I have two items, not really items I guess…but wishes, on my Christmas list this year. The first is for David Glass to stop being so damn cheap. Wish number two is for Dayton Moore not to panic.
I hate to go back to this well, as I’ve already examined the art of breaking of even, which seems to be all Mr. Glass cares about, but this is just getting ridiculous. According to MLB Trade Rumors, the Royals are burning up the phone lines trying to trade Luke Hochevar and Bruce Chen. Why the sudden urge to trade these two? To free up money so the team can acquire a (fingers crossed) better pitcher.
I’m not saying the Royals shouldn’t try to trade them. By all means…see if you can find a sucker. But according the MLBTR report, David Glass told Bob Dutton of the KC Star that the team has to maintain a $70 million dollar payroll…to do what? Say it with me now…BREAK EVEN. This is the part where I get so mad I chuck the closest thing within reach across the room in frustration. Tonight, however, that thing is my cell phone – which I need – so, in an effort to save myself money, just visualize my cell phone shattering into a hundred pieces against the living room wall.
Don’t get me wrong. I like the basic thought process here…especially the part where the team rids itself of Hochevar. It’s that “break even” mantra that kills me. Glass just can’t keep running the team this way, and can’t keep reminding fans that’s all he cares about. We know. We get it. On behalf of every Royals fan out there, I’d like to quote Ben Affleck from Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back and ask, “When, Lord? When? When’s gonna be my time?”
And here’s the thing – we don’t HAVE to trade Hochevar. We can non-tender Luke, who is arbitration eligible and projected to have a salary in the $4.5-$5 million range, and be done with him. That’s easy money. My fear is that Moore and Glass won’t simply cut ties and let him walk. If you can’t trade him, fine. But either way, it’s time to let him go. It costs nothing to do so. In fact, you’ll actually MAKE money. Money you can use towards a pitcher and maybe stay closer to that break even line.
Chen is trickier, as he’s got a guaranteed contract for one more year. I’ve been resigned to the fact that he’ll be on the roster in 2013, so I don’t think it’s imperative to move him, but by all means, if some random GM would like Chen on his team – trade the guy. I applaud the effort.
Now I’ll touch on my second Christmas wish, which is for Moore to keep his wits about him and not do something stupid to save his job. Something like…I don’t know…make an awful trade that cripples the franchise, which, hilariously, would probably result in him eventually losing his job anyway. What a cruel twist of fate that would be for DM the GM.
The awful trade I refer to, of course, would be something along the lines of the latest rumors. You know the ones…Wil Myers either goes to the Red Sox for Jon Lester or to the Rays for James Shields. The thought of either trade made me feel like vomiting. Not that either guy is a bad pitcher (although Lester had an awful 2012)…but for Myers? No thanks. Giving up the best hitting prospect in all of baseball for someone who is solid, but not necessarily an ace…it doesn’t make sense, and it goes against that “process” Moore has been telling us about since he came to town.
Having a young player under control – and on the cheap – for the next several years is someone a team in BEM (break even mode) can’t afford to swap out for a player who costs much more, and is only under contract for two more seasons. Both Shields and Lester fit that description. Not only is that going against Moore’s process of building from within via the draft, it also goes directly against the owner’s philosophy. This is the type of deal that, most importantly, makes no baseball sense…but on top of that, makes a hypocrite of Moore. On the other hand…Myers for Matt Moore is something you’d have to think about. But that’s not the point here.
I know we need pitching…believe me…I know. But here’s the thing – we’ve got to spend money. This is an ideal time for the team to go out and blow some cash on an ace type of pitcher. Yes, we just took on a large contract with Ervin Santana. And yes, we just signed Jeremy Guthrie for three years. But Guthrie’s contract is back-loaded, and Santana’s is a one-year commitment. For 2013, we owe Guthrie $5 million. That’s all. Go out and make a splash!
Not only does Guthrie’s contract structure make a high dollar signing more affordable for 2013, but Santana being gone makes it affordable in 2014. With a high dollar ace and Guthrie anchoring a 2014 rotation, and (hopefully) a couple of young – and CHEAP – pitchers stepping up and/or bouncing back from injury, spending money makes perfect sense.
If we can get the owner out of BEM, and into the mindset of not only winning, but giving the loyal fans something to really be proud of…and we can keep Dayton from shooting himself in the foot, this team will be on the fast track to respectability. Otherwise, to once again borrow from Mr. Affleck, fans are going to be stuck asking “When’s gonna be my time?” for the foreseeable future.