Time for the Kansas City Royals To Move Forward

Clark FoslerCorrespondent IAugust 4, 2009

KANSAS CITY, MO - JUNE 20:  Willie Bloomquist #8 of the Kansas City Royals looks on against the St. Louis Cardinals during the game on June 20, 2009 at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

You know what's funny about Zack Greinke's outing yesterday?   If you define it as 'Zack just didn't have it', you are a baseball man.  If your analysis is that Zack's fastball was, on average, two miles per hour slower than normal (he topped 94 mph just once all day), then you are a stathead. 

Yet, both are basically saying the exact same thing.

Not all that different than a sports radio host who expresses his opinion is 'doing his job', while a blogger who does the same is 'looking for attention.'  The hypocrisy of it all and, specifically, the mindset that my-group-is-better-than-your-group and whoever disagrees with me is misinformed or, more probably, just plain stupid gets a little old once we hit the dog days of August.

It has to be getting old in the bowels of the Royals' organization where you just have to believe there are people, baseball men and statheads alike, wondering why this organization is so serenely going through the 2009 season as if all is well. 

They hear the talk of defense and on-base percentage and see no on field implementation of those words.  

You are walking along one day, trusting the process and believing that patience is the key (Dayton Moore's words, not mine), and all of sudden the organization panics into not only acquiring Yuniesky Betancourt, but overpaying to do so.  

Don't you have to wonder if the Royals would be better off in 2010 if they had just bitten the bullet and played Willie Bloomquist and Luis Hernandez—there I said it: Luis Hernandez—at shortstop the remainder of the year?  

The organization would then enter next spring with Dan Cortes still in the system, hopefully vying with Aaron Crow to the be the ace of the Omaha staff, with Jeff Bianchi playing shortstop behind them.  All three just a couple of good months away from being on the major league squad.

Sure, that logic says that the Royals are unlikely to contend in 2010, but if the goal is to build something that lasts, then so be it.  

The Royals gambled that they could contend in 2009 and were derailed by injuries to Aviles (who still, as bad as he was this season, has a higher OPS+ than Betancourt) and Crisp. 

Mike Jacobs has been awful as have Kyle Farnsworth and Juan Cruz.  Alex Gordon missed half of what was supposed to be his breakout year and Jose Guillen was just as hobbled up as he was last year. 

There has certainly been some bad fortune, not to mention bad moves.  Admit it, get over it, stop worrying about what people are saying or writing about you, and get it right going forward.

Now, in case you were thinking this was just another negative rant by another one of those awful, terrible and lonely bloggers (and in some respects you are correct, but my mother thinks I'm a fine person) here are a few things I would do if the stars aligned and I was appointed general manager tomorrow morning:

  1. The bullpen is a mess and has been a mess since mid-May.   This is not an original thought (Rany has brought it up, as have others, and I tweeted (yes, tweeted) in late May that I though Northwest Arkansas had a better bullpen than Kansas City and I was not being sarcastic), but there is no reason not to bring up Carlos Rosa and Chris Hayes.  One of the organization's curious moves this year was starting Hayes back in AA while the likes of Greg Atencio et al. occupied space in Omaha.  If Hayes had started the year in Omaha, he would be in the majors already.
  2. I designated Ron Mahay and Jamey Wright for assignment.  One is 38, the other is 35 and neither is reliable enough to figure into the team's future plans.  Maybe I get something for one of them (a Paulo Orlando type), maybe I don't.  Chances are I don't care.
  3. While we're at it, Doug Waechter just finished his essentially season long rehab assignment last night and basically has to come up.  Hey, what's the harm?  I return Roman Colon to Omaha.  I'll be honest, I think Colon has an option left, but I'm not surepresumably someone in the front office knows this and will tell me.  At any rate, I don't know that anyone claims Colon if it turns out he does has to pass through waivers to be sent down.
  4. In a minor league move, reliever Chris Nicoll is pushed up to Omaha.   He was dazzling in AA last year and started off great at the same level again this season, but has slumped of late.  Still, pretty much sink or swim time for the former third round pick and he joins already promoted Greg Holland as two young guys who could figure in the team's plans next spring.
  5. I place Josh Anderson in centerfield and leave him there every single day.  Acquired for $20,000, I'm willing to spend the next two months to find out if he can really play or not.  There is no point in spending over two years, as the Royals did with Joey Gathright, determining if the guy can contribute.  Fifty games down the stretch ought to do it.
  6. Mike Jacobs is a good guy, a real professional and, let's face it, more miss than swing.  Having already paid the bulk of his salary, the cost of just dropping him is minimal.  While Kila Kaahuie is not lighting up AAA like he did last year, his on-base percentage is still north of .400.  That's enough to give him two months of work as the club's designated hitter. 
  7. An obvious one here: when Gil Meche is ready, Bruce Chen is dispatched.  I really do not care where he ends up as long as it is not in the Royals' bullpen.
  8. I monitor the bullpen for another couple of weeks and if Robinson Tejeda continues to walk everyone he faces every other time he appears and John Bale continues to be what he has been, then I make the move to bring up Yash Yabuta and Brandon Duckworth to take their spots in the pen.  Again, the logic is not so much that those two will be improvements, but I might was well find out once and for all.  What's the worst that's going to happen given that the Royals already have the second worst record in baseball?
  9. Come September, I make the move to bring up Jordan Parraz and Chris Lubanski and utilize them in a loose platoon in right field.  Let's get an inkling THIS year of what these two might offer at the major league level.  That will tell us what we need to do, besides jettison the broken down Jose Guillen, in the off-season with regard to our outfield situation.
  10. Move No. 9 forces Mark Teahen to second base.  Why? Well, exactly how many errors are you prepared to let Alberto Callaspo commit this year (he is at 15 and counting)?  Secondly, if Teahen can look even a touch above awful at second it increases his off-season trade value.  Maybe I end up keeping Mark, maybe I don't, but this gives me another option when it comes to Teahen.
  11. The club has already made the move to give Brayan Pena more time behind the plate.  I continue on that plan and, if Miguel Olivo and/or John Buck make it through waivers in August I continue to look to move them.  Given Olivo's contract and his obvious faults (plus the fact that Buck would be an excellent BACKUP catcher), I would be tempted to take just about any deal that was offered.

Now, I know some of you reading this are saying 'what's the point?'.   All eleven moves in combination very likely don't make the 2009 Royals any better and it is very possible that none of these really solve any problems for 2010.  I cannot argue that point of view.

However, these moves do answer questions.  Questions that the organization does not have to bother itself with during the offseason or waste spring training innings trying to figure out.  

Is it giving up on 2009?  You bet it is.

Then again, what exactly are the Royals 'giving up' at this point?