Thursday, July 29, 2010

Podsednik gone

I'll say this for Dayton Moore, if the whole point of signing Scott Podsednik was to hope for a good first half and then trade him then the signing was a success but that doesn't seem to be the case (see quote below). Pods hit .309/.352/.400 as a Royal with 30 stolen bases, which is decent if you ignore the caught stealings and his adventures in left field. Originally I thought this trade was a good sign that Dayton Moore was going to view the final two months of 2010 as sort of a 2011 rough draft. Then I read a comment that totally blew that thinking out of the water:

“Without the assurance that we were going to be able to sign him long-term going forward,” general manager Dayton Moore said, “we just felt it was the right time to move Scotty if indeed we got a deal that we desired.”

Am I mistaken in thinking that Moore made the right move for the wrong reasons? The top reason to trade him is because he's 34 and his value will never be this high again, signing him to a long term deal should never have even been considered. And maybe it wasn't, maybe that's just something you say to appease the part of the fan base that objects to trading .300 hitters regardless of their age or skill set. I think getting something/anything out of Podsednik is a hundred times preferable to signing him long term.

The minor leaguers KC got from LA, Lucas May and Elisaul Pimentel, may or may not pan out. Any contributions they make in KC will probably be as a backup catcher and middle reliever. Of course this should also mean that Royally Speaking favorite Alex Gordon plays everyday for the remainder of the season. And that is something that needed to happen anyway.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Interesting couple days

So Moore finally makes a trade and it's not one of Guillen, Podsednik, or Farnsworth? Well color me confused. Callaspo wasn't blocking anyone and he's not overpaid on the verge of free agency either, this one doesn't make sense. He's also had a pretty solid career as a Royal with the bat. In franchise history, and among hitters with 1200+ PA's, he's 7th in batting average (.293) and 23rd in OPS+ (105). He was having a disappointing season this year and let's face it, Moore has never been enamored with him so I guess it's not a surprise.

Still with all that being said they did need another starting pitcher as Lerew just wasn't cutting it. Sean O'Sullivan is only 22 and despite an unimpressive minor league career is probably a decent 2011 option. More so, I'd say, than Bannister and Davies who both are on the verge of becoming journeyman middle relievers. KC also got 21 year old minor leaguer Will Smith in the deal so I guess you can consider it a win to get two starting pitchers for Callaspo, who most likely would've lost the 3rd base job to Moustakas at some point next season anyway. I can't say I love this trade but I don't hate it either.

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Alex Gordon finally returned although it was under the worst possible circumstances, a season ending injury to DDJ. The injury deprives Moore of his best trading chip (I'm not buying that Soria gets traded) and Yost of his best player. I was really hoping Gordon would take over for a departed Podsednik who probably won't be dealt, I really don't believe there's going to be much interest in him. It's up to Gordon now, his first couple games were rough and he's going to need to hit to show the team he should be part of the future. I think he will.

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Ankiel is back too, I'm less excited about him but hopefully with Maier as the 4th outfielder we won't be subjected to any more Bloomquist adventures in centerfield.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

All star game and second half thoughts

Before I get to what I'd like to see in the seasons second half I want to go over this all-star game nonsense. AL manager Joe Girardi opted to bypass Joakim Soria in favor of one of his guys and another less talented pitcher. Should the Yankees make the World Series this decision cost his team home field advantage. I'm convinced he probably feels he made the right call and I'm equally convinced that if he had it to do over again he'd make the same decision. With Rivera unavailable and having already decided Valverde would pitch the 9th wouldn't Girardi want a Rivera-clone to come in and help preserve the lead? Here's a simple comparison (per 162) illustrating my point.

Year ERA SV IP ERA+ WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
Soria 2.13 37 74 208 0.994 6.4 0.7 2.5 10.2 4.02
Rivera 2.22 39 80 205 1.001 6.9 0.5 2.1 8.3 3.97

Now tell me what manager in his right mind wouldn't want a guy with Rivera-like numbers to pitch in a game with playoff implications? And wouldn't it have made more sense to hold Hughes back for a possible 2 or 3 inning stint? Grrrr!!!! Well done Joe, well done.
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With the second half set to begin tomorrow Kansas City finds themselves 10 games under .500, as pennant races heat up they are once again on the outside looking in. At least internally I hope Moore has acknowledged this fact and lets the remainder of the year play out with 2011 in mind. And yes that means promoting AND playing Gordon and Ka'aihue (a horse I've surely beaten to death by now). I'd also like to see Aviles claim the shortstop job, I mean they have to know what they have in Betancourt by now so I think they should play Getz everyday so they'll know if he's a viable second base option for next season. 

Here's the lineup I'd prefer to see the rest of the year:

LF - DDJ
SS - Aviles
RF - Gordon
1B - Butler
DH - Ka'aihue
3B - Callaspo
CF - Maier
2B - Getz
C - less Kendall/more Pena

Of course this would require trading Podsednik and Guillen and possibly releasing Betancourt and Ankiel, so that probably makes my lineup somewhat unrealistic. Of course any trade could potentially bring back a MLB ready talent thus altering the roster. If Dayton Moore really does have 2011's best interest in mind then things should start get interesting any day now.

Monday, July 5, 2010

The offense

The Royals have outperformed my expectations on offense this year but this idea that they are having a good season at the plate is ludicrous. Depending upon what stat floats your boat at best they are slightly above average, at worst slightly below average. Here is where they rank in certain team statistics:

TmR/G ▾2B3BHRSHSBCSBBSOBAOBPSLGOPSOPS+
KCR4.401441755275330226430.282.336.402.739101
Rank9th7th5th12th3rd7th2nd13th13th1st7th9th8thT-6th
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com

So despite a batting average that is 20 points higher than the league average (.262) they are scoring runs at a below league average pace (4.53 PG). The reasons are many why this is happening - lack of power (slug), inability to draw/take a walk, frequency of bunts, caught stealings, and double plays (77, 3rd in AL). The Royals ineffectiveness in translating hits into runs is one of the most frustrating things to watch about this team. Sixteen times this season they have had 9+ hits and 3 or fewer runs in game, their record in those games is an unsurprising 3-13.

Last Saturday's game produced an example of their offensive ineptitude, Mike Aviles lead off the 5th inning with a double and the hot hitting Wilson Betemit attempted to bunt him to 3rd. I say attempted because it was an atrocious bunt and Aviles was thrown out. Because he squared late I assume Betemit did this of his own accord and you may call this good fundamental baseball but the runner was already in scoring position and didn't need to be moved over. Another reason why the bunt made no sense is because Betancourt was on deck and his failure's with a runner on 3rd and less than 2 outs this season have been many, in 21 PA's he has a .262 OPS. Yes, that is OPS not batting average. Just because they eventually won the game doesn't mean this inning should be discounted.

They really haven't been the disaster that I sometimes portray them to be but they are by no sense of the word prolific either. It'll be interesting to see who remains after the trade deadline and who gets called up because I gotta believe this offense will improve with Alex Gordon and Kila Ka'aihue's bats in it.