I’ve been appreciative of you, John, and your group for taking ownership of the Royals. This probably kept them in Kansas City and instead put Oakland on the road to Las Vegas. I also support your downtown stadium plans as 81 events there during the summer has real socioeconomic importance.
Hopefully you didn’t miss that this weekend’s debacle in The Bronx was an absolute point of no return for your team’s leftover leadership. I’m talking specifically about JJ Picollo and Lonnie Goldberg. These guys have been so conjoined for decades that we can’t really tell whose incompetence is the most severe. It’s like trying to figure out if the Titanic sunk because it was racing through a dangerous area, the captain disregarded warnings, the design of the compartments was flawed, or that the steel in the hull was bad. Together, these two genteel men just finished sinking your ship in the most embarrassing way on the big stage in New York.
Let’s start with why JJ needs to be let go tomorrow. While he has had less than a year’s time as a General Manager (or whatever his title is now that he is no longer Dayton Moore’s figurehead), most of his failures are due to his performance shortcomings in the years leading up to 2023. He has been the most responsible person in the organization for leading development for a good seven years. Those years were absolute, well, shipwrecks. Top draft picks flamed out in so many ways. Some guys were given up on who readily flourished in other places. The accrued WAR of internal players during this time has bounced around levels that can’t be defended. Guys swung at just about everything while too seldom connecting with anything. Pitchers couldn’t find control of their, well, uh, two pitches. JJ built the iceberg his team grounded into this year. His hitters are 29th in runs scored and his pitchers are 28th in runs allowed. That’s more on him than anyone , except possibly Lonnie.
During his short tenure as the Royal Potentate, JJ has made quite a few colossal mistakes. Matt Quatraro isn’t a strong or inspiring leader. He has been a poor game manager as the team has statically and by the eye test put several wins in the loss column. They are about six wins behind if put stock in run differential predicting them. JJ has let Matt solidify himself as "Eeyore the Donkey" when that’s exactly the wrong formula for a struggling young team. Most players have gone backwards under the coaches JJ and Matt brought in. That’s hundreds of millions of dollars$$$ of player value you are losing, John.
JJ panicked-bought Lyles on a contract that far exceeded any reports of other offers received. Only the Nationals were rumored to be looking at him. The report was because he could be had for a one year commitment. Lyles has been exactly what was he has pretty much always been. He gave up four runs in the first today taking his twelfth loss. He set another dubious record for JJ by losing the most consecutive starts at the beginning of a season. As I write this, the Royals and the team you likely sent to Vegas are 1/2 game apart for the fourth worst season in about 100 years.
JJ handled O’Hearn wrong a bunch of different ways. Part of that debacle was that no rule five pick could be taken. Having him quickly succeed in Baltimore because of a slight swing adjustment just isn’t a résumé building event for Mr. Picollo. It also looks like our man JJ left a lot of the international bonus pool unspent. I can’t find the final numbers, but the late snipe signing could not have been enough to spend up".
MJ Melendez has been handled terribly. You really needed him to succeed to right the severe listing of the Royals. The same approach with him just keeps not working.
Pratto is striking out a lot. Today he won the follies with his throw to no one at first. Added to these young regressions are a small troop of silly signings. Just like Lyles, Jackie Bradley Junior and Franmil Reyes immediately became who they have been. They took away developmental innings while helping to post this historic losing rate. The percentage of fans who want JJ to be your free agency shopper in November has to be lower than Salvy’s rate of taking walks.
JJ’s tenure threatening mistake was not immediately firing Lonnie and his minion Danny Ontiveros. If you’ve not followed closely, John, Lonnie has made notorious history for years with his draft failures. They’ve become more numerous than a migrating flock of Starlings. His statements after taking Ashe Russell, Nolan Watson, and Josh Staumont in the first 64 picks of the 2015 draft screamed that he didn’t know what he was doing. History bore that out and hasn’t quit birthing the same fact.
This year Lonnie and his mentee universally scored "C" grades in the draft from the major pundits. Dan’O repeated Lonnie’s infamous 2015 drivel by drooling all over a high school catcher who he bizarrely compared to Bryce Harper. That’s too ridiculous to even fit the category of a clown show. John, you can dream on better.
Speaking of clown shows, let’s circle back to the naval version of Waterloo that just folded up in Yankees Stadium. Even non-sports sections of national news outlets reported on the base running fiascos of the Royals. The Royals swung many times at ball fours that were nowhere close to the strike zone. I already mentioned the strange play by Pratto. It hurt your assets when Matt inserted Barlow in a situation where he wasn’t necessary with the team being down. That iced any value he still had left before the trade deadline. Your team certainly put the "arse" (I respect you aren’t a man who would say that word) in "fiasco".
Why is Windmill Wilson still third base coach, John? It must be that JJ can’t free himself of the culture he helped to build under Dayton. Speaking of culture, let’s close this out by summarizing the inbred clique that JJ and Lonnie have always been in as members of the Royals’ staff. DM got rid of professional guys to make the Royals’ organization their personal oyster. Deric Ladnier drafted the core of the 2014 and 2015 teams. This includes Gordon, Hosmer, Moustakis, and Holland. He drafted Zack Greinke whose value filled much of the rest of those teams. Dayton fired Deric in 2008 to elevate these two George Mason buddies. Everything they’ve done in the draft in the preceding 14 draft years in accumulated WAR doesn’t come close to equaling one of Deric’s picks. Consider the hundreds made in that time.
Without the young guys proving it by playing junior college level of ball in New York over the weekend, these two baseball executives have long been stuck on the shoals of Major League Baseball. John, you might as well get a jump on this year’s class of GM candidates. If you’ve not heard Bob Seger’s wonderful song "Ship of Fools", please listen to it. It’s so metaphorically correct about your Mason guys, their executive careers, and this weekend’s sinking. These two Davy Jones’ locker divers aren’t going to fix the ineptitude created by them and their life mentor. It’s time to build a better crew, John. I still have confidence in you and your downtown stadium dream.