State of the Royals
The State of the Royals has ended its hiatus, and is making a triumphant return to tell you…wait for it…wait for it…the season is over.¬† Consider me your chaplain.¬† The Royals season is dead.¬† We’ll call the time of death as 7/23/2013.¬† It is fine to grieve, and it is important to know we all grieve differently.¬† In some, grief is manifested by anger and hostility.¬† In others, disillusionment and/or disbelief.¬† And in the case of a lot of Royals fans, the looming Kansas City Chiefs season is just the antidote to make them forget about another disappointing Royals season.
Why 7/23/13?¬† No reason really.¬† There’s nothing special about that date.¬† Maybe that’s the date I officially gave up hope for this season, and maybe any other season that is orchestrated by the current regime.¬† For all intents and purposes, you could probably deem the 5-game losing streak right before the All-Star break as the time of death.
As I’m writing this piece, the Royals secured a 3-1 lead over the Orioles in game 2 of their four-game series.¬† The last run scored via Mike Moustakas RBI double.¬† That’s his 19th RBI¬†on the season (290+ AB’s).¬† Purely for reference, in a concurrent game, Wil Myers picked up his 19th RBI in roughly 115 AB’s.
Why have I officially given up hope on this season, and this regime?¬† There are no signs of things getting better, and help from the minors is a couple years away, at best.¬† Sub-standard players at 3b and 2b continue to be trotted out there on an everyday basis.¬† As fun as it is to watch Lorenzo Cain and Alcides Escobar play defense, their bats have not helped the¬†matter.¬† Wade Davis, on any other team, has pitched his way out of the rotation (and maybe off the active roster), but on 7/23/13 the Royals committed to keeping him in the rotation despite his inability to…well… do anything well as a pitcher.¬† Eric Hosmer hasn’t turned into the star we thought he’d be.¬† Billy Butler is bigger and slower than ever, and is having an off year relative to what he’s capable of.¬† Alex Gordon has morphed into something closer to David Dejesus than the star we though he was ascending to be.¬† There is no power threat on this team.¬† The bullpen, which was sold as being elite, has fallen short of expectations.¬† This was supposed to be it.¬† This Royals team was supposed to be competitive, and yet when it is clear that the time has come to be sellers on the trade market,¬†Royals administration insists¬†they’re not giving up, and¬†will proceed full steam ahead.¬† What’s the point?¬† Mediocrity?¬† To prove to the fans we’re getting closer to playing .500 baseball?¬† Neat.
Honestly, I get the feeling Dayton Moore has decided that if he’s going down, he’s going down swinging.¬† I’m usually a fan of that attitude, but in this scenario, it only hurts the ball club.¬† The time has come to sell off the valuable pieces of this team, and load up the farm again.¬† I will say that I still support Dayton Moore’s decision to make the trade for James Shields.¬†I see what he was trying to do,¬†but sometimes trades just don’t work out.¬† This is one of those trades, and it is a trade in retrospect that is likely to haunt the Royals for many, many years.¬† Look at it this way–with Shields, the Royals are likely to finish within a handful of games of .500, and well behind the division leader.¬† Without Shields, and with Wil Myers, the Royals likely finish 10+ games below .500, and well behind the division leader.
While I think some of the deficiencies of this offense were predictable, I don’t think the current level of ineptitude was.¬† Chris Getz and Jeff Francoeur playing poorly, I think we all could have guessed.¬† Maybe even Moustakas too, but his spring gave us all hope that he had figured it out.¬† Wade Davis had been a decent pitcher in the past, and was coming off an dominant season in the bullpen.¬† Really, the list goes on and on.¬† Up and down, the entire lineup has presented some level of disappointment except…David Lough.¬† As you would expect, when Lough is the only guy who exceeds or meets expectations, your team is in trouble.
Is there anything Moore can do to help at this point?¬† Yes, two things actually.¬† One, stop talking to the media.¬† There is literally nothing good that can come from that right now.¬† The media and this fan-base is just waiting like a bunch of hungry piranhas to devour every word he mutters.¬† Two, make the tough trades.¬† You don’t have to come right out and say you messed up.¬† Making the tough trades will say it all.¬† You know who I’m talking about too; the guys with maximum value that you don’t have to build around (I’ll get more specific later.).
Hmmm, Bruce Chen is shutting down the Orioles and Moustakas has two doubles.¬† Maybe this piece is premature?¬† No.¬† Why?¬† Ned is inexplicably giving Chen the hook (94 pitches).¬† Sometimes this team can’t get out of it’s own way.
Briefly, I want to tackle the hot-topic of the last couple days: Ryan Braun’s suspension.¬† Anytime someone is held accountable for their actions, I’m happy.¬† That being said, it seems like MLB is nearly falling over from patting themselves on the back so hard.¬† The problem still isn’t fixed, MLB.¬†¬†Is a 50-60 game suspension, or whatever this amounts to be, all that significant?¬†¬†I urge you to look at the big picture.¬† Ryan Braun has played 7 seasons, and accumulated 944 games played.¬† I think he’s a good enough player that it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to assume he could easily play another 7 seasons, and accumulate an additional 1,000 games played.¬† So, we’re talking about a total of nearly 2000 games played when all is said and done for Braun.¬† All the sudden, missing 50-60 games looks like a drop in the bucket. This is especially true when you consider his ability to once again cash those super-sized checks after the suspension runs its course.
