Bob Dutton is reporting that the Royals have called up first base prospect Eric Hosmer. Hosmer will replace Kila Ka'aihue on the roster, as Ka'aihue will be sent down. Wow, do you ever wonder what it would be like to follow a normal, predictable team? This is a bold move that no one saw coming.
Obviously, this is a huge decision, with a number of major implications for the franchise. By bringing up Hosmer now, the Royals start his service time clock early, which could cost the team either money or years or both down the line. Could is important here, because there's actually a number of ways this could play out. Hosmer could be sent back down at some point, or he could be all be signed to a multi-year deal that washes these issues away. Or, it could have some pretty big financial repercussions. We don't know. Just two years ago Hosmer looked awash and lost, wandering around Delaware looking for classes. Since then, he's become one of the most prized prospects in baseball.
This promotion can be interpreted in a number of ways. First, we can say that the youth movement, officially, has begun. Having failed arms in the bullpen was one thing. Bringing up Eric Hosmer on May 6th is an entirely different matter. Hosmer, along with five or six other guys, is one of the prospects that truly matters in the long term direction of this franchise. Yea, it was cool seeing Tim Collins and Aaaron Crow contribute. They ain't Eric Hosmer.
Second, this may be a case of a player simply forcing his way onto the roster. None of the big hitting prospects really did so in Spring Training. Hosmer, however, hit .439 for a month in AAA. That tends to get you noticed. Hosmer had an impressive 2010, but any talk of promoting him last season (which there was) seemed decidedly premature. After an insane (batting average driven) start at AAA, the Royals have decided that they've seen enough.
Thirdly, with the team kinda sorta positioning itself for a pennant run, this was a case where there was a short term, best interests of the Major League Royals, argument for promoting Hosmer. Because the flip side of this move is the demotion of Kila. Yes, after multiple avowals that the Royals would give him a season to prove himself, the Royals gave him 96 plate appearances. When you don't want to believe, you aren't going to believe. Kila's 2010 season was the equivalent of Dayton Moore politely attending the first 10 minutes of a Hindu Wedding Ceremony, then after checking his blackberry six times, gently grabbing his wife's hand and walking out.
Hating on Kila has been an especially active cottage industry amongst fans. I'm not sure if this day should then be celebrated or mourned. Because it would be awkward for a lot of these folks to have to focus on the failures of six or seven other guys on the roster, who aren't Moore-approved guys. You can't argue with the fact that Kila did not hit well. But I'll go down swinging on this one: you don't bury a guy after a month. At least not in a vacuum. But hey, we've been having this argument since like day four of the season, so there's really no point anymore. May everyone who has taken such joy in saying he sucks, enjoy patting yourself on the back and all that.
Nevertheless, when we round back to the previous point, the Royals may truly believe that the AL Central is winnable and that they can't experiment with Kila any longer. That makes the Kila decision partially defensible. Partially.
Thus, when you break it down, the Royals have, presumably, made a move that has long-term ramifications, with half an eye on the short term. Though I doubt they feel quite that way, since they never believed in Kila to begin with. I'm saddened by how ugly, by how predictably ugly, the Kila situation played out. For me, it's about confirmation bias as well. These are the small-minded Royals I think I know as well.
However, again sadly, Kila is a footnote here. He's the footnote in the glorious triumph of someone else's life. Seems familiar. This is Eric Hosmer's day, the shining wunderkind loved since the moment he joined the organization. Loved and now brought into succeed.