The Kansas City Royals are in a bad spot. They are looking for any sign that things are turning around.
Every key hit is dubbed as the "breakout" hit.
Every great pitching performance is deemed the "jolt" they needed.
Ryan LeFevbre is guilty of these claims every time the Royals show some life.
LeFevbre even brings a reluctant Joe Morgan (or is that Frank White?) in on the assertions.
The bottom line is these Royals are not as good as their 18-11 start. The sooner this is realized the sooner everyone can move on and make levelheaded decisions about 2010.
The Royals do not need a Shortstop THIS YEAR.
The Royals do not need a Lefty Starter THIS YEAR.
The Royals do not need to fill all the other holes that every fan is frustrated with - power, OBP, speed, defense, etc - THIS YEAR.
What needs to be done is figuring out what they have in a few players. That way Dayton Moore knows what needs to be addressed this off season and they can come into 2010 with a playoff caliber mentality.
Who needs to be looked at?
Kila Ka'aihue After a sluggish start, the 6'3" 230lbs Hawaiian has turned it on. He is hitting lefties much better this season. Kila had no problem adjusting when he got bumped up a level last season, and he was effective when he received his September cup of coffee (6/21 (.286), 1 HR).
He could be the guy to solidify first base, letting Billy Butler backup the position and DH (where he is better suited).
Jeff Bianchi Let's face it, the Royals Shortstop situation couldn't be much worse.
Mike Aviles - who is more of a Second Baseman anyways - is hurt.
Tony Pena, jr. is about to replace Mario Mendoza as the gauge for hitting incompetence.
Luis Hernandez...eh, he's OK.
What would the Royals lose by fast-tracking this promising young Shortstop? He was drafted in 2005, so he has learned the art of professional baseball and is performing well this season.
It is a roll of the dice, but isn't that true with every player that's called up? The Royals didn't know what they had in Mike Aviles last year when he won Player of the Year in Kansas City; it could be Jeff Bianchi time.
Ryan Shealy Is this guy still playing? Or has he gone the way of Bob Hamelin, Calvin Pickering and Ken Harvey?
When he returns from the DL, why not give him a shot? Afterall, he's about to turn 30 and—knowing this could be his last hurrah—he may consistently produce. Sure the Royals First Base/Designated Hitter slots are mucked up, but they need more bats, period. Platooning with Jacobs is always an option.
Chris Lubanski It seems like forever ago when the Royals used their first round (5th overall) pick on the young Pennsylvanian. He signed out of highschool and is still only 24, but this is starting to feel like Justin Huber all over again.
With the soft swinging Mitch Meier filling in for an injured Coco Crisp, the Royals are losing stolen bases and some power as well. Lubanski should have received a test run because of his potential power alone.
Bruce Chen/Lenny DiNardo If a spot in the rotation opens up, I would like to see what Chen or DiNardo can do. They are both lefty starters that have MLB experience— DiNardo in Oakland/Boston and Chen in several locations.
Bruce Chen has been limiting his walk total of late and striking out a fair amount.
Lenny DiNardo has hit a bit of a bump in the road, but he started off quite well. A call up could provide the adrenaline he needs to take the next step in his career.
The bottom line is that the Royals are not a playoff caliber team yet. Their on-field product has dramatically improved since Dayton Moore took the reigns and Mr. Glass opened the checkbook, but they are not quite there.
The Royals need to take a chance on some young guys and see what they have; if next year consists of a bunch of trial runs like this year has there will be a lot of upset fans.
However, they are only 4.5 games out of first place in the weak AL Central coming into play on Thursday, so what do I know?