Tag: Yuniesky Betancourt

Baseball: Best Of The Decade

I thought I’d take a look at which players had the best decade in several key areas of the game. I don’t really care who hit the most homers or had the highest batting average.

While those statistics are useful, they are talked about a bit too much at the expense of some others. So let’s take a look at some other things.

Note: my decade doesn’t include 2000.

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Zack Greinke to the Milwaukee Brewers in Exchange for Prospects

The Kansas City Royals agreed to trade starting pitcher Zack Greinke to the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for five players, reports ESPN.

The deal would involve the Brewers giving up Alcides Escobar, Lorenzo Cain, Jeremy Jeffress and Jake Odorizzi.

In return, they get 2009 Cy Young winner Greinke and Yuniesky Betancourt, along with some cash.

This deal certainly makes sense for both teams.

Kansas City sure isn’t in a position for a playoff run with Greinke, so they might as well have gotten prospects for maybe five years in the future.

Escobar, a 24-year-old shortstop, completed his first big league season just this year, finishing with an average of .235. On the positive side, he has hit 10 triples. This guy still has the potential to become an above-average everyday shortstop.

Lorenzo Cain is the main part of this deal, being a big time prospect. He hit .317 last year between Double A and Triple A. Add 20 stolen bases and a .400 OBP, and you’ve got something special.

Odorizzi is a pitcher that is at the Single A level as of right now, pitching to a 3.43 ERA.

Jeffress jumped throughout the Brewers organization, between Single A, Single A-plus, and Double A, posting a 1.26 ERA at Double A to finish the season.

This opens up a more positive future for Ned Yost and his club.

On the other side, Betancourt is just an average everyday shortstop, posting a .259 average and driving in 78 RBI.

And as you know, Zack Greinke will solidify the rotation along with another newly acquired Shaun Marcum.

Greinke might end up like Roy Halladay, who thrived even more in the National League with a Cy Young Award to his resume.

Also, Milwaukee isn’t a place with New York style media, making it a good place for Greinke, considering the fact that he deals with social anxiety disorder.

The Brewers aren’t in the rebuilding stage, either unlike the Royals.

It’s a win-win trade for both clubs.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

MLB’s Worst: Is Derek Jeter One of the Bottom 20?

Over the many years of player comparison and analysis, our understanding of what it means to be a great baseball player has continually evolved.

Along with that, we have also formed a better comprehension of the concept of a “bad” player.

There was a time when we would assess shortstops, catchers, and center fielders based merely on their offensive contributions, a practice we now understand to be shockingly limited. If ballplayers are to be judged, they must be judged for all of their contributions, both their hitting and their defense.

With this in mind, we take a look at the 20 worst players of the 2010 baseball season, guys who just kill their team in all facets of the game.

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Fantasy Baseball Box Score Breakouts for 8/9/10

Here’s a look at the unheralded players who played well yesterday.



Brian Matusz, Baltimore Orioles (pictured)
Matusz got a no-decision despite allowing one run on three hits in six innings. He has allowed two runs in 12 innings in his last two starts to lower his ERA to 5.08.



Edwin Jackson, Chicago White Sox
Jackson gave up a run with 7 Ks in a six-inning no-decision. He has allowed two runs with 13 Ks in 13 innings in two starts since being dealt to Chicago, and is 7-10 with a 4.83 ERA on the year.



Skip Schumaker, St. Louis Cardinals
Schumaker went 2-4 with a Grand Slam to raise his average to .260.



Yuniesky Betancourt, Kansas City Royals
Betancourt went 3 for 3 with a HR (9) and two RBIs (48) to raise his average to .263.



Doug Fister, Seattle Mariners
Fister gave up one run with five strikeouts in six innings to improve to 4-8 with a 3.86 ERA. He has lost some of his luster, but is still a solid WHIP & ERA option in deep leagues.



Potent Middle Relievers
Matt Thornton, CHW  1 IP, 0 Runs, 3 Ks (60 Ks, 44 IP)
Carlos Fisher, CIN   3-1/3 IP, 0 Runs, 5 Ks
Bill Bray, CIN   1 IP, 0 Runs, 2 Ks (14 Ks, 12-2/3 IP)
Phil Coke, DET   1 IP, 0 Runs, 2 Ks (38 Ks, 45 IP)
Esmerling Vasquez, ARI   1 IP, 0 Runs, 3 Ks (44 Ks, 41 IP)
D.J. Carrasco, ARI   1 IP, 0 Runs, 2 Ks (48 Ks, 59-2/3 IP) 
Guillermo, SF   1 IP, 0 Runs, 2 Ks (29 Ks, 42-2/3 IP)
Javier Lopez, SF  2/3 IP, 0 Runs, 2 Ks (26 Ks, 43 IP)

Originally published at LestersLegends.com.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

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 BleacherReport.com

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 BleacherReport.com

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.

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