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The Bell Hire: The Reviews

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Aside from Ryne Sandberg's approval, you have to look far and wide for positive thoughts on the Royals latest big move.

From the KC Star's Jason Whitlock:

The Royals say they want to win, but they hired a man who has never won anything.

The Royals say they're going to be patient, but they gave their new manager an impatient contract. And the Royals are just flat-out lying about the product they have on the field.

From the Sporting News' Ken Rosenthal:

Buddy Bell is a curious choice to manage the Royals.

Curious, because Bell was fired by the Tigers after growing frustrated in a low-payroll situation and engaging in a personality conflict with general manager Randy Smith.

Curious, because Bell reacted in similar fashion when his next team, the Rockies, went backwards, leading to a breakdown in communication with G.M. Dan O'Dowd and another dismissal.

From the Star's Joe Posnankski (reg req'd):

There's not much you can add to all that except to say that the disastrous and panic-splattered hiring of Buddy Bell as Royals manager on Tuesday spells out the enormous hole in the game of general manager Allard Baird. He simply cannot make the big decision. Baird is fine in the small details; he can find a Raul Ibañez or Paul Byrd on the scrap heap, trade a washed-up veteran for a kid with a good arm like Denny Bautista or Leo Nuñez, locate a nice prospect like Justin Huber.

He is, after all, a scout at heart.

But when it comes to the big decisions, hirings and firings, pulling off key trades, finding the right big-money free agents and, mostly, finding a stable manager, Baird has flopped. His No. 1 priority last offseason was to make a deal and get a legitimate corner outfielder. He couldn't pull one off. The team instead went into the season with career minor-leaguer Emil Brown and backups Terrence Long and Eli Marrero...

Put it this way: The Royals interviewed four managers with experience.

Baird picked the one who had the worst record. By far.

And this gets to the core of why this was such a dreadful and appalling hire. When your team is the worst in baseball, when your fans have lost all hope, when you have become something of a national joke, why would you go out and hire a manager with the worst record available? And I think the reason is this: Allard Baird is, at heart, a scout. He interviewed Buddy Bell, was impressed with his knowledge of the game, was impressed with his life in baseball (his father, Gus, played in the majors; a son, David, plays now), was impressed with his reputation (everybody loves Buddy).

From Baseball Prospectus' Joe Sheehan (reg req'd):

In recent years, we've tended to focus most of our opprobrium on the Devil Rays and Brewers, franchises that have combined extensive losing stretches with laughable decision-making. Those two teams, however, can point to a decent core of major-league and upper-minors talent, mostly acquired through the drafts, and argue that they have a future. In addition, the Brewers have a GM in place who has shown aptitude in hiring, in trading, in player development. They also have a new owner and a new ballpark, each a reason for some optimism about the future. (I would not say the same about the Devil Rays, however.)

The Royals have none of those things. The Royals have perhaps six legitimate major league players on their roster: Mike Sweeney, Zack Greinke, Tony Graffanino, Angel Berroa, Matt Stairs and David DeJesus. Everybody else on their team is either a young player who has shown himself not ready for the majors--such as Ruben Gotay, Mark Teahen, John Buck and Ambiorix Burgos--or waiver bait. There's enough waiver bait on this roster to stock a waiver bait shop on the shores of Transaction River for a good five years. (Three if Jim Bowden fishes there.) Terrence Long? Alberto Castillo? Joe McEwing? These guys are terrible, and two of them were in yesterday's starting lineup.

The Royals have failed to develop a core of talent through the draft or through trades. Baird has been the general manager here since 1998, and the good players on the roster he can claim are DeJesus, Greinke and Berroa, who combined have been worth 12.7 runs worth of VORP so far this year, or about what Travis Hafner has given the Indians. Berroa was demoted to Triple-A as recently as last August, and at various times, both DeJesus and Greinke have looked like they could use some time at Omaha.

Not a happy time to be a Royals fan.