Promotion Times

With the early promotions of Eric Hosmer and now Danny Duffy and Everett Teaford, there has been some debate amongst Royals fans about the timing of said promotions. Why call these guys up so early when it could cost big Super Two money down the road?

Well, I want to talk about this a bit. A lot of other folks have mentioned it on Twitter or radio shows or wherever, but it bears repeating because, well, it’s a major point of disagreement right now.

To start, I’ll come clean: I like the way the Royals are handling things. And I’ll tell you why.

I’ve never liked the trend of gaming service time. I understand why it’s done and I respect that clubs want to save some money down the road, but I flat-out don’t like it. At all. They’re basically telling deserving minor leaguers that no matter how well they play or how advanced they are at the plate, in the field, and/or at the pitching rubber, they won’t get the call until a certain date. They have to play well, but, in the end, it doesn’t move them any sooner. This bothers me.

How does it work at other levels in the minors? When the player is ready, they are bumped up. They show they can hit or pitch or field and they earn a promotion. There’s no gaming the clock or holding them back. As long as there is a spot on the team at the next level, they can take that spot. It’s a fluid system and it makes sense. Put players where they can play and improve.

It all changes when promotions to the majors are concerned. Money becomes involved. Money so often trumps the best baseball decision and the best option for a player’s advancement. Clubs start to think about how much they’ll have to dish out in a few years rather than what might be best for a player. It is a business, after all, so there are many operations that take more of a financial standpoint than a personnel standpoint. When they do that, fans start following suit. Soon enough, everyone is more concerned with the economic outlook than with promoting based on performance and ability.

If I were a player and a team gamed my service time by holding me back, I would be frustrated. Even after I earned an opportunity to reach the majors, they kept me in AAA. It would create ill will for me, even though I love when players are loyal to their teams. I’m not saying this is the same for all players, but I can see how it would stir a little frustration.

So, really, you’re (possibly) saving the team money in the long run and potentially creating a tough situation with a player in the meantime. That’s not the biggest thing right now, either. It’s very possible, maybe even likely, that the definitions of a Super Two player or the whole system in general changes following this winter. There are many rumblings that this could happen. If it does, that changes the whole scale anyway. We have no way of knowing exactly what will come out of that, so would you rather promote a player when he deserves it or bank on Super Two sticking around following this season and hold that player back to possibly save money?

From the outside, it seems simple. To me, I give the player the shot he’s earned. When major leaguers are injured and sidelined, I fill in with any deserving players, be they prospects or veterans looking for another shot. When a player deserves to play over another guy, he should get to play. It’s that way within a single roster and it should be that way across levels. That’s how Hosmer got to Kansas City and it’s how one of Duffy and Teaford got Vin Mazzaro‘s old spot. And I love that the Royals are giving guys a shot when they earn it.

You can whine and moan about what this means down the road for the Royals’ payroll, but when the payroll is as low as it is now and many millions are likely to come off the books after this season, there’s not much room to complain. Will we retain all of the players we have? Potentially not. But when you give the deserving players promotions and create a system where guys enjoy playing together, there’s a cohesiveness that gives them a reason to stick around.

I know this has sped up the projections for call-ups quite a bit, but opportunities are arising and prospects are earning the vacated spots. It’s as simple as that.

There’s a lot to consider when calling up players to the majors. Are they really ready? How much will it end up costing us to call them up? What do we do if they fail? Really, though, money should be one of the lesser concerns. That won’t be a pressing issue for a few years and we get a chance to see how these guys do in the majors before worrying about such things.

They earned their chance, so let them play. The Royals are following this philosophy and I salute them for it. And you should, too.

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Tags: AL Central Baseball Danny Duffy Eric Hosmer Kansas City Royals KC MLB Royals

  • Doug

    I agree for the most part. If they deserve it then give them there shot, whoever it is. Veteran or prospect but since baseball is clearly a business we must not forget that and become blind to the fact. They must be smart in promoting whomever they decide to promote and take all things into account when making the decision. I am all for calling up guys that are deserving and demoting the fluff that is at the MLB level. The soooner the better!

    • Gage Matthews

      Exactly, Doug. As long as the decisions are smart ones, it works for me.

  • Mitch Hall

    It’s this simple. If you have team that is in a division race anytime past May 1st and they are considering holding back their superior talents, then they simply don’t want to win. They are either naive or have no faith in their team.

    By the Royals bringing up Hosmer, Duffy, and Teaford, they are showing us that 2011 actually matters to them. This should be very important to Royals fans.

    This team wants to win NOW. Expect the upsurge of youth to continue. Especially after last nights drubbing.

    There is no more waiting. 2011 is the new 2012.

    • Gage Matthews

      It seems like they want to win now. We’ll probably see more where these came from. The best thing is that it means they could be even more prepared when 2012 does roll around as they’ll have more major league time behind them.

  • Wally Fish

    Spot on with your take on this and I think you make the most crucial point that people are overlooking in this discussion.

    The super-two/arbitration system is almost a lock to be changed in the next CBA so worrying about how early promotions will impact the team’s payroll down the road is really a worthless exercise. While the devil will be in the details, this is an issue that BOTH parties (owners and players) want to change. Obviously the fans want to see players promoted when they deserve it independent of financial considerations. I think it speaks volumes that, like the Royals, several teams are promoting players early.

    There is also nothing that prevents the Royals from sending guys back down (thus stopping their accrual of service time) if they show they’re not ready during the course of this season.

    • Gage Matthews

      Thanks, Wally. That really is the biggest thing. I didn’t mention it as a huge point, but that completely changes the game.

      And you’re also right about demotions. If they’re not ready, they can go back to Omaha. It’s not too tragic.