Wednesday, April 30, 2008

And thats why he got 36 million dollars

Jose Guillen finally exploded for a game worthy of his contract, the slumping outfielder went 2/4 with a HR and 5 RBI's as KC scored a season high in runs with a 9-5 win over Texas. Guillen is now at .190/.221/.360 for the season. More importantly he has now homered in two of his last three games so the hope is that he has finally emerged from his season long slump.

I think the Tomko rotation experiment should end immediately, last night he got hammered again and his ERA is at 6.26 for the season. In his last three starts he has given up 24 hits, 6 BB's, and 17 earned runs in just 14.1 innings. Not good. Some of us seen this coming.
It might be time to give Kyle Davies (3-1 1.80 AAA) another look.

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Off Topic - I hate reading about how you can't grade a NFL's teams draft for a few seasons, thats hogwash and I'll tell you why; football isn't like baseball so you draft according to team need. The Chiefs needed a DT and an OL and got two of the best so if they turn out out be busts you can't fault the picks. Every publication had Dorsey has the best DT to come out of college since Warren Sapp so if he instead becomes Ryan Sims well how can you criticize the Chiefs for drafting him. KC got a starter at DT, LT, and CB which is why everybody but Dr.Z is giving them an A. If you want to grade it again in a few years well thats fine too because hindsight is 20/20.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Pitching returns but still no offense

I apologize for the lack of content lately but I am a NFL draftaholic. I love every minute of it and I spent the whole weekend watching the Chiefs cleanup. They easily had the best draft and when they turn the corner in a couple of years I think you can point at this draft as the reason.

After a losing seven in a row and being outscored 57-18 KC took two of three from the Jays. It all started with the rotation and counting the final game of the Cleveland series they have turned in four straight quality starts.
  • Bannister 6.2 IP 2ER
  • Greinke 7 IP 1 ER
  • Hochevar 6 IP 1 ER
  • Meche 6.2 IP 3 ER
We've come to expect it from Bannister & Greinke but it was quite encouraging to see Hochevar flash some his number #1 draft pick stuff. Meche was ok but gave up 9 hits and of course the offense was nowhere to be found (2.41 RPG when Meche starts).

DM has got to make a move to fix the offense so this team can start scoring runs. I'm not sure what he can do but he has got to do something.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Why not Bonds?

.276/.480/.565/170 OPS+
Would you want a guy putting up those numbers? DM doesn't. Now you can give me several reasons on why it would be a bad idea signing Barry Bonds but those numbers trump all of them.

“We’re always examining opportunities, but right now, we’re committed to the players we have. We feel we need to find out what we have not only for this year but for the future.” DM

Oh so now we suddenly care about finding out what we have in players? Didn't really want to see what Justin Huber could do with 500 at bats but can't part with Ross Gload or TPJ.

“We knew there would be times this year when we would struggle offensively,” Moore said. “We knew that before spring training. It’s going to be like that until some of our younger players become consistent performers.”

And yet you still broke camp with Gload as your starting first baseman. He of the mighty .309 SLG pct. He has 1 extra base hit and 4 RBI's in 55 at bats. For those keeping track at home Justin Huber has 2 extra base hits (including a home run off Randy Johnson) and 3 RBI's in 15 at bats. I'm just saying........

I don't buy the PED argument because it didn't stop them from signing Guillen. The legal issues may be legitimate but they won't affect his status this season. Clubhouse cancer? Just because he didn't get along with Jeff Kent? Not buying it.

I suppose you could point at the Giants offensive numbers from last season when their .322 OBP was 14th in the league and their .387 SLG pct was 16th. But that was more of a reflection of the players around Bonds, Randy Winn was the only other player with 200+ PA's that had a .350+ OBP. Right now KC has seven players at .350+, thats counting DDJ and Callaspo in limited playing time. The Giants this year? How about a .298 OBP and a .362 SLG pct.

I think the biggest obstacle to signing Bonds is that they have already decided Billy Butler is a full time DH. I don't think thats a very valid reason since he is just 22 years old and has looked decent in the few games they have let him play first base.

Bonds at DH and batting third would make the lineup better and they may even score more than six runs a few times and that would be a good thing regardless of what DM says.

