I had a drunken conversation last night that somewhat made sense. Well, at least as much sense as a drunken conversation could possibly make. Anyway, I ran into one of the 3 other Royals fans in town and we were talking about the upcoming season. I said that I don't think the Royals will contend in 2012, but I am confident in their ability to contend in 2013. His response "if we don't win this year, we never will". I asked why that is and his response, although somewhat impaired, actually made a little sense....
Basically, his point is that if the young players show the improvement we should expect in 2012, that should be enough to at least contend for the division title with Victor Martinez now being out for the year. And if they DON'T improve, that means they're likely to end up being busts. He does have somewhat of a point here. Usually players that have a good rookie year, if they come back and suck or don't improve the next season, it's unlikely things will change in the future.
So let's say Hosmer and Moustakas come back this year and Hosmer has a .750 OPS and Moustakas goes back to the player he was before late-April. How likely would it be that those guys would come back in 2013 and all of a sudden tear it up? Not very. History has shown most players either improve in their 2nd season or they never do. Alex Gordon is the exception, not the norm.
My argument to his point was pitching. I believe, even with improvement from our lineup, our starting rotation will still keep us out of contention this year. But he said he "guarantees" the guys on the staff right now will be the ones on the team next year or they will be replaced with similar pitchers because "Dayton Moore is an idiot". What about Danny Duffy? "He sucks. He'll never make it. We don't have any other good potential starters for the near future in the organization" (paraphrasing).
Then the conversation turned to 2012 and I asked him if he really thinks we can win this year. He said he does think so because the division is terrible and Detroit is the only real competition. But now that Victor is out, that weakens their team. I would agree the only real competition is Detroit. I think Cleveland has a good rotation, but what else? That lineup is terrible and the bullpen is nothing special.
So that got me thinking..... maybe a drunken Royals fan actually has a point. Maybe if the Royals don't win in 2012, they never will. Maybe there's something to that. And why CAN'T the Royals contend this year? One other thing he said was the only reason Royals fans don't expect the team to contend is because we have a losers mentality. If the Cardinals had the same roster and coaches, their fans would be predicting a division title because that's what they're use to. His point was that Royals fans have seen so much losing that you have to win before they will expect to win in the future.
I believe the Royals have the best lineup and bullpen in the division. But I think the rotation ranks 4th (ahead of Minnesota). Is a good lineup and good bullpen enough to win a weak division with a mediocre rotation? And is it true that most of us don't expect to compete for the division title because we have a "losers mentality"? But then again, how can we NOT have a defeatist attitude? We haven't been to the postseason in 27 years! We lose 90 games every friggin year!