getz: A speedy second baseman, Chris will be only 26 next season. He is an average fielder at best (below average last year), and a below average hitter with no power. He is a very good base runner. The Royals have seemingly handed Getz the second base job this season. I don't understand this at all, unless they release Guillen and play Callaspo at DH every day. Getz has minor league options left, and to me, he should be an I-29 guy this year, until Callaspo gets traded, leaves as a free agent, or becomes the regular DH. The Royals only had 3 players who were a positive with the bat last year. (Butler, Callaspo, Dejesus) and they are ignoring one of them. Callaspo will be only 27 this year, and is improving as a hitter. He is a must in the Royals weak lineup. Getz was -8.79 runs last year in 415 plate appearances. (-3.89 hitting, -4.9 fielding)
Brian Anderson: My first thought was why? In my mind, he is pretty much Mitch Maier. Why we would need another Mitch is beyond me. He is the first of 3 players Dayton signed to allegedly play centerfield. Anytime Dayton makes a statement you can bet he will do the opposite. A couple of years ago he made the grand OBP statement, and has signed a bunch of players with terrible OBP's since. This year, after these 3 players (Fields, Getz, Anderson) he said his focus was on acquiring younger talent with years of control. He then signed a 36 year old catcher, as well as 30 and 34 year old outfielders, leaving Anderson scrabbling for a spot. Anderson was -8.48 runs last year in 231 plate appearances. (-8.58 hitting, +0.1 fielding)
Scott Podsednik: The second alleged center fielder, he is slated to play left. 34 years old, he is coming off of a decent season but unlikely to repeat it. Be prepared to see him get picked off alot. When you are picked off, if you take off and get caught in a rundown, it goes as a caught stealing. If they get you diving back, it does not. Podsednik was picked off 9 times last year that were not counted among his caught stealing. (2 more were included with them) Podsednik was +1.38 runs last year in 587 plate appearances. (+2.78 hitting, -1.4 fielding)
Jason Kendall: This one kills me. He has been done offensively for 3 years. His slash #'s those 3 years: .243/.320/.313. So we sign him for two years! ( and overpay). Last year he was the regular who had the lowest slugging percentage in the MLB. We already have last year's lowest On Base percentage with Yuni, and they will probably hit back to back most of the season. The sad thing is, we chose to go get these guys. Kendall was -20.04 runs last year in 526 plate appearances. (-15.54 runs hitting, -4.5 runs fielding)
Rick Ankiel: I am actually OK with this. It is only a one year contract (the mutual option will never be exercised, although it basically adds $500,000 to the price.) for a player coming off a horrible year which may have been caused (or at least affected) by a horrible injury. Although he is yet another low OBP guy, he is worth a one year shot. He at least has some power potential, and his signing almost guarantees that Jose will not play in right this seaon. The Royals are trying to screw this up by having their strongest arm/ lowest range guy patrol center while moving DDJ to right. Rick was -13.2 runs in 404 plate appearances last year, (-14.00 hitting, +0.8 fielding.) but was an above average hitter in 2008.
Summary: The average AL team won 82 games last year (because of interleague dominance), and the Royals won 65. This is about what they played to. Extrapolating the #s above, they were 9 games below average offensively, 7 games below defensively, and 1 game below in pitching. In order to change their record, they have to change these #s.
2010 Offense: I am sorry, but I am looking at -10 here. They may pick up a game through better baserunning, but they lose 2 with even more anemic on base guys and a criminal lack of power. Two thirds of this lineup is a black hole. The Royals finished 13th out of 14 in the AL in home runs last year, with 144. (Oakland had 135) There are only 78 of those home runs still on the roster. They have not added that many and may struggle to break 100 this year. (If I were a flyball pitcher, I would pitch on 3 days rest to work against the Royals) Speaking of power, why can't the Royals ever have a legitimate power guy? If I were David Glass, I would break the bank for a masher just to put butts in the seats. (and it would work, too-hell, this town went nuts over Ken freakin' Harvey.) Forget the embarrassing 36 home run record, they have not had anyone hit 25(!) since 2003 (Beltran), and Dye was the last person to hit 30 in 2000. I am at the point where I wish they had had just one steroidal freak come in and knock out 45. There have been 249 seasons of 37 or more home runs since Balboni hit 36. (about 10 per year) There have been 308 seasons of 25 or more home runs since Beltran did it (about 51 per year- I can't get one out of 51?) Hopefully Butler gets 25-30 this year.
2010 Fielding: I think they pick up a couple of games here, although still very bad at -5. Just not having Guillen in the outfield is a +, and although Kendall is not a good fielder, he is better than the Olivo/Buck combo.
2010 Pitching: This is hard to put a # on. You have to expect a step back from Greinke-just because that kind of season is hard to repeat. You expect a step up from Meche, and hope for an improved Hochevar. The bullpen is somewhat of a mystery, and the 5th starter should be better. I am going to say we get to +1 this year.
Prediction (and caveats): I am going to be a little optimistic, add in a game for regression to the mean and say 69-93. For the Royals to get into the high 70's with this lineup is difficult but they could be better if several of these things happen: Callaspo and Gordon play every day- and Gordon takes a step up (after he comes back-he broke his thumb yesterday), Guillen either makes an offensive push for another contract or is released, Aviles comes back healthy and pushes Yuni out of the lineup, they move Ankiel back to right where he belongs, Greinke has another Cy Young year, Meche improves, Hochevar improves or gets sent to the minors so he does not blow up, Tejada starts and impresses, Soria stays healthy, they piece together a decent bullpen, and someone comes out of nowhere to help the team (like Aviles in 2008). They could lose more than 100 games if some of these things happen: Greinke, Soria,or Butler get injured, Guillen whines his way into the field, they make Farnsworth a starter, they ignore Callaspo, they give up on Gordon and play Fields at third, Yuni starts all year, and the bullpen blows up. Like any baseball season, a lot of things can happen, but this is another season in which the .500 team possibility is really just not there. It starts at the top.