Royals fan in Barcelona. Facebook: John Chappell.
MLBTR says that Buster Olney says, "Iin order for Brewers pitcher Zack Greinke to restore his value, the hurler has to to alter the perception that he can be a troublesome clubhouse presence. Olney writes that there are already some teams who won't consider him because of the reputation he earned in Kansas City." Hmmm. I thought the reputation he earned here was that of a quirky, slightly strange guy with genuine depression and anxiety problems, who is rather high-maintenance but has Cy Young talent. I never heard that anyone actively disliked him, I don't think. If true, we might be able to pick him up for slightly less than he's worth. The Royals certainly did their best to treat him understandingly, and he may value that. I'd offer him 5/100m and see if he takes it. That would be money that Glass would have to let slip from his Uncle Scrooge hands, so it's probably unlikely.
Lots of us make predictions. I took a shot at some last year. Bookmaker.com set their over-under lines for 2011 and I did a post guessing which way each would go. Results. BOS: Line: 95 wins, My pick: Under, Result: 90 wins, Correct?: Yes NYY: 91.5, Over, 97, Yes TEX: 87, Over, 96, Yes MIN: 86.5, Over, 63, No CWS: 85.5, Under, 79, Yes TBR: 84.5, Under, 91, No DET: 83.5, Under, 95, No OAK: 83.5, Under, 74, Yes LAA: 83, Over, 86, Yes TOR: 76, Over, 81, Yes BAL: 76, Over, 69, No CLE: 71, Over, 80, Yes SEA: 70, Under, 67, Yes KCR: 69.5, Under, 71, No I went nine-and-five picking over-unders. It's an extremely small sample size, and the house always wins, so I'm not hitting Vegas anytime soon. But that was pretty good. And if I'd gone with my heart over my head with the Royals, I'd have been 10-4. Did anyone else post any predictions for 2011, and how did they come out? Iz you a gineyus too?
The Hardball Times has an interesting piece on the value of teams' free agent spending between 2007 and 2011. Unfortunately, and not surprisingly, our friends in St. Louis got 24.9 WAR from their free agents during that period, for $3.3m in spending per free agent WAR. Other teams: 3. Atlanta 14.2 FA WAR, $3.6m/FA WAR 10. Boston 22.8 FA WAR, $4.9m/FA WAR 23. Kansas City 5 FA WAR, $6.5m/FA WAR 29. Oakland 3.5 FA WAR, $6.5m/FA WAR 30. Pittsburgh 0.5 FA WAR, --/FA WAR because they lost 2.6 WAR on the draft picks they gave up and so they had a negative amount. So there's some evidence that Dayton is below average at evaluating major league free agent talent.
I assume you all have heard that Ryan Leaf was arrested again in Montana on burglary and drug charges. He did exactly the same thing in Texas several years ago and got ten years probation. They're going to revoke his probation and put him in Huntsville, and that's before Montana tries him and sentences him. I feel sympathy for Leaf. He got hooked on pain pills as a result of football injuries, got desperate enough to steal them, got busted in Texas, went to rehab and "wrote" a book, fell off the wagon, possibly because he's still in pain from football, got desperate enough to steal them again, and got busted again. His life could be a Robert Earl Keen song. Leaf's going to jail. He committed burglary twice. That's a felony and you can't do that. My problem is the situation. If Leaf could get his fix legitimately under medical supervision, no crimes would have been committed, we wouldn't be spending seventy grand or whatever a year keeping him locked up, and ten years of his life wouldn't be spent miserably behind bars. I wouldn't wish prison on anybody who wasn't a violent criminal, no matter if he was a dick his rookie year or not. Legalize drugs: marijuana completely, anything else under medical supervision. Presto change-o, no more drug mafias in Mexico and no more stupid kids in jail for selling an ounce of pot.
This could be explosive. The cops are taking it seriously enough to investigate. He would be the first known nontraditional active player if the story is true.
"Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports wonders if the Phillies might look to acquire Chris Getz or Yuniesky Betancourt of the Royals to shore up their infield." Oh, please, please, please.....
Left defenseman Eric Abidal needs a liver transplant. Sal's problems seem very minor now. Last year he had a tumor removed from his liver on March 17 and was back in the starting lineup on May 2. This guy is not a malingerer. His operation will be in the upcoming weeks. Also, Estanislao Basora, Barcelona's star right wing between 1946 and 1958 who scored 153 goals, died. He'd be in the Soccer Hall of Fame if there were one.
According to the BBC: "(Romney) accused his rivals of saying "outrageous things" in an effort to win the backing of the Republican base, adding that he was not prepared to set his "hair on fire" in a bid for support." Well, jeez, I'm a moderate Republican with sympathies toward conservative Democrats. (I backed Jan Meyers and Dennis Moore. That should show where I stand.) Romney was my guy. Gingrich is just too questionable, Santorum is far too conservative, and Paul is nuts. But if Romney's not going to set his hair on fire for America, how can I vote for him? Oh, well, I can't vote in America anyway, since I don't have a US residence and can't register to vote anywhere. Can't vote in Spain either, since I'm not a citizen (I have a residence and work permit.) I am disenfranchised, though I suppose it's my own choice, since I could re-establish residence in the US or apply for Spanish citizenship.
Good Lord, we've got Jason Kendall in camp as a coach/instructor. His playing skills may have gone, but his grit lives on and is transmitted like toxoplasmosis through the Royals' youth movement. He figures there's a "5% chance" he'll play major league ball again. I figure there's a 5% chance he could hook on with the T-Bones. He's really badly injured. Probably can barely throw at all. Anyone else would just give up, sit back, move to Florida, enjoy his earnings, and play a lot of golf. But Kendall's grit just won't let him do that. This alone is worth 1000 Polk points.
According to the Tampa Tribune, he's been arrested "dozens of times" since 2001. This time they got him for possession, tampering with evidence, and driving on a suspended license. The cops saw him trying to swallow the baggie and he had marijuana flakes all over his shirt. 1) I'm pro-legalization, and a consumer myself. 2) This sort of behavior, though, is gonna get you blackballed from MLB. What I don't understand is why these guys don't CALL A FUCKIN' CAB. Or a limo, if they're making that much. What's a cab cost, fifty bucks at most? They got that kind of money. And you don't get in trouble if a cabbie is driving.
1) Why does it seem that a lot of famous people die comparatively young? 2) Which living person do you think has consumed the most cocaine? My money's on Keith Richards. 3) No pro baseball players have admitted to being gay until their retirement, and even then it was only two or three. Is it possible that this is not discrimination, but rather that most gay people have little interest in playing baseball? 4) What image do you have of Spain? Don't worry if your image turns out to be wrong, I'd just like to know what you think. 5) Who's your favorite current Royal? BONUS: What's your favorite country song?
This ESPN interview with Pele shows what's wrong when a former player gets an "I´m still the greatest" attitude. Basically, he says that Leo Messi is not as good as he was. I beg to differ. Pele racked up his fame in the three World Cups he won, with the greatest supporting cast ever seen until then. He never had any success in the European pro leagues; I'm not sure he ever tried. The game has changed a great deal, especially after the Bosman decision. Now players are judged by their professional club's success, and no club has had more than Barcelona in the last three years. Messi shines on Barcelona because he has Xavi, Iniesta, Fàbregas, Pedro, Piqué, and company passing him the ball; this is why Pele shone with Brazil. Right now I'm gonna say that Messi is clearly better than Maradona, especially when you consider career value (Messi doesn't get hurt or snort coke off hookers' nipples.) Pele has a point when it comes to his own career value; Messi is still very young and needs to put in a few more good years, which he is capable of doing. Messi's 213 goals for Barcelona were mostly scored against top-level talent. A lot of Pele's over 1000 career goals were scored against the local equivalent of minor league teams. If Messi scores 300 with Barcelona, and especially if he should somehow make 400, he's definitely the greatest ever. Messi has not yet done well with Argentina, but that's hardly his fault, since the Argentine national team is not nearly as good as FC Barcelona and does not feed him as many tasty goals. I think this is a case of an old guy not willing to accept that his sport's changed and he couldn't compete today; remember Joe DiMaggio demanding to be introduced as "the world's greatest living baseball player" while Ted Williams, Willie Mays, Stan Musial, and Hank Aaron were all alive.
