Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Grocery List

First of all, we need a manager. Although the splendid reign of Buddy Bell makes many Kansas Citians wish that these days could last forever (cough cough), it's time to find someone else to helm this relatively rightward vessel. The names we've heard: Terry Pendleton, Frank White, and a gaggle of old-timers who haven't managed in a half-decade. The names we haven't heard: Tony Muser, Calvin Pickering, and that minor league manager who threw that ridiculous tantrum last year. I'm glad we are sticking to the former list.

As I've been saying to many of my friends (tuckcity edit: acquiantances), I actually think the Royals have pieces off which to build, as compared to the past, where these "pieces" (Neifi Perez, Carlos Febles, Chip Ambres) were mere mirages. We're set at 3B, 2B, C, SS for the time being, and have two outfield spots tacked down. Also, we have a fairly solid front end of the rotation and a bullpen that surprised a lot of people this year (although when we took Greinke out and plugged him in the rotation, the middle relief was much spottier). If we can go forth with Meche, Greinke, and the sublimely consistent performance of Brian Bannister, we're pretty good in that regard. Soria is awesome; he stays at closer. The rest? We will have to wait and see.

The problems we need to address are both the obvious (everyone needs middle relief help) and the not-so-clear. First of all, we need either Teahen to somehow learn to mash the ball, or we need to look elsewhere. If DeJesus is in center, his production is fine, but if you move him to one of the corners, the result is something short of desirable. We need a power bat. The Royals HR record is still 30. This is absolutely pathetic.

It has been suggested that the Royals will try to make a run at Andruw Jones, but that's just speculation brought on by the fact that Dayton Moore has already swiped every Braves player and Braves front-office member that he can get his paws on (not necessarily a bad thing, they did win like 10 straight division titles). What does help is that Andruw Jones left a lot to be desired, performance-wise, at the plate this year. This guy hit 50 homers two seasons ago. Many of the bigger teams' owners may have short-term memory loss in this case; Druw's gonna get PAID. If we can get into the mix, Jones's impact would be substantial; in this market with our pretty decent staff, he could be a 5-8 win player. No joke.

However, we will probably be forced to try to sign/deal for other cheaper options. The Indians' Franklin Gutierrez, the Ray's Rocco Baldelli and Jonny Gomes, and the D-Ray's Carlos Quentin are all gettable options (thanks for the excellent analysis on this, RoyalsReview).

Bottom line, it should be interesting. The Royals will be in the Andruw Jones mix; but we'll have to wait and see how much is too much for Glass and Co.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

What to do, what to do....

First of all before we get started here... Gil Meche got his second straight victory last night after a stretch of 9 starts without a win. Even better, the Royals pulled back into fourth place over the dreaded White Sox. I'm gonna go crazy, and say that Gil wins 14-17 games next year......

Now, the soup de jour.... The Royals have a problem. It involves the Son of God, a guy who can jump over cars, and a Money Baller. Yes, the Royals outfield needs a change. David Dejesus, Joey Gathright, and Marvelous Mark Teahen have combined for 14 homers and 144 RBIs with just a handful (think Andre the Giant's hand) of games left in the season. Yowzba. 14 dongs from three outfielders. I suppose you could throw Emil Brown's six in there and make it a whopping twenty (Side Note: Emil Brown is once again leading the team in RBIs with extremely limited playing time...). A few names with 20 or more homers in the AL: Jack Cust, Curtis Granderson, Josh Fields, Neifi Perez... Ok the last one is simply not possible, but you get the point. The Royals have been on a serious power outage ever since Carlos Beltran was traded to the Oilers... I mean the Rockets... what's that?... the Astros?... huh. What is an Astro? Is that kind of like a Nittany Lion? Oh, like the Jetson's character? forget it. Where am I? Oh yeah: WE NEED TO HIT MORE HOMERUNS!!! Sorry, that was probably a little extreme, but come on, John Buck leads the team in big flies for crying out loud. The solution for me is to find a way to get rid of Dejesus. No power + no speed + no defense = anger for Dylan. I like the guy (Very friendly when approached at Tiffany's), and I know he is a run scorer, but come on, he is not a CF or a lead-off man. He is a solid number 2 hitter or 6 hitter, but he does not hit for enough power out of those spots. For me, the guy is Joey Gathright. He looks like a different player this year, e.g. learned how to bunt, playing good "D" (with the exception of some Metrodome blunders, but who cares about that piece place anyway?), hitting the ball on the ground... you get the picture. Gathright is my man in center, and I think that Teahen will rebound to hit 15+ homers in '08 and continue to improve in right field. I now place the responsibility in the hands of Mr. Moore and his staff to find a reasonable trade for Dejesus and acquire a power-hitting corner outfielder (is Vlad Guerrero available for the league minimum?).

Tonight: Bri Ban plunks AJP in the head and the world rejoices.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

A Gloomy September...

