Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The New Blue Tradition Royals Pitcher of the Year

Zack Greinke was named the New Blue Tradition Royals Pitcher of the Year for 2009.

Zack emerged as one of the majors best pitchers compiling a record of 16-8 with a 2.16 ERA in 33 games for a Kansas City team that went just 65-97 on the season. He led the majors in ERA and finished third with 242 strikeouts.

He pitched six complete games and his 3 shutouts were second in the majors behind Roy Halladay of the Toronto Blue Jays.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

19 Years of Managing Experience Gets You This?

Does Trey Hillman look like a person who has managed for 19 years?

He has 12 years in the Yankees organization, 5 in Japan, and 2 in KC.

Some quotes from the Dick Kaegel article when Hillman was announced as manager of the Royals in Oct of 2007.

"Hillman said he'd bring some of the lessons learned in his Japan experience to the Royals, just as he took lessons learned in 12 years of managing in the New York Yankees' Minor League system to Japan. Some of it meshes, some of it doesn't." Looks like Trey has not figured out what meshes and what doesn't.

"He has a slogan that he likes to use: "A-A-O -- Adapt-Adjust-Overcome." We are still waiting for this one.

"It all depends on what you believe is Major League baseball. In my humble opinion, I've been a Major League manager for the last five years. We get after it in Japan," he said. "On many levels and on any given day the quality of play, I believe, is as good as it is here in the United States at the Major League level." Based on this quote he comes to the Royals with 5 years of "Major League" experience. After 2 years with the Royals, does he look like he has 5 years prior experience?

"I like to create movement on the bases, I think it creates pressure to the opposition. I like the home run and the double as much as much as anybody, but I think you have to be ready to diversify and create other opportunities." The only movement on the bases is the movement of the opposing team when our fielders make costly errors or the bullpen blows the game.

"I can give you my priorities," he said. "Pitch it, catch it. We'll figure out a way to score runs." We are still waiting for results on this statement. Of course, I am not sure if we can give him credit for Zack's performance this year. I think what we saw from Zack was inevitable regardless of who the manager is.

After 2 years with the Royals, has he really progressed as a major league manager and does he earn the chance to finish out his contract? I don't think so.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Being the Royals manager is a numbing grind - Kansas City Star

Being the Royalsmanager is a numbing grind - Kansas City Star

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David Glass Getting What He Has Paid For

There is no doubt about it the Royals have been disappointing this year. They have problems scoring runs, bullpen problems, and defense. General Manager Dayton Moore was given the highest payroll in team history of $70 million dollars this year to assemble this team.

$70 million might have produced a much better team if the minor leagues were not neglected for the years previous to his arrival. If the minors were producing good players each year then you could lock them up for that price until they become eligible for free agency after 7 years of major league service.

Without a stocked minor league system, Moore had to rely on what $70 million could get him on the free agent market and via trades. But what does $70 million buy you in major league baseball? $70 million does not get you much especially if you are trying to stock a major league while waiting for your young talent to emerge.

Much attention and blame has been focused on Moore for the performance of the Royals this year. Granted he did make the deals to bring in the players we have this year but he got what $70 million dollars buys. With this in mind, owner David Glass does not have much room to complain. This might be why he is mostly silent on the performance of the Royals and absent from attending games in Kansas City. Fans have noticed his presence sitting behind home plate at games at Houston and Boston rather than at Kauffman Stadium. Glass can’t be too critical of his team because he realizes that he himself is the chief reason behind the poor performance on the field.

As for the minor league talent, the best of the talent is still in the lower levels of the organization and will take 3-5 years to develop. One important thing to consider is that minor league talent does not always produce into top notch major league players. The Royals are banking their future on nearly 100% development from the minors. That is like putting all your money into one stock instead of spreading your risk around. Money for the development of the Royals needs to be spread more evenly between the minor leagues, free agents, and trades so all your beans are not in one basket.

The Royals are in a vicious cycle with Glass as the owner. Glass won’t put money into the team because the team is bad. The team won’t get any better quickly unless more money is pumped into the payroll. In order for Moore to attract top major league talent, he needs to be given the payroll to compete with teams in New York, Boston, and Los Angeles among others. Otherwise, Moore is putting on the field exactly what David Glass is paying for.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Victory from the Jaws of Defeat

The Royals won on Monday night against the Baltimore Orioles by a score of 5-3. They had no business winning the game and if you were watching or listening to the game in the early innings, you probably tuned out on the game.

