Royals Fans ask: Where the "F" were you Dayton?
There are generally three camps when it comes to the Jason Vargas signing:
- Those who are basically just happy the Royals are spending money
- Those that think it was a shrewd, below market move in per year value
- Those that don't hate the move in a vacuum, but think it was a dumb allocation of limited resources
But the appropriation of resources is alarming for many fans. And I think for many, trumping any other concerns about payroll creativity is the idea that Moore is still essentially evaluating pitchers on their ERA. Dayton hopes on tools and high-powered fastballs with a boyish fascination. But he does so only because he ultimately believes those things will lead to the ERA's he covets; and he's not wrong to covet a low ERA. That is what the sport is about, after all.
What Moore is wrong about is the way in which pitchers accumulate their low ERA's. Despite his preference for "toolsy" fielders who have, by god, somehow formed one of the best defenses in baseball, he seems oblivious to the fact that they also have a direct and positive effect on his pitching staff: He knows a good defense is good to have, but he doesn't seem to realize that a god chunk of a pitcher's ERA can be largely dependant upon it. And perhaps I'm selling him short here; perhaps he does actually realize this. But he certainly doesn't seem to understand the significance of peripherals. He certainly doesn't understand that oftentimes, a pitcher's past peripherals are a better indicator of his future ERAs than his past ERAs themselves.
And this is what is so maddening about the Dan Haren contract. Perhaps he wouldn't have signed with the Royals for $10 million (with an option for the next year). Perhaps it would take a bit more. But it combines two huge elements of disconnect that many an educated Royals fan bang their heads over: it's hugely uncreative in structure, and wildly uninformed in todays evaluation mores (no pun intended). It's like Dayton is GMing baseball 15 years ago.