I'm writing this mostly out of the need to express my feelings about this ball club and their current construction, as well as to vent some of my frustrations.
I'm so torn about how I feel, now that we're into spring training. I feel optimistic, given how well the team did last year. Eric Hosmer had a break out second half, Butler, while having a down year, still posted good offensive numbers. Gordon had a ridiculous first few months at the plate, and once again proved he is one of the top left fielders in the game. Sal Perez was what he was supposed to be, an above average defensive catcher (understatement) that can actually hit for a decent average. Our bullpen was spectacular, and while some regression may be due to a few of the members, it's unlikely to hit all of them hard, and we have significant depth in that area.
I also feel very pessimistic. Moose flopped. Cain couldn't stay healthy, and when he was he struggled at the plate. Escobar took a ridiculous step back offensively from his 2012 numbers. Our starting pitching staff is unlikely to be as good this year as it was last year (more on that below) and our offense, while having made significant improvements (getting rid of Getz and not having Frenchy to start the year is enough to make anyone jump for joy), is still not likely good enough to offset the likely loss in starting pitching. Our manager, in his
infinite finite wisdom, has already released a sub-optimal lineup.
The pitching staff is so ridiculously settled that it's, well, ridiculous. Our 1-4 is already set. Shields,
bleh Vargas, bleh bleh Guthrie, blegh Chen. Our contenders for the #5 spot include our two favorite bullpen guys, Hoch and Davis. Also contending are Duffy, Ventura, perhaps Dwyer (laughable) and LUCKY Penny.
It's hard to see this rotation producing what we need to contend.
But then I feel optimistic. If Duffy and Ventura can take a step forward, and develop #2 pitchers they both project to be (or, perhaps Ventura into a #1 and Duffy into a #3), then we'll be fantastic (please, spare me the debate over how to rate pitchers as #1/#2/#3 pitchers, etc, it's been done plenty of times before). If we have Ventura out producing Santana last season, and Duffy being at or around what Santana did, then we'll have a rotation that rivals the best in baseball, excluding perhaps Detroit, and almost definitely LA.
But then I feel pessimistic. I look at the payroll. I see Glass/Moore lying through their teeth about taking a gamble with a 90 million payroll. I see 30 million of it blown in players that could be replaced easily with much less cost (Hoch, Davis, Chen, Guthrie, Vargas and Boni's 580ish thousand). I see Moose, while perhaps in the "best shape of his life"™, as unlikely to turn into the ML third basemen, and being replaced, or at least platooned, with a guy we found off the third basemen tree in Valencia.
A part of me is already hoping for a sub 80 win season, preferably sub 75, so Glass is forced to fire GMDM. But another part of me is hoping that Duffy, Ventura and Moose come around, that Cain stays healthy (or Dyson finds a batting average), that Infante somehow magically recreates his offensive numbers from last season, and Aoki and Butler recreate their 2012 seasons.
I heard on 610 today, the hosts discussing how it was time to stop criticizing Moore so much. That it isn't HIS fault that he can only make such a good club with the payroll he's given to work with. That we had a winning season last year, and are projected to make the playoffs this year (by who, they didn't say).
I'm fed up with that excuse. I see the waste, I see the botched attempts at developing starting pitching, I see the ROY last season in Tampa, with a rent-a-ace who isn't going to sign an extension, not that I would really want him to anyways given his age/etc. I see other GMs doing more with the same, or even less.
I see a future for the Royals where we can contend for years in our farm system. But I also see the greatest farm system ever™ struggling to contend, with as many failures as successes.
So, you tell me, RR. Should I be optimistic or pessimistic?
Or, perhaps, should I WANT the Royals to make the post season this year, or should I want them to fail so we can be rid of GMDM? Will the person who replaces him be any better?
What should I honestly expect from this Royals team?