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Hok Talk: Who can you care about on this team?

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Not all of these guys are here for the long term. Don’t get your heart broken.

Kansas City Royals v New York Yankees
Lucas Duda pictured here trying to imagine just how far away he’ll be from KC by September 1.
Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

People say that social media is a wasteland where intellect and hope go to die. And they’re mostly right. But not always! Last night I was in a rut. I couldn’t think of what to write for today’s column. So I complained on Twitter.

And I immediately got a whole bunch of fun ideas. I decided to run with a couple of them. The others may appear in future installments when I am similarly bored/uninspired by this terrible, no-good, unfun baseball team.

I hadn’t considered this idea. But, ya know, I don’t want to plagiarize Brandon here. So I’ll expand this a bit and tell you who will be here on September 1st as well as who shouldn’t. That should be enough difference for the plagiarism filter, right?

C - Martín Maldonado - He’s gone. His skillset and paycheck will make him very appealing to some team who wants a guy who can be an excellent backup and fill in for the starter should an injury occur without completely screwing everything up. He won’t bring back more than a lottery ticket, but that’s better than nothing.

C - Cam Gallagher - He’ll be here and there’s no real reason to get rid of him. Cam has a similar skillset to Maldonado’s but he’s cheaper and under team control for longer. There’s an outside chance he’ll get demoted to check out one of the other minor league catchers but even if he does he’ll be re-promoted on September 1.

1B - Lucas Duda - He should be gone but he may still be here. Look, I’m sure Lucas is a terrific guy and a great dude to have around the clubhouse. Maybe he bakes some excellent chocolate chip cookies, I don’t know. But he has precious little value on this team. Ryan O’Hearn offers basically the same skill set but at a much younger age, he still has significantly more upside. The Royals have also played Hunter Dozier and Cheslor Cuthbert at first plenty, too, and they’re also significantly younger than Duda. If O’Hearn’s bat wakes up while he’s playing for Omaha then Duda will be gone. Otherwise, he’ll be around to backup first base in case the Royals need to put in a guy who permanently lost his ability to hit well to replace a slumping Dozier and/or Cuthbert.

1B Ryan O’Hearn - Even if he performs poorly at AAA he’ll get the call-up in September. I’m as big an O’Hearn fan as you’re likely to find around here. But he definitely looked lost. I’ve said for weeks that demoting him made no sense because he needed to sink or swim at the major league level. But maybe looking up at the scoreboard every day and seeing a batting average under .200 has him pressing like we’ve seen happen with countless other players including Cheslor Cuthbert and Mike Moustakas. If the change of scenery does him good, I’ll be glad for the demotion just like I was for Moose’s in 2014.

2B Nicky Lopez - He’ll be here. His wRC+ right now is only 50 which is very ungood. The only home run he’s hit all year at the big league level came at a college baseball park. Even worse his 5.7% walk rate is abysmal for a guy who was supposed to bring a certain amount of plate discipline to counter his inability to hit for power. In retrospect, we all should have feared that major league pitchers would just repeatedly challenge him given that he’s unlikely to do them any harm with his power profile. Without seeing any balls and without any power he’s not very threatening at the plate. That being said, he’s the best prospect the team had to call up this year so they’re probably going to stick with him for a lack of better ideas.

SS Adalberto Mondesi - If he’s not here it’s because he’s on the injured list.

3B Hunter Dozier - If he’s not here it’s because he’s on the injured list.

3B Cheslor Cuthbert - If you had asked me a couple of weeks ago whether there was any chance Cheslor Cuthbert ever played for the Kansas City Royals again I’d have said, “Not really, no.” so take my prediction with a pinch of salt but I think he’ll be here. He’s only played 11 MLB games this year but he’s hit very well in them. And he’s still young enough that even if he goes back to underperforming I can’t see the Royals cutting him, now. I also can’t see anyone being interested in trading for him.

3B Kelvin Gutierrez - With Cuthbert on the roster and Dozier returning there probably isn’t room for him right now. But he’ll be back in September.

OF Alex Gordon - He’ll be here and he should be. The Royals are not going to trade away someone who has played his entire storied career in KC who doesn’t want to be traded. It’s just not going to happen. He could reject any trade they tried to make and they just aren’t going to get enough back for him to be able to get Dayton Moore to stop being loyal even if they could get him to agree to it.

