Saturday, December 20, 2008

Royals add righty


The Royals have signed right handed prospect Federico Castaneda from the Triple-A Mexican League. The 24-year old had a 4.28 ERA for Laguna while going 4-1. A Royals scout reported Castaneda's fastball was clocking at 92-94 MPH and his command was pretty good. The Royals are expected to assign Castaneda to AA Northwest Arkansas this season.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Hudson will be back


Despite pitching in just one game the past two years thanks to an arm injury, Luke Hudson will be back with the Royals in 2009 after signing a minor league conract with the team that includes an invitation to spring training. Hudson, 31, was one of the lone bright spots in the Royals rotation in 2006 when he went 7-6 with a 5.12 ERA before going on the DL late in the season. For his career, which included a stint as a starter with Cincinatti, Hudson is 17-18 with a 5.11 ERA.

Also, the Royals agreed to terms with four players on Wednesday with each including spring invites. The four are LHP's Heath Phillips and Lenny DiNardo, RHP Oscar Villareal and OF Tommy Murphy. Villareal has the most major league experience with a big league record of 24-15 with a 3.86 ERA in 258 appearances. He will likely make the big league bullpen this year.

Rangers talks, Nelson too


Word around the baseball world is that the Royals have had discussions, though it's not clear how thorough they've been, with the Texas Rangers involving a trade for five-time all-star Michael Young. A right handed hitter, Young, 32, has the ability to play both shortstop and second base at a high level. Oh yeah, he can hit too. He carries a .300 lifetime average in eight full major league seasons with 115 home runs and 69 stolen bases and a career .346 OBP. It's not clear who the Royals would have offered in the deal, though Jose Guillen would be a likely candidate.

Also on the radar: Joe Nelson. The Royals are in search of more right-handed relief and word is Nelson could get more than $1M from his former club. There are rumored to be at least 16 teams - including the relief-strapped Cardinals - inquiring on Nelson however, so the Royals could be near the bottom of his wish list.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Heeere's JOHNNY!!!, again


Non-tendered on Friday, John Bale and the Royals just couldn't break off their relationship that way, so the left-hander signed a one-year contract this morning. Bale, who spend most of last season on the DL with not only an arm injury, but also a broken pitching hand will look to land a relief role with the club. Bale, as you may remember, broke his hand last season by punching things in frustration after a bad outing. That never works, by the way.

Would Royals deal pitcher for Escobar?


Let me start off by saying this is pure speculation on my part. But, hey, I don't do a lot of speculating on this blog so what's it gonna hurt to throw this one out there?

Actually, this is not something I just pulled out of my butt. It's a rather intriguing thought I ran across this morning when woke up and received news that the Atlanta Braves were getting close to an agreement to re-acquire all-star shortstop Rafael Furcal, who spend six years of his career in Hotlanta. The deal is apparently for three years, and I would imagine there's an option for a fourth year in there somewhere as well - since he's been demanding four years. By the way, the Royals appear out of the running for Furcal as the bidding war has sent the money through the roof.

According to sources, the Braves are planning to sign Furcal and then immediately attempt to swing Yunel Escobar for an "elite-level starting pitcher." Now, there are lots of "elite-level starting pitchers" around baseball at this time, but could that involve either Gil Meche or Zack Greinke of the Royals? Some will speculate this means the Braves will work something out for Jake Peavy. The problem is Escobar was ALREADY offered to the Padres in the Peavy deal. We know that. The problem with that trade came down to a disagreement over remaining prospects the Braves would have included in the deal. Believe me, they were WAAAAY off in that aspect.

The Royals have already been linked to the Braves in a Greinke-for-Francoeur deal which, I might add, was BOGUS. I do believe the two clubs casually discussed names, but I think it was more Greinke for Escobar. My belief is that Atlanta told the Royals "we'll keep you in mind, but we're going to see what comes of this Peavy deal first" and went on their way. Now that it appears Peavy won't be traded, the Braves may be making sense of the Royals again.

Greinke has shown flashes of becoming a front-line starter for years to come, and has yet to get a multi-year extention from Kansas City. To me, I've been a little leery that they will do so. They have had more pressing issues (shortstop, bullpen) to deal with since he's locked up through 2009. I still think they are holding out on an extention in case they need to trade him for a piece to the puzzle. It makes sense. It keeps his smallish contract appealing to other clubs who may be interested in a trade.

Another option, perhaps a more perfect situation, is that they trade Gil Meche - which would free up quite a bit of money off the books - and use the cap space to sign Greinke long-term. In this instance Kansas City would get its shortstop of the future, and get to keep a potential all-star in Greinke who, by the way, is much younger than Meche.

Of course, other things would hinge on this deal getting done. The first question is would the Braves even want Gil Meche? Indications point to yes. He's looked like a different pitcher since coming to Kansas City. He has also proved to be worth every penny of the $55M deal he signed as a free agent. Second, could the Braves afford Meche's contract? Uh, YES! Peavy makes much, much more. Finally, who would the Royals use to fill the void in the rotation that Meche would leave. My answer: Daniel Cabrera.

Cabrera, 28, was non-tendered by Baltimore on Friday and has been garnering interest from 12-14 teams since his release, according to his agents. He was linked to the Pirates on Monday, but one would have to assume the Royals have at least done their homework and checked in on him. The youngster actually reminds me some of Meche in his pre-Kansas City days.

A guy that has never reached his projected "ceiling", Cabrera still makes scouts salivate over what he could become with the right guy in his ear. At 6-foot-7 he has the size and pitchability that the Royals crave. He used to be a flamethrower, but for some reason last year he dropped a few MPH on his fastball which resulted in low strikeout numbers. That's another thing, he has never struck out a great deal of hitters. He averages about one every 2-3 innings, depending on the year.

I think Bob McClure is the guy who could turn him around, alas Meche. Obviously, he could be had for much less than $55M too. Last year he earned $4M. That's petty in todays market.

Look, Dayton Moore doesn't want to part with Meche OR Greinke. He's not going to trade one of those guys for just anyone. But for Yunel Escobar, I think he would. He should. The Royals are stocked with pitching at the minor league levels and Daniel Cortes isn't too far off. Granted, he isn't Gil Meche by any means, but he could be. I think this team could find ways to make due without him. Improving the offense would certainly help with that.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Jumpin' Joey! Cubs land former Royal


After months of speculation swirled that the Chicago Cubs were trying to trade for Mark Teahen, it appears the Cubbies have finally landed their Royal outfielder...just not Teahen. Instead, the club has come to terms on a contract with speedster Joey Gathright who was non-tendered by Kansas City on Friday.
Gathright certainly isn't the power bat the Cubs were once thought to be seeking to replace Kosuke Fukudome in RF, though he certainly swings from the left side - which they desperately wanted. Look for him to compete as the fourth outfielder or spend a lot of time at AAA Iowa next season.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

German staying put


The Royals have signed utility man Esteban German to a one-year contract. German, who started off struggling at the plate last year, finished the season at a good clip and won over Trey Hillman with his effort. Look for him to be in the same role this season.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Royals want Bale back

The Royals non-tendered left handed reliever John Bale at midnight last night along with newly re-acquired righty Jairo Cuervas and outfielder Joey Gathright. Infielder Jason Smith ACUTALLY was designated for assignment on Thursday morning.
The Royals are attempting to gauge Bale's interest to return to the team at a lesser salary. As for Gathright, he's already drawing interest from the Colorado Rockies (who non-tendered Willy Taveras) though the Royals may see what the possibilities are of re-signing him to a minor league deal. They should come to terms on a minor league deal with the injured Cuervas in the coming days.

Lugo traded

The Royals have finalized a deal to swap Rule V draftee Jose Lugo to the Seattle Mariners for cash considerations. Sources indicate the Royals will receive approximately $75,000.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Busy day; Royals ink Waechter


Just minutes after the conclusion of the Rule V Draft the Royals announced the signing of right handed reliever Doug Waechter. He will likely compete for a bullpen job this spring and could provide depth at both the major league and AAA levels.

Waechter, a 6-foot-4, 215 pound journeyman, was last seen in a Marlins uniform last season when he appeared in 48 games as a reliever and had the best year of his major league career, going 4-2 with a 3.69 ERA with 46K's and 21BB in 63.1 innings. Previously a starter his entire career, last season saw a full time move to the 'pen for Waechter and the results were good.

