Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Latest Moves

Dayton Moore said there were going to be changes this off season. He wasn’t joking.

Kyle Farnsworth

Over the weekend the Royals signed Farnsworth to two-year, $9.25 contract with a club option for 2011. He’ll make $4.25 million in 2009 and $4.5 million in 2010. If the Royals exercise their option in 2011, Farnsworth will make $5.25 million. The Royals have a $500,000 buyout. The contract also includes $750,000 per season in performance bonuses.

I really, really don’t understand this signing. Moore has taken the attitude, right or wrong, that middle relievers are easily replaced. And for the most part, he has a good track record of proving his point. But weeks ago, he dealt away two good relievers who were making far less than Farnsworth, and their career numbers are either comparable or better than Farnsworth’s. Yeah, Moore arguably filled a couple of holes in our roster by dealing Leo Nunez and Ramon Ramirez, but I’m not convinced that Farnsworth will even perform at the level that Nunez did last year in the setup role.

Farnsworth has a 4.47 career ERA and a 1.404 WHIP. He put up decent numbers with the Yankees last season, but you have to go back to 2005 to find numbers worthy of what the Royals have agreed to pay him in 2009.

Doug Waechter

The Royals signed him to a one-year contract worth $640,000. Last year, in Florida, Waechter spent his first full season in the bullpen and put up solid numbers (3.69 ERA, 1.326 WHIP). Righties hit just .216 against him. This seems like a solid pick up for the Royals and it’ll help replenish the pen after the aforementioned trades Moore made recently.

Horacio Ramirez

The Royals signed the left-handed potential starter to a $1.8 million one-year contract and told him that he’ll have a chance to win a spot in the rotation. Ramirez had a brief stay in Kansas City last season, making 15 appearances out of the bullpen and posting a 2.59 ERA and 0.904 ERA. Things didn’t go so well for him in Chicago. He made 17 appearances for the White Sox and had a 7.62 ERA and 2.462 WHIP. His career numbers are—dare I say it—Farnsworth like (4.59 ERA, 1.471 WHIP).

We may have paid a little too much for him, but if he makes the rotation, then stays there and puts up even decent numbers, he’ll be worth it.

Joey Gathright

Moore decided not to offer Gathright a contract, so he signed a one-year deal with the Cubs for $800,000. Gathright didn’t fit in Kansas City after the Coco Crisp acquisition. With Crisp and David DeJesus, center field is covered. And since it looks like the Royals plan to hold on to both Mark Teahen and Jose Guillen (let’s face it, nobody else wants him—especially at $12 million a year), there was nowhere to play Gathright.

I sort of hate to see him go. Not that he put up great numbers in Kansas City. But more so because I like the way he played the game—all out, all of the time.

John Bale

The re-signing of Bale to a one-year contract obviously isn’t a change, but I’m glad the Royals decided to offer him a contract. The terms of the contract were not disclosed, but I’m guessing that he will not be making anywhere near what Farnsworth just signed for even though he has Farnsworth-like career numbers (4.47 ERA and 1.404 WHIP).

Once the Royals moved Bale from the rotation last year (after first having a dead arm and then coming back from a rather embarrassing injury) into the bullpen, he seemed to find his niche. He didn’t come back until September, but once he did he didn’t allow a single earned run in 11 appearances.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Royals 2009 Spring Training Schedule

The Royals have announced their tentative 2009 Spring Training schedule. It includes 36 games. Here’s a link.

Dayton Moore’s Chat Transcript

Dayton Moore’s chat transcript is posted on the Royals website. As usual, he was guarded with his answers, but it’s worth reading.

Grudzielanek Plans to Decline Royals Offer

Sadly, Mark Grudzielanek’s days in Royal blue have probably come to an end. He says that he’s 95-98% sure that he’ll decline the Royals offer of arbitration. He has until Sunday to make his final decision. His reason for declining the offer?

“I’ve played the game a long time and made a lot of money.” Grudzielanek said. “It’s part of it, but I’m at the point in my career where it’s time to be in it in September and make a run at it. I’ve been with teams like that, and that’s what it’s all about. I’d like to go out like that.”

The clear inference from Grudzielanek is that he doesn’t believe the Royals are going to be playoff contenders with the chance to make a run at the World Series in 2009. I don’t think anybody believes the Royals are going to be World Series contenders in 2009. But for two years, we’ve been talking about 2009 and 2010 as the years that we expect to see the team gel.

The likes of Billy Butler, Alex Gordon, Mark Teahen, and Zack Greinke are supposed to be settling in by then and producing at a high level. Only Greinke has done so thus far.

But I digress.

Grudzielanek has been nothing but a class act during his three seasons in Kansas City. He’s played hard, he’s played hurt, he’s won a Gold Glove, he’s hit for average, he’s been a presence in the clubhouse, and maybe most importantly he’s taught young guys how to play the game. I wish Grud well in finding a new team and I really hope he gets his shot at the postseason.

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