Author Archive

Texas League Playoffs: NW Arkansas Naturals Lose But Hope Springs Eternal

With Game one of the Texas League semis in the books, the league’s best team in the regular season finds themselves in a 1 – 0 hole, having lost in 12th as the semi-stable Patrick Keating gave up two earned on Peter Kozma’s second home run of the night.

This all came well after Danny Duffy ran his pitch count up to 100 with two outs in the sixth. While one could opine that Duffy was not economical with his pitches, it should be noted that the man who had to take time off to rediscover his love for the game struck out 10 while walking three and allowing four hits. After running into a bit of trouble in the second, he dominated, striking out the side in two of the five innings he saw all the way through.

When Duffy walked away from baseball in the end of March, I was at my wit’s end. While the future was anything but certain, the alarmist in me began to panic. Was this the beginning of the end? After a harrowing 2009 in the minors for the Royals, this was just more fuel to the fire.

Wow, what a difference a season makes.

After a worrisome 2009 season split between low-A Burlington, where he struggled, and the notoriously unfriendly confines of the Royals’ high-A affiliate, Wilmington, DE, where he bombed, the 24th ranked prospect in the game according to Baseball America heading into 2019 found himself un-ranked to start this season.

Mike Moustakas found himself plummeting down the ranks after two straight seasons ranked in the top 20, landing at the 80th spot to start the 2010 season. Today, he finds himself having been voted the Minor League Hitter of the Year by the Sporting News.

Danny Duffy came back and hasn’t looked to have missed a beat. Sure, his K-rate dipped a little upon reaching Northwest Arkansas, but it was still over a strikeout per inning, and the sample size is probably to small to get too concerned over.

John Lamb and Mike Montgomery have both pitched so well at times to have elicited praise so effusive that even I blushed, and the praise wasn’t for me. The unofficial title of best left-handed pitching prospect in the game has been used in reference to both, and that application seems to be warranted. Yes, Lamb certainly struggled after getting promoted to Double-A, but if memory serves me correctly, Lamb became the third-youngest player* in the Texas League this year when he was called up to join the Naturals. It also bears mentioning that his BABIP was .333 which certainly helped nudge his WHIP up to the unhealthy 1.515 it reached over his 33.0 innings of work.

* I believe the two younger players were Jordan Lyles and Martin Perez. Of course, the (Dis)Astros then saw fit to promote Jordan Lyles to AAA – Round Rock….

Then there’s Wil Myers, one of the few bright spots from last season. In very limited time after signing his much-above-slot contract shortly after being drafted only to have his contract put in the do not approve until the signing deadline bin by Bud Selig & Co., Myers exploded onto the scene, but having logged only 22 games between two rookie level teams, Royals fans had to be cautiously optimistic regarding the possible-catcher/probable-outfielder heading into 2010. Myers has proven that his 2009 was indicative of what was to come, as he tore up Burlington and Wilmington(!). The 19-year-old triple-slashed .315/.429/.506 between the two A levels of ball. Perhaps most impressive was the fact that he actually played better in Wilmington than he did in Burlington, posting a .346/.453/.512 slash line while playing half his home games in hitter’s hell. Sure, his home run totals dwindled a bit once reaching Delaware, but his 54 extra base hits in 128 games at each level as a 19-year-old is tantalizing, and the potential value of his bat is extraordinary regardless of where he ends up biding his time on the field.

With these big question marks have been re-punctuated as exclamation points, the fact that the struggles of Aaron Crow and the season-long absence of high-profile Cuban defector Noel Arguelles effectively knocked two of the Royals four Top 100 Prospects (as usual, according to Baseball America) out of the rankings, and the Royals still find themselves with five likely top 50 (conservative estimate here) prospects heading into 2011 has to been reassuring to even the most pessimistic of Royals fans.

Furthermore, no mention has been made of Chris Dwyer, the potential of Cheslor Cuthbert, the new fan favorite Tim Collins, and 2010 draftees Christian Colon and Brett Eibner. With the two highest levels of the Royals farm having been in the playoff hunt until the final days of the regular season and one of those teams looking to be the class of their league (by having said that, I’m sure the Naturals will be three-and-out), the talent has advanced to the higher levels of the farm system and should begin infusing the Major League roster with some legitimate prospects as early as this spring.

As Danny Duffy did his part to put to bed any residual worries I had and Eric Hosmer cranked yet another home run, it seems like the bright future is much closer than the standard carrot dangled at the end of a three-year-long stick that we have been perpetually teased by.

Read more MLB news on

Scott Podsednik To L.A. Dodgers, On Lookout for Trolleys

Much to my (and I’d imagine just about every other Royals blogger’s) delight, Scott Podsednik has been shipped to the Dodgers in exchange for catcher Lucas May and right-handed pitcher Elisaul Pimentel.

With a hopeful trade of Jose Guillen right behind it, this could mean that it might finally be Kila Ka’aihue’s time to shine (or at least play) in the Majors.

The prospects the Royals got are by most reports fringe prospects, with Lucas May putting up what appear to be solid numbers for the Albuquerque Isotopes and Elisaul Pimentel pitching quite well as a 22-year-old in low-A ball.

Now I say that May has put up numbers that appear to be solid because his .296/.352/.496 triple-slash is actually slightly below average, as the entire team is hitting .303/.356/.485.

Yes, it’s nice that he is a catcher that can hit, but the extremely hitter-friendly confines that he has called home for much of this season certainly contribute to his ratios.

May is also a catcher after having been converted from short. As he has not always been a catcher, some of the reviews are mixed on his defensive game.

