Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Randa Returns to Pittsburgh

According to the Post-Gazette website, Joe Randa signed a one-year deal with the Pirates today—pending a physical. The Pirates are thought to have offered him $4 million.

I still think he ought to be our starting third baseman. Mark Teahen was nowhere near ready to start last year after Chris Truby went down. Although, in fairness, toward the end of the season, Teahen finally looked like he belonged in the big leagues. But don't be surprised if Joe doesn't end up in a Royal blue uniform again someday—as a coach.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Sanders and Mays

The signing of Reggie Sanders was a big one for the Royals. At the age of 38, he can still hit for power (he's hit at least 21 home runs in 6 of the last 7 seasons), he still drives in runs, and he still steals bases. He's not the long term answer in right field, but it'll be nice seeing him there for the next two seasons. I'm already envisioning Sweeney's numbers going up since we now have a legitimate clean up hitter behind him.

My only concern about Sanders is that he strikes out too frequently. The Royals already have too many free swingers in the line up, but to be fair, I'm not nearly as bothered by a clean up hitter taking his hacks. Now, Ruben Gotay and Angel Berroa—that's a different matter.

The signing of Joe Mays was a bit of a surprise since we already signed Redman and Elarton, but Mays is a proven starter and will fit nicely in a rotation that has hardly resembled a major league rotation in recent seasons. Mays is injury prone and has never recaptured the success he had in 2001 when he was 17-13 with a 3.46 ERA and went to the All-Star game. His career numbers aren't all that impressive: 48-65 with a 4.85 ERA, but let's be honest, they look good enough to be in our rotation.

Assuming that Redman, Elarton, Mays, and Hernandez are guaranteed four of the five spots, it looks like Greinke and Affeldt may be in competition for the fifth spot. It would be a blow to his ego (and that would probably be a good thing), but I wouldn't mind seeing Greinke pitch most of the year in Omaha. We clearly rushed him to the major leagues. In his first two seasons, he's a combined 13-28 with a 4.99 ERA and he's already given up 49 HR in 328 innings of work.

Well, the majority of the roster changes are complete. Now comes the anticipation of Spring Training. I'm already looking forward to it. How about you?

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Royals Sign Four

I like the addition of Scott Elarton to our starting rotation. Unfortunately, in this market, it really does cost $4 million per year for a career .500 pitcher with an ERA slightly over 5.00. He'll be in Kansas City for the next two seasons and maybe we'll finally have a couple of guys in the rotation who can pitch 200+ innings (Redman being the other). We still don't have a number one or two guy, but we finally have a couple of number threes. Runelvys Hernandez, Jeremy Affeldt, and Zach Greinke appear to be the other three starters. This is the best rotation we've had in many years. Still not good—but at least it won't be embarrassingly bad.

I'm not as high on the signing of Mark Grudzielanek. He's a 35 year-old, good fielding second baseman with an average bat (.294, 8 HR, 59 RBI last season) and a hefty price tag ($4 million). He's not a bad signing, but I think Tony Graffanino could produce at least the same offensive numbers (.309, 7 HR, 38 RBI last season) if not better if he started at second base all season. It's hard to argue with Grudzielanek's gold glove, but is a gold glove worth $4 million? I don't think so.

I really don't understand the Doug Mientkiewicz signing. We just agreed to pay $1.85 million to a light hitting (.240, 11 HR, 29 RBI last season) first baseman with a very good glove when we already have Mike Sweeney, Matt Stairs, Justin Huber, Ken Harvey, and maybe even Alex Gordon lined up to play first base. Harvey is hurt and Sweeney is injury prone, but Stairs is durable (and cheaper), Huber is an up-and-comer, and if Gordon is really worth all the money we paid him, then we ought to be set at first base without adding Mientkiewicz.

And why sign Paul Bako? Experience is the answer I guess, but his career numbers are poor. He has a .239 career batting average with 14 HR and 133 RBI. Why not bring back Paul Phillips? He hit .269 with 1 HR and 9 RBI in 23 games with KC last season. He's only 27 years old and wouldn't cost as much. I know that Bako caught Maddux in Atlanta, but I'm not sure that it matters in Kansas City.

According to Jeff Passan's article in the Star this morning, the Royals are still in the market for a power hitting corner outfielder, including guys like Jacque Jones, Juan Encarnacion, and Preston Wilson. I'm not a big Jacque Jones fan, and both Encarnacion and Wilson are free swingers—which seems to me the last thing we need on this roster, but if I had to pick between the two, I'd take Preston Wilson.

With the payroll already approaching $50 million, Baird knows that this team better win considerably more games in 2006 than we did in 2005 or he won't be around KC for 2007. We've certainly improved our team, while not taking away positions from our younger guys, but that doesn't always equate to more wins. Let's hope in this case though that it does.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Royals Trade for Redman

The Royals traded for Mark Redman this afternoon. He was 5-15 with a 4.90 ERA in 30 starts in Pittsburgh last season. His career record is 53-66 with a 4.47 ERA. The Royals sent Jonah Bayliss and a player to be named later to Pittsburgh in the deal.

