Saturday, January 09, 2010

The Royals sign Scott Podsednik

The Royals signed Scott Podsednik to a one-year deal for $1.75 million with an option for 2011 (it’s a club option if Pod has less than 550 plate appearances and a mutual option if he hits that number).

White Sox vs. Cubs
[The Chicago White Sox's Scott Podsednik scores in the ninth inning against the Chicago Cubs. The White Sox defeated the Cubs, 5-0, at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois, Thursday, September 3, 2009. (Phil Velasquez/Chicago Tribune/MCT) Photo via Newscom / Content © 2010 Newscom All rights reserved.]
The 33-year-old, who will be 34 by the time the 2010 season begins, will hit leadoff and probably play center field – although Dayton Moore is leaving the door open for him to play left field, which would require moving David DeJesus back to center. I think that would be a bad decision after the way DeJesus played in left field last season.

I don’t have a huge issue with this signing, but I don’t really understand why Moore signed both Brian Anderson and Podsednik while also having Mitch Maier in the system. Podsednik had a solid season in Chicago last season, posting a .353 OBP, good for 14th in the AL among outfielders.

But the truth is, 2009 was Podsednik’s best season since his rookie season in 2003. He’s about to turn 34. He doesn’t steal as many bases as he used to (30 last season). And you have to wonder if his numbers from last season are repeatable. If he reverts to the numbers he put up in 2008 (.253/.322/.333) or 2007 (.243/.299/.369), he’ll end up being another in a growing list of light hitting outfielders on the Royals’ roster.

It’s understandable why Moore wanted to dismantle the 2009 roster – it was abysmal. But I’m not convinced that the moves he has made to acquire Jason Kendall, Chris Getz, Josh Fields, Anderson and Podsednik is better, offensively speaking, than Miguel Olivo, Mark Teahen, Alex Gordon, Alberto Callaspo and Coco Crisp/Mitch Maier – especially since Getz and Fields may not even be everyday players (assuming Alex Gordon and Callaspo hold on to their positions this spring).

And where does Mike Aviles fit into this mix? Assuming that Yuniesky Betancourt is the starting shortstop, and assuming that second and third base are covered, does Aviles become the 2010 version of TPJ who rarely sees playing time?

Last season Moore appealed to Royals fans asking them to “trust the process” as his acquisitions work their way through the minor leagues and eventually to Kansas City. Even so, maybe he learned that he didn’t give defense a high enough priority at the Major League level while trying to piece together a roster until his players arrive.

I have no idea how Kendall, Getz, Fields, Anderson and Podsednik match up defensively against Olivo, Teahen, Gordon, Callaspo and Crisp/Maier. I only know that Olivo, Gordon and Callaspo were not good defensively last season. In fact, at times, you wondered if the team could possibly be any worse defensively.

Will the moves Moore has made so far this off season make the team better defensively? I don’t know. But if they are considerably better, then I might be willing to tolerate an even lighter hitting team in 2010 with the expectation/hope that things will be different in 2011 and 2012.

But if they aren’t considerably better defensively, then Moore has assembled a roster that might be even harder to watch in 2010 than the 2009 version.

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