As for Pimentel, he is exactly the same age as Keaton Hayenga, but unlike the disappointing Hayenga, he has compiled a 9.7 K/9, 3.5 BB/9, 2.77 K/BB, and 1.173 WHIP in the Midwest League.

On his career between two-and-a-half rookie ball seasons and this season in low-A, Pimentel has thrown together an 8.1 K/9, 2.8 BB/9, 2.85 K/BB, and 1.228 WHIP. While he may seem slightly old for the level, he has certainly been solid thus far.

Now, what Scott Podsednik’s departure means at the Major League level is that Alex Gordon will slide over to left, where the Royals apparently prefer him to play. This should mean he will get to settle into the daily lineup.

Bob Dutton tweeted that it appears as though RHP Greg Holland will get the call to fill the open roster spot on the 25-man roster.

Why they would go back to a 13-man pitching staff is beyond me, but even with the recent return of Rick Ankiel, one would have to think this move could crack the door open just a little more for Kila Ka’aihue.

If Guillen is shipped to San Francisco, as the smoke is hopefully indicating, then The Kila Monster shouldn’t just get the call, he should get to start nearly every day.

Even if Guillen isn’t shipped out, the Royals willingness to throw Guillen out in right regularly should slam that door open for Ka’aihue, although logic does not seem to factor in to what the Royals have done with him thus far in his career.

As for Podsednik, he got hot at the right time, and this time Dayton Moore pulled the trigger, having possibly learned his lesson from the Ron Mahay Hesitation of 2008.

Podsednik wasn’t nearly as awful as I thought he’d be, but his place on this roster blocked younger players that should have been getting their shot.

The thing that will be most missed about Scott Podsednik will of course be his Playmate wife. They’ve surely ordered up their PODS and have a crew packing their shit as a I type this. We’ll miss you, Lisa.

Read more MLB news on

MLB Trade Rumors: Kansas City Royals at the Deadline, Rumors A-Flyin’

Well, it’s been a while, hasn’t it? Since my last post, I’ve gone out of town twice, bought a new car, worked nearly every day in between (pulling doubles three days a week), and have begun to prepare for a move to a new apartment.

This has left little time for blogging and little time for the Royals. Under new manager Ned Yost, the Royals are playing roughly .500 ball. This has been more a curse than a blessing, as the perception of success has led to hesitation in getting involved as sellers on the trade market.

Closing the gap to fewer than nine games out* gave the Royals what many perceived as a false sense of competitiveness. After the sweep and the subsequent middling play on the field, the Royals have been hovering around a dozen games out with the Indians jockeying for fourth place in the Central.

*I’ve been distracted, obviously, but it was either 7.5 or 8.5 games before the White Sox series heading into the break.

With reality having set in, the Royals have waded into the trade market as sellers, trading Alberto Callaspo to the Angels for Sean O’Sullivan—the most Irish player since Troy O’Leary—and Will Smith.

O’Sullivan is probably about as good as any of the mediocre starters currently in the Royals’ rotation not named Donald Zachary Greinke, which doesn’t exactly say much. Both he and Smith have uninspiring minor league track records that would seem to be a better fit for the Twins than the Royals. Neither have impressive K-rates, but both have had BB/9 under 2.5 in their minor league careers.

Drawing too much from their minor league numbers is not especially useful, as both had the misfortune of pitching for the Salt Lake Bees.

The then-highly-touted Nick Adenhart put up an ugly 5.76 ERA and a 1.70 WHIP in Salt Lake the season before he made the opening day rotation, and Smith skipped Double-A when he was promoted to AAA-Salt Lake this year, so these things should be taken into account when evaluating what the Royals have gotten.

Smith found himself back in AA-Arkansas before the trade, but he definitely hasn’t been impressive since the initial promotion this season.

So for Alberto Callaspo, Dayton Moore netted two prototypical Twins pitchers. I can’t say that is particularly exciting. Then again, neither is Bert Calypso.

Now, since the Royals were initially so reticent to get into the trading game, their most enticing piece to trade is now out for the year. Timing is everything, and David DeJesus suffered a complete ligament tear in his right thumb while running into the wall at Yankee Stadium.

Now, one could certainly argue that the time to trade DeJesus and maximize the return was when there was still the perception that he could play center, but he is having a career year and is still signed to a club-friendly contract. The return could have been nice.

Oh well.

At least this means the Royals had to call up Alex Gordon. Maybe he’ll even get to play…

As sellers, the Royals do still appear to be looking to ship off their high-dollar guys. According to Ken Rosenthal , they are in talks with the Mets. Obviously (and unfortunately), Jeff Francoeur has been bandied about. Apparently, so have Gil Meche, Jose Guillen, Kyle Farnsworth, Oliver Perez, and Luis Castillo.

If you had a hard time getting excited about Sean O’Sullivan and Will Smith, how about that mountain of crap the Royals could be picking from?

When Kyle Farnsworth is the player you’d most want out of this list (I’ve always had an irrational disdain for Luis Castillo), you are dealing with some undesirable pieces.

Oddly, since Oliver Perez and Gil Meche are both due $12 million next year, it might be useful to look at who could have the most upside in 2011. Sadly, that is probably Oliver Perez, as his left-handedness could at the very least mean that Dayton Moore won’t waste his energy turning over every rock on earth to find such southpawed garbage as Horacio Ramirez and Sidney Ponson.

Oh, right, and there’s also the fact that Gil Meche’s arm might actually fall off of his body the next time he steps on the mound. Given the ticking time bomb that Meche and his contract have been since Trey Hillman got his hands on him, Oliver Perez almost has to have a better shot of success than Meche does going forward.

