Thursday, November 24, 2011

Chen Again

There were whispers a couple weeks ago that Dayton Moore was no longer trying to acquire a frontline starting pitcher, whispers with merit apparently as Moore has opted to bring back Bruce Chen instead. The rotation appears set now as Chen joins holdovers Luke Hochevar, Felipe Paulino, Danny Duffy and newcomer Jonathan Sanchez. Meanwhile Aaron Crow, Everett Teaford, Luis Mendoza and Mike Montgomery will get spring training looks though I doubt any of the four will emerge victorious. And if they do it'll likely be at the expense of Duffy, who frankly could use a little more AAA seasoning.

On the surface the Chen signing may look like Royals management don't really believe contention is a possibility, I mean they are returning four starters off a unit that was just not very good, but it's plausible they honestly think the ifs I outlined here can and will occur. I'm not so sure they're wrong. Of course you can add two more ifs to that article as in, if Sanchez can return to his 2010 form and if Chen can remain a league average back of the rotation starter.

I spent a considerable amount of time on twitter last night defending Paulino's spot in the rotation, which surprised me. And this is why:

Highest SO/9 in Royals history (min. 20 GS)
Rk Player SO/9 GS Year
1 Zack Greinke 9.50 33 2009
2 Kevin Appier 8.82 32 1996
3 Bob Johnson 8.66 26 1970
4 Felipe Paulino 8.59 20 2011
5 Kevin Appier 8.42 23 1994
6 Kevin Appier 8.27 31 1995
7 Zack Greinke 8.14 32 2008
8 Tom Gordon 8.06 32 1990
9 Gil Meche 7.83 34 2008
10 Dennis Leonard 7.50 37 1977
11 Kevin Appier 7.49 34 1997
12 Danny Duffy 7.43 20 2011
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 11/24/2011.

In their history the Royals haven't had many pitchers that missed bats on a regular basis but that's exactly what they have in Paulino. It'd be crazy to send him to the bullpen just because the big league success he achieved in 2011 was the first of his career. Despite Dutton's claim that he'll be fighting for a spot in spring training I think he's a lock, I believe that Moore and Yost are smart enough to recognize what they stumbled upon. 

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