Crazy Eyes Francoeur. Photo courtesy of Minda Haas of

Kings of Kauffman Mailbag – Ep. 1

I know, everyone does a mailbag. The thing about Kings of Kauffman that (I hope) sets us apart from everyone else is you don’t get the same basic posts day after day. I’m sure the others on staff feel the same way. Whether you’re getting the daily musings of our fearless leader Engel, or the analytical number-barrage from Gage, or the weekly Royalman Report, there’s something for everyone here.

But the well-rounded staff we have would be nothing without your readership. Kings of Kauffman consistently sets new records for monthly traffic and comments, and that’s a direct reflection of the readers. Blogging is no different than any other writing/journalism medium: without the readers, there would be no writers.

Because of your interest in the things that we do, and your ridiculous and loyal fandom for a franchise that has been a losing one for the better part of three decades, we’re able to do the things that we do and have some fun along the way. All of us have jobs outside of blogging that take up a lot of our time, so what free time we do have is spent trying to come up with content that you, the reader, will enjoy and keep you coming back.

So as a “thank you”, I’ll start doing a monthly (or however often makes sense with the feedback we get) mailbag to give you guys a chance to ask, vent, rant, and make fun of us. Just please remember, we’re all still Royals fans, no matter how much we may disagree on things.

If you want to join in on the fun, drop us a line at [email protected]. Now, on to the emails:

Never have and never will understand the obsession with prospect rankings. Who really gives a damn?  – Ryan M., @kcbottom9th

Okay so I’m cheating with the first “email” to add in something from Twitter to get this whole thing started, because I think it’s relevant to the Royals of the recent past and the present. And because I also agree.

I wrote something a couple months back about the dangers of falling in love with prospects in regards to the Anaheim Angels (which a fair amount of your hated, alas) and how their refusal to include some of their more highly regarded prospects in deals has held them back to going to the next level. Of course, my opinion is pretty self-serving and revisionist, but everything about baseball is, really.

The Royals last off-season had one of the best farm systems – according to their prospect rankings – in the last 20 years or so. During this season, a number of the players listed in those rankings have graduated to the major league roster, probably meaning next year’s prospect rankings will be pretty mediocre. Does it matter either way? Probably not.

I think the care about the rankings is more a product of where we are as fans of a team that can’t seem to get out of its own way. It is one thing to have your big-league club be consistently terrible; it’s another completely to have your big-league club be terrible with no end in sight. With some good players, who are highly regarded by most every analyst in the industry, at least there’s something to look forward to.

But the effect of the rankings on a fanbase/organization is mostly psychological. Until the players are producing in the majors, they’re really just assets.

Why do the Red Sox and the Tigers (both hitting over .300 since traded) want the Royals’ two previous third basemen? Oh, and throw Callaspo in, as well. Why did these three contenders want Royals third basemen and the Royals wanted to bring up a kid (too early) who is barely hitting his weight? What do they see? – John

The Callaspo deal still bothers me. Sean O’Sullivan was a terrible pitcher that didn’t miss bats and got beat around when he was with Anaheim (or whatever they’re called). He was the typical right-handed pitcher that is available every offseason that a team can sign just to have around. Whatever you thought of Callaspo before the deal, whatever lack of value you think he may have had, trading FOR players that are always readily available (Vin Mazzaro?) is never a good thing, no matter what you’re giving up. Now, if Will Smith turns out to be something, then I guess the trade makes sense, if for no other reason than the time when Smith should provide value will be the same time the Royals are “contending”.

For the other two players, Mike Aviles and Wilson Betemit, the answers are pretty obvious.

Aviles didn’t fit with this current regime, and it was really that easy. He was a little too much flash and not enough substance; he didn’t look like a “ballplayer”; he wasn’t Chris Getz. Okay so there’s probably more to it than that, but Aviles just didn’t fit anymore with this roster as long as the Royals were going to run an inferior player out at second base every day. Plus, with Johnny Giavotella near ready, Aviles had more value for the Red Sox at this time than he did the Royals. He’s a utility player at this point in his career, and the utility player on a losing team doesn’t hold much value. A lot like a closer.

Betemit? Yeah, who knows? Calling up Moustakas and benching him for a month probably wasn’t the smartest thing the Royals could have done, but I’m sure the argument to that is something like “it wasn’t like he had much value anyway”. Well, we don’t know really, because he was benched for a month before he was traded.