If acquiring Castillo meant that Mike Aviles would be manning short with Yuniesky Betancourt being exiled to Cuba, then the addition of Castillo to the Royals would be palatable. Sadly, common sense is not something the Royals are blessed with, and Aviles would likely be riding the pine while the Yunicorn continued to infuriate the fanbase.

Frenchy for Farnsworth (their contracts match up)—and I can’t believe I’m saying this—would actually hurt the Royals. Farnsworth has been decent this year. He isn’t far from projecting as a Type B Free Agent according to the Elias Rankings at MLB Trade Rumors . Francoeur is abysmal. Furthermore, his presence would likely hinder other Royals who should be playing, namely Alex Gordon and Mitch Maier.

Apparently, it would take Guillen getting traded for the Royals to want to take on Francoeur, but this would just seem create the same problem that currently exists as a result of having Guillen on the roster: The Royals can’t find out what they’ve got in Kila Ka’aihue with Guillen taking all of the playing time.

There are conflicting reports that indicate that the Royals are not interested in Perez or Francoeur at all, but if last year’s acquisition of Yuniesky Betancourt has proven anything, it is that Dayton Moore always gets his man, no matter how crappy that man may be.

Now, in addition to Jose Guillen being on the block, it also appears as though Scott Podsednik’s recent hot streak has raised eyebrows, especially in the NL West. Both Guillen and Podsednik seem like perfect fits for San Francisco, what with Brian Sabean’s penchant for taking on over-the-hill veterans with little-to-no upside. If either of these guys can go anywhere, I’m for it. Hell, the Royals should pay someone else to take them.

If neither gets traded, then this is reminiscent of two years ago, when Ron Mahay’s value was at its peak on July 31, and he promptly injured himself in his first August game. It was all downhill from there, but it seemed like everyone and their sister needed a left-handed reliever that year, yet Mahay was a Royal come 2009.

Players like Mahay, Guillen, and Podsednik have little value on a team like the Royals. Amongst the two current Royals in that trio, each has been blocking younger players for the greater part of the season. It took a season-ending injury to David DeJesus for Alex Gordon to finally get another shot again. This is unacceptable.

With Kila waiting in the wings, Jose Guillen needs to be dealt. 

Now while we would all love to see Jason Kendall, Yuniesky Betancourt, and Rick Ankiel go, too, those three have zero value to other teams.  That is sad because they also have no value to the Royals. 

Given that teams actually appear to be interested in Guillen and Podsednik, and that Dayton Moore reportedly turned down a trade proposal from the Yankees that included Jesus Montero, I might actually be excited to see what happens come the weekend.  If Guillen and Podsednik are suiting up elsewhere, I’ll be pretty happy. 

I would like to thank the fellas over at MLB Trade Rumors.  Their hard work makes following all this possible.

Read more MLB news on

The Meaning of 2012 To Kansas City Royals Fans

As seasons and almost more importantly aimless offseasons pass by, we Royals fans have had to adjust our expectations for contention, with the carrot on the proverbial stick predictably staying two years away. Not so long ago, we were looking to 2010 as the year that .500 would be attainable—the year that respectability would be ours.

Of course, Dayton Moore had that ultimately disastrous 2008-2009 offseason in which distrust of Allard Baird’s untested young holdovers combined with a disastrous binge of trading his diamonds in the rough for veterans low on talent and signing a slew of costly free agents who did not pan out.

When combined with Hillman’s decision to ride Gil Meche like a rented pack-mule in such a way that one could only infer that Hillman was secretly filled with an entirely consuming hatred of mules and the stunting of the development of what we thought would be the offensive future of the franchise in the form of Alex Gordon, things did not pan out as we fans had hoped.

Now, we sit here, actively monitoring the progress of the Royals’ top prospects, cautiously reveling in the success of the Northwest Arkansas Naturals, involuntarily salivating at the absurd seasons that Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer, Mike Montgomery, and John Lamb are having while letting our imaginations run wild with visions of pennants in the middle of the decade.

And this is where 2012 comes in.

2012 is when this slew of talent in the minors is expected to arrive in Kansas City and hopefully begin to contribute.

2012 is when we no longer have to watch the Scott Podsedniks and Jason Kendalls of the world batting first and second day after day.

2012 is when the the All-Star Game is in Kansas City and for a week Kauffman is the center of the baseball world.

And this is where the cruel joke is because the world is ending in 2012.

The Mayans knew it.

Movies have been made.

Just as the Royals are supposed to give their success-starved fanbase something to feast on, the world will end. The point at which this franchise is set to begin to be good once again coincides with the end of the world.


Read more MLB news on

Why Aren’t Alex Gordon and Kila Ka’aihue in Kansas City Again?

Rather than watch the Royals offense not give Zack Greinke a win last night, I elected to head up to Round Rock (roughly 20 minutes outside of Austin, for you non-Texans) to see the Omaha Royals take on the Round Rock Express (the Astros’ Triple-A affiliate, for you Royals-only fans).

This was the fourth time I’ve been to the Dell Diamond this year (and I may be going back tonight) and the second time I’ve been up there to see Omaha play (the first time was with dart enthusiast and Ranger Rundown and Newberg Report scribe Scott Lucas).

While Bruce Chen wasn’t toeing the rubber and imposing his will upon Express hitters this time around, the opportunity to see Royals who should be playing every day on the Major League level presented itself again, as Kila Ka’aihue was once again in the lineup* for the Royals and Alex Gordon was playing the part that Mike Aviles was playing in April.

*Weirdly, this is the third time I’ve seen Kila this year, as I saw him drive in his RBI in Arlington. As a geographically isolated Royals fan, this is rare indeed.

