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Springtime Storylines: Is suicide the only hope for Royals fans?

Mar 26, 2010, 11:15 AM EDT

Between now and Opening Day, HBT will take a look at each of the 30
teams, asking the key questions, the not-so-key questions, and generally
breaking down their chances for the 2010 season.  Next up: Kansas City, Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey!


The
big question: Is suicide the only hope for Royals fans?

Baseball is supposed to be something that takes our minds off of real life. A pursuit and a pastime in which we can forget our troubles and, for a while anyway, lose ourselves. Say you’re a mid-level functionary at Sprint Nextel. Your boss is a jerk, your ex-wife is dating a personal trainer named Brad and your mechanic just called to tell you that your 1993 Hyundai Excel has a fried cylinder head and needs a full valve job.  You need an escape. You need baseball.

Only problem is that the general manager of your team has brought in guys like  Jason Kendall, Scott Podsednik, Yuniesky Betancourt, Willie Bloomquist, and Jose Guillen. Paid ‘em good money too, while actually trying to pass them off as good moves. And this is, like, the fifth or sixth go-around with this kind of thing in the past 15 years.  You can’t spend six months watching that product, can you? It’s enough to make a guy pull a Thich Quang Duc or something. OK, maybe that’s too dramatic. Perhaps a simple Emily Wilding Davison would be more appropriate.

But wait! Don’t do it!  There’s hope! No, not now; now is hopeless! But soon!  There are many, many solid looking pitching prospects — including a major international signing — in A and AA ball this year (one less than there was last week, but still). Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas had down years, but they are still promising. And of course, Zack Greinke is under contract for three more seasons, so you need only endure four days of unbearable sadness between respites.

It’s a nice ballpark. There’s great food in that town. Close your eyes, dream of your youth, when giants roamed the green turf of Royals Stadium, and trust me when I say that it will get better. Just not yet. You’ve waited so long, you can wait just a bit longer, can’t you?

So what else is going on?

  • Alex Gordon is going to start the season on the DL. This means that Alberto Callaspo — who was only the team’s second best hitter last year — won’t start out on the bench as had been anticipated.  Callaspo starts at third, Chris Getz at second and whichever of the two of them hits worse in the meantime will find themselves benched when Gordon comes back.
  • Gil Meche is hurt. He left a start on Monday complaining of a sore shoulder. There have been concerns about his workload these past two years. If he can’t answer the bell to start the season the Royals are going to have to look at guys like Brian Bullington, Edgar Osuna, Brad Thompson, Bruce Chen,
    Robinson Tejeda and (shudder) Kyle Farnsworth, who yes, the Royals seem to be serious about converting into a starter.  The other starters are set: Greinke, Luke Hochevar, Brian Bannister and probably Kyle Davies. Roughly speaking, those names can be translated into “stud,” “enigma,” “eccentric,” and whatever German word encapsulates the concept of “that which amounts to drastically less than the sum of its parts.”
  • The Royals should really consider trading Joakim Soria this year. A stud closer is a luxury a team like this can’t afford to keep around. There are only two reasons not to trade Soria: (1) the fans
    will get depressed; and (2) Dayton Moore is the guy doing the trading.  The first of those can be discounted because, as noted above, the fans are already
    depressed. The second one is far more problematic because, for as good as Moore has been at identifying and acquiring amateur talent recently, he’s gotta be the worst wheeler-dealer in the game, and can in no way be trusted to realize a decent return for Soria.
  • Josh Fields is the other guy that came over with Chris Getz from Chicago in the Mark Teahen trade.  He’s allegedly a third baseman, but he can’t really handle the position defensively. He’s allegedly a hitter, but he’s he’s hit only .229/.302/.416 in 664 major league at-bats. Still, if you’re Kansas City, you should probably give him as many of Jose Guillen’s and Scott Posednik’s at bats and see how he does.

 
So how
are they gonna do?

Let’s see, they lost 97 games last year despite a lucky hot start, their second best starter has shoulder trouble and they brought in a handful of some of the worst veteran free agents imaginable. You tell me.

Prediction: Fourth
place, AL Central.  Yes, that means that Cleveland is going to be even worse.

  1. Jonny5 - Mar 26, 2010 at 11:23 AM

    My 8 year old is totally bummed that his little league team is the KC Royals…..

  2. Eric - Mar 26, 2010 at 11:32 AM

    How do you not mention Billy Butler in this post?

