The 2018 Kansas City Royals are terrible. But mostly they are just boring.
This is a tragedy, because Kansas City has already endured decades of terrible baseball, and sports are meant to be entertaining. Please enlighten me what the entertainment value is of watching Alcides Escobar swing at ball four that bounced a foot in front of the plate. There is none. Please do not try.
Thankfully, there are varying ways the Royals can remedy this. Some of these are not strictly speaking ‘realistic’ or ‘allowable’ but if we’re dreaming about something we might as well dream really, really bigly.
Clone Whit Merrifield
Whit Merrifield can play pretty much every position, and he’s the best player on the team right now. Why not clone him so he can play pretty much every position?
I’m not a monster. It’d be fine if, like, Drew Butera or Mitch Maier were the pitchers. And Brandon Maurer, too, because he pitches like a position player already. But Merrifield could certainly play the rest of the positions. He hasn’t played any shortstop in his career, but Merrifield’s max sprint speed per Statcast is both better than the average-footed shortstop and faster than solid defensive shortstops like Francisco Lindor and Andrelton Simmons.
As for catcher, well, it’s not like Butera, Maier, or Maurer and company are going to be throwing anything resembling MLB-quality pitches anyway, so you take the defensive hit with the knowledge that your freaking catcher can steal 30+ bases a year.
The only downside to this plan is that even vat-grown Merrifields would take over a decade to get to full physical maturity even with age acceleration, meaning that their impact could not speed up the rebuild. Conveniently, however, that time frame will place those Merrifields at the same timeframe as Dayton Moore’s next minor league talent wave, so there’s some give and take there.
I do not know what, exactly, would happen to a Kansas City baseball game if there were bears on the field. This is in and of itself a point in its favor. I pretty much know exactly what will happen with the Royals. They will, most likely, score a scant few runs per game while allowing a bunch of runs either early on because their starter stinks or later on because their middle relievers stink.
But bears? I think we have an inkling on what could happen, but it would be fascinating to for realsies find out. Are the bears hungry? Can world-class athletes outrun and/or outsmart them? What kind of defensive shifts would they encourage from their mere presence? Are they from Chicago or elsewhere?
To my knowledge, the current baseball collective bargaining agreement does expressly prohibit play whilst animals frolic on the field. After all, this is how the Cleveland Indians were able to win a game against the Royals in 2009, through the curiously specific positioning of a flock of seagulls. Bears are our seagulls in this scenario.
Whiffle ball whimsicality
It’s entirely possible that Major League Baseball will take pity on the historically inept 2018 Royals squad and allow them to bend the rules a little.
If so, the Royals should absolutely start using whiffle balls, because come on. Look at this.
Can you imagine the spin Danny Duffy could get on one of those puppies? My mind can’t begin to comprehend that.