The O-Royals played fairly well, overcoming some defensive hiccups and a rocky start from Manauris Baez, who got promoted from High-A Wilmington for the start. Given his lackluster minor league career and his unimpressive 45.2 inning body of work at Wilmington thus far (4.73 ERA, 1.73 WHIP, 5.3 K/9, 1.59 K/BB, .335 BAA), it would seem that this was more than likely a temporary promotion of convenience and was part of the Hochevar injury butterfly effect that also killed Manute Bol .

Alex Gordon seemed to read the ball fairly well off the bat in left, and he had a near gem of a play in the corner as he attempted to throw out a runner at home. His arm made what shouldn’t have been a close play at the plate, a near out. Kind of makes one wonder why they’re not trying that arm out in right. I guess with the Royals it’s not uncommon to end up scratching one’s head when looking at the decisions they make…

Kila crushed a double to deep right-center, plating Gordon and Falu*. Both looked solid, as usual. Gordon extended his on-base streak to 39 straight games.

*I think it was Falu**. It may have been David Lough—I was drinking…

**I checked, and it was Falu. My mind still works with alcohol clouding it.

And, during the home-half of the fourth, I hollered out to Alex Gordon, “You should be in the Bigs, Alex,” which he ignored for a second before turning slightly away and laughing to himself.

It’s true.  There are two legitimate Major Leaguers wasting away in Triple-A with nothing left to glean from their experience down there. 

Read more MLB news on

Zack Got Greinked Again

As I watch the entirety of the Royals team fail to support their ace for just the latest in what has been a career of having been let down for Zack Greinke, one thought keeps returning to me. I actively loathe half of this team. From The Yunicorn to Guillen to nearly all of the bullpen, this Royals team plays baseball in a manner that is not befitting a Major League baseball team.

Chronicling the ways in which the team undermined last year’s American League Cy Young Award Winner this afternoon could take a while. I am electing to do this in spite of the fact that team may very well have won this afternoon. Having worked until what I would imagine to have been at least the sixth inning, I recorded the game and returned home to queue it up. I got part way through the third before going back to the beginning–my frustration mounting with each passing moment of ineptitude.

After being given a free out after Erick Aybar foolishly tried to stretch a lead-off double into a triple, Chris Getz committed a two-out error on a grounder that took a tough bounce off the lip of the grass. Zack then followed with six-pitch walk to Torii Hunter, a four-pitch walk to Hideki Matsui in which three of the balls were strikes according to FoxTrax, and finally a five-pitch fielder’s choice (Callaspo to Getz) to Mike Napoli. These fifteen pitches (borderline strikes be damned) basically ate an inning of work.

I have no idea how this game will turn out (well, I’m assuming that the rest of the Royals will find a way to totally fuck Zack Greinke in the ass, but that is just based on the fact that I know these Royals), but I’d imagine that the Royals could have another inning’s worth of pitches out of Zack Greinke.

In the bottom of the first, Scott Podsednik leads off a four-pitch (all strikes) strikeout with the fouled off third pitch leading to an altercation between Mike Scioscia and home plate ump, Mike Estabrook. Kendall works a full count before feebly flying out to right. After DeJesus gets a base hit that could just as easily have been ruled an error on outfielder-turned-first-baseman-by-necessity Michael Ryan, Billy Butler waves over a slider low in the zone (at best) in a full count. It was seemed like it was close enough that Butler probably had to take a hack at it to avoid being a strikeout victim looking, but I think we would all love to see the Royals best hitter do something with a runner on base here.

With Zack back on the mound to start off the second, Michael Ryan rips the first pitch he sees off the wall in deep right-center. Mitch Maier plays the ball off the wall, turns to hurl it in to second (or possibly third, but the ball comes within a few feet of second), skipping Getz who should be* the cut-off man, only Yuniesky Betancourt is somehow not covering second at all, so Ryan is standing up at second as the ball skips toward third base. Ryan was going to be safe regardless, but if memory serves me correctly from little league baseball the second baseman is the cut-off for a fly-ball to right, and short should be covering second.

*Well, really, Aviles should be the cut-off man because Aviles should be playing, not Getz, but whatever.

As Getz was the cut-off for the gunning down of Aybar at third in the first with Batter Nine, You Sucky ducking out of the way of the throw to third standing right next to second base, I think memory does serve me correctly. Betancourt seems to be backing up the cut-off rather than covering second. Is that not playing out of position? To add to the fundamentals failure, Billy Butler isn’t backing up the throw to second, which Frank White called him out on. At the very least, Butler is slow to back up the throw to second. Very possibly (I would even say likely as the example from the first inning backs this up) we have two Royals not where they are supposed to be on one play. It didn’t lead to a run that wasn’t going to score anyway, but there is a lack of sound fundamentals on display here.

After Frandsen drives in Ryan and Willits hits into a dubious bunt fielder’s choice in which Estabrook allows Kendall to throw out the lead runner at second on a bunt that never actually ends up in fair territory (it rolled horizontally from the dirt across the plate never touching any part of the dirt in front of the plate), Zack strikes Aybar out looking on a back-door slider and Kendall guns Willits down attempting to take second on the full count with a good jump.

To the top of the second… Jose Guillen, who is slumping so horribly that he should not be in the lineup regardless of his career numbers against Jered Weaver, strikes out on a ball high enough that it goes to the backstop. Of course, the play isn’t even close at first, as Guillen hadn’t even mounted his Rascal idling half way up the first base line. The struggling Alberto Callaspo grounds out to first, and Mitch Maier looks at one, takes a big cut at another, watches a ball high, watches another outside, and finally strikes on a pitch thrown in what appears to be the same place as the ball he watched for ball two.

