It’s Hard to be Positive When …

A reader recently commented, “Dude, if DM says, yes, you say, no. If he says, no, you say, yes. Stop complaining.”

I think I have been pretty fair in my assessment of Dayton’s moves over the last year.  I feel I have gone out of my way to applaud his efforts to rebuild the minor league system, invest more in the draft, and increase the team’s presence in international free agency.  Still, the comment made me pause and step back.

Was I being too hard on the Royals?  Was I being overly critical of Dayton Moore and his moves?  After some soul searching and deliberation, I found the answer to my questions to be no.  The reality is plain and simple, I don’t set out to argue against everything Dayton does.  Every move that is made gets broken down as honestly as possible regardless of my preconceived notions.

Still a little positivity never hurt anyone so I set out to find something uplifting to say.  Then I came across this, on The Hardball Times, and the air left my balloon of positivity.

After reading that article, I turned to find inspiration from the work of others to get me back in a positive mood.  To that end, I came across an article that Jordan Bratt published on Bleacher Report.  The title alone, “staying Podsitive” made me smile so we were off to a good start.

Who’s to say the Royals don’t add another big left arm and/or a couple sticks?

That is the very definition of optimism.

If we are going to be honest about the state of things, Dayton Moore himself has all but stated the team won’t be adding a big left (or right) arm or a couple of sticks.  These players don’t come cheap in terms of dollars on the FA market, or in terms of talent on the trade market.  The payroll is basically what it is going to be for the 2010 season which means any influx of talent at the major league level would have to come via trade.

As Royals fans, we all know what Dayton is up against on the trade market.  Trading Meche, Callaspo, or DeJesus opens up a hole to be filled for 2010 and 2011.  Trading Guillen doesn’t do much of anything since the team would have to eat a sizable chunk of his contract to send him elsewhere, and I can’t imagine any other team is going to give up much in return.  Any thought of trading Greinke, Butler, or Soria would set a depth charge to the team’s chances of getting to 0.500 in 2010, 2011, or even 2012.  There is some serious pitching talent in AA and below, and Dayton could trade some of that to upgrade the major league team for 2010.  Sacrificing the potentially bright future to make a run at being “competitive” in 2010 just isn’t worth it.  Based on the moves he has made this offseason, Dayton agrees.

Erik Bedard comes up from time to time, but let’s step back and face facts.   Bedard is still recovering from a torn labrum and inflamed bursa sack.  The most optimistic estimates have him returning to pitch at some point in May while the more pessimistic reports have him getting back to the mound at some point after the All-Star break.  I’m still waiting to read something that explains how signing Erik Bedard to an incentive laden one-year contract does the 2010 Kansas City Royals any good.  Maybe you get a half year of a very effective pitcher when he’s on his game, but let’s not forget who we’re talking about here.  Bedard is a guy who has had his dedication and desire to pitch openly questioned by his teammates in the past.  He has been unable to stay healthy and has never pitched 200 innings in a season.  There is also no guarantee that he can come back fully healthy, and if he does, there is no guarantee that he will be effective.  In fact, we can logically assume that it’s going to take a while for him to round back into form.  He’s not coming back from elbow problems.  We’re talking about the shoulder here, and that’s an entirely different ball game.

Would signing him make the 2010 Royals better?  Assuming he gets on the mound, absolutely.

Will his presence make the team competitive in 2010?  Probably not.

The main benefit the Royals would gain from signing Bedard is the chance that they could flip him at the trade deadline assuming he comes back in time, is healthy, and effective.  The last of those three criteria may not even be necessary to deal him, but it would sure help the potential return in a deal.

While we are at it, can we please stop this nonsense that the AL Central is up for grabs?  The Twins and White Sox are already out in front of the rest of the division, and I’m not going to dismiss the Detroit Tigers from the picture either.  That leaves the Royals, as things currently stand, to again battle it out with the Indians for 4th place.

Could the magic of 2003 happen again?  Sure it’s possible, but for all of the magic of 2003, the end result was a 3rd place finish and an 83-79 record.  They finished 7.0 games back of the division champion Minnesota Twins.  It was a fun summer, but it had little lasting impact beyond showing a generation of Royals fans what a 0.500 team looks like.