Monday, April 21, 2008

The Oakland Massacre

I suppose it was inevitable but if they choose they can use the three game sweep at the hand of the Oakland A's as a learning tool. What we learned is what happens when the pitching is not good and it wasn't pretty. The offense is still terrible and shows no signs of getting any better. (Barry Bonds).The giving away of outs at a record pace certainly isn't helping and the lack of power is killing them. (Barry Bonds). Oakland came into the series with an offense just a bad but they looked like world beaters scoring 26 runs in the three games, which goes back to the pitching.

The pitching staff began the series with a league leading 3.17 ERA and ended with a 5th best 4.07. Bannister, Greinke, and Hochevar combined to get touched up for 13 ER's in 14.2 innings. I really didn't see it coming, I don't think anybody did.

This team still has alot of work to do but 9-10 after 19 games is where I think they should be. If/when the offense comes around (Barry Bonds) they are going to be much better.
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Justin Huber hit his first major league home run, a 3-run blast off of Randy Johnson. Somewhat interesting KC combined to score 3 runs in the first and third games of the Oakland series. I'm just saying....... Huber now as more at bats this season than he did in 06 & 07.
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I guess the Royals aren't the only team in Kansas City willing to trade a superstar in his prime.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Hochevar to start Sunday

Luke Hochevar will get the call to pitch tomorrow and hopefully he does well enough to stay permanently. Hoch posted a 2.60 ERA in three starts for Omaha and while he may get sent down when Bale comes back I have hard time believing that he will. Nomo most likely gets cut to make room for him, at least I'm hoping.

Here is the comment that concerns me:
"For Yabu and Nomo both, you wish for better results last night. Is there some concern? Yes, there's a little bit, but not to a point where we're not going to push the panic button or anything," the manager said.

The time to hit the panic button on Nomo was BEFORE his last appearance when he gave up 3 runs in one third of an inning. Look at his numbers; 4.1 IP 10 hits, 9 ER, 4 BB, 3 HR, 18.69 ERA, 3.23 WHIP.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Royals/A's thoughts



TeamRecordAVG/OBP/SLGOPS+ERAERA+
Royals9-7.275/.325/.370863.17140
A's9-8.235/.318/.339843.60110

Kansas City gets their first look at Mike Sweeney as an Athletic, the former Royals star is batting .275/.356/.333 on the season. Former capt. Mike has only struck out just one time in 53 PA's this season. He hasn't got on one of his patented hot streaks yet but I'm sure it's coming.

KC & Oakland look to be pretty similar teams, they are ranked 1st and 2nd in ERA and 14th and 12th in runs scored. So it looks to be a low scoring series and I bet Oakland isn't thrilled to be facing Bannister and Greinke on back to back days. Kc should win two of the games but it really wouldn't surprise me if the sweep the A's. Of course the flip side is that Bannister & Greinke are bound to get roughed up at some point but based on Oakland's offensive numbers they don't seem to be the team to accomplish that.

Can the TPJ experience come to an end please? He is now at .114/.130/.114 for the year. That is 5 hits in 44 at bats. Callaspo is at .350/.350/.500 or 2 more hits in 24 less at bats than Pena. This is really a no brainer because as good as Pena is on defense it does not make up for his bat.
Hopefully Trey realizes this fairly soon.

Can we please calm down on the bases? This team's offensive shortcomings is being made worse by all the outs they are giving away. I'm all for being aggressive but right now it's hurting more than helping.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Meche back on track

It was nice to see Meche in control last night. If he gets back to where he was last year. and I assume he will, then this rotation is in excellent shape. He pitched 6 strong innings and only gave up 2 runs against the #1 scoring offense in the AL. The Angels are 1st in runs, avg, & SLG pct, 2nd in home runs, and 3rd in OBP. So it was very encouraging that Meche held them check and it easily his best start of the season.

Tomko starts tonight and he has been great this year so far. In two starts and one relief appearance he has gone 1-1 with a 2.08 era and a 213 OPS+. Long time readers of this blog will remember that I was not down with the Tomko signing and even refused to use his first name as I considered it Royals blasphemy. He has proven me wrong so far and I don't expect him to pitch this way all season but if he keeps his ERA under 4.50 I will be happy.

