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Saturday, May 14, 2005

Royal Pain

For those of you who are suffering with the Royals this season you might be interested in the latest exchange from Rob and Rany. It's clear the frustration is growing as Rob and Rany promote the following ideas:

1. Send Andy Sisco to long relief
2. Send Amby Burgos and Leo Nunez back to the minors
3. Give Matt Diaz an everyday job
4. Fire Jeff Pentland, the hitting coach as well as the interim manager Bob Schaefer
5. Play Ruben Gotay everyday, either in KC or in Omaha
6. Release Mike McDougal, Calvin Pickering, Colt Griffin, Emil Brown, Jose Lima, and Ken Harvey
7. Send Denny Bautista to Omaha
8. Send Justin Huber to Omaha from AA
9. Start shopping Angel Berroa
10. Draft the best available player next month, assuming that to be Alex Gordon from Nebraska
11. Hire a manager who knows what he's doing

For my part I strongly agree with 1,2,5,8, and 10. (1) Sisco only earned runs have come in blown save opportunities and as Earl Weaver said, "the best place for a rookie is in long relief". (2) There is no reason Burgos and Nunez are in the majors other than to use up service time that will cost the Royals in arbitration sooner rather than later. (5) Gotay needs to play everyday somewhere, period. (8) Huber is tearing up AA and should be getting his chance against AAA pitching right now. (10) The only way the Royals are going to get better is to draft well and that means taking the best available player and spending the signing money. I'd rather see them spend it there than on replacement level players.

I moderately agree with 3,4,7,9 and 11. (3) Diaz seems to me to project to be an adequate major leaguer but never a starting corner outfielder. While he's better than Brown, it doesn't really matter which one plays given that neither is a long term solution. (4) Well, there is certainly something to be said for firing based on lack of performance. Pentland and Baird seem to say the right things regarding plate discipline but fail to execute. Pentland should take the fall but I'm worried that the cure could be worse than the disease. (7) Bautista looked good in his first start and has actually pitched well in his three of his five starts. He still walks too many guys (17 in 35.7 innings thus far) and so perhaps a stint in AAA will help him make some adjustments he could apply in the majors since young players are unlikely to make major changes at the big league level. What's most exciting about him though is that he's given up just 5 homeuns in 65.3 major league innings while striking out 42 - both pretty good ratios. (9) I can't imagine that this would be fruitful even if Allard Baird decided to do it. As pointed about by Rob and Rany Berroa hasn't shown that 2003 wasn't a fluke so I doubt another team would take him on for two and half more years at over $4M per. (11) It goes without saying they should hire a good tactical manager - something Tony Pena certainly was not. However, I think it more important that they focus on setting some organizational direction and then hiring a manager that buys into the philosophy and will abide by it. Of course I think the organizational philosophy should be based on the "Be the House" approach that was articulated by Dodger's GM Paul DePodesta here. What I don't want to see is a knee jerk reaction that results in the hiring of the anti-Pena per Luther's comment that the human race is like a drunken man who after falling off his horse on one side climbs back up and falls over the other. On the other side of the horse may be a manager who, ironically, might turn out to be another Tony Muser (think Larry Bowa).

The only item I disagree with is 6. I'm just not sure what good it will do to release those guys. The Royals don't really have any better players to replace them with. Why not just see if perhaps Harvey can get hot and then trade him? Same goes for Lima and even McDougal. On the Pickering front I see he's 3 for 33 in Omaha with 7 walks. So at least we know that it wasn't just major league pitching that is the problem. But even Pickering bad as he's been might start raking at AAA, making him tempting for some team looking for a left-handed bat off the bench. Of course I didn't think Lima should be signed in the first place but are you really going to replace him in the rotation with Jimmy Gobble? After all, D.J. Carrasco is now in the rotation. The only case that can be made is to bring up 30 year old Larry Jensen who is giving up a hit per inning in Omaha and on whom I can find absolutely no information. Not much of a choice.

Any thoughts?

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