The third sees Mitch Maier make a nice sliding snare of a Howie Kendrick liner to center only to have Big Head Bobby Abreu beat out a Betancourt throw from the grass right up the middle. In Hunter’s at-bat, Yost gets tossed after Estabrook called time to show up Jason Kendall after Kendall calmly asked where a pitch was. Clearly this is not Estabrook’s finest hour, as he looks like a crazy Napoleon. Yost seems completely correct in ripping Estabrook a new asshole. Kendall didn’t even turn his head from the crouch to ask, and Estabrook walked around in front of Kendall to dress him down. Amateur hour, Estabrook. Amateur hour.

Hunter ends up striking out. Matsui destroys Tokyo, defeats Mothra, and guides a grounder past the diving glove of The Range-Deficient Yunicorn. Then Callaspo has a liner ripped directly into his glove, and Greinke escapes the top of the third inning unscathed, down 1 – 0.

To start the bottom of the third, Yuni swings at the first pitch, pops it foul into the sun, and has Aybar gift him with a blown catch because he wasn’t wearing his shades. Then, apparently intent upon driving Mike Scioscia to have a coronary incident in this inning, Aybar airmails a throw to first on a routine grounder, pulling Ryan off the bag, and Betancourt finds himself standing on first. Since everyone knows that nobody Getz out alive, Yuni gets picked off at first with no outs and the inimitable Chris Getz chomping at the bit, just waiting to drive in what could have been his first RBI on what could have been his first extra-base hit of the season.

All right, I know… Getz has to have an RBI this season right? (The total is seven, by the way.) But does he have and extra-base hit? Survey says: Yes. One double. In 80 plate appearances.

Jesus Christ.

Oh, Getz strikes out.

Podsednik singles. If Betancourt wasn’t drunk, he’d be standing on second.

Two outs. Runner on first. Kendall up. 11 RBI on the season. Will he make it 12? Well, obviously Kendall is not getting an extra-base hit here. If it were possible for a player’s SLG to be lower than his AVG, Kendall would be the man that would challenge it. Kendall has played in so many games this year that he’s starting to log games played for the Royals in 2009 because he has run out of games this season to play. If he were even remotely good, this would be awesome. Instead, John Buck and Miguel Olivo are killing the ball in their respective new homes, and Jason Kendall blows ass every day in Kansas City. At least he’ll lead the Majors in games played this season with 240.

Oh, what did Kendall do? Well, after Podsednik takes second on Napoli’s awful arm, Kendall works a full-count walk. David Of The Son of God steps to the dish with two gritty veterans on first and second, and grounds out to first.

Whew. Run scoring averted.


In the fourth, Zack makes Michael Ryan his bitch in a four-pitch strikeout with the payoff pitch being his slider. It registers at 88 MPH, and it was said that Zack hit 99 MPH in the first, so you can rest assured that the gun is hottt today. Two fastballs from Zack, and Frandsen has popped out to DeJesus in right. Quickly ahead 0 – 2 on Willits, Zack can’t induce #77 to chase three straight balls out of the zone before a pitch is fouled off and the home broadcast misses the strikeout pitch to Willits.

Determination seems to have set in for Greinke here in the top of the fourth. Great inning. Unfortunately, the oddsmakers in Vegas would set the odds of the Royals scoring at least two runs today at about 350:1.

Bottom of the fourth sees Butler leading off with a ground out to third. I’m just going to go ahead and assume Guillen strikes out here. Glad he’s in the lineup today. Eye-high, and he laid off. Shocking. Chased a slider in the dirt. Thrown out after the K. Embarrassing. You make me ashamed to be a Royals fan, JoGui. Bert Calypso comes up, passes it to the man, and boom goes the dynamite. In this case, the dynamite is a fly ball reeled in by Aybar in center field.

Sad showing. Two hits thus far. The end of this commercial is the result of your shite showing, Royals position players.

As Zack takes the mound to start the fifth, I can’t help but wonder if the Royals should forgo the DH if their choice is Jose Guillen. Just let Zack hit. There’s no fucking way he’s going to be happy with the team that’s constructed behind him. Let him hit and he might stay when his contract is up.

Tangent aside, I’m waiting for Betancourt to boot a double play ball and assume that it will happen this inning. The Aybar single through the first base side of the infield sets up the prediction. Kendrick lines to Of Jesus. Double play would get them out of the inning. Abreu, whose massive head rivals that of Kevin Mench, steps in, takes three balls, marvels at the fact that the size of his head hasn’t crippled him with its ridiculous weight, finds himself in a full count, and fouls off what seems like 17 pitches before striking out as Aybar takes second.

Torii Hunter crushes cutter for a two-run shot into the fountain in left-center.

Three runs is obviously insurmountable for these awful Royals. To continue is an exercise in futility, but I am a glutton for punishment.

Hideki Matsui singles and eats a fishing vessel while humming some BOC on the way to first.

With the citizens running around frantically hoping to be saved from such an awful fate, Zack picks up his sixth K, owning Napoli.

In the bottom of the fifth, Maier strikes out on a 1 – 2 change-up before Betancourt finally gets the third hit for the Royals–a double into the left field corner. With a runner in scoring position and one out, Getz singles through the hole between first and second, but the RBI was not meant to be. If The Windmill were still employed, Getz would be at first with two outs. Some things have gotten better, I guess. Scott Podsednik’s hot wife surely looks on wondering who that man is that is milling about in the box because he’s not the same guy that hit those two postseason home runs in 2005 as he goes down swinging at a ball level with his chin. Kendall grounds to third, and they get the force at second. Base runners (plural!) wasted. Greinke’s hopes for something other than a quality start ending in a loss are dashed.

