Monday, November 16, 2009

DiNardo opts for free agency; DeJesus doesn’t win Gold Glove

As we anxiously await the news announcing Zack Greinke as the 2009 AL Cy Young award winner, we have some other Royals news to discuss:

Lenny DiNardo and Yasuhiko Yabuta opted for free agency rather than accepting outright assignments to Omaha.

After watching DiNardo in Omaha for most of the 2009 season, I really hate to see him go. He didn’t pitch well for Kansas City after being called up late in the season, but, as I said in a story I wrote for about DiNardo, I wonder if he would have performed better if they had used him as a reliever since that’s where he’s excelled previously in the big leagues. In 102.0 IP as a reliever, he’s 1-3 with a 3.97 ERA. In 155.0 IP as a starter, he’s 9-15 with a 6.27 ERA.

The Royals paid $500,000 to buy out a 2010 option on Yabuta, and justifyably so. They would have been on the hook for $4 million otherwise. I really don’t know why he would opt for free agency though because his numbers at the big league level were awful with the Royals over the past two seasons. In 43 relief appearances, he’s 3-4 with a 7.14 ERA and a 1.819 WHIP. He performed much better in Omaha this season, going 2-1 with a 3.55 ERA with a 1.23 WHIP in 45.2 IP. He should have been happy to accept an assignment to Omaha.

David DeJesus did not win a Gold Glove in spite of not committing a single error in 2009. No doubt about it, he had a great defensive season—including 13 outfield assists, but he wasn’t one of the three best defensive outfielders in the AL. He had a lot of assists because the league knew he didn’t have a strong arm when he was playing centerfield. For whatever reason, he adapted well to left field and he threw out a bunch of guys who tried to take an extra base on him. But he didn’t always take the best route to the ball. I suspect that will come with time. I hope he settles in to become the everyday leftfielder for years to come because he’s well suited for the position, but he’s not a Gold Glove winner. At least, not yet.

The Royals signed Wilson Betemit to a minor league contract. Looking over his numbers, he looks like a poor man’s Mark Teahen. He can play all four infield positions and he shows a little power at times. Dayton Moore pointed out that he has a .324 career OBP. Considering that the Royals had a .318 OBP as a team last season, I guess Moore thinks Betemit is an improvement. The problem is, the Royals ranked 26th out of 30 teams in that category. So, while Betemit is slightly above the Royals average, he’s nothing to get too excited about. He’s also never played more than 115 games at the big league level for one team in any one season. He’ll just be yet another option in a crowded infield this Spring and it’s always good to have options.

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