He has spent parts of five seasons at the major league level with the Rays and Marlins. Last season he saw his most action at the big league level with 48 appearances. Before that he had not appeared in more than 29 games in one season. He did that with Tampa Bay in 2005 as a starter when he went 5-12 with a 5.62 ERA. For his career, Waechter has an 18-27 record with a 5.30 ERA in 108 games (54 of them as a starter).

Royals take lefty in Rule V Draft


The Rule V Draft came today and with it the Royals selected 6-foot-1, 175 pound lefty Jose Lugo from the Minnesota Twins organization.

Lugo is by all accounts a flamethrower. Last season at single A Fort Myers he struck out 76 batters and walked 33 in 69 innings. He also gives up plenty of hits as well. He allowed 68 in 2008, but remarkably surrendered just four home runs in that span. Opponents hit .254 against him.

This isn't the first time Lugo has been a Rule V draftee either. He was signed by Oakland as non-drafted free agent on Jan. 30, 2002 and was later selected by the Twins in the minor league phase of the Rule V Draft on Dec. 8, 2005.

In 2007, Lugo went 5-6 with two saves and a 4.32 ERA in 40 appearances, he also started seven times, for Class A Beloit. In Kansas City the Royals will attempt to keep him on the roster as a power lefty in the bullpen. Lugo must remain on the Major League roster (25 man roster) throughout the duration of next season or he will have to be offered back to the Twins for half of the draft cost.

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The Royals also took several other players in the minor league portion of the draft. They also, yet again, lost another pitcher to the Houston Astros when they took minor leaguer Gilbert le la Vara in the major league portion of the draft. Here's the new additions to the organization.

AAA Phase
(First round)
--Luis Ortega, RHP (Washington Nationals)
(Second round)
--John Suomi, C (Philadelphia Phillies)
(Third round)
--Carlos Arias, RHP (Cleveland Indians)

Horacio Ramirez close to 1 year deal, possible option year


It seems that Dayton Moore's Atlanta connections are never-ending. I say that because it appears he's convinced former Braves southpaw and 2008 Kansas City Royal Horacio Ramirez to return to the team with a one year, $1.8MM deal with a possible option for an extra year. Ramirez, who was traded to the White Sox at the trade deadline last season, will reportedly receive an incentive based contract that will pay him a $500k bonus as a reliever or $1.1MM as a starter.

It will be interesting to see if he can recapture the ability to get batters out the way he did last season in Kansas City. I'm glad he's back. I didn't like the trade that sent him to ChiTown in the first place. McClure seemed to work wonders on this kid.

Royals take trip to the 'Farn'


The Royals have reportedly reached an agreement on a 2 year, $9.25MM contract with free agent fireballer Kyle Farnsworth. The aggressive righty has long been linked to the Royals throughout this offseason and has now apparently been added to fill the void left by the trades of Leo Nunez and Ramon Ramirez.

Personally, I have mixed emotions on this one. I would like to see what kind of pitcher he can be under the tutelage of Bob McClure, but at the same time he's 32 years old and isn't known to be a coachable player. The guy can bring the heat, and he turns in some fantastic strikeout numbers each year for a reliever. Just think of Mike MacDougal with a little bit better control.

Oh yeah, and a lot more testosterone.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

MLB.com's Top 50 prospects released

MLB.com just released its 2009 Top 50 Prospects and the Royals have two players ranked in the top 30.
2007 1st rounder (second overall pick) Mike Moustakas is ranked No. 11 on the list while 2008 1st rounder (third overall) Eric Hosmer is No. 29.

You can check out their profiles on MLB.com and even watch video clips of the duo at the plate. Moustakas, by the way, has one of the sweetest swings you'll ever see. I witnessed this guy play many games in high school against top competition, and he has always made scouts salivate at his potential. Hosmer, oh yeah, saw him too. The kid can rake.

Royals pushing hard to deal Guillen

According to sources, Jose Guillen's name has been getting thrown around quite a lot by the Royals at the baseball winter meetings in Las Vegas. Over the past week, in an attempt to move the slugger's hefty contract (and attitude), the team has been trying to put together potential trade partners that would allow them to then step up efforts to sign free agent SS Rafael Furcal.

The Royals have been named as on of four finalists for Furcal's services in 2009, though it is believed he already spurned a 3 year, $34.5MM deal from the Oakland Athletics. As you are already aware, the Royals gave Guillen a 3 year, $36MM deal before last season and would now LOVE to put him in another city - far, far away.

Also to report, the Royals seem to be inching ever so close to an agreement with 32 year old fireballer Kyle Farnsworth. You remember him I'm sure. He's the dude that Brian Urlacher'd Cincinatti Reds pitcher Paul Wilson several years ago when Wilson UNWITTINGLY charged the mound after being plunked by Farnsey.

He throws hard. BELIEVE ME. I witnessed him hit 101 MPH on the radar gun on three consecutive pitches at St. Louis in 2006. He definitely fits the profile Dayton Moore wants at the back end of the bullpen.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Royals lose another arm

On Monday, Royals right hander Jeff Fulchino earned the distinction of "former Royals right hander" when he was claimed off waivers by the Houston Astros. Fulchino, a 6-foot-5 righty, went 0-1 with a 9.00 ERA last season with Kansas City.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Grud offered arbitration; says no thanks


Mark Grudzielanek was offered salary arbitration from the Royals this evening, but quickly shot down any hope he would return to the team next season.

Speaking from his California home Grud said he was "95 to 98 percent sure" he was going to decline the offer and sign elsewhere in hopes of reaching the World Series before he reaches retirement in the next few years. He also stressed his thanks to the Royals organization, spoke highly about the fans and what they meant to him and praised his soon-to-be former teammates.

I don't blame the man. Mark Grudzielanek is a true winner. He's someone you root for. He deserves a shot to play deep into the post season one more time before hanging up the spikes (well worn one's at that).

Plus, the Royals will now get a sandwich pick between the first and second round as soon as he signs with another team. Remember this: highly touted left hander Mike Montgomery was a sandwich first rounder for the Royals last season. They should get a pretty good player in return.

Any fan who dares to blame him for turning down the offer feel free to make a post and explain your case. I'd like to hear it.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Royals remain active


Just a few quick notes for you all in case you missed it.

Tyler Lumsden, the prized left hander in the Mike MacDougal trade with the White Sox, has been traded to the Houston Astros for a player to be named later. Lumsden, 25, injured his elbow shortly after arriving in the organization and hasn't been the same pitcher since. Kansas City recently designated him for assignment which meant they had to trade or release him within 10 days. The Astros are hoping a change of scenery will help get him back on track.

The team also signed former Braves prospect (is this a shock?) Luis Hernandez, a shortstop. I'm a little surprised this guy is still around in the minors. He can't hit a lick, which isn't the problem. He also hasn't had the greatest defensive stats in the world either. This is likely a move to fill space at either AA Northwest Arkansas or AAA Omaha.

MLB.com is reporting that Mark Teahen could be headed to the Cubbies for Mike Fontenot (as I reported earlier) AND 6-foot-7 LHP Sean Marshall. If Marshall, or Rich Hill, for that matter, are included with Fontenot in this deal then I say it's a good move by the Royals. Otherwise, I wouldn't swap Teahen straight up for either player. This could turn out to be a good move for Kansas City, assuming it comes to fruition.

I'll keep you updated as well as I can as things evolve these next few weeks.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Teahen may be a fit with Rangers


With free agency off-and-running the air has only gotten cloudier surrounding Royals outfielder Mark Teahen. Already believed to be on the trading block, Teahen has become all the more pinched roaming left field at Kauffman since the team traded for Red Sox center fielder Coco Crisp this week.

Teahen, who is all the likelier to get shipped out since the aquisition may be more valuable to teams who are seeking an experienced third baseman. One team certainly in need of help at the hot corner is the Texas Rangers.

