When a baseball team has a two-decade track record like the Kansas City Royals, they have to expect a rabid fan base when hope turns to hype.
Then to head-hanging. And then to hate. These guys are horrible.
Not as individuals, but as a whole this club is one of the worst in recent history. Several local media sources have beat the dead horse that is the Royals in an effort to figure out what's wrong with this team.
The answer is very simple: they are poorly built.
No doubt Dayton Moore is a great baseball mind. No doubt he has a plan.
However, after three years on the job, he has made little to no progress in regard to the bottom line: wins and losses.
There have been some very questionable happenings in Kansas City since the Summer of 2006:
Signing Kyle Farnsworth for 2 years/$9.25M - was that really market value? Trade for Ryan Freel and demote him for Mitch Maier? Leaving Tony Pena, Jr. on the roster for over a year? Leaving Alberto Callaspo in the game when he catches (or attempts to catch) another pop-up one-handed?
But none of them is as questionable as having three catchers on a team that struggles offensively.
John Buck is not gifted offensively. He never will be. Additionally, he has regressed defensively and has never been able to throw out a runner. So, why is he still in Kansas City?
Miguel Olivo has proven to be useful in stretches. He will also roll out 0-10, 7K stretches. He is a quality backup, but at age 31, the hill gets very steep for a catcher; and his bat speed looks mighty slow these days.
Brayan Pena, who himself is 27, provides the most upside and has the best contract. Pena makes $405,000 this season compared to (Buck) $2.9M and (Olivo) $2.7M.
By eliminating Buck and Olivo from the roster next season, the Royals stand to save around $5M. That is a lot of money to fill one of their many holes with.
Additionally, Pena has fought for every minimal opportunity he has been allowed in his career. That is obvious in his play. He is attentive, does what is asked of him without complaint, and hustles like a rookie.
Simple aspects like laying down a sacrifice bunt; and hitting the ball to the right side of the infield to advance a runner; are the things he does, and what the Royals should be looking for in a catcher.
For every Joe Mauer, there are hundreds of John Buck's. For the Royals to expect to land a Mauer before a quality IF/OF contributor is ridiculous.
Moore needs to realize the market he is tapping and go with the fundamental catcher possessing a cheap contract. That way, the money he spends will go further.
Bobby Abreu (.310, 11, 80, 26 SB) signed for $5M, or a Buck and an Olivo this off-season?
I'm just saying...
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