John Bale has a dead arm but is still scheduled to make his next start. Bale (0-3 7.63) has not looked good and though he kept the team in the game his first two starts was dreadful in his third. I did want Bale in the rotation but it's clearly not working. If a first or second place team has a better option (Hochevar) then they need to make that move. If Bale was 26 years old then maybe you let him work through it but he's not, he is 34 and probably will not be on the team next season. If KC has any thoughts that they can contend for the division then they need to make this move sooner rather than later.
edit 7:30PM- Bale is going to the DL, Peralta is coming up, and it looks like Hochevar is starting Sunday. Royally Speaking approves of these moves.

Why does Esteban German have only 9 PA's 15 games into the season? He was rumored to be trade bait in ST so why didn't they trade him if he is not going to play that often? I know Grudz is playing well but there are other ways to get his bat in the lineup.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Yo Trey, DM: Nomo is done.

John Bale wasn't good and Hideo Nomo was worse. Nomo-mania was fun (not really) while it lasted but it's time to either bring up another pitcher or another bat. I'd like to see Bale moved to the pen and Hochevar brought up but I realize I'm probably in the minority on that move and most likely Joel Peralta will be the one to get the call. Bale probably gets two or three more starts but at this point he is looking like Odalis 2.0 and thats not a compliment. The Royals scored a season high 6 runs but gave up a season high 11 runs and are now 0-3 when Bale starts. I question the decision to bring Nomo into the game while it was tied 4-4, that's not a situation you want your worst reliever in. Whatever they decide to do I imagine we've seen the last of Nomo, kinda sad in a way but it would be best for the team.

This is just getting ridiculous!

Let's take a look at some updated numbers.




SP/RP
W/LSIPHERAERK/BBAVG/OBP/SLG
Starters7-508676
2.933847/24.242/.298/.347
Relievers1-0531211.16435/8.193/.248/.349

The bullpen is still in shutdown mode and Bannister & Greinke are playing anything you can do I can do better. These are good times despite an offense that ranks last in the league in OBP and runs. I still believe that the offense will come to life and I bet it happens when the weather gets a little warmer. There isn't much chance that the pitching can sustain their league leading team ERA of 2.46 so the hope is that the bats will come around before then.

I love that Bannister & Greinke pitched back to back complete games and I also love that Hillman let them. The teams two complete games ties their 2007 total after only 13 games. Amazing. Everyone keeps waiting for the return to normalcy but the team ERA keeps getting lower. John Bale goes tonight so you can expect another 6 inning 4 run performance, which keeps them in the game but if he keeps it up it is going to get him bounced from the rotation. I was really wanting to see what Bale could do as a starter but so far I'm unimpressed. Tomko on the other hand (who I didn't want to see starting) has been fantastic. Small sample sizes are fun.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

What If?

What if Kansas City had won the World Series in 2003?

I was thinking about the Miami Heat and how just two years ago they were world champions and now are one of the worst teams in the league. As a fan base I imagine that, while disappointed, they also have got to still be feeling that high from winning it all. The trade for Shaq accomplished its only objective so while they may have been better this season with Lamar Odom they also wouldn't have won the NBA Finals in 2006. You have got to love that trade if you are a Heat fan. Since then though Shaq broke down quickly and Dwayne Wade went from NBA superstar to often injured NBA superstar/Charles Barkley sidekick.

So I took a trip into the hypothetical realm and wondered how Royals fans would be feeling right now if KC had continued their hot start and won the WS in 2003 and the next three years played out exactly the same. Right now we are optimistic because we see the franchise turning the corner from laughingstock to contender. But heading into the 2007 season coming off three straight 100+ loss seasons after a WS win how frustrated would we be?

So would we give them a break just because they won just a few seasons ago? I think we would and here's why, we would no longer be long-suffering fans. Think about it, KC has won the WS one time in franchise history so most of the frustration of Royals fans is because 1) it was 23 years ago and 2) they haven't made the playoffs since. If KC had won in '03 the years afterward would have been bearable. I'm not saying we would have enjoyed it but that euphoria of being champs would still be with us.

