As most of you are probably aware by now, the Kansas City Royals did a complete 180 on us yesterday by calling up Nicky Lopez days after telling us they weren’t going to call up Nicky Lopez. You can read about that here, here, here, and here.
Shortly after the announcement came that Nicky Lopez was going to be a big leaguer, Dayton Moore formally apologized to the Royals beat writers, insisting that he didn’t intentionally deceive them.
We just had a conference call with Dayton Moore and he apologized for misleading the beatwriters: "It was not intentional. I didn't expect this to happen this fast. I anticipated end of May, early June, based on all the moving parts. But things change in a minute in this game."— Jeffrey Flanagan (@FlannyMLB) May 13, 2019
Dayton Moore also said he talked to Whit Merrifield, who was willing to move to the outfield to make room for Nicky Lopez. Also said Whit was very excited to have Lopez come up. "It doesn't mean we've closed the door on Whit playing some second base."— Jeffrey Flanagan (@FlannyMLB) May 13, 2019
When I read these two tweets, there are only two real possibilities that come to my mind (assuming Dayton Moore isn’t just lying, he’s a great human being, so I’m more than willing to give him the benefit of the doubt):
- Whit Merrifield approached Dayton and Ned and asked to be moved to the outfield for Lopez to be moved up (doubtful, as Whit has said he prefers playing second base)
- David Glass watched the Royals average just over 20,000 fans/game in one of the teams’ biggest weekend matchups of the entire year, score a total of six runs in three games, and said enough was enough
The second option here feels much more likely than the first. Bryce Harper and the Phillies, on a Mother’s Day weekend that saw some fairly nice weather, should’ve averaged more than ~21,000 fans per game at Kauffman Stadium. Outside of when the Yankees come to town the weekend of May 24-26, the Phillies series is the Royals best marquee weekend series until at least August 16th when the Mets come to town. You can be certain that David Glass and the rest of the business side of Royals affairs were banking on a bit of a bigger crowd this past weekend.
If you’re being honest with yourself, it is entirely possible that David Glass forced Dayton Moore’s hand in the handling of Nicky Lopez. The Royals’ attendance has been downright embarrassing at times this year, and fans have been very vocal with their displeasure in the handling of Chris Owings and Nicky Lopez this season. I can absolutely see a scenario in which David Glass would want Lopez up ASAP, and Owings off the roster before the Yankees come to town if he doesn’t start performing.
On second thought, it’s probably just Duda. Royals have four off days over the course of 2 weeks. They don’t need the 8 man bullpen in theory.— Alex Duvall (@duvy_013) May 13, 2019
In 10 days they’ll reevaluate Owings. My guess is he’s not on the roster when the team comes home for the Yankees on May 24.
The Yankees series, especially on weekends, seems to always draw huge crowds to Kauffman Stadium. The Royals can not afford to have another bad showing in what promises to be their biggest weekend (in terms of attendance) of the season.
“So why not wait until the Yankees series to call him up, if Dayton Moore didn’t want him up yet anyway?” Good question. If we’re being honest with ourselves again, how many fans did you really think were going to come out to Kauffman Stadium this week to watch the last place Texas Rangers take on Chris Owings and company? The Royals need to get every fan possible at every game possible. This may just do the trick before KC leaves town on Thursday evening.
To be clear, I’m not saying this is EXACTLY what happened and that I know this to be true. I certainly don’t. I just can’t tell you that any other theory makes more sense. If we don’t think Dayton Moore outright lied to Flanny, Rustin, etc. (and I certainly do not believe that to be the case), what other theory could explain the Royals wild 180 on Lopez? They were adamant that he wasn’t going to be called up any time soon. They were adamant that they wanted Whit to play second base. What else could have possibly changed over the course of a couple days?
To be 100% honest with you, with as much leash as Dayton Moore appears to have from ownership, I question how likely this really is. I just can’t make myself understand any other reason for Dayton Moore’s string of comments over the last several days, unless there’s a trade to be announced soon, or something.
It’s not likely that we’ll ever get a better explanation than “things change in a minute in this game”. It is interesting to see how fast things can indeed change, however, and this is one of the more interesting switcheroos I’ve seen in a while. Especially from this front office.
Other thoughts regarding Lopez’ promotion
- Clint Scoles brought up an interesting idea on Twitter about the possibility of Mondesi moving to centerfield. I vaguely remember having this conversation when Esky was in town as well. There is no signs of the Royals actually contemplating that option at the moment, but I would be all for it. Mondesi has the tools to be an elite CF, but he’s never played a single inning in the outfield during his professional career.
- Nicky Lopez is an outstanding human being. He has been nothing but good to us over at Royals Farm Report, and I couldn’t be more excited for his debut. Nicky will be someone Royals fans can root for for a long time, on and off the field.
- I can’t help but to think someone is going to get traded at some point this season. There are just too many dudes that I think have futures in Kansas City. The pitching staff has been not so great, and the Royals have a couple bats I think could be spared to add some pitching into the mix. I may be way off here, but I have a good feeling about this.