  3. Craig Calcaterra - Mar 26, 2010 at 11:36 AM

    They’re not meant to be comprehensive. Billy Butler, being a good player about whom there are really no questions isn’t really a topic of discussion or debate, is he? I suppose I could have added him onto the sentence about Greinke giving fans a respite, but these are snapshots, not comprehensive team breakdowns.

  4. Pete Schneider - Mar 26, 2010 at 11:47 AM

    Enigma—An old Scottish term that means waiting for someone who once did something amazing to do it again!!

  5. BC - Mar 26, 2010 at 11:56 AM

    Der der zu drastisch weniger als der Summe von seinen Teilen betragt.

  6. gumbercules - Mar 26, 2010 at 11:58 AM

    Bizarro gestalt?

  7. ecp - Mar 26, 2010 at 12:00 PM

    I hear this “stud closers are an unnecessary luxury on bad teams and should be traded” argument all the time, but I don’t buy it in this case. It would be different if Soria was expensive or something, but his contract is dirt cheap. The Royals actually want to WIN a few games, you know (it kind of helps to keep the fan base interested), and trading Soria and putting Junk Reliever Behind Door Number Three out there instead doesn’t exactly help to do that.

  8. Pete Schneider - Mar 26, 2010 at 12:07 PM

    Enigma—An old Scottish term that means waiting for someone who once did something amazing to do it again!!

  9. BC - Mar 26, 2010 at 12:08 PM

    Royals fans, you need to be turned on to the wonders of Nardil. Go get yourself a season-long prescription and your worries will be over. Stuff will make a losing season feel like a party…

  10. Curious George - Mar 26, 2010 at 12:31 PM

    Hey, at least Dayton Moore dealt with that pesky problem of his catchers hitting all those homeruns by bringing in the toasterific Jason Kendall.

  11. Church of the Perpetually Outraged - Mar 26, 2010 at 12:36 PM

    I hear this “stud closers are an unnecessary luxury on bad teams and should be traded” argument all the time, but I don’t buy it in this case. It would be different if Soria was expensive or something, but his contract is dirt cheap. The Royals actually want to WIN a few games, you know (it kind of helps to keep the fan base interested), and trading Soria and putting Junk Reliever Behind Door Number Three out there instead doesn’t exactly help to do that.

    Yeah, it was a real shame seeing the Phillies end up in last place after winning the WS in ’08 because Brad Lidge was so bad last year…. Oh wait, they went back to the WS again…

  12. Church of the Perpetually Outraged - Mar 26, 2010 at 12:37 PM

    Prediction: Fourth place, AL Central. Yes, that means that Cleveland is going to be even worse.

    Woohoo, does this mean bringing back the Major League quotes again for ATH?

  13. jimbeetle - Mar 26, 2010 at 1:17 PM

    “You need an escape. You need baseball.”
    And that’s where there’s a silver lining.
    Your mid-level functionary can go out to Kauffman on a weekday afternoon (What better time to go to a game?), grab a box seat behind the dugout (plenty available), enjoy a couple of dogs and brews — all for under a hundred bucks!
    Afternoon baseball, what better way to escape?

  14. Old Gator - Mar 26, 2010 at 2:00 PM

    Two problems with the leading question: (1) If the team sucks, you can go to the Majestic, Jardine’s, or Buddha knows how many of the other superb jazz clubs or jazz steakhouses in and around Kansas City, kick back with a great steak, and listen to Lucky Wesley’s latest trio or quartet until the mellowness engulfs you. You can stop at the jazz museum and have a look at the plastic toy saxophone with which Charlie Parker blew Dizzie Gillespie’s mind at Massey Hall. You really can’t say that about Cleveland, can you? Well, it’s true, in KC you can’t flick your cigarette into the river and then go sit on the curb and watch a fireworks display, but a few imported beers to wash down your last juicy bites of that USDA prime quality T-bone you know you paid a third less than you would have on either coast for, and who really gives a shit anyway? (2) It’s clear that Kansas City needs a new downtown stadium. Heck, we all need a new downtown stadium. More skyboxes so KC can attract more local meat moguls and Conagra executives to generate obscene revenue streams and sign some more overpriced over the hill free agents. Commissions to well know local sculptors to cast huge bronze action figures of George Brett and Dan Quisinberry (or maybe, for a change, huge bronze bobbleheads of Brett and Quisinberry. A special plexiglass case for the main entrance to hold the bat with the pine tar on the handle. And a jazz club right in the stadium itself. Hell, why not just build it over the Majestic in the first place?
    .
    I dunno, it seems to me like it’s time for Kow Town to takes some really drastic action.