They seem like the perfect trade partners having a somewhat deep minor league system (especially at AA). The Rangers, as everyone knows by now, are about as stacked at catcher as the Royals are at first base. Incumbent third baseman Hank Blalock - who was recently retained when the team picked up his $6MM option is no longer in shape to play third base. He's had arm troubles that have hampered his throwing for the past two-plus seasons and he is no longer viewed as having the arm strength to make the necessary throws from the position.

Teahen would make a perfect fit for the Rangers at third with Blalock moving into the DH spot this season. Also, he would be a cheap option for the Rangers, though money doesn't seem to be a great issue for them at this time. Any trade, or signing, of a third baseman would allow the Rangers to squash rumors that gold glover Michael Young will have to move to third. Of course, some fans support the idea of Young playing third and rookie Elvis Andrus at short. That isn't likely to happen though. Andrus needs more time to develop in the minors.

All of this is pure speculation, but with Teahen appearing to be a popular topic of discussion between teams this offseason don't be surprised if you start hearing his name tossed about in Arlington.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A great move


Wow! Let me start off by saying this is one trade I did not see coming. Let me add that there IS another one coming VERY SOON involving Mark Teahen.

This morning the Royals and Red Sox finalized a deal to send Ramon Ramirez to BeanTown for speedy outfielder Coco Crisp. The last time we heard about the Royals trading for a speedy outfielder it was J.P. Howell for Joey Gathright, but fear not on this one. Crisp can hit.

After several years in the AL Central with Cleveland, Crisp went over to Boston and has turned in some pretty good numbers over there. There are lots of reasons to like this trade. Yes, we did give up a pretty darned good right handed reliever but Moore - as we all should know by know - has made a promise not to fall in love with relief pitchers.

Crisp is an accomplished base stealer with a career batting average of .280. Also, for a little guy he's got some pop in his bat. To be honest, this guy is much of the same player David DeJesus is only, like I mentioned, he steals bases. We all know how much we love DeJesus when he's hitting, but hate him when he's still standing at first in an obvious stealing situation. To be quite honest, Crisp is going to help this team in a big way.

Obviously, there wasn't room for Crisp in Boston anymore with Jacoby Ellsbury taking over in center. It's not as if other teams around the league didn't want Crisp either. In fact, he was a pretty hot commodity for several teams since Terry Francona designated him to ride the pine. Remember, the Royals gave up a pretty good pitcher in return. There's a reason they did so.

Crisp covers more ground than DeJesus, so he will immediately be penciled in as the everyday starting center fielder. DeJesus is expected to move to left and, yep, Teahen is surely packing his bags as we speak.

This move also shows me that Dayton Moore has a great deal of confidence in pitching coach Bob McClure. This offseason alone the team has traded relievers Leo Nunez and Ramon Ramirez - two of the key figures in the 'pen last season. In years past Moore has dealt Jeremy Affeldt, Mike MacDougal, Andrew Sisco and a score of other relievers. More knows Mac has the knack (rhyme not intended) to place guys where they need to be in the 'pen and help them become successful.

The fact is Moore is building the future of this organization through addition and subtraction in the bullpen. It's certainly not a traditional approach to molding an organization, but the guy is thinking outside the box. I like what he's doing here. So far it's working.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Teahen likely will be traded


Apparently, the Royals are still having plenty of discussions with teams about moving Mark Teahen. Many scouts feel Teahen still has the ability to be an offensive threat, and obviously many teams around the league feel the same way.

The newest team in the mix is the Chicago Cubs. Actually, the two teams have been in discussions for a few weeks (sorry, I know, I'm slacking some) but it is just now getting serious as Ryan Dempster has agreed to terms with the Cubbies on a four year deal. Now that they have locked up Dempster, the Cubs are no longer expected to seriously pursue Jake Peavy.

The deal could hinge around the willingness of the Cubs to part with either Felix Pie or Rich Hill. Pie, a highly regarded outfield prospect, hasn't really hit in his limited time in the major leagues though he should hit with more at-bats. Hill was expected to be one of the anchors of the Chicago rotation last season, but he hit a wall for some reason and spent a great portion of the season at Triple-A Iowa.

With that in mind, they instead are turning their attention to the lefty bat they are seeking in the outfield to replace Kosuke Fukodome - who was abysmal last season at the plate. It's obvious Teahen is the primary trade chip in Dayton Moore's jar. It's beginning to look very doubtful he will be back with the team next season, though not impossible.

The Royals could also change their stance on keeping David DeJesus and deal him to a team like the Cubs. It is more likely that he will not be moved. Teahen would fit in very nicely with the Cubs, though it is not known what they are offering in return.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

In this, the year of the lopsided trade, GMDM...go make something happen


So, um...WHAT IN THE NAME OF CALIFORNIA WATER ARE THE GM's IN BASEBALL THINKING!!! Since returning from their mini meetings in Cali there have been some really lopsided, and potentially outlandish, trades in the MLB the past couple of days.

I get a call from a good buddy of mine yesterday. Here's a little exerpt of how our conversation started:


Him: "Did you see the trade?"

Me: "Huh? Uuuuhhhh. Nope, I've been running my legs off and haven't heard anything."


Him: **"It's a good move for one team. The other, I was a little bit shocked."

**Right there you have it. I was shocked. My reaction was idiotic. From his statement I should have been warned of what I was about to hear.

Then, last night I get another call.

Him: "Did you see the trade?"

Me: "Huh? Uuuuhhhh. Nope, I've been running my legs off and haven't heard anything."


Him: "It's a good move.....***

***You see where this is going.

From the time I heard that the Rockies were about to send Matt Holliday to the Oakland Athletics for Greg Smith, Carlos Gonzalez, Ryan Sweeney and another prospect, I immediately said Billy Beane is an idiot. Then, when my friend called again this morning and said the deal is Smith, Gonzalez and HUSTON STREET, I totally went off the deep end. I will explain further down in the column.

Then, last night I got the news that the Marlins, who posted a yard sale sign just outside of Dolphin Stadium, made another head scratching move. Apparently, with his job on the line, D.C.'s Jim Bowden came calling and pulled off one of the most lopsided deals since Jermaine Dye for Neifi Perez; sending light hitting (2B) Emilio Bonifacio, soft throwing (RHP) P.J. Dean and (SS) Jake Smolinski (who is two weeks removed from major knee surgery to repair torn ACL and MCL ligaments) to the fish for Josh Willingham and Scott Olsen.

"HOLY CRAP!," I said in oblivion to my idiocy. "What on God's earth is going on???"

From Billy Beane's perspective, I know why he did this deal. The A's are getting a brand new stadium, and, after their punchless offense kept them from going to the playoffs last year, Beane knows his team needs a hitter with some sock. There are plenty of bills to pay, so they have to fill seats next season. Plus, Street hasn't been as dominant as he once was. So they get Holliday, one of the most sought after hitters on everyone's Christmas list. All is good, right?

If your an A's fan the answer is a great big Miguel Olivo HELL NO! Holliday, who is represented by Scott Boras, is going to command BIG BUCK$$$$ as a free agent after the 2009 season. Beane, who tends to refrain from over spending on players, will shock me if he signs Holliday long term. Therefore, your looking at a trade for a rental player: I would expect them to trade Holliday mid-way through the year.


So, after trading away a solid starting pitcher and setup man/closer are the A's expected to contend this year? No. What if Holliday gets hurt leading up to the trade deadline? Will Beane be able to get in return what he gave up to get him? Maybe not.

Had it been the Diamondbacks, Yankees, Dodgers, Angels, etc. that made this deal it would be a smart move. Those are organizations with big enough budgets to support an addition like Holliday and are annualy expected to be in the playoffs. Hell, if it was 1989 this would be a great deal for the A's. Not in 2009.

The Rockies and Nationals just got much better. The A's and Marlins need to call Kauffman Stadium and ask to speak to the front office. I hear K.C. has a box of Scrubbing Bubbles, a pack of dried bologna and one of those yellow Wal-Mart smiley face stickers that they would be willing to package for Mark Ellis or Dan Uggla.

Trust me. The *Scrubbing Bubbles is a brand new box and that crap works excellent.

*Now that I think of it, doesn't "Scrubbing Bubbles" sound like the title of a low budget porno?