How many losing seasons does a WS win make up for if you are not the Red Sox or Yankees? 2? 3? 4? 5? I would say five losing seasons would make up for it but thats all. Most likely by the sixth year there will be just a few (if any) players left from the WS winning team and I think that matters because the identity changes.

The 2004-2006 teams were dreadful to watch but if KC had won in '03 things might have been just a little cheerier around The K.

9 IP 3 H 0 ER

Brian Bannister is a stud. Nuff said.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

no-ffense

The offense is truly hard to watch right now. They have scored 1 run the last two games and it's time for Guillen to take a seat for a game or two because he is looking bad. Here are some offensive stats that will make you long for the days of Terrence Long and Angel Berroa.
  • .312 OBP - 14th in AL
  • .364 SLG - 14th
  • 4 HR's - 14th
  • 22 BB's - 14th
  • 33 runs - 13th
  • Guillen - .146/.186/.195/3 OPS+
  • TPJ - .037/.071/.037/-70 OPS+
  • Gathright - .200/.233/.225/24 OPS+
  • Buck - .226/.265/.355/66 OPS+

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Sick stats!

Way back on March 2nd when I predicted Zack Greinke would win the Cy Young award I had no idea that he would make it look so easy. Greinke usually starts off well so it'll be interesting to see if he can keep it up. In 2004 his ERA after 4 starts was 1.71, in 2005 his ERA after 4 starts was 2.66, in 2007 his ERA after 2 starts was 1.38. He obviously can't have an ERA under 1.00 all year but I see no reason why he can't keep it under 3.00.
Right now the pitching staff is dialed in and when Meche gets back on track it will even be better. I think most of us expected the bullpen to be a major strength of this team but none of us expected the starters to dominate like they have. The numbers are simply staggering.




PitchersW-LSIPHERAERK/BBAVG/OBP/SLG
Starters5-2050492.881630/16.265/.323/.384
Relievers1-0522110.82228/5.151/.205/.274


Now I know there is no way that the pitching can keep this up but I think there is a chance that that the team era will be around 3.50-4.00, which would be fantastic. What is encouraging is that they have made two high potent offenses in Detroit and New York look downright silly. At some point people will to have acknowledge that this team is for real and when they do it will be because of the pitching.
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Mark Teahen is looking good. The centerpiece of the Beltran trade is hitting .286/.412/.571 with 6 walks. Five of his eight hits have gone for extra bases. He may never be the home run hitter some of us thought he would be after the 2006 season but I can envision 12-17 home run, 35-45 doubles seasons becoming the norm. I kind of picture him as a left handed Hal McRae.
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Ross Gload needs to stop thinking he can steal bases. Just because he's gritty doesn't mean he's fast.
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Joey Gathright is really forcing Hillman's hand and even though his OBP is only .257 he is making things happen once he gets on base. When DeJesus gets back I expect to see Teahen at first base a few times a week enabling Gathright & DDJ to both be in the lineup.
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Weather permitting KC goes for the sweep tonight. John Bale will try and keep the good times going and hopefully will turn in a nice outing. 6 strong innings and then turn it over to the pen.
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Detroit finally won and are 1-7. Only 978 runs to go before they reach 1000.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Gathright steals the show

Joey Gathright brought back fond memories of a past Kansas City centerfielder and I'm not talking about Carlos Beltran. Willie Wilson used his speed to create all kinds of distractions for opposing pitchers and he was a flat out burner. Maybe we should start calling Gathright WJ, as in Willie Jr.
Gathright's three stolen bases yesterday proved to be the catalyst the Royals slumbering offense needed as they took down the Yankees 5-2. Gathright is now 5/5 on the year and looks just like #6 did two decades ago.

Brian Bannister looked like a different pitcher than the one who shut down Detroit. He had control problems (4 walks) but was still hard to hit (6 K's). He may have been lucky to just give up 2 runs in 5 innings but he seems to really know whats going on out there. I don't think he's lucky, I think he's good.

TPJ, John Buck, and Ross Gload all walked in the same game. I'm pretty sure the end of the world is imminent.

Alex Gordon is 6-12 since being dropped to the 6th spot, he started the season 3-18. Maybe it's time to drop Guillen down too.

Billy Butler is now batting .414 and looks good doing it. Gordon is up to .300. Is anyone else concerned that neither one has yet to draw a walk?

