Wednesday, September 24, 2008

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.

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