I'm basically an optimistic fan. I only partially enjoy the statistical analysis of sports, preferring instead qualitative assessments that encompass a range of factors. I don't pretend (a) that my critiques cover the full range of possibilities or (b) to know every factor behind management's moves. That said, I love the Royals, the Cubs, the Chiefs, the Bears, and Mizzou sports. - TL
Excepting maybe 3-4 years, just about every Royals team from 1994 to the present could be on this list. - TL
The new stat-friendly team in Chicago decided that DeJesus is their best option in right field. I'm impressed. They clearly think he's a good bet to rebound from last year's less than impressive numbers. - TL PS: I put up my post, obviously, before seeing the one just below (I looked, but apparently too fast). Nevertheless, my link is to the SBNation BleedCubbieBlue page where there’s lots of partisan discussion and "analysis."
Quirk, who spent 11 seasons with KC as a part-time catcher, will be Dale Sveum's bench coach. I always liked Quirk. He's one of only two players in MLB history with the Quirk-y surname. Quirk's best season with KC was probably 1988. Here's his stat line for that year: 84 games, 196 ABs, 22 Rs, 47 hits, 80 TB, 7 2Bs, 1 triple, 8 HRs, 25 RBIs, 28 BBs, 2 IBBs (even Quirk could get the occasional intentional), 41 SOs, 1 SB, 5 CS, .240 BA, .333 OBP, .408 SLG, .741 OPS. I think Quirk may have earned three WS rings---one with KC and two others Oakland. Amazing. - TL
This blog follows the Cubs and suggests Chris Lubanski as the #5 potential minor league deal that represents a market inefficiency. Agree? I dunno. - TL
There are some interesting reflections on Ted Simmons at the bottom of this interview with Bob McClure. - TL
Why does this matter? Lorenzo Cain is finally going to play CF for the Royals. - TL
From the article (posted at 11:09 last night): "I want all of my starters to still be on the mound when they play, ‘Take Me Out to the Ballgame’ for the seventh-inning stretch," Eiland said. "You do watch pitch counts, but we’re going to be of the mind-set that we’re pitching into the seventh and beyond." ...Does this mean we're going all Nolan Ryan/TX Rangers in our pitching philosophy? "It just felt right," he said. "The conversations we had, we were on the same page with a lot of things. This is a team that’s going to make some noise as we move forward in the next year or two." ...It's nice to have someone around who's excited about our team's future. Whatever that means. "He answered all the criteria that I was looking for," manager Ned Yost said. "He has a great knowledge of pitching mechanics. He’s very well-prepared in terms of formulating game plans." Specifically, Yost wanted a pitching coach who had spent extended time in the majors with mediocre stuff — believing such experience sharpened a candidate’s attention to mechanics, preparation and detail. This is fine---to a point. What does it say about his ability to communicate and inspire? In other words, how exactly does this make him a good coach. Sure, the ability to empathize is implied---as well as perhaps the ability to communicate with mediocre pitchers. But what about communicating with pitchers who have good stuff? Eiland spent five years as a minor-league pitching coach in the Yankees’ organization before becoming their big-league pitching coach. That followed a 10-year playing career in which he was 12-27 with a 5.74 ERA for the Yankees, Padres and Devil Rays. ...Confirmed on hiring a mediocre former big league pitcher. Finally, I'm most concerned about getting a coach who preaches pitching to contact. From what I've observed watching the game and thinking about pitching coaches, the best---meaning Dave Duncan, Mike Maddux, Leo Mazzone, etc.---all tell their pitchers to trust their stuff and not be afraid of contact. Other thoughts? Is this a good hire? Will he bring out the best in guys like Duffy, Hochevar, etc.? My overall thesis on the Eiland hiring is this: This is the hire that makes or breaks Dayton Moore's term as GM. Despite the great drafts and highly-rated farm system, as well as the on-the-field success of the major league club's offense this season, the job Eiland does determines whether Moore's contract is renewed. You have to have on-the-field success with your drafted pitchers, or your farm system must be judged a failure in the end. - TL
This is a nice article. The premise, or thesis, is that the team composition of this year's playoffs proves that "it's all Moneyball now." The Greinke trade is mentioned, but the Royals current status is not referenced. I particularly liked this passage: Thanks partly to the cultural phenomenon of "Moneyball," which demonstrated that teams didn’t need a big payroll to win, we’re all small-market fans now, no longer rooting for the hapless underdog — sorry, Mets and Cubs — but for the team that is doing more with less. It’s a subtle but significant distinction and it has unmistakable political overtones, especially during this time of rising class resentment. You didn’t have to spend the day dancing around the drum circle in Zuccotti Park to see Game 5 of the Yankees-Tigers division series in New York — with its constant cutaways to those slick-suited men hunched over their BlackBerrys in the Legends Suites — as more than just a baseball game. (It may be time to update the old cliché that rooting for the Yankees is like rooting for U.S. Steel. Today, it’s more like rooting for Goldman Sachs.) Discuss. - TL
