It's fair to say that every Royals fan has accepted their playoff-less fate by now (though you may not look as sad as the guy in this image).
If you're like me, though, you still can't bring yourself to root against these losers, even in hopes of winning the Bryce Harper Sweepstakes.
Even though another 100 loss season could leap frog us over the Nats (or is that under the Nats?) and secure the franchise a highly coveted, no brainer, number one selection in next years draft, I hate to see my boys lose!
In response to these feelings, we fans spend our time tearing apart management, complaining about personnel moves and predict/attempt to guide off season moves.
Many of these moves appear to be as much a no brainer as drafting Bryce Harper, but it's never that simple in the City of Fountains:
My favorite KC sports blogger (besides Posnanski the Great), Sam Mellinger, recently backed up my point (unknowingly I am sure) about dropping $5 million worth of catcher payroll in the off season by giving Brayan Pena a shot at everyday duty.
Sure he has some deficiencies, but league minimum salary is league minimum salary and the separation between his skills and John Buck's and/or Miguel Olivo's is minimal.
I think most will concede that re-signing Coco Crisp—who may still be injured into next season—to a $8 million contract when he has a $500,000 buyout would be a poor decision.
Mike Jacobs has all but flat out told Kansas City fans that he's not worth the money (his honesty about his own play is refreshing though).
Yasuhiko Yabuta's $4 million option for 2010 is a joke.
There are several other payroll issues, but revisiting them is becoming a moot task.
Instead, I prefer to look at the what assets we have and assume the fat will be trimmed by our million dollar General Manager.
Keeping in mind the size of Kansas City's market, these are the position players currently on roster that I wouldn't mind seeing back next year:
Mark Teahen 3B
Teahen is what he is, a formidable and highly versatile ball player. He will never mature into a 30+ home run hitter, but he will show 20 homer power and hit .280-.300 while playing a variety of positions.
Teahen's game appears to improve when he is starting at 3rd on a consistent basis, and Alex Gordon needs an extended stay in Omaha to begin 2010.
He is a great 6-7 hitter; almost like a Carlos Guillen, only more durable.
The problem is the Royals have been misusing him.
David DeJesus LF
David's shortcomings are often cited, but when all's said and done he always gets his numbers and is a team leader on and off the field. In left field, David is formidable and he is a good table setter at the top of the lineup.
He is a workhorse and I would like to see him in Kansas City when things finally turn around.
Alberto Callaspo 2B
This "keeper selection" comes with a disclaimer: Callaspo must be put on a strict off season workout schedule. I believe that if he takes off 15 lbs and tones up he can add some speed and make himself league average at the two bag. If he does that, he will be a great second baseman given his bat.
Billy Butler DH/Back-Up 1B
Billy Butler is a hitter, period.
He still has problems with many aspects of playing the easiest position on the diamond, but his stick has turned proper. As he gets older, many of these doubles are going to find their way over the fence.
The return the Royals could possibly get if they dealt him is tempting, but it should take an offer we can't refuse to make that happen.
Kila Ka'aihue 1B
It is time for him to get a shot.
Considering the Royals propensity to rush talent, they have been surprisingly patient with the stout Hawaiian.
That could be exactly what makes him a more immediate impact than his predecessors.
He has paid his dues and at 25 years of age he is soon to peak physically.
He should be starting at first base in 2010.
All of these guys, and Brayan Pena, are building blocks, but the addition of enormous amounts of talent is still necessary.
There will be several other holdovers due to contractual obligation, but if the buyout money makes sense the Royals are in a position where they need to begin cutting ties.
Dayton Moore recently stated that the farm system isn't ready for that (nobody would disagree with him), but with the given economy and state of free agency he should be able to make lemonade from some of these lemons.
As I previously stated in my pro-Brayan Pena article linked above, $5 million—or Buck and Olivo's contracts—was the selling price for the services of Bobby Abreu (.296, 12, 86, 81, 27 sb) this season.
If the Royals were to eliminate just the individuals mentioned above—Olivo, Buck, Crisp, Jacobs, and Yabuta—they would have almost $20 million to spend on the market in a year their owner said no increases.