Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Hiring a manager for our sinking ship...

Wow. The Royals suck. The excitement of the youth movement is gone, and the losing culture is taking hold. Having just read the recent articles in the KC Star, I'm actually ashamed of being a Royals fan.

I don't agree with firing Pentland and I am not sure about the hiring of Bell. What we really need is the firing of Baird and hiring of a legitimate baseball GM. Collecting bargain role-players means nothing, if you don't find some stars to pair with them.

Sigh. Maybe they will move to Portland and Rob Neyer and I can watch them suck from up here.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

We played tough

Just got back from a conference in Michigan so I've been away from the sports world for a bit. But from what I've read, it seems like we played the Cardinals pretty darn close. Two one-run losses and a blowout win today. It seems like our young guys are starting to come around. Buck and Gotay homered today and have been starting to play a bit better. Teahan has been hitting and fielding much better since he came back from the DL. Berroa, the king of the first-pitch swing, is even looking like a legitimate lead off hitter.

All this improvement seems to have started with Pena's resignation. I read today that the Royals are officially looking at three candidates so far - Terry Collins, Art Howe, and Schaefer. So far from what I've seen, Schaefer is doing a pretty darn good job. If we continue to improve like we have, I might be OK with keeping him around next year. Though I'm still a bit partial to Howe.

The draft is coming up too. Sounds like we're going to pick the best player available, regardless of signability. The two probable choices - Upton and Gordon - have been compared to Bo Jackson and George Brett, respectively. Those are some pretty lofty comparisons! I think I'd prefer Gordon, just b/c he's proven himself at the college level. I think he'd accelerate through the minors a lot faster, and I'd love to have his bat in our lineup when our current youngsters are finally getting it (and before we trade them off as they get too good for our wallet... sigh...).

Monday, May 16, 2005

Royals win a series...

Apologies, between Matt's finals and my Bezos meetings, we haven't posted in a while.

In the last 6 days, the Royals have played .500 ball and taken 3 out of 4 from Tampa Bay. An encouraging sign after going 1-6 the previous week.

However, the road ahead doesn't look very good. Our young staff faces formidable offenses at every turn for the rest of the month. Balt, STL, Tex, LAA, NYY.

Oh, and revisiting an earlier thread. We are on pace to get caught stealing 79 times. We have 14 steals to 18 times caught stealing. Our 18 CS are second in the league to the White Sox. Unfortunately, the White Sox have 46 stolen bases to go with their 19 CS. Ugh. DeJesus has stolen 1 base in 6 attempts!! Perhaps blind aggression is not such a good idea.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Pena Resigns

Wow. So tonight after our 3-1 loss to the Blue Jays, Pena resigned. I gotta say, I'm happy to see this. He has shown no ability to manage a pitching staff or make smart tactical decisions during the game. And while we're not a good bunch of hitters or fielders, we are better than how we've been performing.

An interesting thing, though, is that there's some rumblings that this might not be completely about baseball. Apparently, Pena was subpoena'd for something this week. The Royals refuse to talk about it, saying it's a personal matter. I'm very curious to see what exactly is going on, and if it had any impact on his decision.

But regardless, we've got a manager search to start! I've heard people asking about Art Howe and Larry Dierker in particular. I don't know much about Dierker, but I've heard players liked him. I personally am a big fan of Art Howe. He did a great job of getting a lot out of those low budget, young A's teams in the late 90's. I think he's shown an ability to work well with quality pitchers and young players.

Any thoughts?

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Yet another 1 run loss...

Sigh. It continues. And by it, I don't just mean our slew of 1-run losses (we lost this afternoon 2-1). By it, I mean Tony Pena Zoolander-ing our team again (he is a really, really, really, really bad manager).

Today, Greinke is holding them to 2 hits and no runs going into the 7th inning. He gets an out. Then walks a guy. Then hits a guy. This is the first sign of trouble he's shown all game. Now, yeah, if he's tiring b/c he's thrown 100+ pitches, OK. Go for it. But Greinke's pitch count? 85. And Pena pulls him.

In comes Sisco, of course. Now I'm a huge fan of Sisco. But honestly, he has pitched in every single game I can remember. At this rate, he will have more innings than some of our starters by the end of the year! Sisco is the second coming of Jason Grimsely, who Pena wore out by the All-star break the last two years. And what's worse is that Sisco is like 22 or something (?) and has never pitched above A ball. So Sisco, after getting shelled last night, comes out and gets a ground out. Then walks a man. Then walks in a run. So in comes Burgos. Who walks in another run. We lose 2-1. Game over.

