Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Live (Kinda) Blog During Royals First Spring Training Game...

(Photo courtesy of www.refridgeratorlogic.wordpress.com)

The KC Royals are off to a red-hot start in 2009! Or not...

Top 1:
Missed it, but judging by the five-minute length of the half inning we went 3 up, 3 down.

Bot 1:
With a runner on 1st (a very good runner... Ian Kinsler), Mark Teahen in his first professional start at 2nd base threw the ball into left field that lead to six runs, including what sounded like a mammoth homer by Hank Blalock.

Some early notes:
Horacio Ramirez: Faced 10 batters and gave up 6 runs (maybe 2 unearned) while recording just 2 outs. Yeah, the Teahen error hurt, but HoRam flat out got shelled, which is not a good sign as the Royals' only potential lefty starter should be ahead of hitters this early in the year.

Mark Teahen: I'll cut him some slack, but an error and a high throw that nulled a double play are not the type of plays he can be making if he wants a starting spot on this club... is Orlando Hudson still available somehow? Hey Dodgers... we'll give you TPJ AND Willie Bloomquist... how can you pass that package up?

Top 2:

Billy Butler hits a bomb to the base of the scoreboard for the Royals first hit, run, rbi, and homer of the Spring season. Butler has, allegedly, reported to camp trimmed down and ready for action... nice start for Bill the Thrill!

Following an Alex Gordon walk (hopefully many, many more to come), Mark Teahen adds to his horrible start by rapping into a DP.

Bot 2:

Brandon Duckworth is not doing a very good job of picking up Ramirez... Back-to-back bombs given up to Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz. The fun didn't end there, though, as Hank Blalock tripled off the wall in right-center, followed by yet ANOTHER error by Mark Teahen.

Notes:

Rangers offense: Nothing new here, apparently the Rangers can flat out hit. Everyone up and down the lineup is pounding the ball... and it's only February 25th.

Top 3:

Man alive. So much for the hitters being behind the pitchers early in the Spring season!!! Miguel Olivo lead off the inning with a homer to center, and four batter later Mike Jacobs unloaded a 3-run dongarama that Steve Stewart described as being "way, WAY outta-here!"

Notes:
Mike Jacobs' bomb came off of a lefty...

Bot 3:

Whew... finally a breather. Duckworth has a relatively harmless inning, giving up a couple of soft singles, but no damage done.

Game Notes:
Nothing really of note over the last 3 or so innings as the scrub squads have entered the game. I'll get back with a real post pretty soon.

Today's Lesson: Hot-air balloon rides can be liberating.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Welcome Back!!!

(photo courtesy of http://royals.mlblogs.com/Cov%20front.jpg)

Ok, so it's time to fire up the ole blog again as Corban and I have been stricken with a serious case of baseball fever. The arrival of the baseball prospectus, along with the report that 100% of the Royals Spring Training invitees have arrived in Surprise, AZ are both extremely welcome in this extremely slow part of the sports calender. Let's get down to business...

In these strange economic times, it's hard to say exactly how baseball has been affected. Orlando Hudson, one of the best hitting and fielding second baseman in the game (OPS+ over 100 last three seasons, 3-straight Gold Gloves from 2005-2007), is still a free-agent, despite rumors that all it will take is a 2-year $10 million contract. Manny is still out there, but it's clear that teams are worried about him dogging it at some point during the season. Adam Dunn and Bobby Abreu finally settled for contracts that would have been at least doubled in free agency markets of the past few years. On the other hand, a myriad of massive contracts were handed out throughout the league, though the Yankees are mostly responsible for that end of the spectrum.

The question now is... where do the Royals fit into all of this?? Did Dayton Moore use his allowance wisely? Old Papa Glass decided to expand the payroll (looking to be up above $75 mil, up from $58 mil last year), and the Royals were not shy about spending the extra cash. Trade wise, we exchanged...

Leo Nunez for Mike Jacobs: $3 million plus added to the payroll

Ramon Ramirez for Coco Crisp: $5.5 million plus added to the payroll

And then a hand full of free agents were added to the squad...

Kyle Farnsworth: $4.5 million added to payroll

Horacio Ramirez: $1 million plus added to payroll


WILLIE BLOOMQUIST: $1 million pluss added to payroll


Well, as you can see that is approx. $15 million spent in the offseason, which is obviously a significant increase. At first, I loved Coco, Hated Jacobs/Farsworth/Bloomquist, and was pretty neutral on Ramirez. After further review, I like Coco/Jacobs, REALLY LOATHE Farnsworth/Bloomquist, and am still neutral on Ramirez. I'll just give a brief explanation as to why I've come to these final feelings.

Coco: Sure, the last few seasons have been pretty up and down for Coco Crisp, and I don't mean the cereal's stock. But, when you look at this thing, Coco is a polished, Major League version of Joey Gathright. His 2004 and 2005 seasons in Cleveland (As well as the second half of last year) are enough reasons for offensive optimism, and it's been well documented that he plays a pretty nifty center field. Coupled with Dave Degeez in left, the Royals will have a very solid 2/3 of the outfield.

Jake: At first, I was fairly disgusted with this acquistion. It wasn't so much that we were trading Nunez, a replacable middle reliever/set-up man, it just didn't seem to fit. Now, I feel that Jacobs could be a really nice player, if used correctly (To his credit, he does have a career OPS+ of 110 in close to 1500 ABs). By correctly, I mean that he should be primarily at DH, and only occasionally in there against lefties.

2008 against RHP: .857 OPS against LHP: .677 OPS

This is why Ryan Shealy deserves a spot on this roster. Right??? Well, I'd like to think so, because I've developed a completely abitrary love of Ryan Shealy. But, after further review I've noticed that Shealy ain't hitting lefties either!!! AAAAARRRRGGGHH! The one thing that Shealy has working for him is that he plays significantly better defense than Jacobs and Butler, but it doesn't look like that's going to be enough to overcome, unless he just blows up in Spring Training and Jacobs bombs.

Farnsworth: Not going to say much here. Just a bad signing until proven otherwise. At $4.5 million, it's just flat out not worth it. Maybe for $1 mil.

Horacio Ramirez: Some necessary competition for the starting five, and could be the lefty starter that the Royals could really use. If not, he will be a valuable middle reliever.

Bloomquist: Good God. I'm sure you've all read all of the "WTF" responses to the signing of the human single. While his bat isn't quite TPJian... it's close. This just really doesn't make any sense, and unfortunately, the dudes probably going to wind up with 200+ ABs. Just ridiculous.

So... the question NOW is... did the Royals upgrade? Overall, I would say yes. Just the mere fact that we have likely squeezed out the bats of Mark Teahen and Ross Gload from the starting lineup is an upgrade. While the bullpen could stuggle at times, the loss of Nunez and Ramirez should be coupled with an increase in innings for the Mexicutioner.

All that's left now is for Dayton to find an extra $5 mil in his back pocket to go out and sign the O-Dog.

Welcome back to Corby and the Royals!!!

Today's Lesson:
Never get tangled up in the dangerous world of cock-fighting.