The bullpens numbers are just sick and probably illegal:
  • 21 IP
  • 27 K's
  • 4 BB's
  • 0.86 ERA
  • 1-0, 4 saves
  • .145/.192/.275 opponents batting line
The Tigers are 0-7.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Struggling offenses collide



TeamRecordAVG/OBP/SLGOPS+ERAERA+
Royals4-2.256/.284/.363782.67152
Yankees3-3.239/.291/.367844.1793

The upcoming series versus the Yankees could be a low scoring extravaganza. Both offenses are struggling mightily and are looking for any kind of spark to jumpstart their bats. It may be tougher for the Yanks because the Royals pitching is dialed in right now and in fact lead the league in ERA. Brian Bannister and Zack Greinke combined to limit the 1000 run offense of the 0-6 Tigers, let me say that again, the 0-6 Tigers to 1 run in 14 innings. (Only 985 runs to go.)
We could see a couple 2-1 or 1-0 games and really that would be fine but it sure would be nice to see KC's offense explode like it did this day. I remember that day vividly because my daughter
broke her arm and I spent most of the night at Childrens Mercy hospital.
Not one of the twelve Royals who played that day are still with the club while four of the twelve Yankees are. If you are looking for a whine-fest on payroll disparity you will have to look elsewhere because I don't play the blame game. The Yanks have taken on some bad contracts to be sure but when you have that much money to play with the rewards usually outnumber the risks. ( I always hated hearing how the Yanks were trying to buy championships, isn't that the point of this game or were there guys who offered to play for free and the Yanks turned them down?.)

I think it's possible for KC to take two of the three games and I wouldn't be surprised one bit if they sweep the Yanks. Runs will be at a premium so KC cannot waste any scoring opportunities.
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Brad from Yankee GM, a very fine Yankees blog, answered a few pertinent questions for me.

What one player for the Royals would you like to be a Yankee?

I would take either Soria or Alex Gordon. A shutdown, power bullpen arm like his is an incredible asset, and Gordon is gonna be a star. Gun to my head it would be Gordon.

What one player for the Yankees would you like to be an ex-Yankee?

One of the reasons I consider taking Soria is that outside of Joba, we don't have a reliable bridge to Mariano. I want to see Joba start, but his greatest worth to the Yanks in '08 is having Joba in the 'pen. The main reason for this is the utter failure of Kyle Farnsworth. He is by far the one I (and most Yankee fans) would like to see gone.

What are your feelings on A-Rod?

I have been a supporter from day 1. Booing A-Rod was a disgrace and made me embarrassed to be a Yankees Fan. The guy works his butt off, busts it EVERY day, and puts up numbers that make all-stars blush. Has he been great in the post season? No, but neither has anyone else on our team for the past 4 years.
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He's right about A-Rod and I wonder if some of the bad feelings New Yorkers have about him is because of a media obsession with a Jeter/A-Rod feud. Maybe some fans feel that cheering for A-Rod is like cheating on Jeter. You never know.
It's ridiculous because the guy is the best player in the game, easily.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

4-2 Road Trip

Well they salvaged the Twins series so they head home 4-2 and are currently a half game up on the Sox, who are taking on Detroit tonight. The offense is averaging less than four runs a game and that is just not acceptable. Now if the starters can maintain a sub-3 era all year then four runs a game would be fine but we know that's not going to happen. Gordon has responded well to his drop to the 6th spot in the order with a pair of multi-hit games and Callaspo had 3 hits in his two games. I still believe the bats will come around but I sure would feel better if they would score 10 runs on Tuesday. Speaking of the Yanks here's the scheduled starters for the home opening series:

Tue, Apr 8 3:10 pm CDT B. Bannister vs. P. Hughes
Wed, Apr 9 7:10 pm CDT Z. Greinke vs. I. Kennedy
Thu, Apr 10 7:10 pm CDT J. Bale vs. A. Pettitte

Realistically I wonder what people thought KC's record would be after six games, maybe 3-3 or 2-4? I think most of us are happy but also a tad disappointed that they couldn't carry the momentum over to the Twins series. 6-0 or 5-1 would have been nicer but it just shows they are a work in progress and that they are going to be prone to inconsistency. And really you kind of have to expect that from a young team.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Offense is struggling

Have you ever been watching a game and you just know that a batter is going to jack a home run? Of course when it happens you don't say anything because who would believe you? Now my family is great at calling homers after they have already been hit, it's a genetic gift passed down from our father.

