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Royals predictably aren't playing Kila Ka'aihue

May 10, 2010, 1:45 PM EDT

When the Royals called up Kila Ka’aihue from Triple-A last week I wondered if they’d actually play him, guessing that the answer would be no because … well, they are the Royals after all.
Sure enough, Ka’aihue has started just once in five games since the call-up. Now, in fairness to the Royals they have Billy Butler at first base and Jose Guillen at designated hitter, so finding at-bats for Ka’aihue isn’t the easiest thing in the world.
However, in fairness to logic the Royals are 11-21 and have zero chance of even finishing .500 this season, so playing the 26-year-old Ka’aihue makes far more long-term sense than starting Guillen and Scott Podsednik every day. Unlike those two 34-year-olds, Ka’aihue might actually be part of the Royals’ next above-.500 team (assuming, of course, that such a team will eventually exist).
If any team is in position to give a 26-year-old career minor leaguer a chance to show whether he can hit big-league pitching it’s certainly the Royals and Ka’aihue has hit .283 with a .426 on-base percentage, .534 slugging percentage, and 35 percent more walks than strikeouts over the past three seasons at Double-A and Triple-A.

  1. Xpensive Wino - May 10, 2010 at 2:01 PM

    Dude, it’s the Royals.
    ‘Nuff said.

  2. ecp - May 10, 2010 at 2:36 PM

    Well, they’re trying to find a taker for Guillen, which means they have to play him. And they can’t play him in the outfield, because that exposes his degraded defensive ability, which conversely lowers his trade value and keeps them from playing him in the field instead of Podsednik. And yes, they need to play Billy Butler. So they only played Ka’aihue against a right handed pitcher since his recall.
    Now, all that said, he should have been in the lineup against Feldman yesterday…

  3. Joey B - May 10, 2010 at 2:36 PM

    “However, in fairness to logic the Royals are 11-21 and have zero chance of even finishing .500 this season, so playing the 26-year-old Ka’aihue makes far more long-term sense than starting Guillen and Scott Podsednik every day.”
    In fairness to BB logic, it would’ve made more sense to keep him in the minors than having his clock run while holding firmly to the bench.
    However, BB logic now dictates that Guillen play and Kila-pet sit.
    Why?
    Because you need to get some value back for Guillen. If Guillen continues to hit for power, someone will pay his salary or give the Royals to minor league value in return for salary relief. Seattle, for example, desperately needs someone like Guillen. He’s a better fielder and hitter than Bradley, even assuming Bradley returns. If you sit Guillen at this point, you gut his value.

  4. Joey B - May 10, 2010 at 2:43 PM

    Had Gleeman simply waited until precisely 2:36, he’d have had both our responses, and could’ve saved himself a column.

  5. last place royals - May 10, 2010 at 2:51 PM

    As a suffering Royals fan it’s very frustrating how this team appears to be run. Is it better for a 26-year old prospect to continue playing at AAA or riding the pine in the majors? At least he was getting ABs at Omaha. Everybody knows Guillen isn’t in the Royals future after this year so either trade him for whatever they can get (box of baseballs) or sit him on the bench. That would clear a spot for Ka’aihue. They can have a losing record with overpaid players or developing prospects. Which makes more sense? It seems the Royals don’t know how to develop minor league players. Has anybody seen Gordon lately? Oh wait he’s back in the minors learning a new position. So much for the 2005 Golden Spikes award winner. Would he be learning a new position if he would have been drafted by another team?

  6. ecp - May 10, 2010 at 3:03 PM

    Ah, the power of hitting “enter” at the same time!

  7. ecp - May 10, 2010 at 3:08 PM

    Nah, Joey, it’s far more fun to just go ahead and trash the Royals instead of finding a semi-reasonable reason for what they are doing.

  8. bloc - May 11, 2010 at 12:42 AM

    I’ve heard repeated rumors that Butler’s eventual position will be DH — do you agree with that? If they get rid of Guillen, will Kila slide into 1B, or has Butler established himself there, and Kila will be the DH?

  9. Mike - May 11, 2010 at 7:50 AM

    It’s the same logic the Royals used when they signed Jason Kendall to a 2-year deal and now have Brayan Pena wasting away on the bench. Maybe Pena isn’t a long term solution, but you’re not going to find out by giving him 8 at bats in 5 weeks.

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