Who’s to say Josh Fields doesn’t turn back into Mark Reynolds?  Who’s to say that doesn’t push along Alex Gordon’s development?

This is a fun game to play, but it doesn’t really get us anywhere.  Who’s to say that Yuniesky Betancourt doesn’t hit 30 HR in 2010?  Who’s to say Dayton doesn’t wake up tomorrow with a newfound passion for sabermetrics?

See?  It really is fun.

All of the above is not to disparage Jordan Bratt’s article.  I truly enjoy people who see the landscape of baseball differently than I do and varying viewpoints all have merit.  I disagree with some of Jordan’s points, but the spirit behind them is inspiring.*

*I’m not being a smart-ass when I write that. I sincerely mean it.

Though I have my moments, I’m not exactly an optimistic or pessimistic person.  I’m a realistic, pragmatic person who values logic, reason, and rational thought.  That said, I have my moments of blind faith like everyone else.  I still believe that Kyle Davies can be an above average pitcher in a major league rotation, and I believe that Bryan Bullington can become a positive force in the Royals bullpen if he is given the change.

I really don’t know why I felt the need to write all of the above.  I guess it is important to me that those of you who read this site understand that I’m not “out to get” Dayton Moore.  If he says “red,” I’m not the type of person to shout “blue” when the object in question is clearly red.  When all the signs point to negative, I’m not going to argue that blue is red just to support Dayton Moore or cram warm fuzzies down your throat.

With a excellent offseason I was hoping for a return to winning baseball in 2011.  Now it’s looking more like 2012, but I’m not jumping ship and neither should you.  If Dayton Moore proves me wrong and the 2010 Royals are fighting for the division at the All-Star break, I’ll gladly eat crow.  Go Royals!

(Wally Fish is the lead blogger for Kings of Kauffman and FanSided’s MLB Director.  Subscribe to his RSS feed and add him on Twitter to follow him daily.)

Topics: AL Central, Baseball, Kansas City Royals, KC, MLB, Royals

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  • http://devonyoung.com/ Devon

    Agreed.

    Plus, you’re right that it’s pithetic we all keep talkin’ about a 2 games over .500/3rd place finish as the pinnacle of the decaade.

    I wish people would stop talkin’ about ’03 like it was more than a magic trick. Sure it had our emotions and hopes up, but in reality it was a HUGE illusion. After April 24th, the Royals were 67-76 (.469) the rest of the way. Again, that’s after APRIL 24.

  • BrettFan1

    Wally, I think that because so many of Moore’s moves fell flat last year, that we are all a little pre-disposed to assume the worst about his current moves. I posted this “GMDM has made two moves this offseason that only make sense if they lead to follow-up moves. First, he traded for Getz and displaced Callaspo from 2B. Callaspo was our 2nd best hitter last year. This move only makes sense if he then spins Callaspo in a trade for another piece (C, OF, etc). Then he signs Pods, who’s best position is LF and leadoff, which displaces DeJesus whose best position is LF and leadoff. David can probably still play a better CF than Pods, but we’ve seen what happens when you try to bat David out of the leadoff spot. So, this move only makes sense if David is traded for another piece (SP, C, OF, etc.). If Moore is able to pull off trades for Callaspo and DeJesus that bring back young players who will fit in with the 2011 contention timeline, then I have no problem with these moves. However, if these moves only result in Callaspo and DeJesus being shuffled around to new positions/roles (which only devalues them as trade commodities) then these are massive failures. The jury is still out on these moves in my opinion……” as a comment over at Royals Authority in an attempt to put a positive slant on things. While I do have that little voice in the back of my head telling me that the worst case scenario is the more probably outcome, I tried to push past it and present some positive outcome possibilities as well. That is what has been lacking in all of the posts I have seen on the common Royals blogs (Rany, Royals Authority, Royal Review, etc.) this year. Look back at the articles you have posted this year and try to find an instance where you tried to take a look at a move from a positive light. I love the blog and I’m not knocking you or the other guys, but its hard to find any analysis about a Royals move these days that even attempts to look at the possible positive outcomes. In addition to the comments I posted above, some acknowledgement of the fact that if signing Pods allows us to trade DeJesus we will save several million in salary this year is needed. What positive outcomes can you envision for using that money? This is the type of analysis that I wish was being put forth on my favorite Royals blogs. I miss the days when we were fresh off of Gil Meche and Soria making Moore look like a genius. I’d like to see some of that optimism back in the analysis.