Redman is another in a long list of starting pitchers with mediocre career numbers, but mediocre looks pretty nice in our rotation—even though he was 1-11 in his final 12 decision last season. He's scheduled to take D.J. Carrasco's spot in the rotation after D.J. signed with a team in Japan.

Redman's is a big guy (6-foot-5, 245 pounds) and he eats up a lot of innings every year. We desperately need a guy who we can count on to pitch 200 innings and Redman is probably the guy.

Up the Middle

Apparently, Baird is finally willing to admit that we have a problem up the middle. He attempted to sign Rafael Furcal (what must Angel Berroa be thinking right about now?) recently, but the Dodgers paid him $39 million for three years and we can't even touch a contract like that.

And in another attempt to strengthen our middle infield, we're reportedly considering resigning Tony Graffanino, but a couple of weeks ago, we told him that he'd be coming in as a back up player. He can start for the Red Sox, and the Twins almost signed him as a starter, but he can't start for the Royals? Gotay isn't the answer at second base. Neither is Donnie Simpson. And Baird and Bell seem to know that. Baird is reportedly considering a trade with Toronto for Orlando Hudson. I'm guessing that Graffanino could match Hudson's numbers if the Royals actually started him and left him in the line up all season.

Another trade that the Royals are reportedly considering includes Affeldt/MacDougal with Berroa going to Atlanta for either Kelly Johnson or Ryan Langerhans. I'd love to see Berroa shipped off and if he were to go with MacDougal, I wouldn't complain.

Starting Pitchers are a Premium

The situation in Dallas has become so dire that we are now looking to take on salary via trades rather than attempting to overpay for the remaining free agent starters. According to an article in the KC Star this morning, Kris Benson is one such player we are trying to obtain from the Mets. He has two years remaining on his contract and we would be on the hook for $15 million.

We seem to be in a hurry to deal Mike MacDougal and Jeremy Affeldt—not necessarily in a package deal—to improve our rotation. Benson would certainly help. He's 57-61 with a 4.25 ERA in his six season career. But does anybody else scratch their head and wonder how a pitcher with a below .500 record can be paid more than $7 million per season? Has major league pitching become so bad that even guys with mediocre numbers are consider a great addition to a rotation? The obvious answer is—yes.

Baird has all but ruled out Kevin Millwood, Jarrod Washburn, Jeff Weaver, and Matt Morris because they want four-year contracts and he doesn't want to sign pitchers for that long. It's hard to argue with him. We do have some extra money to spend finally, but tying a large chunk of it up with a one player over the long term doesn't make sense right now.

Can you believe that Kenny Rogers (41 years old) is looking for a three-year contract? The guy knows how to win (and get into trouble), but he's old and the idea that he's going to keep putting up such good number into his mid-40's just isn't realistic enough to take a chance.

Most of the rest of the free agent starters don't thrill me all that much. They include: Scott Elarton, Joe Mays, Brett Tomko, Shawn Estes, Ramon Ortiz, Jason Johnson, Brian Moehler, Byung-Hyun Kim, and Tony Armas Jr. Why not just put Affeldt back into the rotation and see what he can do? He appeared to turn things around during the final weeks of the season. His blister problem hasn't reoccurred since having his fingernail partially removed. And he's always seemed more comfortable as a starter.

I'm not opposed to taking on salary via trades, and at this point, it looks like our best opportunity is with Benson. Let's just hope that he's the only we commit that amount of money to.

Byrd Shuns Royals

I like Paul Byrd. I think we offered him too much money (reportedly $22 million for three years), but that's the way the market is going right now. I was a little surprised to see him sign with Cleveland for two years for $14.25 million. But his reasoning was quite clear, "I want to win," Byrd reportedly said. "And that was more important than the larger contract in Kansas City."

Kansas City, we have a problem. If we can't overpay for Paul Byrd—a good pitcher who is injury prone—then who can we overpay for? (Forget paying market value.) After losing in excess of 200 games the past two seasons, we've obviously become known as an organization that has no interest in winning. As much as we've been trying to portray an imagine of an organization that's in the midst of rebuilding via a youth movement, players like Paul Byrd don't seem to believe it.

Matthews: Frick Award Finalist

Congrats to Denny Matthews for being a finalist in the Ford C. Frick Award that is presented annually to a broadcaster for "major contributions" to the game. He's been with the Royals since our inception and he's called more than 6,000 Royals games. Denny Matthews is Royals baseball. I listen to him even during blowouts because he's full of great insight about the game, great stories from the past, and just hearing his voice makes me feel connected to the team.

We won't know if he has won the award until the 2006 Hall of Fame Weekend in Cooperstown in July, but as a person who voted to nominate him for the finals, I'm pulling for him.
Clicky Web Analytics