Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Royals Sign Sidney Ponson

Royals’ scouts have been watching Sidney Ponson and they “are convinced this guy needs to be part of our rotation competition” according to Dayton Moore, so the Royals signed him to a Minor League contract.

Ponson is 32. He’s certainly had his share of success—at least for a season or two in Baltimore. Overall, in his 11 seasons at the big league level, he’s 90-106 with a 4.95 ERA and 1.47 WHIP. If that were all we had to go by, then it might seem foolish not to take a chance in issuing a guy like Ponson a Minor League contract and then let him fight for a chance to make the rotation. But that’s not all we have to go by.

According to Bob Dutton, Ponson was . . .

. . . arrested on Christmas in 2004 for assaulting a judge in his native Aruba following an incident concerning a complaint regarding Ponson’s operation of a powerboat.

Ponson was also cited twice in 2005 for driving under the influence. The Rangers released him last June, despite a 4-1 record, because of what club officials characterized as behavioral issues.

I’m all for giving a guy a second chance if he’s shown a desire to change, but obviously the Rangers had enough problems with him last season that they released him even though he was 4-1. Who can afford to release good starting pitching without something bad going on below the surface? What makes Moore think 2009 will be different than 2008 for Ponson? In Dutton’s article, Moore is quoted as saying that “if we didn’t think it was manageable or something that could be positive for us going forward, we wouldn’t take the chance.”

I hope the chance turns out to be worth taking. Of course, we may never find out if Ponson doesn’t pitch his way onto the club over the next couple of weeks.

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