Mike Jacobs: A Taste of Kansas City

Jordan BrattCorrespondent IMay 22, 2009

KANSAS CITY, MO - APRIL 11:  Mike Jacobs #17 of the Kansas City Royals looks on from the dugout against the New York Yankees on April 11, 2009 at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by G. Newman Lowrance/Getty Images)

Home-run specialist.

That’s the best way to describe the former Kansas City Royal first baseman and current Royal designated hitter, Mike Jacobs.

I can’t imagine Billy Butler has ever before been considered defensively superior.

Jacobs can’t field.

Jacobs’ strikeout rate is far too high.

Jacobs has the nastiest wad of chaw KC has ever seen in his cheek-gum-mouth region.

All this, and Jacobs is still captivating the city. How? Has Kansas City really been that deprived of the long ball? Come to think of it, I have seen more chicks at the ballpark this year, and apparently they‘re bringing back halter top day!!!

Sure KC had Beltran, Ibanez, Damon, Dye, and Sweeney, but none of them were true home-run hitters. John Mayberry is the classic Royals example, but there are many fans that never saw him play.

Since Mayberry‘s time, basically there is Bo and Bob Hamelin, and both were met with  parades. It is comical that The Big Ham was celebrated after a very un-Balbonian 24-home-run season—though he only had 312 at bats. He followed up that magical season with 16 home runs in 447 at bats over the next two seasons in Royal blue before playing for the Tigers and Brewers.

Kansas City has been starved for home runs, and Mike Jacobs fills that void. 

Jacobs is an improving power hitter as well. Improving upon his 17 HR 54 RBI 2007 campaign, last year he hit 32 home runs and drove in 93 runs with a respectable .812 OPS. This year he has already hit nine home runs and driven in 23; extrapolated through the season, that comes out to roughly 36 home runs (Balboni’s Royal record!) and 92 RBI, plus his OPS is sitting at .861.

From an offensive standpoint, the Royals got exactly what they should have expected.  Jacobs is turning 29 this year, so rising numbers are to be expected. 

However, there is something else. Behind the Exxon Valdez leak in his cheek is the same smile I see in David DeJesus. He’s the second one off the bench to congratulate a teammate—nobody beats John Buck in camaraderie.

He’s an enforcing presence that likes to play ball and THAT is contagious to a group of youngsters. He proved this in keying Tuesday’s ninth-inning heroics when he battled Kerry Wood and fouled off pitch after pitch until he got one of the world's straightest 96 mph-ers down the chute and deposited a liner off the façade in right center. 

Make no mistake, Teahen’s follow-up home run was partially due to the fan noise, partially due to adrenaline, partially due to Kerry Wood’s inabilities, and completely due to Jacobs at bat. (If that adds up)

Jacobs also does a lot of local charity work. He donates $500 for every home run he hits to Operation Breakthrough, a charity designed to assist in the proper development of children. If he hits that 36-home-run mark, he’ll be on the hook for $18,000.

If you’re a fan that expects his players to be good people and prefer to stick to the numbers, Jacobs’ contract is very franchise friendly. 

When the Royals traded Leo Nunez to the Marlins, they obtained the rights to Jacobs, but still had to sign him. He and the Royals agreed before arbitration to a one-year, $3.275 million contract. That means when/if former No. 1 draft pick Eric Hosmer hits the bigs in 2010, the Royals will not be contractually obligated to Jacobs, though he remains an option. 

Until then, he’ll help put butts in seats, which will assist Dayton Moore in extracting additional funds from the Glass Family to spend on securing young talent and the signing of free agents.