Sunday afternoon, in the bottom of the 10th inning with Brayan Pena on second base, two outs and down one run, Alcides Escobar came to the plate.
Escobar is currently hitting .232 on the season, and Melky Cabrera—who had the day off and is hitting .271—was sitting on the bench.
Manager Ned Yost talked about this type of situation earlier this week; he said that he firmly believes that this team will compete for championships in the near future. If that is the case, the young players, including Escobar, are going to need to be able to know how to hit in clutch situations.
If that means that the Royals are going to lose games in the present to prepare themselves for the future, then that is what will have to happen.
Although, it appears that the front office in Kansas City wants to win now with the promotions of Eric Hosmer and Danny Duffy before the Super Two deadline.
So that raises the question: Should the Royals go for wins now, and maybe sacrifice some experience in the future? Should they maybe not get as many wins now, but have strong experience for when all the prospects are up in Royals blue?
Which way is the right way? That is really just based on your opinion of the situation, but I will try to lay out the situations as best I can.
Coming into the 2011 MLB season, the Royals were not considered to be anywhere close to contending.
So the mind frame of the organization was to develop players at the major league level to get vital time facing major league pitching and hitters. They just wanted the prospects to feel comfortable in their roles in the big leagues, which can lead to the players being able to make a run at a division title.
After the first month of the season, the Royals were 4.5 games out of first place and were playing some good baseball. The management decided to bring up stud prospect Eric Hosmer to the majors a little more than a month before the Super Two deadline, where the Royals could have kept Hosmer a year longer before arbitration.
This is a definite sign that they want to win now.
There is another argument that development should be reserved for AAA Omaha, not the Majors.
I personally believe that the development now approach is the way to go. This team needs the experience before they make the run.
If that means that they don't go .500 this year, then so be it.
There will be a time when the wins will come, but this year needs to be a time for the young players to learn about the major league game, not sit and watch the veterans who might not be here in a couple of years play in learning situations that you can't recreate in a practice environment.