This team fell and this team fell FAST. Following the game on August 12, the Royals were 62-54, 8 games over .500 for the first time since the lovely 2003 season and they had two more left with the Marlins and a chance to really get going before heading to Detroit. Since then, they’ve won 2 of 10 games and lost series to both the Marlins and the White Sox. I’d say the hope for the playoffs is on life support at this point and that might even be too kind. But as with this whole season, this team isn’t as bad as they’ve shown in the last week and a half and they’re not as good as they were outside the break. In all reality, they’re roughly a .500 team. They just take a really odd route to get there. I guess it’s all about the Royalcoaster.
- This seems odd considering how bad he was with Toronto, but I really liked the pickup of Emilio Bonifacio. Now, I’m not a huge fan of him playing as often as it looks like he’ll be playing due to injuries, but I think he can be a big asset to this team moving into next season. There’s been some murmur in the Royals fan world about Bonifacio being a good choice to be the starting second baseman next year. Personally, I’m not in love with that idea, but I do think he’s a guy who you can get 300 at bats for and use correctly to make him a big part of your team. He’s a guy who can work the occasional walk, can play a few positions competently and has good speed. He’s one of those guys that if he’s starting, something has probably gone wrong but if he’s used in a reserve role, he can really be a huge help to your team.
- I’m feeling really good about what we’ve seen from Kelvin Herrera since he came back from AAA after the break. Since coming back, he’s pitched in 17 games, spanning 20 innings. In that span, he’s given up 12 hits, struck out 26 and walked 4. Word around town is that’s pretty good. He’s also given up just one homer in that time, which equates to 0.45 HR/9 innings. He also has a 1.80 ERA in that stretch. I’m seeing much of the same stuff from Herrera that we saw last year when he broke out as one of the best relievers in all of baseball. His fastball is crisp again and he’s using his changeup to put hitters away when he needs it. He did get a loss against Miami, but even that was a situation where he grazed a player’s jersey and then allowed a seeing eye single to score a run. While I would have preferred that not happen, if he pitches like that, he’ll get the job done more often than not.
- There’s been a lot of talk with the Royals struggling about what the 2014 rotation could look like, and I think that’s a great question. The way I see it, there are three locks for that rotation. Shields is the number one unless they can find a way to pull of a heist and can get someone else (not happening). Guthrie is in there and so is Wade Davis, whether you like it or not. So who are the candidates for the final two spots? Excellent question. The leading candidate is Danny Duffy. I think barring a trade, injury or really bad spring, Duffy will be in the Opening Day rotation. Yordano Ventura is another candidate, and it wouldn’t surprise me if the Royals go with him in the rotation as well to round things out. My issue is the Royals can’t count on Jeremy Guthrie as their number two starter if they hope to turn 2014 into a playoff season. Other candidates will be Kyle Zimmer, Will Smith, Chris Dwyer (with no shot) and I’m sure some non-roster invites like they had with Guillermo Moscoso this year. Guthrie has to be no better than the three starter for the 2014 Royals to win 90+ games (and a few other things need to happen).
- As a team that has now spent more time over .500 than all but one Royals team in the last 20 years, the Royals have to be thinking about taking that next step into 2014. That, to me, means, that nobody is safe in their position. Now, there’s some exceptions of course. It doesn’t seem smart for the Royals to spend their limited payroll on a first baseman when Eric Hosmer is playing so well. This is purely a hypothetical example, but if the Royals were able to find an upgrade at shortstop, I don’t think they should look at a guy like Alcides Escobar as irreplaceable. That’s not a great example because the shortstop market is thin, but the point is that an upgrade is an upgrade and if the Royals look at 2014 as a playoff season, it doesn’t matter how they get better as long as they get better. It’s just something to chew on.
- I’m not a Christian Colon fan. That said, unlike Ned Yost, I’ve actually been wrong about a player or two before in my life. I know that’s hard to believe. From July 1 through August 21, Colon hit .318/.395/.462. There’s not a ton of power in his bat, but if he can hit a little and work a few walks and play solid defense, he could be a good option. As of today, I don’t think he’s a big league starter, but at this point in the season, the Royals playoff hopes are minuscule and they’re not exactly running out a Hall of Famer every night at second base. I say call him up and make a 36 game evaluation of him to determine if they think they can move into the offseason with second base filled. I’ve said this before with Johnny Giavotella, but the Royals really need to take advantage of some big league evaluation time to help prepare them for the offseason. If Colon hits well the rest of this month and in September, it would allow the Royals to make second base a secondary upgrade after outfield and maybe starting pitcher. At this point, my argument is it can’t hurt. It can only help.
Follow me on Twitter @DBLesky
About The Author
Leave a Comment
You must be logged in to post a comment.