McAfee just went nuts all over the place. I am using my sister's computer, and she is pissed off as hell. Somebody had better fix this. word word word word word word word word word word word word...
Or, to be more specific, Lebanon, Tennessee. Leaving tomorrow. Staying a month. Planning to spend at least one night on Lower Broadway at Robert's and the Bluegrass Inn. It's gonna get ugly.
We've already heard the story that Dayton is not confident in the starting pitchers currently available, so he's trying to set up a killer bullpen in order to give as few innings as possible to the weak rotation. I've suggested it before, but let's have stacked starters. You keep thirteen pitchers and twelve field players; all our field players are young and not likely to get hurt, so all we need is the starting nine plus a backup catcher, a backup IF, and a backup OF. If somebody actually gets hurt for more than one game then we bring up C-Rob or Dyson from Omaha. You pitch your frontline starters every four days, but only about four innings, 60 or so pitches. Then the four second-line starters come in and give you about three innings, 45 or so pitches. Then you have four relievers to close down the last two innings, plus one mop-up man for when this plan doesn't work. This plan would suck if you had good starting pitchers, because it would take innings out of their hands and give them to weaker pitchers, but the Röyals don't. I'd try to have the first-line and second-line guys be opposite-handed. Suggested rotation: 1) Sanchez L, Holland R 2) Paulino R, Duffy L 3) Chen L, Crow R 4) Hochevar R, Montgomery L Now, if we actually sort five competent starting pitchers out of this mess, we go back to the standard five-man rotation. If not, at least hitters don't get to see a pitcher more than twice, and will have to adjust to a very different pitcher mid-game. The relief corps is Soria R and Broxton R, along with some combination of three of Collins L, Teaford L, Hottovy L, Coleman R, Adcock R, and Wood R. Note the absence of Boom Boom, SOS, and their ilk.
Dayton says they're looking for an infielder to back up Alcides, and for a RH bat who can play third. He added that any more new acquisitions would come from trades, not free agency. They're probably going to drop Bianchi and/or D-Rob from the 40-man roster. As Jack Marsh said, the Jays want Greg Holland and the Royals are interested in Colby Rasmus. Ex-Royals: Scotty Pods signed a minor-league deal with the Phillies and TPJ re-signed a minor-league deal with Boston.
MLBTR says the Röyals have signed two minor-league left-handers, Marlon Arias, who sucks, and Tommy Hottovy, who actually might make the bullpen. He had a good year at AA and AAA last season. Problem: He's 30. Point in his favor: He comes from Kansas City.
We have no use for him. He has proven that he can hit in AAA. Last year he hit .326 with 23 HR and 100 RBI, with 58 BB and 88 SO. Sure, he's probably a Kila, a 4-A hitter, who's not a good fielder or baserunner. But you'd think some non-contending team with a hole at first base might say, "What the hell, we'll give Clint a couple hundred PA and see what he does." Does anyone think any other team might be interested in him, and if so, might they give up a C-level prospect in trade?
I suppose you saw that the European economy is all shot to hell and gone (though I think the Independent (link) is panicking a bit). This does not portend well for anyone. What are several more years of a slow economy going to mean for sports? People are going to have less disposable income and they will cut out stuff they don't need (like baseball tickets and merchandise). TV networks are going to have less money to pay the leagues, and they'll be forced to charge advertisers (also feeling the squeeze) less in order to sell spots. There will generally be less money floating around. I'm just guessing here, but I think highly-paid, long-term contracts are going to become less common and less expensive. It might be wise for Dayton to wait until late in the winter before he signs anybody, because there are likely to be fewer bidders for high-priced players. It might also be wise not to sign any expensive free agents this off-season to anything long-term. Especially anyone who's not a starter. If Jackson or Maholm drops into our lap cheap, fine, sign 'em up. Rich Harden would come cheap, and so would Erik Bedard, though they're both likely to get hurt, so sign 'em up for one year with a club option. If not, wait it out.
