The inevitable finally happened today. Tony Pena Jr. has been designated for assignment by the Kansas City Royals. I will keep this somewhat brief since I have dedicated far too many words on this site chronicling my feelings on lil Pena.
So lets take a deep breath, then smile. While the TPJ era is over in Kansas City, I fully expect the Royals and Dayton Moore to defy logic and offer Tony Pena Jr. an assignment in the minors. Along those lines, Luis Hernandez cleared waivers and accepted an assignment to Triple-A Omaha. Since Hernandez made it through waivers there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that TPJ will clear as well. As I wrote about here, LH is the superior player in every facet of the game. TPJ is gone for now, but until the Royals refuse to offer him an assignment in the minors I cannot truly let my guard down and celebrate completely.
The Royals also optioned Mitch Maier back to Triple-A. The two moves together clear the way for the return of Alex Gordon at 3B and the debut of our new starting, and already much maligned, SS Yuniesky Betancourt.
TPJ gone, Alex Gordon back, and Mark Teahen spending more time in the OF are just 3 more reasons to remain a Royals fan.
All that said, I’m not going to blow smoke. It isn’t all rainbows and butterflies when it comes to the 2009 Royals. People like Dick Kaegel are once again drinking the kool-aid, but in the case of Kaegel, he never really stopped. Then again being the media mouthpiece of the team, he doesn’t have much choice but to keep drinking what they serve. He posted this yesterday. The most inane part of the piece comes at the end.
Fearless second-half prediction:The addition of Betancourt helps plug a leaky defense, the return of Gordon energizes the offense and Soria’s full-time presence solidifies the bullpen. Result: a rise to the .500 mark.
I’ve posted 3 consecutive articles on why people should remain fans of our Kansas City Royals, but I’m not blind to the product on the field. Gordon’s return coupled with the addition of Betancourt does make the Royals better. Teahen presumably moves to LF when not giving Gordon a day off and Bloomquist and Freel give the team flexibility and a much deeper bench than they had before. However the rotation remains in flux with Meche’s health a huge question mark. Hochevar is inconsistent and will likely remain so through the rest of the season. The 5th starter in the rotation will probably not provide much down the stretch. Defensively this team is still awful. Offensively the collective group still doesn’t understand the concept of OBP. I also remain skeptical that Zack Greinke or Brian Bannister can pitch the 2nd half as well as they did in the 1st half.
A 0.500 record in the second half is not going to happen and that makes it mathematically impossible for the team to finish the season with a 0.500 record.
As an aside, my week-long vacation comes to a close on Saturday and KoK will back up to full speed shortly thereafter as I settle back into my normal routine. Upcoming posts will include another edition of Central Processing, 2 editions of Pitching Perspectives, a midseason review of my AL Central Preview, and plenty of other good stuff.
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