Inning six. Will to live waning. Two pitches, Michael Ryan flies out to DDJ. Callaspo runs by a grounder up the third base line that is clearly not breaking foul, and Zack’s got a runner on first and a ball that rolled about 80 feet from the plate is good for a hit. Frandsen stands at third after Willits dropped a double up the right field line. Free-swinging* Aybar steps in with hopes of driving in two more Angels’ runs, works the count full, and draws a walk to load the bases.

*Weirdly, I looked at Aybar’s FanGraphs page, and his O-Swing% is down to a much more respectable 30.4%. Yes, his career O-Swing% is still 35.0%, but he’s showing a slightly more discerning eye now that he’s leading off in Anaheim. It’s probably just a product of small sample size, but maybe a tiger can change its stripes.

With a grounder to third, Callaspo steps on third, eliminating the force at home, throws home with time to spare, and the wizened veteran Jason Kendall elects to simply act as if the force is in effect stepping on the plate but not applying the tag. Run scores. Jason Kendall adds another bullet point to my reasons he’s on my shit list. Zack Greinke gets another “earned” run.

A double steal is successful but ultimately in vain as Abreu lines out to right.

For those keeping track at home, Abreu’s entirely extraneous at-bat here in the top of the sixth goes for five pitches. That is 20 pitches that Zack Greinke should have been able to use later in the game were his defense remotely fucking competent. If I knew the tag needed to be applied in that situation as it was happening, shouldn’t the consummate veteran know that as well?

If three runs was insurmountable, it would take the Royals eight weeks of Zack Greinke starts to score four.


Back-to-back-to-back-to-back homers would tie the game. Weaver has an 8:1 K:BB. DeJesus won’t be in on the four straight, as he flies out to the warning track in center. Butler flies out to Hunter just a step in from the warning track. Substantive contact for Guillen is a pipe dream. Predictable strikeout. Farnsworth is warming up as Greinke is set to sit down for good with 116 pitches, 20 of which should have been avoided. Four runs scored. The fourth shouldn’t have at all. Kendall somehow doesn’t get tagged with an error for the complete fuck-up at home. If ever there were an instance in which an error in its purest form is committed, it is this. Yet Zack gave up four “earned” runs.

Have I mentioned that I hate this fucking team. At second, Chris Getz. At short, Yuniesky Betancourt. Behind the plate, Jason Kendall. Your designated “hitter,” Jose Guillen. In left, Scott Podsednik. All of them awful. Three of them with gaffes today. Guillen with three Ks while Zack was in.

Apparently, May 18th is the last time that the Royals scored a fucking run in support of Greinke. It is June 3rd today.

Ryan “Catch the” Lefebvre jumping in on the Godzilla stuff I was on about earlier (well, technically later, as I’m watching this on tape delay).

Fuck it. I’m not watching this anymore. Everyone’s favorite reliever is on the mound. His fate is to ride his lawnmower to his dying brother’s house in Wisconsin and then be nominated for an Oscar.
Furthermore, the Royals made a decent pitcher, Jered Weaver, look like a fucking world-beater.  Put him on the same list as guys like Jeff Niemann (yes, I’m going back to last year for that one, but does it matter?), Ervin Santana, Jeff Francis, a struggling Jake Peavy, Fausto Carmona, Jake Westbrook, Matt Garza, and Carl Pavano.  Ridiculous.  This team is so inept that it makes me want to go insane, just so that I can have some plausible justification for actually being a fan of this godawful team. 

And yes, things are looking up in the minors.  The question marks that were present heading into the season have been nearly entirely erased, but that doesn’t make watching this team thwart any shot Greinke had at a respectable season any easier.  I know Win/Loss records are horseshit, but last year’s Cy Young Award Winner is staring at a 1 – 7 record now.  He is the best and brightest thing the franchise has going for it, and their ineptitude could send him to a Mike Maroth-like season (W/L-wise) and very well drive him away. 

Read more MLB news on

He’s Baaack…Danny Duffy, That Is

While I don’t have much time (I am being extremely irresponsible in writing this as it’s 3:15 AM and I work at 8:00 AM, I just thought it would be nice to post something positive for a change. According to Bob Dutton and Terez A. Paylor at the Star, Danny Duffy is set to return to camp. In electing to resume what had been a very promising career, the pitcher who was widely regarded as being the most advanced top-tier pitching prospect in the system heading in the season is reportedly about three weeks away from pitching competitively.

For purely selfish reasons, I hope they put him with the Naturals, as I fully anticipate being able to get to some of their games against Frisco, San Antonio, and Christ’s Corpse.

I know I speak for nearly all of us when I say that we are extremely glad that he has come back and hope that he has been able to successfully deal with whatever was bothering him.

As for my absence, I do apologize. I’ve been insanely busy. Hell, one might even say I’ve been unsanely busy. Some of that busy-ness comes with the nature of being in the pleasure/leisure (pronounced in the rhyming fashion) boat industry in the last months of bearable Texas weather.

It is also somewhat related to the fact that I had to fly out to DC for the second time this spring. This time it was not for a parental visit (although it was nice to see you, Mom and Dad…), but rather for “Jeopardy!” auditions. I am in the contestant pool for this upcoming season, but as I learned a few years ago that is no guarantee for getting the call. My fingers are crossed, and I will keep you posted if anything comes of this.

Since the audition and the various weird things that came about because of it are out of the way, I hope to be able to dedicate a little more time to this blog, among other things. Thanks for your readership, friends, Romans, countrymen.