  15. Ron - Mar 26, 2010 at 3:50 PM

    I think your suicide reference is not funny. It shows your lack of writing ability. Some of us have dealt with a suicide of a loved one and do not need to be reminded of it. You should be ashamed of yourself for using suicide in this manner.

  16. Ron - Mar 26, 2010 at 4:03 PM

    I didn’t post that today the above comment today.
    So the person who did, and I can guess who, really needs to get a life and stop being a complete ass. I can speak for myself and don’t need some idiot doing it for me.
    If you have a problem with me, have the balls to address me directly, and not like this.

  17. Craig Calcaterra - Mar 26, 2010 at 4:08 PM

    Ron R.: I saw the IP and email of the person who posted that. It’s not anyone who normally posts here. I think the person is genuinely mad at my suicide reference and isn’t trying to bait you or anything.
    As for the suicide reference: I’m sorry for personal losses you may have suffered, but if we made subjects off limits every time they caused pain for someone, there would be nothing left to talk about. That aside, if you can’t tell from the totality of the post that I’m attempting to be humorous, there’s probably no helping you.

  18. Josh - Mar 26, 2010 at 5:30 PM

    First of all, to the second Ron, isn’t there the possibility that there are two people named Ron in the world? Just saying.
    And second, I also don’t like using suicide as a joke. It’s just one of those subjects that is in bad taste to joke about. I’m not going to bash your writing ability or anything like that, but I think you should be aware that this is a tough and sensitive subject for a lot of people.
    If you want to know more about suicide and depression, visit http://www.twloha.com. It is the website for the non-profit organization To Write Love On Her Arms, they have been a great help to a lot of people.
    ~Josh W.

  19. Rays fan - Mar 26, 2010 at 5:31 PM

    …except that it’d best be an alcohol free party due to potential bad interactions

  20. Ron - Mar 26, 2010 at 5:41 PM

    Craig,
    No problem. Bad timing, I guess, and coincidence. My apologies to the other person.

  21. Ron Rollins - Mar 26, 2010 at 5:45 PM

    Josh, you’re right.
    However, Craig nows what I was referring to. I didn’t feel the need to go in-depth on it.
    That’s why I also didn’t call anyone out by name, or reference the specific post.

  22. Old Gator - Mar 26, 2010 at 5:52 PM

    I guess you’re no better at guessing when I’m there or not there than you are at anything else, except maybe at being a sanctimonious blowhard.
    .
    Speaking of getting a life, you apparently have time to hallucinate anonymous boogeymen in the matrix who think you’re worth singling out for harrassment in the first place, as if you were trapped in a William Gibson novel or something. I mean, despite all the fire and brimstone you’ve belched so gratuitously in my direction without any direct provocation in the past, I’ve never gotten paranoid about it. I know it’s an involuntary reaction. And when have I ever shied away from telling you what I thought of you straight to your…er…pixels anyway?

  23. Ron - Mar 26, 2010 at 6:02 PM

    Did I say it was you? Once again, you’ve failed to actually read what people write and choose to comment on it.
    I specifically didn’t mention any names or posts. If you’re feeling guilty about something, maybe it because you have something be feel guilty about?
    Go back and read through your comments and see what you’ve said to me and the names you’ve called me.
    You’re a self-appointed arbiter of what the right or wrong comments posted here are, and take it upon yourself to insult anyone who doesn’t agree with your way of thinking. Its kind of childish on your part to assume others can’t do the same thing to you.
    For what it’s worth, I never thought it was you.

  24. Ron - Mar 26, 2010 at 6:05 PM

    I also propose we call a truce, as this is not the place for personal issues. I’ll stop commenting on anything you say (which I have) and you can stop commenting on anything I say.

  25. Old Gator - Mar 26, 2010 at 6:08 PM

    “For what it’s worth, I never thought it was you.”
    Naaw-w-w-w-w…of course you didn’t.
    “You’re a self-appointed arbiter of what the right or wrong comments posted here are, and take it upon yourself to insult anyone who doesn’t agree with your way of thinking.”
    Nope, not anyone. You’re a special case among an otherwise usual run of special cases. I only get personally obnoxious with those who get personal with me first. You remind me a lot of my pet snapping turtle. He has no sense of humor either, but at least he’s interesting.

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