I’m mad online. I did the adult thing and slept on the concept that brought me here to see how I’d feel in the morning. I am still big mad.
Why is Lucas Duda here? A left handed power bat? Sure. I get that. He had a 118 wRC+ in 2018 vs. RHP. That’s useful. The Royals’ lineup was pretty right-handed batter heavy and Ned loves to alternate the batting order. The injury to Salvy took a fair amount of power out of the lineup and Duda had a .213 ISO vs. RHP last year.
Also Duda is theoretically taking Brian Goodwin’s spot on the roster and he wasn’t exactly earning the spot in spring training. Goodwin had the inside track on the every day right field position going into Surprise after coming off an injury shortened season in KC where he posted 99 wRC+ and adequate defense in all three outfield positions. He would’ve been fine to give at-bats to while providing the handedness balance Ned so craves.
Goodwin even showed up in the best shape of his life. That means his spring stats should show that improvement, right? Well...
Goodwin’s (more like Badwin, amirite?) spring stats are nothing if not consistent. So I guess Dayton and Ned saw what they needed to see in order to move on from Goodwin. That’s fine. There’s depth/glut in the outfield anyways.
Duda is on a one-year deal worth $1.25M. There’s no such thing as a bad one-year deal. It’s not like this is going to hamstring the payroll limitations more than the owner/front office already are.
But let’s not kid ourselves, adding Lucas Duda to this lineup in a DH platoon role is not getting this team into contention nor is it a gamble on an upside vet they can flip at the deadline. It’s a bad fit for a team who should be throwing young players into the lineup as early and as often as they can.
He’s going to block players who should be proving themselves
When the news first broke, it seemed obvious that adding Duda to the 25 man roster sealed Frank Schwindel’s fate to be banished back to Omaha. Frank has had a very solid spring and could provide a solid bat to platoon at first base if Ryan O’Hearn struggles against left-handed pitching. He could also be used as an emergency catcher if the opportunity presented itself. It made sense to me and was another feel good story for fans to root for.
George Brett just announced on the Jumbotron here at Werner Park that he spoke with Frank Schwindel and confirmed he had made the big league roster. #Royals— Jack Johnson (@JohnyJ_15) March 25, 2019
So Schwindel makes the Opening Day roster. Fantastic! We all feel great. Hugs all around! Not so fast my friend. The Royals are going with a three-man rotation to begin the year with Homer Bailey and Heath Fillmyer staying in Arizona to get extra work in and Danny Duffy on the injured list. But by the time the Royals will need a fourth starter, on April 3, they will need to add Bailey to the roster. Someone’s got to go and most teams, regardless of contending or rebuilding, won’t be carrying three first basemen. The odd man out will be Frank Schwindel.
Duda has no trade value
We’ve done this before. We had an opening at first base going into the 2018 season. During rebuilding years, you fill those vacancies with upside vets to flip at the deadline for lottery ticket prospects to fill the farm. So the Royals signed Duda to a one-year deal with the intent to do just that.
Duda slashed .242/.310/.413 with 13 dingers into August while posting an .808 OPS against RHP. The Royals found a trade partner in the Baby Braves and received Cash Considerations in return. Cash Considerations was a 17 year old international signing out of the Dominican Republic who has had control issues but can hit 97 mph with his fastball. Lots of upside there.
...Upon further review, apparently cash considerations is not a person, but in fact it is literal cash considerations. Hmm, well I guess they made some money off of him. That can go a long ways to assist in other ways like scouting, developmental technology, coaching <record scratch>
#Royals are covering half of the remaining $600K owed to Duda this season.— David O'Brien (@DOBrienATL) August 29, 2018
So the Royals paid Lucas Duda in the ballpark of $2.6M last year to get them more wins. And that worked well enough to net them the second overall pick in the 2019 draft. We’ve seen this movie and it wasn’t good the first time, why would we sign up to watch it again?
Putting Duda in a platoon at DH jeopardizes Soler’s health
Speaking of movies we’ve seen before, I’m on the record saying that I expect big things from Soler. I’ve said that every year since they traded Wade Davis for him and every year Soler flashes big power and the ability to draw a walk but finds himself on the injury list. This year was going to be different though. He was going to be the primary DH and spend maybe 1-2 days a week in right-field to preserve his body and keep his 89.6 mph average exit velocity, which is comparable to Nolan Arenado (89.7), Cody Bellinger (89.7), and Javier Baez (89.6), in the lineup every day.
For the record, Duda’s average exit velocity was 89.5 mph but I’m outraged and facts are ignorable if they don’t support my argument.
At this point, I’m convinced that Soler will always have a limited number of at-bats every year. He just can’t be healthy for an entire year. So the Royals need to be doing everything they can to make sure that his reps are maximized. Yes, they traded him to be an everyday right-fielder and middle-of-the-order bat. That’s not a thing anymore. He still has a good bat, with some unlocked potential in my opinion, and that should be prioritized. Throwing Duda into the mix will push Soler into the outfield which jeopardizes his health, as well as, the beloved strength of the defense.
Duda was signed on Friday and given a roster spot on Monday. I know what the front office is going to use to sell us on why that happened, but I still don’t see the fit and I am angry about it. I can’t keep thinking about this and my daughter is hounding me to turn on her show. Thankfully Daniel Tiger will always be free to Amazon Prime members.
(Opens Amazon Prime)
Sweet. Mother. of. God.