Do the Royals stand a legitimate chance to finish at .500 or better in 2012? –Jairus.

Whose pitching staff are they using? Legitimate chance? No, not a legitimate chance. Although, the Indians have a pretty mediocre roster and they’re doing fine.

Why are bloggers so (expletive deleted) negative? – Nick.

When I first read this I thought it said “why are you so negative”, which I think would have been pretty fair as well.

As for the “negative blogosphere” nonsense that continually gets thrown around, sometimes I just have to laugh. Just because someone has an opinion that’s different than yours, doesn’t mean they should be immediately labeled as negative.

For many of the Royals bloggers out there, you have to remember, we’ve all been Royals fans for a long time. So if all of us are considered “negative” I guess my first question would be: what team have you been watching for the last 25 years?

Another thing you have to remember is that even though most of us are “just bloggers” now, many of us actually have journalism degrees, and because of that our writings are of what we observe, not what we want to believe.

I for one don’t trust The Process. Or better, I understand The Process and trust the scouting and development side of things, I just don’t trust Dayton Moore to “finish the job”. Through my experiences in baseball and my beliefs and my philosophies, I just don’t agree with how he does things and how he constructs a roster. Could I – could all of us – be a little less smug in how we present our opinions? Yeah, I’ll grant you that. But that doesn’t mean we’re negative.

Also, I read something at FanGraphs yesterday written by a Twitter pal, and I had to chuckle at some of the comments.

Yes I understand that as bloggers we should hold ourselves to the same journalistic standards that everyday newspapers writers do (because if we don’t, what’s the point?), but if you think Sam Mellinger, or Joe Posnanski, or Peter King turn their columns into their editors completely free of mistakes, you’re kidding yourselves. They have copy editors for that kind of stuff, we have ourselves. Sometimes things can get overlooked. So if the occasional “our” for “are” is missed, let it slide. I promise you, you the reader are nowhere near as annoyed when you see a mistake, as we as writers are.

Considering the love Royals fans have for Jeff Francoeur, coupled with his futility in most meaningful offensive categories, to which former Chiefs receiver does he best compare? – Cody.

Such a good question. It combines two equally annoying things in sports: the overvalued “clubhouse leader” and the overvalued “tall white guy” receiver. Here are the choices:

Marc Boerigter: signed out of the Canadian Football League, Boerigter burst into the NFL with 8 TD’s in just 20 catches, including a 99-yarder against the Packers, his rookie season. Over the next three season his caught 19 passes for 277 yards.

Lake Dawson: the next Jerry Rice, remember? Caught just 103 passes over 4 seasons, but hey, he went to Notre Dame, which means he’s awesome! Marty Schottenheimer did have this great quote about Dawson: “He’s one of those guys who if you time him at 4.6 in the 40 on artificial turf indoors, and then you put him on a field with full pads on, he’s still going to run 4.6.” Yeah, but it’s still a 4.6.

Sean LaChapelle: I will never, say anything bad about Sean LaChapelle. Every suburban-KC white kid wanted to be #18. You’re lying if you say otherwise.

I like Francouer. His name sounds like French nobility. – Jeff.

I bet the French refuse to take a walk, too.

What is the most significant move the Royals could potentially make this offseason? – Tommy.

Obviously it’s pitching related, but I’d be leery of trading someone like Wil Myers for the sake of that pitching, especially if that pitcher is Jair Jurrjens.

What I would do is target a more veteran pitcher that has maybe 2-3 years left on his contract, so the only prospects being traded aren’t the upper-level, high-impact guys like Myers, but a more middle-of-the-road guy like Christian Colon, one of the pitchers, or even Johnny Giavotella. Targeting someone like Jurrjens, and his career 4.21 xFIP, at the cost of your organizations second or third best athlete, doesn’t sound like a very smart move to me.

I understand the desire to capitalize on the now – I’m the first to say that each year MLB keeps track of a win-loss record matters – but I don’t think the Royals should box themselves into a corner thinking they’re in a position that they need to overspend.

As much as I hate The Process and the amount of time it’s taken to get this far, there’s no need to rush it now. Continue to be patient, continue to develop the younger pitchers and position players, and see where things are in June of next year. Then, test the waters for a pitcher.


‘Til next time.


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Tags: Jeff Francoeur Johnny Giavotella Mike Aviles Wil Myers Wilson Betemit

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