"I knew he was going to do that."
"I was just about to call that."
"I seen it coming."

Anyway the point is I had that feeling last night, I just knew Mark Teahen was going yard against Joe Nathan in the 9th inning. Listening to the radio on my way to work there was zero doubt in my mind about what was going to happen because this is 2008 and this is what the 2008 Royals do. But of course Teahen didn't homer and the Royals are now 3-1. And I think it may be time for Alberto Callaspo to start, it just might give the offense a jolt. Callaspo was terrific in ST and with the offense hitting a not so robust .253/.297/.363 now may be the time to stick him at shortstop for a game or two. TPJ is now at .067/.067/.067 for the season for those of you keeping track at home. (Which I doubt you are but if you are then keep track of something else.)

I realize John Bale was far from sharp but I'll take 4 runs in 6+ innings from our #4 and #5 starters every time. (Ok maybe not every time because that comes out to around a 5.50-6.00 era but I think you get my point, he kept them in the game).The offense has got to come alive though and I think it eventually will but probably won't be today because Gil Meche is pitching, which means the bats will be silent again. Jose Guillen is not going to hit .125 and Alex Gordon is not going to hit .167 so at some point the offense will get going.

Speaking of Meche, did anyone expect that after four games he would 4th on the team in innings pitched?

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Hideo Nomo joins the team today. I have no problem with this and actually hope he pitches on the 12th when I go to my first game the year. He had 17 k's in 15 spring innings so he can still get people out and maybe at this stage of his career he is just more effective in 1 inning stints. Of course this means that Joel Peralta will still be in Omaha and he really doesn't deserve that but that bullpen is loaded.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Royals/Twins Preview

The undefeated first place Royals roll into the Metrodome to begin a three game swee.....series with the Twins tonight. We get our first look at lefty John Bale as he takes on Royals killer Scott Baker. Baker went 3-0 versus the R's last season so he will take the mound with all kinds of confidence.
This has the makings of a letdown series. After sweeping one of the best teams in the division and then to take on a 1-3 team it would be understandable for KC to lose a little focus. But I have a feeling that Trey will not let that happen. The bats will have to come alive though because even though they swept Detroit they had a team OBP of just .311.

Royals 3-0
.257/.311/.389 3 HRs 4.3 R/G
1.55 ERA 29 IP 24/9 K/BB

Twins 1-3
.238/.290/.310 1 HR 2.0 R/G
3.75 ERA 36 IP 23/6 K/BB

Tomorrow Gil Meche takes on Livan Hernandez and Sunday Brett Tomko takes on Boof Bonser.
I'm not real confident about the Sunday game but I really like our chances tonight and tomorrow. But with the way the season has started would it be surprising if Tomko went out and pitched a no hitter? Yeah, probably so but even though I was against the signing I'll withhold criticism until it is warranted. And when it is I'll have plenty to say.
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I asked our favorite Twins blogger John Meyer a few questions about his team and he was gracious enough to answer and I returned the favor and answered a few questions for his blog.

What one player on the Royals would you want to play for the Twins?

The one player I'd love to see in a Twins uniform is Alex Gordon. The Twins are undoubtedly building for the future, specifically 2010, and Gordon would be a great player to have at the hot corner. With the young players like Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Jason Kubel, and Carlos Gomez, Gordon's bat as well as his glove would be a welcome addition. We signed Mike Lamb to a 2-year $6 million deal but I'm not sure he's the solution. As a Husker sports fan, I've followed Gordon ever since Nebraska's great run at the College World Series. A team that included not only Gordon, but Joba Chamberlain and Brian Duensing and Jeff Christy (both players in the Twins minor league system).

What one player for the Twins would you like to see playing elsewhere?

