It's been quite a forty-eight hours here in Royals land and we may not be done yet. Are the Royals clearly getting better? No, not really, but various short-term questions were finally answered.
- Sidney Ponson named to starting rotation. I'm on record as saying Sidney Ponson isn't a good pitcher, and that the Royals' sudden infatuation with him was founded on a bad methodology and displayed lazy thinking. The next day NYRoyal weighed in and argued that Ponson isn't that bad relative to his fellow roster-filler brethern and that he gives the Royals depth. Most people seemed to agree with NYRoyal, and I was lambasted for being too negative, and for not being able to generate better options than Ponson. That I was wrong to assume he would make the rotation, that I was just letting my negativity color me. And hey, he's minor league depth, even though he's not. Anyway, for a few days I responded to everyone by snarkily arguing that we shouldn't limit Ponson to fifth starter consideration, that I see him as a #4. Well, now he is the #4 starter, whatever that means. Who knows what will happen? Actually, we do know. Well, Dayton Moore's made me miss Brett Tomko.
- Horacio Ramirez named to starting rotation. The spin here is that the #5 guy, Ho-Ram, will only pitch an inning a month or something, because of all the off-days in April. Does it ever work out like that? What happens if Meche/Greinke has a long outing, which could happen, since they are actually good... we'll see what happens. The scary thing is, I think I like Ho-Ram as a starter better than Ponson at this point, but I mean, I'd hate to discount Ponson's nine immortal innings in the WBC. Since Ponson is a staff anchor (ok, that's going too far) and the best pitcher of the bunch, Hochevar, is being demoted for non-competition reasons, we're left with a competition between Ho-Ram and Brian Bannister, who now looks like nothing more than a flash in the pan. Horacio won that competition, and maybe rightfully so, although to find really happy Ho-Ram memories as a starter, you've got to go back further than you do with Banny. I wondered this Spring as to if Bannister would top Darrell May's career innings pitched mark of 660. That isn't a sure thing anymore. We can keep arguing about Ponson & Ho-Ram, but the larger story here is the future of Bannister, because if he's done, we're still going to be dealing with future Ponsons and Ho-Rams in great number for at least another few years.
- Joel Peralta released, Luke Hudson announces retirement. Dayton Moore is the wrong GM to work under if you happen to be a pre-existing reliever. He's a transactions junkie in this area, both buying and selling. Everyone, I believe, who Dayton inherited in the bullpen, from the guys who sucked to those who didn't, are now gone. There are presumably better options in the 'pen now, at least according to management, and who are we to dismiss the abilities of Kyle Farnsworth? Peralta, nevertheless, is the definition of an expendable guy and in fact its amazing that he lasted this long. As for Hudson... I kept forgetting the guy was around, then someone would post a note about him, rehabbing somewhere off-stage or pitching in Iowa or someplace. He had no chance with the Royals, even if he was healthy(which of course he wasn't), not given the better talent on the team and the expertise of the staff to snag diamonds in the rough like Ho-Ram & Sidney. The larger thing here is that he's leaving the game altogether. He's 32 and starting over, so best of luck to him.
The Royals Trade Ross Gload to Florida for a PTBNL. The Royals did this to themselves, but at least they've now moved on. NYRoyal and I (you may have noticed a pattern) got into an exchange about Gload about a month back, as I was certain Ross would get 400 PAs (I think) with the Royals in 2009. Well, I was wrong. Wrong. They did business with the one team that could be excited about a free player who's terrible, but they did it. Rany's heard that the prospect coming back might actually be one, but there's no way of knowing now. (Fish Stripes on the trade.) So to wrap it all up, they solved the problem they made to the best of their abilities. I should have more to say about Gload leaving us, but nothing's bubbling up. I mean, I carried a sign saying "Gload will Explode" to the K, risking humiliation and frat-boy attention (which happened) due to the obvious alternate meaning of the phrase and the fact that I looked like a complete idiot or, at best, a weird guy. I'll have to post my bet losing post on this at some point. The odd thing is that bad defensive numbers keep popping up regarding Gload, which could mean that he's one of the absolute worst position players on earth, considering that he can't hit. He collected 747 plate appearances as a Royal.
So where are the Royals and where are they going? I don't know. It's been a strange week. Just a few days after I talked about the Royals maybe winning the division, the Royals made a win-later move in demoting Hochevar. The Royals jumped hard at the chance to add Ponson to the rotation, despite the fact that in a week a ton of guys were going to be available. Look, the reassuring thing is to say, "if Ponson is bad, he'll be gone" and in fact, this is what happened with the aforementioned Tomko. However, this also didn't happen with Gload or Tony Pena Jr., until way too late.
Sometimes... sometimes I just don't get it. The Royals bring in Ho-Ram the first time, I scream and moan, and he's used as a reliever, isn't bad and eventually gets traded. So pie on my face. Then the Royals bring Ho-Ram back, and we all let our guard down, because, well, he was good out of the 'pen. Then, we start creeping toward Ho-Ram starting... and it happened. It's like they've gone out of their way to make the wrong decision.
So, if we are anywhere, that's where we're at. Can you really trust this front office?