...offered "unsolicited praise" for almost every young Royals player with even the most miniscule amount of promise over the past several years? Did he not once compliment Kyle Davies---or Betancourt or Buck or Teahen? Apparently Leyland enjoys killing the Royals softly. - TL
This comes from a tweet observed by Bleedcubbieblue's Al Yellon: "I'm telling you, this game is like the Cubs playing themselves." But read the whole thing. Al sums up the Three Stooges nature of last night's game by both teams. - TL
Yesterday I essentially said that Hamilton blaming the color of his eyes for his day-time hitting woes was, well, a bunch of hooey (#1 comment on the thread). The link above---the basis for this post---refutes my skepticism. Here's the money quote from an optometrist (internal link mine)t: "Because of the lack of pigment in lighter color eyes -- like blue or green eyes as opposed to brown -- you get a lot more unwanted light and that can create glare problems," said Dr. Richard L. Ison, O.D., an optometrist since 1990 who currently works in Murphy, just northeast of Dallas. Ison said the phenomenon is called intraocular light scatter, meaning the light scatters as it enters, producing a focal point that isn't as good. His solution for Hamilton: Find a pair of sunglasses that he's completely comfortable wearing while batting. So I stand corrected. But seriously, how can this not have been discussed somewhere in regular baseball coverage over the 30 plus years I've been following the sport in Kansas City and Chicago? - TL
Since KC called up super-prospect Eric Hosmer (1B), former underachiever Kila Ka'aihue is now available for trade. Al Yellon advocated that we go after Kila last year. Should we check on Ka'aihue's availability? - TL
Mr. McKinney and I argued a bit about this the other day in relation to Aaron Crow. He thinks Crow is now being pigeon-holed by management as a reliever by being left in the bullpen (successful there or no). But this article shows that Jeffress is working on a new pitch, and preparing to unroll it in a game soon. So methinks Crow is also working on other things. Let's trust the process. ;) - TL
WillieB crushed a Randy Wells offering into the stratosphere today for his new team, the AZ Diamondbacks. As has been the case for most of his career, however, the opposing team won. Still, look what we're missing!- TL
A good friend of mine, Brett Foster, an English Professor at Wheaton College (IL), has published a book of poems titled The Garbage Eater. In that work is a poem titled "Little Flowers of Dan Quisenberry." Brett is a big Royals fan. Buy the book if you can! - TL
Fine by me. 'Tis a silly nickname. We should shout down everyone at the site, Jacobin style, who tries to perpetuate its use. Sure, it's "just" symbolic. But that's probably what Hitler said about the Reichstag. ...Okay, I just violated Godwin's Law. But you take my meaning. I like the way Soria is thinking. It's nice to see some social responsible, thoughtful commentary from a stud KC player. In Chicago they'd already be modeling a bronze statue for the guy. - TL
The link is to an article by the sometimes maligned Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune. While Rogers gets off track sometimes, I think he's spot on with this analysis. The Royals received a great deal of potential from the Brewers. Greinke will most definitely exceed expectations in the National League (his 2009 season would've been top 5 all-time if he'd been in the NL, I'd wager). But Escobar and Cain should mature with good coaching (something I trust Yost with more than Hillman). In addition, one should always weigh the value of a trade against what the trading team would receive if the free agent chose not to re-sign(two late first round sandwich picks, yes?). It looks like any of these 4 prospects meet or exceed the two-first-round-pick criteria. - TL
As a dedicated, dual Cubs-KC fan, this trade is horrible news for Cubs fans. Every start he has against Chicago will be G-Day---game over for us and a W or, at worst, no decision for Greinke. He only underperformed last year because he was bored with KC. Expect Greinke to perform circa 2009 with Milw next season. This might be worse news than Mr. Santo's passing for Cubs fans, at least with regard to our prospects for the 2011 season. I'm sorry to be so down. But my early sense is that our years of dominance over Milw are o-v-e-r---at least until Greinke is hurt, traded, or lost to free agency from the Brew Crew. - TL PS: At least the Cards and Astros have to face Greinke the same number of times.