And more importantly, thank you, Mr. Duffy. Patrick would be proud.


Read more MLB news on

Trey Hillman Canned By Kansas City Royals, Yost To Man the Helm of Sinking Ship

After the seemingly universal outcry calling for Trey Hillman’s head a la Alfredo Garcia, it would appear that David Glass could no longer withstand the cacophony of nay-sayers and forced Dayton Moore to kick his hand-picked manager to the curb.

As the three remaining Royals fans piss themselves in glee, the spurned mass of fans who deemed the team no longer worth the hassle look around, see that Ned Yost has been fingered to right the ship, roll their eyes, and return to pouring over their short list of teams that they are going to become fans of.

The reason the switch is so underwhelming at first glance is that Ned Yost was fired in the heat of a pennant race with two weeks to go in the regular season. That Brewers club he managed ultimately made the playoffs, but his management of the team was deemed so detrimental to the team that Doug Melvin and Co. had no other recourse but to fire him. All of this happened less than two full years ago.

I guess only the Royals could have the only two viable in-house candidates for an interim manager be Ned Yost or the man who challenged Shea Hillenbrand to a fight in the clubhouse.

In all fairness, Gibbons’s freak out seemed somewhat justified. After all, Sheas are the segment of the populace third-most likely to be douchebags after men named Chase* and Camaro owners.

*Apologies to Mac (the pertinent segment starts at the 2:09 mark)

“There’s no right context.”

Now the firing of Hillman came hot on the heels of the dreaded but especially effusive vote of confidence from Dayton Moore. I was just joking with Scott Lucas of The Ranger Rundown and The Newberg Report on Wednesday night that I would be surprised if Dayton Moore knew what generally came after the vote of confidence.

It would seem as though Glass laid down the law. For those of us worrying about Glass being too hesitant to can Moore when the situation becomes untenable (which many of us would argue has already happened), this should be slightly encouraging.

As far as the Hillman versus his replacement argument is concerned, Yost did manage his team to a winning record on more than one occasion. Yost also still has the interim tag in front of his title, so there isn’t as much of a permanency of the nightmarish managerial practices he has proven capable of in the past.

Really, we have to take solace in the fact that Hillman will no longer be the one making egregious mistakes on a daily basis.

Whether Yost fails or not, at least it won’t be the ineffectual Hillman meandering out to the mound to chit-chat with Meche as his pitch count approaches 130 with no sign of relief. Beggars cannot be choosers, so we just have to be grateful that SABRTrey is gone.

Read more MLB news on

Trey Hillman is Killing The Royals Softly

For those not familiar with Trey Hillman’s in-game management genius, let me lay it out for you in bullet points:

  • Gil Meche threw 128 pitches last night. Fortunately for Meche, he got the last batter he faced (David Murphy) on one pitch. Yes, with two down and runners at second and third, Hillman let a gased Meche face David Murphy. Moreover, Meche struggled with his control in the eighth, walking the first two batters. The offense is so egregious that it bears restating; having walked seven, and two in that inning, Hillman let Meche face another batter with a pitch count that had already hit 127.
  • SABRTrey pinch-hit for first baseman Kila Ka’aihue, with Jose Guillen, in the top of the seventh inning of a tie game. Nevermind that the differences in Ka’aihue’s career platoon splits in the minors were nominal (.275/.398/.423 vs. LHP, .266/.395/.486 vs. RHP). Nevermind that there are multiple holes lower in the lineup than the rookie who, in his first start since being recalled from Omaha, was batting clean-up.
  • In the bottom of the seventh, Hillman left Guillen in the game, placing him in left field and shifting Mitch Maier to first base. For those not in the know, and those who weren’t watching the first six innings of the game, Maier is clearly Kansas City’s best defensive outfielder. He had two stellar plays in center on the night. SABRTrey, who is historically averse to shifting players from one position to another during a game, put a range-less designated hitter in right field, shifted the player the organization decided didn’t have enough range to play center in 2009 to that very position, and moved their very good center fielder to first base. Huh?
  • “What could go wrong now?” you might be ask. Well in the eighth inning of a tie-game, with two outs and runners on the corner, the ball is hit to right. Were a right fielder with any range whatsoever (read: David DeJesus) sitting there, a disaster is averted. Instead, the ball falls because a player who should never be on the field is standing in right. Now, yes, Jose got hosed on the call at third, and his throw was ridiculous, but the run still scores if Josh Hamilton is correctly called out at third and Meche’s pitch count is only spared by one. The go-ahead run can be directly attributed to Trey Hillman’s attempt to “manage” the team.
  • Defensive wizard Chris Getz booted a grounder at second in the eighth. I’m not asserting that one play is a large enough sample size to evaluate a player defensively, but Getz has hardly looked like a world beater.
  • The day after Yuniesky Betancourt dropped a two-out pop fly in shallow center, leading to an unearned run, the fined shortstop was still starting at the position.
  • The last two bullet points also show that Mike Aviles was not in the starting lineup on Saturday. Remember when Trey Hillman said that Aviles was their “most fundamentally sound infielder?” That sounds like a guy who should be in the game in a tight spot.

I would like to touch on the abuse of Gil Meche. It was great to see him pull things together after a rough first two innings. But we all know what 132 means when someone throws out those number in a conversation about Gil Meche. Since that historic start, Meche has had an 8.37 ERA. Opposing batters have hit .328/.423/.593 off Meche since June 21st of last year. In short, since Hillman effectively ruined Gil Meche last June, Meche has allowed all opposing hitters to put up Pujolsian numbers.