2:11 Comment From Dayton Moore What off-season moves do I make in order to bolster my lousy starting rotation? 2:11 Tim Dierkes: I think they'll be in on EJax, Wilson, Darvish, while also seeing who the Rays and Braves would consider dealing.
Most of you have already seen the photo of the kid with the Yankees cap brandishing Qaddafi's gold-plated pistol (if not, scroll down to 14:48 on the BBC 'as it happened' timeline linked above), The Latin Kings street gang has established itself in Barcelona among Dominican immigrants. They wear Los Angeles Kings and Yankees gear. And, of all things, there's a Chicago street gang called the Simon City Royals that wears (or least wore) KC Royals gear. Obviously, you can't control who buys products with your logo on them, and three-quarters of this stuff is probably pirated knock-offs rather than officially licenced products. It still makes me feel a little weird to see sports gear worn by people who have no idea what the logo means. What exactly is a Libyan guerrilla fighter doing with a Yankees cap? Have the Latin Kings ever heard of hockey? I associate Yankees caps with, like, baseball games and obnoxious fans, not with the guy who dragged Qaddafi out of his hole and grabbed his pistol. Disconcerting.
Everybody's whining on both coasts about how this World Series is going to get lousy TV ratings because the Phillies and Yankees and Red Sox aren't in it. Probably true; a lot of those bandwagon fans have already jumped off, and World Series ratings have been declining for years. To revitalize the TV spectacle, I have three suggestions. 1) Before each game, give each team's manager an unlimited supply of his addictive drug of choice, and then have them fight it out in a no-limits cage wrestling match at home plate. The winner's team gets one run. That should lead to some interesting managerial decisions later. 2) Each team's pitcher has to slam a Bud Light before each inning. By about the fourth inning, the manager will have to start considering whether his starter is too juiced to throw strikes anymore and if he should put in a sober reliever. More strategy, more fun arguments for everyone! Soon there will be stats determining how well all the pitchers do after three, four, five beers. I bet Felipe Paulino would have no problem going eight. That guy must weigh 280. 3) During the seventh-inning stretch, each team must designate one of the players' wives to take part in a mud-wrestling match at home plate. Scoring will be based on a) general hotness b) specific hotness when covered with mud c) wrestling skill. The winner's team will receive two runs. That makes Zack Greinke even more desirable on your team, since Emily is definitely hot and shows some spunk. It'd probably keep Matt Treanor in the league till he's 45, because Misty would destroy all the other wives in the ring and score pretty well on the hotness charts, too.
We shall remember him fondly as a nice guy who didn't really suck that much worse than the rest of those teams.
1) The Röyals had the lowest 2011 payroll of all, at $36m. They should have room to increase that by at least $20-25m for next season. If they don't at least get us two starting pitchers we should tar and feather Dayton and run him out of town on a rail. 2) Two low-payroll teams did make the playoffs, Tampa at $41m and Arizona at $54m. So it's not impossible for the Röyals to do what Arizona did, but it's gonna take a lot of luck. 3) The teams still in the playoffs are middle-income teams: MIL $85M, TEX $92M, STL $105M, DET $106M. The high-payroll clubs have been knocked out. So have the low-payroll ones, leading me to guess that you have a better chance to do well if you're spending at least $75m, and spending more than $100m is no guarantee of success. 4) The AL Central is actually a medium-high-payroll division. Cleveland is on a budget, like the Röyals, with a $49m payroll, but the Tigers spent $105m, the Twins spent $112m, and the White Sox spent $128m, fifth in MLB. Makes me like the Röyals' chances next year. Chicago, Minnesota, and Detroit are all aging teams with expensive contracts around their necks, and Cleveland is even worse off. The Angels, Cubs, and Mets are also all deep over their heads in expensive, aging payrolls.