As for the Nationals, Jim Bowden may have just saved his job with this trade. As for the Marlins, you get three what-if's that Bowden drafted. Wasn't there some sort of alarm on the telephone screaming, "Warning! Warning!: I wouldn't answer that if I were you," when Bowden's number showed up on the caller ID?

I completely understand why so many teams are looking to wheel and deal this offseason. There is little out there on the free agent market that is worth the millions of headaches you would spend to employ them. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if this winter produced the most trades in MLB history. Then again, I wouldn't be a bit surprised if it doesn't produce many more than what we've already seen.

More and more teams seem to be getting away from the Free Agent Frenzy that happens every offseason and are instead focusing on growing their own talent and adding pieces through trades. This is what Kansas City has decided to do and, like it or not, has already managed to bag a slugger for very little in return from that garage sale I mentioned in Miami.

Meanwhile, Mike Sweeney needs a job.

So, I guess, instead of stupid, overpriced, messed up free agent signings this year I guess we'll start seeing stupid, overpriced, messed up trades. Isn't this a wonderful world we live in?






Thursday, October 30, 2008

A few thoughts on Jacobs


I was talking with a friend today about the Mike Jacobs trade and he brought up an interesting point. Jacobs, who won the Sterling Award in 2003 as the top minor league player in the Mets organization, came through the minors as a catcher. He switched to first base as a rookie in 2005 due to, of course, mediocre defensive skills behind the plate.

Would the Royals dare to re-convert him to catching and keep first base open to Shealy, Butler, Ka'aihue? How about the outfield? Would they dare move him to a corner outfield position?

I'm assuming Jacobs will remain at first.

Obviously, no team needs four first basemen, especially when a team decides to carry 12 pitchers. Add a couple utility players and suddenly there's just not enough room on the bench.

I still feel this was a great move by Dayton Moore and is for the good of the organization.

Look, while it would probably be a mistake to trade Butler right now, at least one, probably two, of those four guys will need to be traded before the start of the year. My guess is unless Shealy or Jacobs moves to the outfield then it is Shealy who is the odd man out. This seems strange to me, however. Shealy really seemed to catch Trey Hillman's eye last September - and for good reason. I would think he did enought to warrant a shot at making the team this year.

Butler is dedicated to get in better shape and could really enhance his stock if he trims down and bulks up a little bit this offseason. Plus, he's a projected slugger who is just trying to break in at just 22 years old. Ka'aihue will be the starting first sacker at Omaha this year.

Don't worry about Ross Gload. Unless he's your utility guy (there's worse options out there), he's gone. Teahen seems the odd man out as well. I'll have more posts on this in the next few days. Right now there's just so much to figure out with this one.

Royals get Jacobs


As I speculated earlier this week, the Royals worked hard and hammered out a deal for Florida 1B Mike Jacobs. Reliever Leo Nunez is the Royal on the move.

Jacobs, who hit .249 with 32 homers this year did strike out over 100 times last season. However, the 28 year old slugger provides the team with the much needed "sock" they have been so desperately needing for several years.

Nunez, while he has shown the potential to be a dominant pitcher, was injured for a great deal of '08 and was a guy Dayton Moore feels like he can replace in the 'pen. Rosa will probably get a pretty good shot at replacing Nunez this spring.

Also, as I said earlier this week, the player the Royals originally wanted to send to the Marlins was indeed RHP Carlos Rosa. However, the Marlins backed out with concerns that Rosa's arm may not be healthy - the Royals strongly disagree with this.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Something to add about the Guillen-for-Castillo rumors

After searching for answers about the Jose Guillen for Luis Castillo rumors that were floating about recently, I have come to the conclusion that if there were conversations for a swap they happened PRIOR to June of '08 and WILL NOT be opened back up this winter like some thought.

When I was first brought to light on this rumor I admit I had to laugh and silently wonder how the hell any team would make a trade like that. It obviously sounded foolish then and it still does.

But hey, I report what I hear and let you guys tell me what you think. I'm just glad to see you all were with me on this one. My sources say we can be confident in laying this one to rest.

Moore denies Teahen discussions


Despite whispers coming from sources in both organizations, Royals GM Dayton Moore has vehemently denied reports that he is shopping Royals outfielder Mark Teahen to the Cleveland Indians.


In fact, Moore called it a "flat-out lie" on the Royals website today and added "you can print that" as well. Wow. Sounds like the guy really has a point to make. This is kind of strange.


Maybe he should talk to the front office staff at Kauffman and over in Cleveland to find out how this could be leaked from BOTH organizations and not have any truth.


I'm not saying, I'm just saying.


Again, very strange.

Royals eyeing 1B Jacobs


The Royals and Florida Marlins were in serious discussions this week about a trade involving first baseman Mike Jacobs - a player I have openly been lobbying for the past few months.

The Marlins have 16 players eligible for arbitration this year and Jacobs is one of them. For a team who is planning on going into 2009 with a payroll not exceeding $36MM you see why they are trying to trade him and starting pitcher Scott Olsen.

Look, I understand we already have a logjam at first and a lot of you guys think it would be a wise decision to not do anything and see what we have with Butler, Ka'aihue and Ryan Shealy. I respect those opinions and can certainly see why there is some optimism that at least one of those guys will pan out.

Here's my dilemma. With Jacobs you know what you already have. A big left handed swinging first sacker who will hit .255 and smack 30 homers a year. This year the 28 year old hit .249 with 32 homers in just his third full season in the big leagues.

A lot of people were lobbying to sign Adam Dunn - isn't this a similar player you can get on the cheap????

To be quite honest, we're still waiting on Shealy and Butler to produce. This organization can't bank too much confidence in Ka'aihue's one STELLAR year in the minors. Though I think all three have an opportunity to really hit, you just can't cross your fingers and risk losing a year of progress if you can get better TODAY.

If this team is going to move forward and compete for the playoffs, they can't wait on players to hit or miss anymore. That's what this organization has done for way too long, and that's why it was in such shambles when Moore's regime took over.

For now, any deal the teams had in place appears to have fallen apart. It went as far as trading medical charts and there were injury concerns to a young Royals pitching prospect that would have been in the deal. Understandably, the Marlins backed out. It is my belief that pitcher was Carlos Rosa.

Still, you can't knock Moore for making a strong push to add power to this lineup. Suddenly, with a guy who has pop like Jacobs possesses in the lineup, this team may strike some fear when they step to the plate.

Look for the Royals to re-visit this deal and work hard to get something done.

Looking for trades in unloving places


Dayton Moore is running up the long distance phone bill at Kauffman already this offseason. News broke over the past couple of days about the Royals in 'serious' discussions with not only the Florida Marlins about first baseman Mike Jacobs (I'll have another post on this), but also with the Cleveland Indians in a deal that would send Mark Teahen to the Central division foes.

I just don't really know what we would accomplish by sending Teahen to Cleveland unless it's for Ben Francisco. All the Indians targets that we would receive are suspect hitters themselves. Francisco is probably the best hitter of the group. As a rookie this year he hit .266 with 15 homers, 32 doubles, and 52 RBI. That's the guy I'm demanding if I'm Dayton Moore, but still, you don't know what the kid will be. His hitting was hampered by the fact he hit nearly the entire year in the three hole as a rookie due to injuries.

He was as out of water as when Mark Grudzielanek was hitting in the three-hole earlier this year.

I wouldn't trade Teahen for Franklin Gutierrez. He hit just .248 with 26 doubles, two triples, eight homers and 41 RBI and, like Teahen, is 27 years old. He is a great defensive outfielder but does very little with the bat.

Doesn't Teahen already do this? That's the thing for me. Why do we want to trade left handed hitting Mark Teahen for right handed hitting Mark Teahen?

Also in the mix is minor league outfielder Trevor Crowe - the Indians' switch-hitting 2005 first round draft pick. He hit just nine dingers between AA and AAA this year, though his average was above .300. He would be a good player to get.

All three of the mentioned players play center field. If a deal is done Royals insiders say David DeJesus would move to left field immediately. Probably a good move.

By the way, Indians fans aren't happy about this at all. Apparently, very few of them like Teahen and are beginning to sound like angry Chiefs fans. Read what they have to say here.

Friday, October 24, 2008

In time for election season...THE POLL IS BACK!