This is interesting news just because. But it's more interesting because Rothschild had exercised a contract option a few months back (I think) to stay in Chicago. He had been with the Cubs for 9 years. - TL
Al Yellon, master blogger at SBNation's Bleed Cubbie Blue site, makes an argument for acquiring Kila Ka'aihue. This comes in the wake of Derrek Lee's trade refusal. The most controversial part of his post is here: "How to get him? I imagine the Royals would be looking for young pitching. They don't seem real interested in giving him a chance; mired in last place, they're playing Billy Butler at first base. Butler is a decent player, but Ka'aihue is a better hitter right now, and much more of a possibility to be a future star." Is Kila better than Butler? As a first baseman, probably. As a hitter, maybe. - TL
The crux of Manley's argument: "If you are making the assumption that taking a walk is less a function of patience and more a function of pitcher fear, I can see where you care coming from. So, I decided to evaluate that question." You can guess what he finds. The Royals simply do not value taking pitches, walks, and OBP. And you can't blame it on pitchers fearing the Royals obvious lack of power. Novel? No. Not at all. We've all been arguing this for years here (and elsewhere). But Manley's critique is devastating nonetheless. Why? Because it's coming from the KC Star, which (other than Posnanski) has generally shilled KC success stories or unfounded hope. - TL
Let's get Z while his price is low and DeJesus is high. Z can recover his career away from the bright lights of Chicago, and DeJesus can go on to be the star we know he is (and can handle). Am I crazy? - TL
I can't say he doesn't deserve it. I feel this might be the beginning of the end of his Cubs tenure. What a sad way to go. TL
This lowers my esteem for the Royals legend, to be sure. Yikes.
This story makes a point in more detail that I made in another post here about Yost's Milw tenure. The difference---made abundantly clear under Macha's leadership--is pitching. This difference gives me the most confidence that Yost, or any other non-Hillman manager, will have a better chance to succeed in KC. - TL
Isn't this the big call-up news? A former #1 pick (2002, Pirates), toiling in the minors but now successful, and now 29 years old. - TL
Toward the bottom of this link: Left fielder Alex Gordon seems to be finding his swing at Class AAA Omaha. He went three for five with two homers Friday night in a 10-7 victory at Reno, which makes him seven for 16 with five walks in his last four games. Gordon is now batting .324 with five homers in 10 games for the O-Royals. He also carried a .457 on-base percentage and a .784 slugging percentage into Saturday night’s game at Las Vegas. Ridiculous. I'm wondering, if he's too comfortable in Omaha, should the team send him somewhere else for these assignments? Otherwise, get the kid back in KC. - TL
The link takes you to a story about famous Cubs (and SF Giants), and the numbers of games each spent in the minors. The impetus for the story was Starlin Castro's recent 3-error game, and reflections on how many minor league games are enough. In other words, what length of time seems suitable for gaining the needed experience and practice for ML success? Of course this got me thinking about the Royals. I wonder what our team's average was, during the successful years of the 70s, 80s, and maybe even early 90s, for minor league gestation? Who spent the least time in the minors? The most? - TL
...have asked why he thinks the Royals are still ignoring him. Or maybe James has an exclusivity contract with the Red Sox? Anyway, I would've asked a KC-related question. - TL
This is a nice piece. In it Moore reaffirms Gordon's value to the organization. I appreciate the "not according to script" metaphor. I'm convinced Gordon will be back in KC soon---a more versatile player and hopefully on a hot streak. - TL
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