  • Wally Fish

    BrettFan1,
    I think the Teahen trade, while it puzzles me from the aspect of seemingly displacing Callaspo, was a good move. I believe in Bert as a truly talented player and truly talented guys tend to find a way to get into the lineup. Whether he gets at bats at DH, 3B, or wherever, Callaspo will have his chance to contribute.

    With respect to your point about DJ getting traded, he’s set to make $4.7 million this season. So what positive outcome do I envision if that money is freed up? I don’t see the Royals being able to use that money to bring back a player as talented as DJ on the FA market. Nor would that $4.7 million be able to fill a hole on the current roster as adequately as DJ holds down his spot in the OF. That means that the value in trading DeJesus lies almost solely in what the team would get in return for him. If he is dealt for prospects, I would hope Dayton acquires guys who are a year or so away from the majors instead of acquiring fringe ML talent.

    Looking beyond just 2010, DJ’s club option in 2011 is for $6 million which is still very affordable for a player of his ability. If the Royals hang on to him through the end of 2011, he’s probably going to be a Type-A free agent that offseason so Dayton has to get at least 2 players for him in a trade to balance that out.

    So the question, at least for me, becomes one with two parts.
    1) Can Dayton Moore utilize $11.7 million in payroll flexibility to significantly upgrade a spot (any spot) on the ML roster in 2010, or more importantly in 2011 and beyond?
    2) Can Dayton Moore get 2 or more prospects back in exchange for DeJesus that would hold greater value than the 2 draft picks the team would net from his likely Type-A FA status after the 2011 season?

    I think the answer to #1 is probably not, and I’d say that regardless of who our GM was. The answer to #2 is maybe, but that might be good enough since, among other things, there is no guarantee that DJ will stay healthy or wind up as a Type-A.

    Personally, I think the team should try to resign David to another extension instead of looking to trade him. He just turned 30 and is a pretty safe bet to be an above average player for, at least, the next 4 years. All that said, if the team does decide to deal him and the team comes out better because of it, I’m on board.

    At some point the team has to stop getting fill-ins and start getting long term answers. That is my biggest problem with signing Kendall and Podsednik. It is also my biggest problem with the idea of trading Greinke, Soria, or Butler.

    The elephant in the room, with all of this, is the CBA which expires at the end of the 2011 season. It seems a near certainty that the new CBA will significantly alter how teams are built. The problem is that we don’t know in what way things will be altered.

  • BrettFan1

    That is exactly the kind of analysis that I was hoping to see. These moves may all turn out to be bad ideas in the end, but it’s a lot more interesting to read analysis on ways that they might go right than it is to read 9 blogs all saying “Dayton screws up again”. In the DeJesus case, I think you have to discount the 2 draft picks we might receive after the ’11 season if he leaves as a FA. If our timetable is to compete in ’11-’12 then we need to turn him into AA prospect or above now, not low-A players in 2 years. I would love to see Moore move Callaspo (who I don’t buy as a guy who is going to repeat the power output of last season) and DeJesus for 3-4 AA/AAA guys with updside who can join the wave of talent coming up for ’11-’12. If that allows us to net some cost savings this year and next so much the better. Moore can use that money for another international FA signing or hope to catch the next Abreu-for-5M lottery ticket. There are going to be a lot of 1B/OF/DH types on the market who we might be able to pick up for peanuts right before spring training. The difference betwee DDJ and Pods salary this year should be between 2.5-3M. If we could get a Dye/Thome/Branyan type bat for that money, it would be a net positive.

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