Yes, that's right. After months of waiting, Blogspot has finally fixed the technical glitch that was affecting the poll and I was able to take down the old and add a new one! So vote away!

Sources: Royals have had discussions to send Guillen to NY



According to sources, the Royals and Mets have been in trade discussions aimed at a swap for disgruntled veterans Jose Guillen and Luis Castillo.


Castillo, a switch-hitting second baseman and 3-time All-Star, has not been the fuzziest of characters since he arrived in New York as a free agent in '08. Much ado with Guillen in Kansas City. The only real problem here is that Castillo - who is no where near the slugger Guillen is - is coming off a year in which he hit .245/3 HR/ 28 RBI in just 87 games. Some positives on Castillo is that, while he is 33 years old, he swiped 17 bases and walked 50 times compared to just 35 strikeouts. His OBP was .355 (something Dayton Moore would like) and he carried an OPS of 77.


If the deal was indeed a straight up swap the Royals would save $6MM in 2009, but would end up seeing a $6MM cap hit in 2011. Guillen has two years and $24MM remaining while Castillo has three years with $16MM owed.


Castillo, you may remember, spent time in the AL Central in '06-'07 as a member of the Minnesota Twins. Before that he spent 12 years in the Florida Marlins organization where he had the best year of his career in 2003 at age 27 when he hit .314 with 6 homers and made the All-Star team.


For the record, his six homers in '03 was the most dingers he's hit in a single season in his career.

Apparently, the two teams had strong discussions about making this deal before the trade deadline in June, but couldn't pull the trigger at the time and decided to re-open discussions this winter. Don't expect the Royals to make a sudden move with Guillen, however. They likely will pan the rest of the trade market before going out on a limb to get rid of him.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Dayton prefers trades more than Free Agency


The Royals may not make much of a splash in the free agent market this year afterall. Oh, but there WILL BE change. Instead of signing high-priced players that are generally flawed, Moore is saying he prefers to do some wheeling and dealing instead.

Not saying he won't be active in Free Agency, but who is out there that really stands out this year anyways?

Already GMDM has began his quest to make this team better by calling around to other teams this week to see what tradeable pieces may be available. It is likely Moore has also discussed potential Royals he would make available to those teams as well, though it is unlikely he has gone into any major discussions about the 'who-for-who' details.

This is the time of year when teams begin getting their 'feelers' from around the league to set up potential winter deals. Moore remains tight-lipped about the Zack Greinke situation and it appears he will at least dangle his name to teams and see whether the youngster would be more valuable on this team or on an airplane to another city. It also is likely both John Buck and Miguel Olivo are being discussed to some extent with teams looking to add a catcher.

I won't be posting as often as I was during the season. I know I haven't been the most loyal blog host the past couple of weeks, but forgive me please...I got married and had been stowed away on our honeymoon. Well, now that's over so it's back to business!!!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Royals should focus on offense, not pitching, for 2009


You may think I'm smoking crack when I say this, but the Royals shouldn't feel the urge to pursue a high priced starting pitcher this winter. Nah. If I'm Dayton Moore, I'm spending all of my allowance money on signing/trading for established big-league bats. Not that I'm saying I think the Royals pitching staff is without the need for improvement. But for the first time in a long time the staff isn't the most pressing need on this club right now.

You know what you are going to get from Gil Meche. Zack Greinke is only going to get better. Luke Hochevar is still young and learning how to pitch. When he gets it over his stuff can be filthy. He is only going to improve next year. Kyle Davies has been solid to end the year. He's had spurts of greatness and mediocrity so far. He's definitely in the rotation next year. Who knows about Brian Bannister, but I can't help but think he's closer to the 2007 version than 2008.

If the team can pick up a free agent (not named Brett Tomko or Kip Wells) that can win you 10 games (Tomko and Wells don't fit into that category anyways) then you have depth. This team can afford to wait a few months and avoid a bidding war to sign a pitcher.

The bullpen is going to be in good shape. Barring a trade, Ron Mahay will still be in the mix along with John Bale (who has been great since returning from the DL), Leo Nunez, Ramon Ramirez, Joakim Soria, etc. Here's hoping Jimmy Gobble* will revert back to his 2007 ways.

*I wasn't joking about the 'Gobbler'. I seriously think he was pitching injured longer than we all know. Injuries also exposed him to a larger work load - in a shorter time frame - than he had in '07. If guys can stay healthy and fill those roles he could go back to being a solid situational lefty in '09.

The bottom line is that we can't blame the pitching staff for the woes this season. Not when the offense is still statistically one of the worst in the league. They have been much, much, better than they have been in a long, long, time. They were still aweful in stretches, but, for the most part, they were the reason for what little success there was. Oh yeah, GREINKE SHOULD BE SIGNED NOW...

As the Royals edge their way out of last place I remain baffled by this team


So I was having a rather interesting conversation with a senior co-writer of mine yesterday and we each brought up several interesting points about this Royals team that neither of us could understand.

What is it about this team that makes them so inconsistent/hot/cold?

What are they going to do this offseason to improve this team and farm system?

Where does Mark Teahen fit into this equation?

First of all, we both agreed it is normal for any team to be somewhat inconsistent due to the influx of youth. They aren't consistently bad - which is good - but they aren't consistenly good - which isn't good - either.
More importantly, I feel the obvious missing cog to this team for years has been power. Usually, there is one player who breaks the 20 homer plateau and the rest struggle to come close to that mark. It's no different this season. If you look at the winning streaks they have been on this season, most of them came at a time when they were slugging the ball out of the park a little more. Obviously, the pitching staff has a lot to do with that as well. But a little slug doesn't hurt either.

I'll go over the other two questions at the same time. If the Royals sign another starting outfielder then Mark Teahen's status on the team goes WAAAAY up into the air. Do they trade him? Does he suddenly ride the bench as a fourth outfielder? Do they trade another player (DeJesus, Gordon, Guillen) to keep his spot open?

This is a question we both couldn't answer, simply because there is no way for any of us to know. It may seem like a waste of time to talk about, but baseball is my life so if you don't want to hear it you can go tune into ESPN's 24-hour New York/Boston coverage. Yeah, I thought so.

Look, this is an intriguing issue with the team. Who knows what free agents they will bring in this offseason? Just understand this ... if they do indeed sign a rumored target like Ibanez or Pat Burrell (who would be an expensive haul and isn't likely) Teahen isn't going to start in the outfield. The only way that happens is if they trade DeJesus and put Teahen in center. Jose Guillen likely won't get traded, although the Royals would love to dump him. His contract won't allow it.

Could Alex Gordon see a position change? If so, Teahen becomes the regular third baseman again - a position he is certainly more comfortable playing. I don't think that will happen. To do that would mean Gordon would likely play first base, therefore bucking Ryan Shealy or Kila Ka'aihue and entrenching Billy Butler at DH (which isn't so bad). Shealy looks to be the big bat this team needs and Ka'aihue looks to have a bright future. I don't think it would be wise at this point of the rebuilding mode to block either of them.

Gordon looks like a potential Gold Glover in the infield, but could he make a switch to left field? it's intriguing, but I don't think we need him making one-handed drops out there. Teahen is stuck in a strange position right now. He doesn't have the 'pop' to be an every day right fielder. Yet I don't think a player like him needs to be rotting away on your bench. He is the biggest question mark on the team right now.

Monday, September 22, 2008

List of potential ouffield targets for free agency


Left fielders
Moises Alou (42)
Garret Anderson (37)
Milton Bradley (31)
Emil Brown (34)
Pat Burrell (32)
Carl Crawford (27)
Adam Dunn (29)
Cliff Floyd (36)
Luis Gonzalez (41)
Jerry Hairston Jr. (33)
Raul Ibanez (37)
Gabe Kapler (33)
Kevin Mench (31)
Jason Michaels (33)
Craig Monroe (32)
Greg Norton (36)
Jay Payton (36)
Wily Mo Pena (27)
Manny Ramirez (37)
Juan Rivera (30)
Fernando Tatis (34)

Center fielders
Rocco Baldelli (27)
Willie Bloomquist (31)
Mike Cameron (36)
Jim Edmonds (39)
Jerry Hairston Jr. (33)
Gabe Kapler (33)
Mark Kotsay (33)
Corey Patterson (29)
Scott Podsednik (33)

Right fielders
Bobby Abreu (35)
Casey Blake (35)
Cliff Floyd (36)
Brian Giles (38)
Ken Griffey Jr. (39)
Vladimir Guerrero (33)
Gabe Kapler (33)
Jason Michaels (33)
Fernando Tatis (34)
Brad Wilkerson (32)

My take

Juan Rivera, Pat Burrell and Casey Blake obviously make some sense. Granted, Blake is 35. I do not see the Royals receiving serious consideration from Adam Dunn. He has already stated he wants to play for a winner. The Royals obviously aren't in the upper tier of the league right now.
Burrell is going to command a lot of money as well. It appears the Royals will have to either make a trade or settle for a stopgap veteran on a 1-to-2 year contract.