OF Billy Hamilton - He’s gone. Someone will give the Royals a bag of balls for Hamilton and they’ll deal him. He’s walking more than ever and still has the second-worst OPS of his career. It was an interesting experiment but it’s time for it to end.

OF Jorge Soler - He’s also gone. Reading between the lines I don’t think the Royals have a lot of faith in the slugger, anymore. If they can get any kind of reasonable offer they’ll dump him.

OF Jorge Bonifacio - I’m honestly still not sure why he got promoted, to begin with. I suspect he’ll hit near a Chris Owings level and be given his ticket to leave. I hope he goes to South Korea or Japan and experiences great success there.

OF Terrance Gore - It was so bizarre for the Royals to sign him to a major league deal and then put him on the opening day roster that as much as I think he needs to go I think he’ll still be here. I don’t know what possesses Dayton Moore to keep Gore around but he will. And with 26 men on the roster next season they’ll be able to justify having him more easily than ever. Even if he still won’t be able to help the team much.

UT Whit Merrifield - I think the Royals might finally be willing to deal him. But I think they’ve probably waited too long and they won’t get the same offers they got before and so they won’t be willing to move him for what they can get, now.

OF Bubba Starling - He’ll be in KC by September.

SP Brad Keller - He’ll be here. And he should be. Whether he’s a true ace or more of a middle-of-the-rotation guy he has a lot of value to the team and unless they get completely overwhelmed with an offer they should keep him.

SP Jakob Junis - Same thing.

SP Glenn Sparkman - He’s not good enough to move, not bad enough to cut.

SP Danny Duffy - I think his situation is similar to Whit’s in that his true value is less than the Royals want for him so he’ll stick around.

SP Homer Bailey - I don’t think he’s pitched well enough to get traded for prospects but he hasn’t quite been bad enough - especially considering how bad the rest of the rotation has been - to get released, either. He may still be here. And I can’t bring myself to care all that much if he is.

RP Jake Diekman - He’s been the only good reliever in the bullpen and he’s on a one-year deal. The Royals will absolutely trade him and he’s pretty much the only guy they’re likely to deal who might bring back some value in prospects. Not anything amazing, but something.

RP Ian Kennedy - If he was being paid like a reliever or on the last year of his deal instead of like a front-line starter and with one more year of that the Royals might be able to move him. But neither of those things are true so Ian will still be here. He should never have been signed in the first place but since he was I can’t fault them for being unable to move him, now.

RPs Scott Barlow, Brad Boxberger, Brian Flynn, Kevin McCarthy, Wily Peralta, Jorge López, Kevin McCarthy - They’ll all still be here. None of them are good enough to trade. None of them have reached the levels of last year’s grim trio. And that’s about how much it takes to get cut. If any of them get demoted they’ll be re-promoted on September 1. Tim Hill, Kyle Zimmer, and Richard Lovelady are in the same boat just currently on the Omaha side of the river.

I thought this would be a much more interesting exercise than it’s been. I think it maybe highlights just exactly why this team disinterests me so much. It’s chock full of players who are just good enough that they won’t get cut but still too bad to be particularly competitive. It has one guy hitting like a superstar who is currently hurt, one guy who flashes superstar potential, and a bare handful of guys who play solidly above average but not spectacularly. There’s just so very much meh that it drowns out the few bright spots.

Anyway, here’s another of the potential ideas I got from my plea for help:

This is a really good point. Feet are super weird. Regardless of how you believe humanity came to exist why should we have these appendages at the end of our legs that don’t really do anything? There are so many examples of superior leg-endings in the animal kingdom. We could be so much cooler. Especially if we had monkey feet that would let us pick up the pencils we drop without having to bend over.

This also makes me think about how bipedal design is just super weird, too. Like...we have all this mass but balancing on two legs is significantly harder than balancing on four. How does it make any sense to be bipedal? If anything we should have four legs and two arms for the increased stability while still maintaining manual dexterity.

But then that makes me think of centaurs, which makes me think of horses. And that makes me wonder how these giant beasts with a penchant for running really, really fast ended up with toothpicks for legs. It’s like, “There is one thing you do really well. But if you screw up you’re probably just gonna die a slow and painful death because these legs won’t just break they will snap in half.” This is why I stick to baseball and video games. Biology just doesn’t make any kind of sense.