Don't get me wrong, Dayton. I know the losing is killing you. As much as it bothers Royals fans, I'm sure it's worse for you.
However, the concern is that you think this is working. Yeah, a few guys are struggling a bit. Perhaps sending Moose down would fix things. Perhaps having a team meeting emphasizing walks. Maybe a couple of good at-bats will stir things up, get the team back on track. After all, the team did start 17 - 10. I mean, the team is full of hard-nosed, gritty players who do things the right way. When teams do things the right way, when there is chemistry in the locker room, when nice guys try hard, things will work out eventually. So, things might not be working now, but the light can be seen at the end of the tunnel. Right?
And that is the concern. When I say this isn't working, what is the word this referring to? I bet you think this is referring to the performance of a few individual players.
That would be wrong and completely miss the point.
The this in this isn't working refers to everything. The very foundation of how the Royals team is built. Every single aspect of how the team is run from the lowest of the minor league instruction camps up to how the major league roster is built needs to be assumed to be wrong.
Every. Single. Thing.
There is not one thing that you do that should be assumed to be correct. For example, there are currently 5 huge, gaping, black holes in the lineup most days. Why would you continue to employ Chris Getz and Jeff Francoeur? If those two were released today, would they be on any other major league roster in a month? I greatly fear we will look back on 2012 as a fluke for Alcides Escobar, and 2011 and 2013 are what we can really expect. It is inevitable that Moustakas will be sent down. Hosmer can actually get on base near a league average rate, but his lack of power for a first baseman is mind-boggling.
However, those players are not actually the problem. Rather, they are a symptom of the problem. The problem is deeper, and it lies in the very way that you value and develop players.
Take for example any of the guys on your roster with an OBP (FYI - that means On Base Percentage) of around .250. It's an abomination that any one major league player is allowed to play for any length of time with that number, let alone multiple players. In fact, I would bet that you would agree that is bad. But that drives us to the deeper problem, a problem that I fear is deeply ingrained in how you think.
So, a random player has an OBP of .250. We'll call him say, Chreffides Mousmer. That means Chreffides gets on base 1 out of every 4 tries. However, nobody gets on base every game, so let's say that Mr. Mousmer has a game where he goes 0 - 4. The next night he goes 2 - 4. His OBP is .250. Most people would say that is terrible. But not you. You would say that Chreffides is turning the corner, that he is showing signs of improvement. If he continued to alternate between 0 - 4 and 2 - 4, you would keep him in the lineup indefinitely. When other organizations would have cut bait a long time ago, you look at that random 2 hit game and give the guy a few more months. That is an example of the "this" that isn't working.
The same goes for pitching. You know that graphic that gets displayed every so often in baseball games? The one that lists the 5 worst ERAs for pitchers with at least 50 starts? I'm sure it's a complete coincidence, but at least a couple of your guys are always on that list. I fear Wade Davis is about to join them. Any random 7 inning, 8 hit, 0 run performance will buy Wade a year or two of starts, nevermind his ERA continually hovering in the 5.5 range. After all, he has shown signs of improvement, of figuring it out.
Another example would be Jeff Francoeur. Here is his OPS (look it up) by year since 2008: .653, .732, .683, .805, .665, .561. Other GMs would look at the .805 in 2011 as the fluke. But not you. It is as if you think 2011 is the real Francoeur, and 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, and 2013 are the flukes. This is fundamental to how you think about baseball.
You see, the very core of how you evaluate players is flawed. That flawed evaluation leads to flawed development, which leads to 5 black holes in the lineup in your 7th year. Go ahead, release Francoeur, or send Getz, or Moose, or even Hosmer down. Any of those would be welcome, but they are just symptoms, not the problem.
Take plate discipline. You say you value walks, and I'm sure you think you do. But I fear that plate discipline is just a check box in your mind, something that a random team meeting will fix, that if the guys would just be reminded of it, it will happen, but there are other things more important. I mean, it's just bad luck the Royals aren't scoring right now. They are doing pretty good in batting average. Just give it a little more time, and the hits will be bunched together, and things will improve.
That is another "this" that isn't working. You fail to understand the difference between the things that are innate abilities vs. the things that can be developed. Jeff Francoeur will never walk, no matter how much emphasis is put on it. The team that you have assembled is an out-making machine. But, if you could replace each player on the roster, who would you replace them with? It would be more black holes, because you are drawn to those types of players. You can't help yourself.
So Dayton, what does the future hold? You have yet to draft a player who has made an impact at the major league level. You signed Salvador Perez, and there is some hope there, but I am terrified that he will catch the Royals disease and be unplayable in a year or two. There have already been some discouraging signs this year. Why are your last 3 first rounders, Colon, Starling, and Zimmer all such great disappointments in the minor leagues so far? Why does seemingly every player called up take so long, if ever, to succeed?
Seven years in, what can you point to that gives hope to the fanbase? Please, anything would be welcome. The best farm system ever from a couple of years ago is a joke. There is not one player on that Baseball America Top 100 list that is currently with the Royals who looks to be able to have an above-average major league career, let alone an average one.
So Dayton, now is the time to panic. Actually, that time was long ago. But you must panic, and panic now. If by panic you mean you need to change the very core of how you think and how you do things, then panic.
Which raises the question, is proper evaluation and development of baseball talent an innate ability or is it a skill that can be developed? Can a General Manager, 7 years in, change, just like that? It's as unlikely as Jeff Francoeur turning into a replacement level right fielder. Even if you did change, what players are lurking as replacements? That vaunted farm system of yours has nothing near big-league level.
Dayton, this isn't working. Not at all. Thank you for your time and your best effort, but I am panicking, and so should you.