Hosmer expected back SOON!


Word from MLB sources is that Pedro Alvarez and the Pittsburgh Pirates have agreed on a new $6.335MM deal before Tuesday's arbitration hearing regarding issues between he, the Pirates and agent Scott Boras.

This agreement should put Hosmer, who GM Dayton Moore said he "didn't think" the team would lose, back in uniform in time for the Arizona Fall League season which kicked off today and runs through mid-November.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Teahen makes my head hurt


Boy, oh boy, has Mark Teahen got us all scratching our heads. After a horrible start to the season appeared to stamp him a ticket straight out of town this winter, he has heated up enough to make us think otherwise. He is now hitting .256 with 14 homers and looks to finally have a clue at the dish.
I still see the massive potential in Teahen. Obviously, the club sees the same thing. It's been frustrating watching him struggle throughout most of the year, then he gets hot at all the wrong times and *BAM* the curiosity just kills us. I still believe the club will keep him on for next year, but, even with his fine ending to the season, his role on the team could greatly diminish.

The Royals are VERY LIKELY to sign a corner outfielder this winter. The free agent market is rather deep with talent and Moore is licking his chops to sign someone.

Let's just make believe the team signs, say, oh, Raul Ibanez. Also, let's see what happens if they keep/trade DeJesus:

Outfield with DeJesus:
LF -- Ibanez
CF -- DeJesus
RF -- Guillen

Outfield without DeJesus:
LF -- Ibanez
CF -- Teahen
RF -- Guillen

Obviously, if DeJesus is on the team next year I believe Teahen is your fourth outfielder/3B/1B fill-in off the bench. Otherwise, he still has a spot. I really do think he is worth keeping.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Is it a coincidence the Royals are playing better the past two weeks?

Watching Tuesday night's win - the fifth in the past six games - I couldn't help but think about how funny it is all these players are all of a sudden hitting the cover off the ball.

The thing about all of this is ... it makes me wonder if Dayton Moore's decisions to "make changes" this offseason will be influenced by the final 20 games of the 2008 year. I mean, put yourself in his shoes. I know that you can't judge a player by a short hot streak in mop up time against other September callups. Or can you?

I did't even have to see Ryan Shealy hit his first homer of the year before I knew he would fall into favor with Trey Hillman. You know what convinced me of this? It was Shealy's first game with the team when he saved two throwing errors (almost back-to-back) by coming off the bag, making a nice grab, and applying the tag while twirling through the air doing his Jason Taylor on 'Dancing With the Stars' immitation.

At that point I remember telling the fellow sitting right beside me, "Hillman just sprung a man crush right there." Wouldn't you know it, Shealy nearly banged a homer in his first at-bat, he did homer later in the game, and has now hit four in his past five games.

The dude is white-hot right now. He's looking like the power slugging first baseman Dayton Moore thought he was trading Jeremy Affeldt and Denny Bautista to get. I hope to God he is evolving into that guy. This lineup needs it.

This organization needs his attitude in that clubouse. Shealy is one of the good guys in baseball - a perfect contrast to Jose Guillen and his wonderous attitude.

More interestingly, Mark Teahen has began to hit. His average is UP to .253 before Tuesday's game and he now has hit 14 homers. His fate with the organization is going to come down to a matter of how long the Royals are willing to wait on the mold to finish taking shape.

It's going to be interesting to see whether Moore sticks to his guns and cleans house, or if he will be willing to potentially throw away another season trying to figure out who the players on this roster really are.

These little hot streaks are enough to drive a GM and skipper crazy. One second they look like world beaters, the next it appears they couldn't win a game with a genie and 1,000 wishes.

I don't think the bulk of the moves will happen until spring training in March. Shealy has earned a chance to make the 2009 club. Ka'aihue too. Davies, Hochevar, Aviles, Butler, Gordon, Callaspo, Guillen's membrane ...

... ahh ... so many questions left unanswered.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Here's a story you may want to read to believe

http://www.sportsline.com/mlb/story/10977610

Tell me what you think of this one...

Four Royals make BA's AZL top 20

Baseball America has a great roundup of their top 20 minor league prospects from the Arizona League this season. At the very top of the heap is Royals 2007 pick Mike Montgomery.

A supplemental pick, Monty has immediately jumped into the Royals prospect list and ranks real close in the organizations "top lefthander" list with Danny Duffy.

Other prospects who made the BA list are:
8.) Tyler Sample (RHP)
10.) Yowill Espinal (SS)
13.) Jose Bonilla (C)

Friday, September 12, 2008

Garland, Lohse, Oliver Perez should all be on Royals' radar this offseason

Here's what these three starting pitchers have done so far in 2008:

* Jon Garland (Angels) 183.1 IP, 13-8 overall, 4.52 ERA, 83 K's, 55 BB. (29 years old)


* Oliver Perez (Mets) 171.1 IP, 10-7, 4.15 ERA, 154 K's, 91 BB. (27 years old)


* Kyle Lohse (Cardinals) 187.1 IP, 13-6, 3.80 ERA, 111 K's, 46 BB. (30 years old)


My take:


Garland is making $12MM this year while Perez is earning $6.5MM and Lohse $4.5MM. Garland is the weakest of the three hurlers and his service charge should come down this offseason - though maybe not by much. He probably makes the least sense for the team (economically anyways). Granted, at the same time Perez and Lohse are both expected to get raises when they hit the market.

Still, just nabbing one of these three pitchers would be a very good haul for the Royals. Lohse turned out to be a steal for the Cardinals this season, but some teams may be reluctant to spend too much on him this year in fear his 2008 numbers were a fluke. I think the guy can repeat what he has done this year in 2009. He is durable (187.1 IP) and has a fantastic strikeout-to-walk ratio. Perez would add a desperately needed lefty to the rotation without having to ask John Bale back into that role or get forced to try anything more catastrophic than that would be.

I still believe in Hochevar turning into a solid major league pitcher with some nasty stuff. You know what your getting in Meche and I believe Greinke began turning a major corner this season. Who knows about Bannister, but if he returns to 2007 form the rotation could be very good with one of these additions next season.

Here's my (VERY WRONG) Royals 2009 opening day lineup

C - Taylor Teagarden
1B - Billy Butler
2B - Mike Aviles
SS - Rafael Furcal
3B - Alex Gordon
LF - Raul Ibanez
CF - Mitch Maier
RF - Jose Guillen
DH - Kila Ka'aihue

----------------------------

*Let me just start by saying I know I'm going to get burned at the stake for the Furcal prediction. I completely understand your frustrations with his health.*

I know, I know, this is very far-fetched. As you can see, I predicted a trade in there. David DeJesus to the Rangers for Taylor Teagarden and obviously some prospects. I think Maier impressed some with his stick, albeit he didn't play a great deal this season.

I think Maier could very well be the center fielder if DeJesus gets traded. He showed he could handle the position and is likely to hit for a respectable average while popping around 10 homers a year. Very similar to DeJesus numbers. Of course, if the Royals keep Teahen he may get the nod instead.

I don't think the Royals will have much luck trading Guillen, though I wish it would happen. I think Shealy would be a likely candidate to be traded. If not, pencil him in over Butler at first and Butler over Ka'aihue. Hawaiian Punch will open the season at Omaha.

----

My biggest question here...would GMDM actually consider dealing Gordon or Butler? He hasn't hesitated to raise some eyebrows in the past, you know. Obviously, I don't think that would actually happen but who knows?