You want to make a difference, MLB, go with¬†lifetime suspensions.¬† One and done.¬† You cheat our game, you’re gone for good.¬†What if there’s a mistake, right?¬† No, there are no mistakes.¬† Once you have enough evidence to prove a player is cheating, it’s time to drop the hammer. ¬†There’s no excuse not to do this.¬† Why?¬† Well, me for example.¬† If I’m a young player, and I’m looking for an edge to get me to optimal performance that will also catapult me to a huge pay day, risking a 50 game suspension is easily worth it for me to pop that steroid/HGH/PED/whatever and roll the dice on getting caught.¬† It’s a lot easier to swallow your pride when you have a $100+million dollar mega-contract still waiting for you after your suspension ends.
However, if I’m a young player and the choice is using a PED and risking a swift and immediate end to my career if caught, or making my career the old-fashioned way, I’m staying clean.¬† You may think that’s just me, and not every ball player thinks that way.¬† B.S.!!¬† Maybe not all, but I’d bet anything in the world there are hundreds of minor leaguers, or struggling MLB players that look at this issue precisely the way I’ve laid it out.¬† These guys were all little boys once, and we all shared that dream to become a big league ball player.¬† They’ve made it closer than most, and if you think they wouldn’t consider doing whatever it takes to achieve that dream fully, you’re dreaming and probably high.
7th inning, Royals still holding on to that 3-1 lead.¬† Kelvin Herrera relieved Bruce Chen, and was effective.
Ok, since the All-Star break, the Royals won a series over the Detroit Tigers.¬† So, what’s the state of the Royals?¬† I’m sorry, but I’ve got to be realistic here, your Fan Anxiety Index is PURPLE.¬† Barring some sort of insanely far-fetched and unprecedented turnaround from the Royals offense, the hope for .500 appears to be a longshot, and competing for the playoffs is downright laughable.
Maybe this season can still end on a positive note, and maybe the Royals can sniff .500 baseball, but what is there about this team that excites you going into 2014?¬† Major question marks in the lineup? Check.¬† Major questions marks in the rotation? Check.¬† Those are just to name a couple.
Royals win! Royals win! 3-2, the Royals win!¬† Orioles series is evened up, 1-1.¬† Royals are proving they can hang with the big dogs (Tigers and Orioles).¬† Go ahead, get sucked back in.¬† As for me, I’ll be over here¬†studying the teams that could use good starting pitchers and/or a closer for a playoff run, and prepping myself for another rebuilding job for our Kansas City Royals.¬†¬†¬† I sincerely hope I’m wrong.
3 Points of Light:
- Ervin Santana:¬† He got the nod to lead the Royals going into the 2nd half of the season.¬† He responded by throwing 7.1 innings of 2 hit, shutout baseball, and beating the Detroit Tigers, 1-0.¬† He continues to be the best trade Dayton Moore has ever made.
- Louis Coleman:¬† Nothing short of dominant.¬† 9 innings pitched, 0 runs allowed, 2 walks, 10 strikeouts.
- Greg Holland:¬† He continues to rack up saves in dominant fashion.¬† Earned a much deserved All-Star appearance, and is starting to get national attention as being one of the premier closers in the game.
3 Red Flags:
- Mike Moustakas:¬† Still…He’s improving, but still represents a massive black hole in the middle of lineup.¬† Not all his fault, as Ned continues to put him those spots in the lineup.¬† The 2nd half has to be put up or shut up for Moose.
- Chris Getz:¬† Still and again.¬† We thought we were done with him.¬† If you blinked, you missed Johnny Giavotella’s chance to nail down the 2b job.¬† He failed, and Getz is back, and presents yet another black hole in this lineup.
- Wade Davis:¬† Call him Luke Hochevar, or call him Kyle Davies.¬† Either way, he’s proven incapable of being an effective starting pitcher.¬† ERA now sits at a robust 5.92, and has surrendered 132 hits in 97.1 innings.¬† Ridiculous.¬† He literally gives the Royals no chance to win every 5th day.
3 Point Plan:
- Trade Ervin Santana:¬† He’s performing like one of the best in the league.¬† Moore traded next to nothing for him.¬† He has great value for a playoff contender.¬† The Royals have no playoff hopes this season.¬† Make the trade.
- Trade James Shields:¬† No sense in trying to jam a square peg in a round hole.¬† Shields is under contract for one more year after this season, which raises his trade value quite a bit.¬† As far as the Royals have fallen from expectations this year, it’s probably fair to assume they won’t be playoff bound next year.¬† Considering that changes likely need to be made to the rotation, 2b, 3b, CF and RF, trading Shields could go a long way towards filling those holes.¬† Some trades don’t work out, and this is one of them.¬† Cut your losses, and try to make the most of this situation…please.
- Trade Greg Holland:¬† Don’t get me wrong, I love Greg Holland.¬† He’s been my favorite closer since Dan Quisenberry.¬† He’s young, in his prime, and is proving to be one of the most dominant closers in the game.¬† He’s also on a losing ball club.¬† Sound familiar? :cough: Joakim Soria :cough:¬† This would be a prime opportunity for Dayton Moore to learn from his past mistakes.¬† Holland’s value is never going to be higher, and an elite closer is of little use to a losing team.
ROYALS FAN ANXIETY INDEX:
GREEN- I LIKE WHAT YOU’VE DONE HERE.
BLUE- OK, THAT SUCKED, BUT THEY CAN BOUNCE BACK.¬† RIGHT?!
PURPLE- HERE WE GO AGAIN. #FACEPALM
ORANGE- THIS IS LIKE WATCHING A THREE LEGGED CAT TRYING TO BURY A TURD ON A FROZEN POND.
RED- FIRE EVERYONE!¬† I HATE EVERYONE!¬† I HATE THE ROYALS, AND PUPPIES TOO!!
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