Monday, August 27, 2007

What to do, What to do....


The Royals have some choices to make in regards to their 2008 pitching staff. This is a good thing. It is the first time in a while that it appears the Royals will have some starting pitching options.

Let's start with what is expected:
Starters: Gil Meche, Brian Bannister, Kyle Davies.....
Relievers: Jimmy Gobble, Joel Peralta, John Bale, Ryan Braun, David Riske (Assuming he resigns with KC)....

Barring free-agency (In which I expect Dayton to add another proven starter to the rotation), there are several pitchers with uncertain futures: Zack Greinke, Joakim Soria, Leo Nunez, Brandon Duckworth, Billy Buckner, Luke Hochevar.

The thing is... all of these fellows can be viewed as starters. Assuming that Davies keeps his starting spot, that leaves just two spots in the Royals rotation. A combo of Zack Greinke and Joakim Soria will fill one of the last two starter spots and the closer spot. Soria has been sensational in his first Major League season, posting a sub 3 ERA and more than a strikeout per inning. He has 14 saves in 18 opportunities and has shown a toughness ("Mexican Tough" as Buddy explains) that is perfect for shutting down games. Greinke continues to be an enigma, and has been given yet another shot in the starting rotation after posting a mid 3 ERA in the bullpen. In my opinion, Greinke has to be a starter. It is obvious... he has four plus pitches that he can throw at a wide variety of speeds (high 60s to high 90s) which points to using him in more than just one inning per game. OK, we will say that problem is solved for now(obviously it's not; Greinke still has a TON to prove, but we will move on anyway).

That leaves just one starting spot, which ideally will be one by one of the AAA guys (Hochevar, Buckner). Buckner has been more consistent and pitched well in his MLB debut, but Hochevar was the #1 pick for the Royals and has posted fantastic strikeout numbers (over a strikeout an inning combined AA and AAA) while struggling to shut opponents down (especially the long-ball). Assuming that one of these guys gets the fifth spot in the rotation, our starters in 2008 look like such:

1. Gil Meche
2. Brian Bannister
3. Zack Greinke
4. Kyle Davies
5. Billy Buckner/Luke Hochevar

That still leaves Leo Nunez (who really has earned a serious look at this point in time) and Brandon Duckworth (who when healthy has been a valuable asset as a starter and reliever).

One of these guys will probably end up in long relief and the other will be traded or in the minors. this leaves my 2008 bullpen looking something like this...

Middle Relief:
Brandon Duckworth
Buckner/Nunez
John Bale

Set Up:
Jimmy Gobble
David Riske
Joel Peralta/Ryan Braun

Closer:
Joakim Soria

This is seriously the first time I can remember the Royals having options both in the rotation and in the bullpen, and shows to me how Dayton has really changed the developmental stages of this organization. Like I said before, I would really like Dayton to go out and try and get a proven starter (although, pickens are slim in the 07/08 free agency market) as an insurance plan; but even if he fails to do so, the Royals have options. This would leave some significant extra cash for some pop........ To Be Continued.....

Tonight: Royals dream about a Tiger sweep........

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Joey Gathright: Modern Hero



Bobby Jenks is a fat, modestly ugly White Sox pitcher who retired 41 consecutive batters, presumably on pure luck and/or an unholy contract. Joey Gathright is a diminuitive blur of an outfielder whose favorite pastime is jumping over cars at area stripmalls. I would certainly link you to that post and its glorious Youtube video, but the Google/Blogger people apparently hate Macs, barring me from doing so. Sidebar: Way to go, Google. Let's alienate the smartest and most creative populations (and dare I say most handsome) by alienating Mac users. Certainly those people aren't bloggers. Idiots.

Any-old-who, Joey Gathright was supposed to be victim #42, but Joey had the resolve and confidence of Rod Carew at the dish for this particular instant in Major League History. After falling behind 0-2 (and a foot away from a triple on 0-1), Gathright hit a clean single between short and third to end Jenks' streak, which left him tied with Jim Barr in regards to consecutive batters retired. And yes, the game soon ended in a Royals loss, but let's not that get in the way of a historic defense of purity and good by the Royals outfielder, who once brawled with one of my least favorite players in baseball, Julian Tavarez. Dude is doing the Lord's work.

You see, it is my opinion that the casual baseball fan should hate the White Sox more than the dreaded Yankees or the sublimely mediocre Philadelphia Phillies. They cheated in a World Series! Sure, the Sox owner at the time, Charlie Comiskey, makes Mr. Burns look like Mother Teresa, but let's be real for a moment. At a moment when baseball was perhaps at its golden age, the 1919 "Black Sox" corrupted much of that innocence, epitomized by children, puppies, and Saturday mornings. So, by preventing a White Sox pitcher from reaching a historic milestone (and remember, Bobby Jenks has one of those insufferable landing-strip goatees), Joey Gathright protected this innocence, romance, and purity. Joey Gathright is a beacon of everything that is right.

So, I ask that today you stop and think of what Joey Gathright has done for us all. As we all reach that inevitable conclusion that the world is not what we thought it was, think of a lithe, short, unfathomably speedy Royals outfielder who has our collective best interests at heart. Godspeed, young Joey. Godspeed.

P.S. One of Corby and the Royals good friends has started a sports blog, so I'd like to direct our billions of readers to his site at vranifieldhouse.blogspot.com. Good night, and good luck.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Thank The Lord... (or David Glass)


The Royals pulled it off. The played chicken with Super-Agent Scott Boras and won. Dayton Moore, Deric Ladnier, and the rest of the Royals staff managed to come to an agreement with the second pick in the '07 draft, Mike Moustakas (Above right). It went down to the wire, but they managed to sign the young slugger with a 4 million dollar bonus. Along with the rest of Royals nation, I was starting to worry. All reports told me that the two sides were not even close and a deal would most likely not get done. If the deal fell through, it would have been a giant step back for the Royals organization that had appeared to turn a corner with the Gil Meche signing (who once again got screwed with no run support last night). While the player draft is still flawed in my opinion (RHP Rick Porcello signed for 7 million at the 27th spot!), the Royals managed to get their pick signed without spending too much more than slot money ($.9 million). To me, this is still just notch number 2 for the "new look Royals", but it is an extremely important step.

Tonight: Nunez continues to wow....

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

'Bout Time!



Congratulations to Mark Teahen for hitting his sixth home run of the season, enough to tie the home run totals of such sluggers as Marco Scutaro and Dustin Pedroia. Yipes.