Dragging out the Eric Hosmer situation

With first-round pick Eric Hosmer getting into just three professional games at Idaho Falls this year before the commissioner's office pulled him off the field, it comes as no surprise Dayton Moore wants to get him back on the field as soon as the Arizona Instructional League fires up on Sept. 22.

However, it doesn't appear that will happen as MLB and the Players Union met in front of an arbitrator Wednesday to discuss the Pedro Alvarez/Pirates signing situation. Hosmer, who was mentioned by Pirates brass to have signed AFTER Alvarez, remains in limbo as the arbitrator has scheduled another hearing for Sept. 23 (a day after the AZIL opens play). Moore is growing impatient with the situation as this could shave some time off Hosmer's arrival to the big leagues. (Ok, maybe not that much time - but still.)

Rumors are the arbitrator could then possibly drag these hearings well into October before making a decision. Thus, ending Hosmer's season before it ever really started. So much for the Aug. 15 signing deadline (designed to get players into games and not drag the signing process into next season). Let's just hope there aren't any more twists to this story - if you know what I mean.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Burgos is a D-Bag

Got a call from a buddy of mine this morning (another loyal Royal) that did nothing but assure all those rude and crude comments I had made about Ambiorix Burgos over the years was right on the money. It seems the flame-throwing righty is a serious S#!T bag.
Now a member of the New York Mets (thank God!), Burgos was arrested in New York on Tuesday and charged with assaulting his girlfriend - who had to be treated for her injuries at a hospital. The "Un-Mexicutioner" apparently struck his woman and knocked her to the ground before the policia arrived and hauled his butt to the pokey. He appeared in court on Tuesday, but hadn't yet received the slap on the wrist he has coming his way.
By the way, the garbage pitcher and flake of a human being, has spent the past month in the minors (still a stretch for him) while rehabbing from an arm injury. Anyways, I'm done talking about this piece of crap. Sorry for bothering you with this one.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Have the Royals tanked it with a purpose?

I'm getting the vibe there are some Royals fans out there who are pleased to see that the Royals have packed it in these final two months of the season. The reason? Why, the June Amateur Draft, of course.
Unless the insightful Brian Bannister got bored and brain stormed an evil scheme to play mind tricks on the fans instead of hitters. Maybe then they aren't as bad as they look.
Na.
I agree, it will be nice to have another year to replenish the farm system by picking in the top 5 each round. However, I don't completely believe the conspiracy theories surrounding all of this losing. I may be in the minority on this one.
To me, it is important for these young guys to finish the season on a good note. Now, none of that will matter if Dayton Moore cleans house as he has vowed to do this winter. Still, there is no way you want your organization to put on this type of show a couple of months before you start wining-and-dining free agents.
You can't play for June '09 in August '08 ... plain and simple. To be honest, I don't think that is what has happened to this team either. Rather, I believe what we are seeing is a roster watered down with minor league talent posing as major leaguers. The core group of guys - the guys that started on opening day - have been so beat up and dragged down that a great deal of playing time has been placed on the shoulders of their backups - the guys who can't play.
Don't get me wrong, I think Mitch Maier can be a serviceable player. He is very similar to Mark Teahen, and probably swings the lumber a little better. It's still too early to tell with him. Yeah, there are guys with potential like Gordon, Butler, Shealy, Ka'aihue and others, but this team seems to be too loaded down at certain positions.
We all know about the logjam at first base. There are very few options that help this team in the middle infield. Aviles has been good and there seems to be some potential there with Callaspo. Still, both of those players may not be regular starters five years from now.
That's the thing. This team is WEAK off the bench.
Ka'aihue is getting little playing time. That's no shock. Shealy and Butler are going to make it hard for him to showcase his talents for obvious reasons. Barring a trade, it appears the Royals will likely stick him in the minors again next year and see how legit this '08 season really was.
Aviles has that dreaded sophomore slump to worry about. Pitchers are going to make adjustments on him this offseason. Can he adjust with them? Gordon has been better at the plate, yet still leaves much to be desired. Butler has heated up since his stint at Omaha.
Dayton Moore is a man with a lot of pride. In no way would he encourage his players and coaching staff to sink the ship for a draft pick.
This team is loaded with a bunch of guys with no heart, though. Yeah, I said it. Josey was right when he called them "crybabies" and basically told them to grow some cajones. He couldn't have described himself any better if he was filling out his profile on Match.com.
For the most part, he described his teammates pretty well too.
Guys like Grudzielanek are pro's. This thing took a ride on the tobaggan when he went down and has never recovered. This team needs leadership. Right now they have none.
Lost in this rant somewhere is the fact that I just don't believe they are, or should, intentionally tank what's left of the season. Instead, they just plain suck. It won't hurt my feelings if you agree with me.

Monday, September 8, 2008

RIP Don Gutteridge

I know this isn't a post about the Royals per-say, but I did want to send my condolences to the family of Don Gutteridge, who passed away yesterday evening (Sunday). Don was the last surviving member of the famed Gas House Gang from the 30's and 40's. Don was affiliated with Major League Baseball for more than 60 years as a player - with the St. Louis Browns, Cardinals, Pittsburgh Pirates and Boston Red Sox (where he played with Ted Williams) - a coach (White Sox) and a scout (Royals, etc.).
Don, 96, passed away with his family and friends by his side in his hometown of Pittsburg, Kan. where he returned each season and remained after his retirement in 1992. His passing came exactly 72 years to the day of his major league debut on Sept. 7, 1936. He had been in good health as of late, but recently experienced some health difficulties.
Don was a very kind person. This past winter I wrote to Don and he not only signed the card I sent to him, but he also penned an extra card and the note I sent and shipped them all to me. This was something he did to everyone who wrote to him. He never big leagued anyone. He attended Royals games when he got the chance and made an appearance at Kauffman last year when he was honored the weekend he was enshrined into the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame. He had already been inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame several years ago and was a member of eight separate Halls of Fame.
For more on Don, check out http://www.joplinglobe.com/ for the official story about his life and death from my buddy Jim Henry - who knew Don rather well.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Pair of farmhands make BA's All-Star team

Baseball America named its post-season all-star squad today and a pair of Royals made the team. As no surprise, Kila Ka'aihue was named to the first-team as a DH. KK slugged 37 homers and hit .313 between AA Northwest Arkansas and AAA Omaha this season. He also drew 104 walks while only striking out 66 times. That gave him an OBP of .457.
2007 first-round pick Mike Moustakas made the second-team after a hot streak in the second half left him with 22 dingers and a .272 average. 'Moose' had one of the best seasons in the Midwest League (primarily a pitchers league) this year and should start next season at High-A Wilmington.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Royals sweep, Ka'aihue left on deck

Well, it was finally nice to see the Royals do something positive for a change. Not only did they sweep the Oakland Athletics who, by the way, are the only team to have scored fewer runs than the Boys in Blue this season, but they also managed to get around blunders and, at times, bad pitching to get it done.
Mike Aviles made a goof in game one that led to three runs and nearly cost the Royals in a brutal way. Of course, Brian Bannister didn't have to start leaving pitches up and getting pounded shortly after the error either. Banny couldn't hold another four run advantage. He allowed a solo shot to Daric Barton to tie it at 4 after giving up three runs in the prior inning.
Thanks to a nice slap hit from Gathright in the 10th the Royals were able to win the series and then focus on the sweep in game 2. By the way, Aviles, DeJesus and Butler all had a great day. Heck, Butler had a great series. That was nice to see.
Oh, and as a footnote, Kip Wells sucks. There's a reason the guy was just on the free market. He's been jumping around the league doing his best Brett Tomko impressions the past couple seasons. I think you get my point.
In case you didn't see the game, Kila Ka'aihue made his major league debut as a pinch runner late in the night cap. He also played defensively at first during the eighth and ninth innings, but didn't get an at-bat. He was left stranded in the on-deck circle when Jason Smith got out to end the eighth.
Ryan Shealy got the start again tonight. Should be interesting to see when Trey gives Kila his shot to impress.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Shealy gets the start, homers in second at-bat