We need steàdy production from the rookies and a couple of starters. But would that get us +3 WAR over Detroit, who led us in the Central by just 3 WAR? If Dayton gets us two guys who can win fourteen games each, instead of going 1-9, I think we could. Hosmer is going to destroy the league next year. We finished tenth in MLB in WAR, with 25.6, directly behind our rivals, the Tigers, with 28.5. Looks good. If we get a couple decent starters.
The Röyals had the worst real win-loss record-pythag in the American League, a full seven games above what you'd expect. Final record: 71-91, 11th in the league. Pythag record: 78-84, 8th in the league. Theoretically, then, the Royals are three games under .500 for this season. I have a feeling that with some better performance from some field players, and two new decent starting pitchers, they might go several games above .500 in 2012. Pythagorically, at least. Two guesses at why they underperformed their pythag: 1) They sent out several of the very worst pitchers in the American League on a regular basis. Kyle Davies isn't a -1 WAR pitcher, he's a -5 WAR pitcher. 2) Ned did way too much base-stealing, sacrifice-bunting, and dumb bullpen managing, so much so that it cost us several games. AL Pythag win-loss records: NYY: 101-61 TEX: 98-64 BOS: 94-68 TBR: 91-71 DET: 89-73 LAA: 85-77 TOR: 79-83 KCR: 78-84 OAK: 77-85 CLE: 75-87 CHW: 75-87 BAL: 67-95 SEA: 67-95 MIN: 62-100 Several games above .500 might win the Central next year, as our opponents are old and slow and have expensive sucky players weighing them down. The Röyals have some cheap sucky players, true, but at least they're cheap.
I was nosing about on Fangraphs the other day and I noticed that Chris Getz is actually a unique player in today's game. He's a throwback to 1911 and the way they played the game back then. Getz is an extreme contact hitter; his strikeout rate is only 10%, and his walk rate is 7%, tying him with Butler for the best K-BB ratio on the team. When he does hit the ball, which is 83% of the time, he's an extreme groundball hitter: 54.3 groundball percentage, by far the highest on the team. A guy like this tends to get a lot of infield hits (17) and bunt hits (8), and sacrifice a lot (14). Furthermore, stealing bases is usually part of his game, since it's the only way he's going to get to second (Getz has NINE extra-base hits in 426 PA), and Getz is 21-7 SB-CS, a decent 75% success rate. Since he almost always gets the bat on the ball, and he has decent plate discipline, that means he must be good at hitting trick pitches. He is. He's an above-average curveball and cutter hitter, and he's not awful against the slider. The problem is he can't hit anything faster than about 89 mph. He just can't hit a real fastball. (He could probably hit a Jeff Francis fastball.) Do other teams know this? Yes. An extreme 72% of pitches thrown to Getz were fastballs, most of which he converted into soft grounders to shortstop. That's why he isn't good enough to be an MLB starter. Back in Wee Willie Keeler's day, when pitchers didn't throw 90 mph, an extreme bat-control guy like Getz would have managed to poke anything they threw him--curves, screwballs, spitters, 85 mph fastballs, you name it--through a hole in the infield for a single. He'd have hit .400 and stolen fifty bases every year, and would have been a Hall of Famer. We'd nostalgically refer to him today as "Wee Chris," except he's like five-eleven, which was pretty tall back then.
#Royals recalling Mazzaro, O'Sullivan. Cain, Dyson and Pina. Also adding Herrera. Means they need one roster space.— Bob Dutton (@Royals_Report) September 21, 2011
"#Royals recalling Mazzaro, O'Sullivan. Cain, Dyson and Pina. Also adding Herrera. Means they need one roster space." Wonder who that's going to be. Getz? Or can they get away with sticking somebody like Hochevar on the DL?
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