Stephen St. John went on a tear this morning on 810 about Kila being out of the starting lineup once again. I completely understand why, and his sentiments are shared by many folks here at RR. However, I personally think some of the criticism is getting over the top.
We can all agree from the vantage point of being fans of the Royals, fans of the game of baseball, and fans of statistics (to varying degrees) that there is no excuse for Kila rotting in AAA most of the season. We can agree that the main reasons behind this are related to poor moves on the major league level made by the GM and playing time decisions made by the GM/Manager.
So Kila was called up again on Sunday and outside a GIDP last night in pinch hit duty has been on the bench. After receiving only one plate appearance in two games (and it's a question whether he made it to the ballpark in time to even play Sunday), media folks and fans such as St. John (and I assume many others) have just had it with the Royals and are ready to ignore the team for the remainder of the season.
The line of thought is that there is simply no excuse for Jose Guillen to be blocking Kila's playing time. Guillen is a free agent after this year, and Kila might be part of the future, either as a starter or a tradable commodity. This is all rational and I agree with it.
But what radio hosts, fans, and sabremetrecians all hate to hear is that sports is a business. Despite all of the rightful focus by the intelligent fans (this does not include the Facebook friends who decry the trade of their favorite player Scott Podsednik) on building for the future, Dayton Moore is the general manager of the Kansas City Royals Baseball Corporation. While he reports to the fans for the results on the field of play, he must also report to the Glass family regarding the bottom line.
We can decry the Glass family's misappropriation of revenue sharing, but that is not germaine to this post. At the end of the day, the Royals are a business and the goal is to make a profit. Not only long-term, but also short-term if possible.
So with 26 games left in August before the postseason roster deadline, the Royals seem intent on playing Jose Guillen until either a) he clears waivers and is traded to a team the Royals have a deal in place with, b) suffers an injury that ends his season for all intents and purposes, or c) August 31 passes and the Royals know they won't get anything in return for Guillen and he is benched/released.
I'm fine with this. Signing Jose Guillen was a horrible mistake from day one. But economists like to call this sort of thing a sunk cost. That ship left port almost three seasons ago. Dayton Moore has a responsibility to his owner to exhaust every avenue available to get something, anything, in return for Jose Guillen, whether that's a prospect or finding a team who is willing to take on part of his remaining salary. With 56 games remaining, that equates to 34.6% of the season or over $4.1 million. $4.1 million doesn't seem like much in today's sports landscape, but if your job title includes profit/loss responsibility, it doesn't matter what industry you work in. $4.1 million is significant.
Dayton did a good job of dumping other veterans at the deadline who aren't part of the future. Sure, we're not finding out if Kila is part of the future on the ML level if he sits on the bench. But it's not like we will be contending for the AL Central title in 2011 even if he had played all of 2010. Kila must start next year, at either DH or 1B, and by this time next season we will know.
So I will wrap up own my 'rant' by saying I want Kila to play just like everyone else. Give Guillen a day off, play him in RF, or give Butler a day off. Please. But at the same time, I understand why Jose Guillen has to play right now. It's painful, but I understand.