I think I would most like to see Craig Monroe wearing a different uniform and for two reasons. 1) He is taking at bats from Jason Kubel. In 2004, Jason Kubel was a better hitting prospect than both Mauer and Morneau. After a terrible knee surgery stole nearly two season, Kubel started to show a return to his ability in 2007. He needs the at bats to develop for the Twins. 2) The Cubs basically handed us Craig Monroe and we're paying him $3.82 million. I feel like for small market team with a lot of needs, this money could have been better spent. Plus, there were cheaper bat options out there like Emil Brown, Tony Clark, Mike Sweeney, Bobby Kielty, et. al. Monroe has always hit well at the Metrodome, so lets hope he proves me wrong.

How do you feel about the Santana trade?

The Johan Santana trade was a tough situation to be in for a Twins fan (and a Twins blogger). For months Santana was staying, going, staying, going. The Twins were getting Phil Hughes, then Jacoby Ellsbury, then Jon Lester. It was especially tough when the trade with the Mets went down and immediately all media outlets claimed the Mets made a great heist. The Twins traded the best pitcher on the planet and didn't even get Fernando Martinez, the Mets #1 prospect. However, with time I've tried to remain positive about the trade. I believe the distraction of Santana needed to be taken care of before the season started whether by trade or a long-term deal. In the early going, Carlos Gomez appears to be a special spark at the top of the lineup. Young pitcher Deolis Guerra has a very high ceiling but is only 18 and won't be seen in the majors for a few years. I think if Philip Humber and Kevin Mulvey become contributors to the team in the next couple years the trade can be looked back on as a success. But all this remains to be seen.

Thanks John.
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I am not sad to see Santana out of our division. Yeah I know he's the best pitcher in the game and I should enjoy watching him pitch but screw that, let him torment another fan base or fifteen.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

SWEEP!!!!

Are you kidding me? What a way to start the season and I'm trying to temper my enthusiasm by reminding myself that it's way too early to get excited but who cares, a 3-0 start doesn't come around in these parts very often. Zack Greinke followed Brian Bannister's outstanding performance yesterday with a 7 inning masterpiece of his own. Alex Gordon hit his second home run, Mark Teahen hit his first, and the Kansas City Royals are still undefeated.

It was real nice to see Teahen's homer because that swing looked an awful lot like it did in 2006 when he blasted 18 home runs. I think we all have figured on getting good years from Gordon, Butler, and Guillen but Teahen has always been the wild card. If he flashes the power he did two years ago then this offense is going to be real good. Now I realize I'm a kool aid drinker but with our big 3 and our bullpen this team may make the Al Central a three team race.

And before anyone laughs at that how many predicted they would be 3-0 right now?

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

10 things we know about the Royals

I really did like the Royals chances against Kenny Rogers (he was pretty good tho) but I didn't think Bannister & Co. would hold that offense to three singles, all by Edgar Renteria.
Here are 10 things we have learned after two games:
  1. Bannister knows how to pitch and if he's not concerned about his low K rate then I'm not either.
  2. Alex Gordon is going to strike out alot, again.
  3. Billy Butler can crush a mistake.
  4. The bullpen is really good. (1 er in 7 innings). If the starters can make a habit of going 6 or 7 innings this team is going to be tough to beat.
  5. Ross Gload shouldn't be running when a strikeout prone hitter is batting. (Though we may have already known this.)
  6. Trey is going to do things his way, for better or for worse.
  7. They are not intimidated by the Detroit Tigers even if certain bloggers are. (Ok me, I admit it, I still think the Tigers will run away the division but man that bullpen is brutal.)
  8. Their 4th outfielder can start and be productive.
  9. Their corner outfielders have cannons, taking an extra base against KC this year will be a privilege not a right.
  10. This team is better than alot of people thought. (Are you paying attention ESPN?)
Ok, I know we are not supposed to get too excited after two games but considering the way this team usually plays in April I think anyone can be forgiven for getting carried away. All we heard all off season was how the Tigers are going to score 1000 runs but KC has gone into their house and shut them down.
Zack is up next as they go for the sweep and if they win tomorrow I'm gonna put a magic number widget on my sidebar.

