Meh - 1. Indifference; to be used when one simply does not care. 2. a level of mediocrity that makes the subject hardly worth commenting on.
I won't say I don't care, but at the current juncture, the Royals are looking to be about as "meh" a team as exists. They're somewhere in-between contention and being awful, at 46-51, eight games back of the division, eight games back of the wild card after last night's 4-3 victory over the Orioles. That's apparently what "all-in" means for the Kansas City Royals. Understand, I'm not saying the players don't care. I'm saying that the Royals, in their current incarnation, are about as tame to follow as an MLB team gets. They're going to win about half their games, maybe a little less, and though that's better than usual, it's probably the maximum this team is capable of, and the best a Moore-led team can do -- still not good.
When I watch a team like this year's version of the Royals, a team whose "rebuilding" program thus far has only yielded a possible shot at .500, I'm reminded of the Twins of a decade and a half ago ("Marty Cordova will lead us to glory!") , and the Orioles "reloading" attempt of the mid-2000s ("Raffy 'I never used steroids!' Palmeiro, Javy Lopez, and...Miguel Tejada will lead us back to glory!") as the two other rebuilding programs that stick out, in retrospect, as ones that were always doomed to failure. There are more recent examples, I just remember these two more than others, because of the hype-to-noise ratio at the time.
Alex Gordon - LF -
There's not too much new to say about Gordon since last time we met. He's still chasing his walk rate from the last couple years, he's still probably hitting too many balls into the ground, and he's still one of the best position players on the team. If George Brett could only teach him to be more like Eric Hosmer, we'd be golden.
Alcides Escobar - SS -
Last night's hero (along with Hosmer) is now hitting .221/.252/.274 off right-handed pitching, which could easily be accomplished by revising one's batting stance to standing behind home plate and swinging the bat straight down. Yes, it's old news that Escobar can't really hit that much, but at least he does hit someone -- .297/.322/.432 off lefties this season.
Billy Butler - DH -
This season is definitely "meh" by Butler's standards. He's still rocking a .360 OBP, but his SLG has dropped below .400 on the season again. In that regard, the fact that he's still hitting more than half of his balls in play on the ground, at 51.4 percent, can't possibly be helping. I've always liked Billy, so maybe it's a positive that this is a down year for him, in that he might not be a trade candidate. Oh, whoops, the Royals aren't looking to move veterans anyway, for some reason.
An OPS scraping .700 is a little more what I would've expected from Tejada if you'd told me he'd play this much this year, so it's hard to blame him from falling off his unsustainable early season adequateness. Tejada homered in the Detroit series, and he's still been above replacement level this season, so good for him. The fact remains that if your favorite team is down to the point where they're giving Miguel Tejada semi-sorta-regular at-bats in 2013, and that represents an improvement over other second-baggers on the roster.
Eric Hosmer - 1B -
As I wrote this article, Hosmer pretty much single-handedly won the game for the Royals Wednesday against the O's. If nothing else good comes out of this season, at least we can say that it appears that St. Eric is fixed.
Lorenzo Cain - CF -
LoCain's probably due for a bit of a BABIP bounceback, but the flip side of that is that he's lowering opposing team's BABIP like crazy. If Cain's defensive improvements this season are for real, then the Cain who only hits at his current level could still be a valuable player on the next good Royals team (you know, the one that I'm starting to think might just be a mirage in the distance). I'd like to see him make more progress with the bat, but it's comforting knowing that he's patrolling center on D.
Salvador Perez - C -
Last hitting Ups and Downs, he was at .314 OBP, .386 SLG. Now he's at .314 OBP, .393 SLG. Continues to be solid behind the plate. To hear some tell it, this makes him the new Johnny Bench. To hear others tell it, Perez is bound to flame out due to an unsustainable plate approach. Let's just call him pretty good.
George Kottaras - C -
Higher OBP and SLG than the starter, while his batting average is at .169. I'll take "things George Kottaras does" for $1000, Alex.
Mike Moustakas - 3B -
Surged to .225/.282/.348. His season line will be better than Escobar's soon, not that that's anything to brag about. The Patron Saint of Popping Out has continues to grab green arrows in this series, mainly because he set the bar so low at the beginning of the season that a 1-for-4 day is an improvement.
David Lough - RF -
OBP has officially descended into the "meh" levels at .314, but his doubles power and surprisingly good defense so far continue to make him a viable option. With Lough playing this well, it's even more laughable that the Royals wasted so many PAs on Jeff Francoeur...Lough's been worth about as much as Frenchy x (-1).
Johnny Giavotella - "2B" -
He wasn't hitting, and if he's not hitting, he doesn't really have a place on an MLB roster. Of course, the thing is, the Royals really don't have anything to lose by letting Gia, a guy who might actually start hitting at some point based on his minor league track record, sink or swim. Instead, they pulled the plug after 38 PAs and brought Getz back up. I'm not Giavotella's biggest fan by any means, and I acknowledge his chances of success are dwindling, but 1. Getz is not actually better than him in anything other than number of MLB PAs and 2. any idea that Chris Effing Getz is going to contribute more to your "win now" season than Giavotella or Elliot Johnson or a snowman with a bat wedged into his torso is even more wrongheaded than the idea that you can trade for two seasons of James Shields and pretend it's time to contend.
I'm sorry, I just can't tell them apart anymore, guys and gals. It's reached the point where our utility infielders appear to be one big blob of replacement-level-goulash and Miguel Tejada crawling around yelling for brains.
Well, Wednesday's game wasn't "meh," at least. I'm starting to think the best way to stay entertained with this team is to just watch Eric Hosmer's PAs. He will save us all. Except, I hope, Dayton Moore.