Having not learned his lesson at all, Hillman rode Meche’s arm to 128 pitches, and it could have easily been more. Yes, Meche clearly muttered, “F*** me,” as Hillman walked up to the mound in the eighth. But it is not Hillman’s job to just listen to his starter and let him throw nearly 130 pitches in what has been the only encouraging start for the $11 Million Man this season. Listening to his former star pitcher is what got the Royals here in the first place.

While the bullpen has not been Trey Hillman’s fault, games like this seem to reinforce the fact that Trey Hillman is best suited for something other than managing in Kansas City.

Read more MLB news on

Alex Gordon Demoted, Carlos Rosa Traded, Mike Aviles Recalled, Heads Scratched

It’s been a fairly eventful two-plus weeks since I last posted here.  Having not grown up in the Kansas City area (unlike my father, whose fandom I unfortunately inherited), my in-person Royals experiences have been mostly limited to seeing them play the Twins at the Metrodome or seeing Omaha play the Round Rock Express.  While visiting my sister in Lawrence, I got to see the Royals where one is meant to see them: at Kauffman. 

When the lead Brian Bannister held was handed over to the bullpen (along with inherited runners), on that cold Sunday afternoon, I decided to excuse myself from my seat and take in the Royals Hall of Fame.  The Hall was great.  A Mecca for a Royals fan both geographically and temporally displaced from an ideal notion of sports fandom. 

For a few brief moments, I was able to escape to a time in which the Royals competed against, get this, the Yankees, to go to the World Series.  Yeah, that’s right.  The Yankees.  World Series.  Apparently, they even won one.  I know, I know.  “Shut the f*** up, you crazy liar.  The Royals never won a World Series.  They’re like, the worst team in baseball.  They had the worst record in baseball in the ’00s!”

But no.  A long 25 years ago, the Royals actually won a World Series. 

You are no doubt thinking about the illogical manner in which the franchise has been re-run into the ground by yet another regime in the Wal-Mart Royals Era, and wondering to yourself how it is possible that a team that was once a perennial contender could possibly find itself in this place.  A laughingstock.  A team whose fans have to resort to arguing whether or not their team is worse off than the likes of the Astros or *shudder* the Pirates. 

Yet, here we sit, watching helplessly as Alex Gordon is optioned to AAA-Omaha while inept aged veterans constipate the daily lineup—while Carlos Rosa (an arguably Major League-ready relief pitcher) is shipped off to Arizona for an extremely raw shortstop who appears to be nowhere near the Majors meaning the Royals would be required to successfully develop him.

And while Mike Aviles is shuttled back and forth between Kansas City and Omaha, called up this time so that Trey Hillman can have him pinch-run twice a week as Yuniesky Betancourt ranges two-steps to his right or left for grounders at short and swings wildly at balls outside of the zone.

Should I continue?

Regarding the Gordon optioning, I can understand that he has been a disappointment against the unrealistic expectations that he was going to be the next George Brett.  We were all guilty of setting those hopes too high, but the Royals are in no place to be abandoning hope on a 26-year-old third baseman with an above-average ability to get on base even if his defensive skills seem to be on the decline. 

Yes, his strikeouts are often ugly.  His dry-spells can last for weeks.  Still, when healthy, he is one of the Royals best three or four offensive players with the upside for more.  Given this demotion, their aggressive promotion of Gordon in 2007 could conceivably stand as only the second-most egregious move that the organization has made in terms of the detriment done to the development of a player once regarded as the top prospect in all of baseball. 

As for Rosa, Marc Hulet of FanGraphs indicates that Arizona pulled the trigger on this deal because they were desperate for relief pitching.  Hold up a second, the Diamondbacks need relievers?  What a coincidence, the Royals relief corps have been giving up leads like they were getting paid to lose games.  Doesn’t it seem like the Royals could use a relief pitcher?  Now maybe Reynaldo Navarro pans out, but given the track record of this front office, I doubt any Royals fans are holding their breath. 

Now Mike Aviles gets recalled from Omaha, presumably to sit on the bench while the Royals’ $3.3 million gloveless/batless shortstop gets all of the playing time.  Even more aggravating is the fact that this organization seems to believe that Betancourt is actually the best option for them at short. 

Nevermind that they cannot align their outfield properly (Ankiel in right*, Maier in center, DeJesus in left, Podsednik on a different team for those catching up at home), in what world do the Royals exist in which Yuniesky Betancourt is a ML-caliber anything, let alone shortstop?

*Yes, The LOBster has been awful, and really, if they seem dead-set on playing Getz at second, then maybe the Royals should be thinking about working Gordon out at right, thus getting Getz, Callaspo, and Gordon into the lineup and a right-fielder’s arm in right.  If Ankiel is playing, though, it needs to be in right.  

If Aviles weren’t healthy, Betancourt still shouldn’t be playing.  Aviles is healthy, though.  Betancourt has managed one walk in 98 plate appearances.  His O-Swing percentage is 45.7  percent.  His BB/K is an Olivo-ian 0.09.  His UZR/150 is a predictably awful -22.7.  All the talk of small sample sizes could apply here, if these numbers weren’t in line with his past three seasons.  Long story short: Yuniesky Betancourt sucks. 

Does anyone think that logic will set in and Betancourt will be riding the pine this week?

The likes of Jose Guillen, Scott Podsednik, Rick Ankiel, and Yuniesky Betancourt should not be taking playing time away from players who need playing time at the Major League level to develop.

Oh, and I could ramble on about the inexplicable Juan Cruz release, but what’s the f***ing point? 

Ewing Kauffman’s Royals these are not.

Read more MLB news on

Copyright © 1996-2010 Kuzul. All rights reserved.
iDream theme by Templates Next | Powered by WordPress