Guest Blogger: John Meyer

This post was written by John Meyer,
the Minnesota Twins Most Valuable Blogger

The Kansas City Royals are going in the right direction. A once proud and strong organization in the mid 1980s has seemed lost and confused for the past 15 years, but I now truly believe they are headed in the right direction. The success of an organization starts from the top down. In David Glass the Royals have an owner who seems committed to winning, in Dayton Moore a GM who knows how to build a club and learned from the best in Atlanta, and in Trey Hillman I think the Royals found a manager who can really succeed in Major League Baseball.

To win in 2008 the Royals will need their young stars to step up. Mark Teahen seemed to suffer from a sophomore slump in 2007 and Alex Gordon was burdened by the hype and hope of a stellar rookie year. If those two can progress in '08 along with Jose Guillen and the big bat of the young Billy Butler the middle of the Royals lineup will put runs on the board. As far as the arms, I know, along with every other baseball fan (Royal and non-Royal) that they overpaid for Gil Meche, yet the investment paid off. Meche provided leadership and stability to a young Royals rotation that is beginning to take shape. Brian Bannister has a lot of potential and I hear Luke Hochevar will make an impact in 2008. Hopefully, Zack Greinke's career turn around is for real and I'm super excited to see the madness that will be Hideo Nomo in Kansas City. I believe Joakim Soria is a great arm in the bullpen and a great sleeper on a team for any of those who play fantasy baseball.

As far as the AL Central, I see Kansas City in a battle for third place. This is one of the deepest divisions in baseball and the battle between Cleveland and Detroit for 1st place will be nearly as heated as the Boston/New York competition. I like Cleveland beating out Detroit for first because of their bullpen. Detroit will score a lot of runs and hopefully secure the Wild Card and knock the Yankees out of the playoffs. Being a Twins fan, I believe the Twins are underrated going into 2008 and will turn a few heads across MLB. I think the White Sox roster is in a state of flux between rebuilding and praying to contend with Cleveland and Detroit. I believe this is the year the Royals get out of the cellar and finish fourth leaving the White Sox in the dust but falling just short of the Twins who will take third.

All in all, I think Kansas City fans have something to look forward to. Everyday they can sit in beautiful ballpark, watch a young team with nothing to lose and a lot to gain, and hope that their teams gets 12 hits so they can pick up some free Krispy Kreme doughnuts the next day (do they still do that???). I love Kauffman Stadium so much that I used to go watch the Twins play outside in Kansas City rather than the terrible Metrodome in Minneapolis.

One thing is for sure, it'll be much more enjoyable to sit outside and watch the young Royals than to watch the young Twins inside of the "Homer" Dome...until 2010 of course!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Nice!!!

Last season how many times did the Royals come back and win a game in which they were trailing by three runs or more against a .500+ team? I'm asking because I don't know and probably won't take the time to look up but I bet it wasn't very many. The 2007 opener versus the Red Sox was nice in a Gil Meche validated his contract kind of way but this one is different. Last year KC surprised the Sox (and us) by jumping all over Curt Schilling and coasting to a 7-1 victory but there was a feeling that it was just a fluke win. Folks yesterday was no fluke because they looked the Detroit Tigers and their ace Justin Verlander in the eyes and did not blink.

I could nitpick a few things but I'm not going to because it seemed like everyone who made a mistake made up for it (TPJ, I'm looking at you). It's easy to ignore Meche's line because the home plate ump was watching a different game and I still don't know what he was thinking on Gordon's called strike three. Do you think umpires watch game tape of themselves to try and improve their skills? Yeah, me neither. The important thing is that when they were down they never gave up and that should be a huge confidence boost to this young team. That's why I hate the off day after the opener, it's kind of a momentum killer.

Here's what they have done since 1995 after winning the opener:
2007: Lost 7-1 to Red Sox
2004: Lost 4-3 to White Sox
2003: Won 5-4 vs White Sox
1998: Lost 10-1 to Baltimore (no off day)
1995: Lost 4-1 to New York

Their only winning season since 1994 is also the only year they started off 2-0, of course they stretched that out to 9-0 before they returned to earth. I like their chances against 65 year old Kenny Rogers in game 2, even though The Gambler has fared pretty well against KC in his career (20-16 3.92), and it will be nice watching Bannister pitch instead of the hittable Odalis Perez.

The fun has started. I don't think I could have wished for a better way to start 2008 and it's only just the beginning.