Why not leave Greinke in? Pena has one job essentially. He's an AL manager, so he pretty much has one job - manage your pitching staff. And he's miserable at it. And he's a former catcher!

Argh. Anyways, yeah, I heard about Glass' comments, but I didn't read the interview. Pretty sad, especially the part where he said the payroll would never go over 50 million in the future. That's pathetic. I'm still not entirely sure how I feel about Glass, but comments like that don't help. At least give us false hope for the future! Cause let's face it, there's not a lot of hope in the present.

One thing I find interesting about ownership is the rules regarding sale of the club that were written in Ewing Kauffman's will. If the new owner (Glass) were ever to sell the team, he is not allowed to keep the profits. He has to give any profits to Kansas City charities. This is interesting. I mean, it'll keep someone from swooping in, investing some money and selling it a la the Florida Marlins early years. But I wonder if that drove away some of the more free-wheeling cash tycoons from buying us in the first place.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Kearns for Affeldt... no brainer.

Yes. This is a great trade that makes sense for both teams. Willie Mo Pena keeps hitting 450ft bombs for the Reds to make Kearns expendable.

Yes, the both have durability issues. It is somewhat of a wash. However, the trade addresses needs for both teams. This trade makes so much sense, it hurts my brain to imagine it not happening.

Sigh. Oh for a young promising power hitter. As far as Billy Butler, all reports that he isn't really cutting it as a third baseman. Heh. Potentially another corner outfielder?

Say, did you read the article interviewing Glass about turning a profit last year and then reducing payroll?? It isn't that flattering of an article. Basically, Glass wants the Royals to break even operationally while he earns huge returns on his $90+ M investment in the team. Let's hope he is willing to spend some of that to keep any mature talent we grow. The world doesn't need another Carl Pohlad.

Affeldt for Kearns?

A quick post before I get back to the books.

Over the offseason, we tried to acquire Austin Kearns from the Reds. With Ken Griffey, Adam Dunn, and Willy Mo Pena, he was the odd man out. They asked for Affeldt and we scoffed at them and said no.

I've read rumors lately that the deal might be on the table. With the amazing pitching of Sisco, and the potential for Burgos - not to mention that Affeldt can't seem to stay off the DL - it seems like we might be rethinking it. I've read some people say that once Affeldt gets off the DL, we'll showcase him and hope he pitches well, then move him for Kearns.

As far as contract, they're essentially identical. Kearns makes about $20K less, and they both have the same number of years till they're free agent eligible.

So, do we do it? For the first time in a long time (ever?), it seems like we have a wealth of quality arms. Now granted, Affeldt, when healthy, has one of the better ones. But his problem has been staying healthy. If Burgos is the real deal and takes over as closer, then Affeldt becomes a middle reliever. Granted, he is a force at middle reliever, but we are in sore need of a young OF.

Kearns two years ago put up 15 homeruns and 58 RBI in only 292 AB's. I believe that he's had his fair share of injury problems as well though. But he's got definite power potential, and shows more promise as a young power-hitting OF than anyone else I can imagine coming from the Royals farm system.

I say do it.

What do you think, Walt?

Sunday, May 01, 2005

2 wins in a row, baby!

Woohoo! Our first winning "streak" of the year. And we even won a 1-run game today (after losing 6 of them during our streak... or perhaps 7 actually). The most amazing part is the power output. Three homers yesterday - a grand slam by Grimace and 2 homeruns by Marrero. Then today, four more: 2 by Sweeney, one by TLong, and one by Buck. That's right - our sluggin' Royals.

Oh, before I forget, there's an interesting little article about JR Giddens on ESPN. Basically about the ridiculously high expectations everyone has of him, and how they affected him. I admit to being very critical of Giddens this year - since he sucked - so I'd love to see him bounce back next year and have a consistent season. He's going to have a ton of freshmen playing around him, so let's see him step up and be a leader.

An interesting article in the Star too about how Gunther got all of the guys he wanted on defense. If it's true, I'm pretty impressed by Carl. Gun said he had listed his top guys as Surtain, Bell, Knight and Carlos Hall and we went out and got all four. So now that we know these four were hand-picked by Gun, I'd like to see how much he can get out of them. Cuz if we still can't get anything out of our D...