Ryan Shealy went 1-for-4 in his first game back in the majors in almost a year, but that one hit was an opposite field homer and two of his other three outs were hit very hard. He narrowly missed an opposite field shot in the first inning also. He got a little too much lift on it and ended up flying out to the warning track in front of the Royals bullpen.
Kila Ka'aihue didn't get into the game, but he may see action in Wednesday's game. In fact, he may get the start in that one. Shealy, it should be noted, also made several good plays around the bag at first tonight as well. One of those plays was a nifty 3-6 double play he started himself.
Hopefully this trend will continue. The lineup could use the pop.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Surprise! Surprise! Ka'aihue gets the call

In a move that almost seemed inevitable, the Royals have called up slugging first basemen Ryan Shealy AND Kila Ka'aihue to join the team as September callups. As recently as last night there seemed to be some in the organization who weren't comfortable calling up the one we call Hawaiian Punch. Much of that dealt with where all of these first baseman are going to fit on the team. Billy Butler, Shealy and now Ka'aihue will all merit time at first and there are other guys like Gload and Teahen who have seen time there as well. It should be interesting to see how Hillman will balance the playing time.
Look, calling Ka'aihue and Shealy up is the right move. Shealy started off slow this season after coming off an injury riddled 2007, but he has heated things up the past several months and finished the season with a .280 average and 22 homers. I still believe this guy can be a solid hitter in the bigs - he deserved the call.
By now everyone knows Kila's story. There is no way they could not reward him with a promotion. He killed Texas League pitching, got called up and did more of the same in the PCL. Former top prospect Devon Lowery also will make his big league debut out of the bullpen. Yabuta also will be back with the club.
The team will have to make room on the 40-man roster for Lowery, Yabuta and Ka'aihue. It will be interesting to see who hits the door. Ka'aihue had to be added to the 40-man by November anyways or else the Royals would be forced to expose him to the Rule 5 Draft.
All four players who were promoted are expected to be in uniform in time for Tuesday's game.

Let's talk deals

With word coming out that Rafael Furcal does not qualify as a Type A or Type B free agent this year (meaning he will not require any compensation for signing him this off season) I now am starting to believe he may make waves on the radar for Kansas City. Furcal would allow the Royals to shift Mike Aviles to second base and use Alberto Callaspo as a super utility option next year.
Injuries would certainly become a factor in signing a guy like Furcal, but the Royals stand little to lose in taking a leap on the guy. The viable options to fill the shortstop position on the roster and in the minors is very watered down. Aviles certainly has proved he can play the position, but has also said himself he is best suited to play second. We all know Moore wants to protect his draft picks, and, yes, Moore was in Atlanta with Furcal all those years. It makes perfect sense. Of course, it would have to make perfect "cents" in order to work out as well.
On the trade front I believe the Royals HAVE GOT TO FIND A CATCHER! I'm sick and tired of watching John Buck as the starting catcher. The infatuation with him has to come to an end SOON. The guy is like a lump of cole in your stocking at Christmas. Nothing but disappointment. The Texas Rangers have an influx of young talent at catcher that they are just waiting to unload for the right price.
Jose Guillen, maybe? Look, you are going to think I'm crazy here but I believe that Mitch Maier could be close to David DeJesus on this team. He is going to hit 8-15 homers a year (not great, but DeJesus numbers), he plays good defense, hits for a good average and would be sure to steal just as many (and likely more) bases.
I'm just saying I don't think this team is going to be hurt that bad by trading him while his return is at its peak. When DeJesus starts to decline, he's going to fall off the radar quick. He has average-at-best speed for a center fielder and doesn't hit with enough "SLUUUG" to be a corner outfielder. (Trey Hillman loves me right now.) With what a player like DeJesus would return, I would say pull the trigger and help re-load the system with close-to-ready big league talent.
Any of the young catchers from Texas would be a good haul. The free agent market for catchers is going to be very weak. I have evidence to prove it. Miguel Olivo will be one of the top receivers on the market. So there.
Teahen isn't going to bring much, so it would probably be wise to keep him (now my throat hurts). Gordon and Butler are most likely not going to be dealt. Though if it meant nailing a solid power bat I wouldn't be surprised to see Dayton shake it up a bit.
I'll have more on this as we get closer to the off season.

Server back up, posting can happen again

Sorry for the delay in posts guys. For some reason this server wasn't allowing me to post things the past couple of days, and I still can't get rid of that old poll and add a new one. Keep your eyes peeled though because as soon as I can I will add another!
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Now to posting some Royals stuff: As rosters begin to expand the team has recalled Jimmy Gobble and John Bale on Sunday. The two lefties will add plenty of depth in the bullpen which will suddenly triple in left handers when Ron Mahay comes back from the disabled list on Tuesday. If Josh Newman is recalled (as is expected) the total of lefties will jump to four. Should be interesting to see who they go with here. Word on the street is Ka'aihue may not make his debut with the big club. Seems some of the brass think it's too early to jump him up and would rather see him finish the year on a good note at Omaha.
I believe this is a dumb move. If Ka'aihue is called up right now it will only give him a jump start on next year. Let the kid get the butterflies out while the games mean nothing. Afterall, he has earned the call with the type of year he has had. Instead, the Royals are most likely to opt for Ryan Shealy - who has also had a respectable year in AAA and merits a call.
Ka'aihue must be added to the 40-man roster to get the call. Here's the deal though. In order to protect him from the Rule 5 draft next year he must be on the 40-man by November. So, in my opinion, they've got to do it anyways so they might as well give the kid some time in the show and prove how legit he is NOW!

Friday, August 29, 2008

MLB orders Hosmer to sit

Bad news Royals fans. Major League Baseball has ordered the Royals to keep Eric Hosmer off the field and out of the lineup until the grievance followed by the Players Association regarding Pedro Alvarez's deal with the Pirates is resolved. According to the Pirates, Hosmer and the Royals reached an agreement AFTER Alvarez agreed to a deal. The Players Association is saying the deal was reached after the deadline and therefore is not a valid contract. An arbitrator is scheduled to rule on the matter Sept. 10 and until then Hosmer cannot play. Basically, he is done for the year if that's the case. In a worst case scenario Hosmer can be taken from the Royals if it is found that he agreed after the deadline. Dayton Moore says everything is fine. Gee, I wish that were so.

Is Trey Hillman losing his players?

So now Miguel Olivo says there's NO WAY he'll be back in a Royals uniform next year. That really isn't a big surprise since Olivo came into the year feeling the Royals had lied to him during contract negotiations. Olivo felt the Royals had promised him an open competition for the starting job against John Buck. Instead, the Royals just gave Buck the job and he has since hit .224 with 8 homers and 41 RBI this year.
Olivo, well he's hit .264 with 11 homers and 36 RBI in almost 100 fewer AB's. This is where my breaking point lies. Hillman and the Royals are infatuated with Buck's game calling skills. That is the sole reason why John Buck remains the Royals catcher. That's it. That one thing. Because it sure as heck can't be anything else unless Buck is holding something over the organizations head that we all don't know about.
This isn't the first time we've heard a player say that they have no communication with Hillman or his staff. Jose Guillen apparently had the same gaffe with the guy. Funny thing is he denied it, and now another player goes on the record saying it's true. Makes you wonder if the clubhouse HAS lost confidence in Hillman. Of course, the players aren't going to say it publicly. That's a bad PR move for them and the organization. It's starting to look like there's truth to the theory though.
Buck is a putrid hitter. We all know that. Last year's 16 homer season was nothing more than a fluke. He is Tony Pena Jr. minus the goofy glasses, slider and plus a few more dingers. That's it. He's an eyesore to the lineup. He can't throw base stealers out. He calls a good game though.
Guess that says our pitching staff has no idea how to approach hitters and what pitches to throw in what counts. Olivo, well the dude hasn't had an opportunity to see this staff day in and day out to know what their strengths and weaknesses are.
Olivo has way more power. A potential 20+ HR guy. He also throws out around 50% of those who run on him. That's an impressive stat. The guy gives you a chance at the plate. Buck gives you nothing offensively. He calls a good game though.
John Buck, Ross Gload, Tony Pena Jr., Esteban German - all those players are infatuations of this organization. Those are guys they want to keep. That's why they get no better year in and year out.
The brass in charge better do something quick. I'm afraid of the scab this will create to future free agents.