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A Sad Story: Matt Tupman Leaves Royals

Sometimes you hear, fifth hand,
As epitaph:
<em>He chucked up everything
And just cleared off</em>
Sometimes you hear, fifth hand, As epitaph: He chucked up everything And just cleared off

The Omaha Royals released Matt Tupman yesterday, supposedly at Tupman's request. The story has not been reported by the print media much and at the moment I'm leaning heavily on messages I saw on Twitter and Minda's blog post with regard to the reason for the release.

Tupman has been in the Royals' system since 2002, and has been an Omaha fixture in Omaha since 2006. Tupman's numbers in Omaha peaked in 2007, his age 27 season, when he hit .281/.361/.344. He has gained minor cult status amongst hardcore Royals fans thanks to the fact that he's only appeared in one Major League game, and has only one career PA, a single in a 9-3 Royals win over the Marlins in 2008.

It's hard to say that the Royals made a huge mistake by employing the likes of Jason LaRue, Paul Phillips or Paul Bako as backup catchers instead of Tupman, a career .265/.344/.338 hitter in the minor leagues. Though, at the same time, each of those guys turned out to be pretty awful. The arrival of Miguel Olivo in 2008 was a huge blow to Tupman's chances of snagging a backup catcher role, and the quasi-emergence of Brayan Pena in a bizarre role as backup C-DH was the final nail.

Or was it?

When you consider that Dayton is evidently not a huge John Buck believer and that Miguel Olivo may have some trade value, I don't think it's hard to imagine a scenario in which Tupman could have ended up getting promoted later this season. Then again, maybe he knew something that we all don't. I have to admit that in a peculiar way, I find this minor episode in Royals history touching and sad. Best of luck to Matt down the road, he's 29 and damn near to having to completely start over. I must say that I know something about how he feels.

Having a farm system isn't just about developing star players, it's about creating organizational depth. The Royals have been singularly horrible at developing position players this decade, and the Tupman case is just another example. Ideally, you can draft and develop guys who can get promoted in their mid to late 20s, give you a year or two of cheap replacement level production or better, or, at the very least, roster filling. Then, you move on. It's amazing to think how bad the Royals have been at doing this. If you can't develop a backup catcher or, as we may be finding out, a generic fourth outfielder type, what can you develop?

Lunchtime links after the jump.