Royals starter Bruce Chen pitched 5 innings giving up 3 runs on 8 hits while throwing 99 pitches. It could have been a lot worse as he massed 50 pitches by the 2nd inning and escaping 2 bases loaded situations by only giving up one run each time. Chen gave way to Robinson Tejeda in the 6th and pitched brilliantly for the win in relief giving up only 1 hit. Both Chen and Tejeda benefitted from defensive plays from Ryan Freel and Bryan Pena respectively. Freel throwing out Nolan Reimold at the plate to end the 2nd and Pena throwing out Cesar Izturis trying to steal second base after he led off the 6th with a single and was the last Oriole hitter to reach base. Closer Joakim Soria took over in the 9th to get his 16th save.

One the offensive side, Billy Butler went 5 for 5 including 2 doubles with 3 runs batted in and scoring twice. Mark Teahan, Willie Bloomquist, and Alex Gordon had doubles also in the 14 hit attack.

The Royals could have easily collapsed early in the game, but they did not. The offense and pitching could have packed it in, but they didn't. They had no business winning the game, but the Royals did not listen. They did what other teams did to them during the past home stand; the Royals snatched a victory from the jaws of defeat.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Royals Hall of Fame Opens

The Kansas City Royals have done it right with their new Hall of Fame which opened on Friday July 17, 2009. The exhibits are all top notch starting with the Wall at the entrance to the Hall of Fame. A tour guide dressed in a Jackie Robinson Kansas City Monarchs uniform described the headlines that are enshrined on the ash wood wall appropriately using a baseball bat as a pointer. This area also contains replica lockers for the 3 Royals retired numbers of #10 Dick Howser, #5 George Brett, and #20 Frank White along with informational displays about Kansas City baseball history including the Cowboys, Blues, Monarchs, and Athletics among others.

After the 20 or so minute presentation the group was whisked into the Dugout Theater sponsored by Sprint. The theater designed is to look like a dugout that seats 40 people (appropriate because of the 40 man roster). The perspective of the field on the screen is from the dugout and you feel as if you are in the dugout at Kauffman Stadium. The film documents the history of the Royals which includes interviews from players and fans. A life size statue of Buck O'Neil is at the end of the bench that you pass as you exit to go into the exhibit hall.

The exhibit hall contains multi media displays and artifacts about Royals history. Many of the stations contain several videos that you can watch. A neat feature is the Royals Radio Network replica booth that has a "You Call the Play" feature where you can watch and listen to 6 famous Royals calls.

From here you move to the Hall of Champions where you are first greeted by a giant #5 made of 3154 baseballs that represents all of George Brett's hits. There is also a display of the gold gloves of Frank White along with wall displays and artifacts from each of the Western Division championships, American League championship, and finally the 1985 World Series trophy that contains a video presentation of the 85 championship.

The museum concludes with a room that contains the plaques of the 23 members of the Royals Hall of Fame.

The Hall is open on game days and no extra ticket is required upon admission to the ballpark. Tours are conducted in groups of 40 every 15 minutes. You are given the option of skipping the wall and film presentations and go straight to the museum if you choose. But I highly suggest you watch these presentations your first time attending the Hall. It is also open during the day for a $10 admission charge which includes an unlimited pass good for one year. Details are at the Royals website at

Click here for photos of the new Royals Hall of Fame.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Glimmer of Hope

It is going to take a long time to rebuild the Kansas City Royals. The minors were in a shambles when GM Dayton Moore took over. Right now the talent that Moore has drafted is in the lower levels of the minors. It is going to take a good four years to build up our minors. Only then can we grade Dayton Moore.

In the mean time, all he can do is make some trades or free agent signings to keep the team going until we see the fruits of 4-5 years of draft picks. Would we all like to see a winner now? Yes. But we have to do what we have done before, wait. The Royals are not going to field a team of free agent superstars or make trades for superstars. That will deplete the minors as we have to give up compensatory drafts when we sign other teams free agents or trade away prospects to get superstar major league talent. Dayton began with a depleted minor league system. He is not going to sacrifice his draft picks to try to win now or next year.

Today's 6-2 victory over the Blue Jays showed some hope. The 3 keys to winning (good pitching, good defense and timely hitting) were there. Hochaver pitched well along with Farnsworth. Soria "saved" the game even though it was not an official save opportunity. But for all intents and purposes, the Royals are happy with the unofficial save. We showed some timely hitting getting hits when people were on base to knock in runs.

This could be the win that turns the team around. One game after Greinke showed he is a human being may have made the players realize that baseball is a team sport and that they can't just sit back and depend on Zack all the time to be the spark.

We can only hope.