As rain water soaked my dome and cascaded down the steps of the University of Kansas campus today, I wondered to myself, "Why, Tuck? Why do you still care about the Royals right now?" Yes, the boys in blue are having a rough go at it this month. Losing 10 of their last 12 games has really done a number to my second half prediction that had them finishing just shy of .500. Though they still have a chance to finish ahead of the White Sox, with 6 games left between Good and Evil, it seems unlikely as the team limps towards the finish line. I then I found it. The reason I still care. Alex Gordon. The kid is the real deal. I had my doubts, as did many, when the month of May ended with Gordon looking like the second coming of Neifi Perez at the plate, but then he turned it all around, and looks to have the makings of a future hall of famer! Gordon has been sensational in his Rookie campaign since the start of June (coincidentally, the start of his Major League renaissance began on the date of my birth, June 6, as he went 4 for 4 against Cleveland). Since that fateful day, he has hit for power and average, ran the bases well, and played terrific defense. Gordon is the key to this team's eventually success (think 2009), and will hopefully retire in a blue and white uniform (Dodgers fans: shut up). Because of this man, and this man alone, I still flood my mind with Royals propaganda, and can not wait for his first "real" full season as a professional baseball player.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

How Sweet It Is....

Finally!!! Good Lord, it's about time. The Royals are not losing 100 games this year; it's finally official. Only eight games later after the KC Star's very well timed article stating the Royals will not lose 100 games, Gil Meche and Co. put some truth behind it. The Royals rattled off a pretty abysmal 7 game losing streak immediately following the Star's publication that begged the question, "hey, is it really possible that this team will lose 20+ straight games?" It turned out that the answer is no, obviously, but for it while it seemed like it was quite possible.

Anywho... Gil Meche has been a phenomenal signing for this team. The wins will come if he continues to pitch the way he has all season long. Is he a true #1? I doubt it, but he is certainly a more than capable #2 or #3. Meche's ERA in the three season's prior to his Royals debut stood at a not so impressive 4.90. Even worse was that his ERA was close to 6 on the road. These statistics just make this year's numbers look even better. A 3.78 ERA overall and a mind-boggling 3.47 on the road! It makes sense that his numbers would be impressive in the comfy confines of Safeco field for the previous three seasons, but what he has done this year has to be a shock for most. One group of people are not shocked, and that group is Dayton Moore, Dean Taylor and the rest of the KC front office. What was viewed by many as the most absurd cash splurge of the 06-07 off season has proven to almost be a bargain (just look at Adam Eaton, Barry Zito, etc.). In my opinion, Dayton has had a phenomenal start to his tenure as Royals GM and has to this point left me with little room to doubt further acquisitions...

tonight: The Royals enjoy their off day by taking a long steam shower together.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Way To Go Dylan! (and A Rod)

Well, I did it. I managed to destroy Bannister's chances at Rookie of the Year with one blogger post. Here's the telephone call I received last night at about 2 AM:

Dylan: ..... Um... Hello?

Random Voice: Thanks a lot, jerk.

Dylan: ... What?? It's 2 AM, who is this?

Random Voice: I saw your little blog the other day... something about me taking home all kinds of hardware this year. Well you blew it, you little punk, you blew it. And now you've been banned from the K.

Dylan: Alright, Michael Tucker, this really isn't funny any....

Voice: This isn't Michael Tucker, whoever that is.

Dylan: Allard?

Voice: Nope

Dylan: Albie?

Voice: It's Brian Bannister you fuckin' retard!

Dylan: Oh, Brian... it's you. I never thought that you would...

BB: Shut it! You shut your mouth when I'm talking to you! You promised me you would stop making individual player predictions!

Dylan: I know, I know... it's just that you were pitching so well and I thought that...

BB: Yeah, yeah.. same old story. You're never gonna change are you!?!

Dylan: I just... I just don't even know anymore... can we talk about it over coffee sometime or something?


Dylan: Bri?

BB: Yeah, I'm still here.

Dylan: Well?

BB: Sure, that sounds nice.

Dylan: K, it's a date then.

BB: I'm sorry I yelled at you like that, it's just that sometimes I...

Dylan: Brian, it's OK.

BB: I'll call you tommorow... I love you.

Dylan: I know. Goodnight, Brian.

BB: Night.

Tonight: Buckner puts in 8 innings of 3-hit ball and J Buck goes yard... twice.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Brian "Roy" Bannister....

Brian Bannister should be the 2007 American League Rookie of the Year. Just take a peek at this line...

12-7, 3.16 ERA, Complete Game, 1.15 WHIP (148+ innings), 2 K/BB

Yikes, that puts him 1st for rookies in ERA (4th in American League: .01 behind this scrub, not to be confused with this legend). 2nd in dubs behind the Second Coming: Dice-K, who got shelled for 7 runs yesterday and still got the win... which brings me to the biggest point for me: 10th worst run support in the American League! Bannister has won 63% of his decisions while the Royals fluff the ball around the yard for him!

Let's take a look at Ambiorix Burgos' replacement's challengers:

Dice-K: 14-11, 4.11 ERA, 2.5 K/BB, 1.30 WHIP

Jeremy Guthrie (Baltimore): 7-5, 3.62 ERA, 2.75 K/BB, 1.15 WHIP

Dustin Pedroia (BoSox): .327/.395/.449, 6 HR, 32 2B, 36 K, 43 BB

Hideki Okajima (BoSox): 3-1, 1.54 ERA, 3.6 K/BB

Clearly, of these three, only the miniature-masher is competition for Bannister. If B^2 gets his ERA in the top three in the league and under 3.00 by the end of the season, it should not even be a competion.

One major problem: Three of these players are on a dominant east coast team that gets a pretty good chunk of national baseball attention. To me, it would be shocking if Bannister wins the award, but it would also be a true injustice.

Tonight: The debut of Billy Buckner as a starter. Gordon hits homers 15,16, and 17.