December 12, 2012; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals general manager Dayton Moore (left to right), newly acquired pitchers James Shields and Wade Davis, and manager Ned Yoast pose for photos after the press conference at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Kings of Kauffman Mailbag – Ep. 7


Spring Training is around the corner and with that comes the usual array of sunshine and lolly-pops stories from various media outlets that this time, this year, this team has a chance to really do something special. There’s a bunch of guys that are in their primes, a bunch of young guys looking to make The LeapTM, and a bunch of guys in the Best Shape of Their LivesTM. Heck, we’ve already had our first story about an eight-year veteran reworking his swing. Success is around the corner!

So with that comes the time to open the KoK Mailbag to flush out of the bad mojo that may still be left from an offseason that saw a questionable trade, an encouraging signing, and a Dayton Moore patented “WTF” veteran presence acquisition.

As always, have a question, shoot it to [email protected]

On to the bag:

I can’t wait until James Shields comes to town, wins a Cy Young, and shuts up all you stupid bloggers. – James, Raytown.

Two things: 1) I’m just going to assume the name is a coincidence 2) so do I. As do most of us “bloggers”, I’m sure.

And that’s the strange disconnect in this odd little battle of one side versus the other that typically involves one side shouting at the other simply because they happen to view things differently: we all want the Royals to win.

Now there are some that will argue that the Royals “winning” in 2013 – which most likely won’t result in more than 85 wins – will do more harm than good for the future of the franchise, and their argument is not without validity. If your position is that Dayton Moore is not a competent general manager – and that argument is not without validity either – anything that shows the existence of real progress only sets the organization back because it would almost assuredly mean more Dayton Moore.

With more, uh, Moore, means less J.J. Picollo. By that, I mean, the true architect of the success the Royals are about to enjoy will be lost to another organization and a promotion, because there’s no way a man of Picollo’s resume continues to be just a Scouting Director for long. No way.

That’s just how one side sees it.

The other sees wins as wins, and as long as this year’s wins are more than last year’s wins, well then that’s better. And that argument isn’t without validity either.

The only issue with that argument though is you have to still be objective. If you hope upon hope, and wish real hard, maybe the Royals win 90 games in 2013. Sure there are some projections that have them doing something around that, but let’s be honest, right field and second base will be among the worst positions in the game, there are still people that think Jarrod Dyson should be playing centerfield and leading off every day, and the starting rotation picked up one above-average starter this offseason to give them a total of one above-average starter. Ninety wins is asking for a lot.

So even if the Royals win 85 games this year, improve on 2012, at what benefit is it really in relation to the cost if they don’t make the playoffs?

And sure 2014 plays into the picture, but the argument of “well if they make the playoffs in the next two years, this trade is a win” is utter nonsense. In order for this trade to be a “win”, the Royals need to either make the World Series, or come within a game or two of it. Why? Because the value to the next five years after ‘14 lost in Wil Myers and Jake Odorizzi, and having them cheaply coupled with hopefully mid-peak Eric Hosmer, Billy Butler, Mike Moustakas, Salvador Perez, Alicides Escobar…. you get the picture.

“The Process”, actually, worked. It just worked later than expected. And before the Royals could really capitalize by using their considerable resources – money because of a large group of cheap players, instead of players themselves – Dayton Moore panicked because there are fans that see a win total, and only a win total, as signs of progress.

Which, oddly, is the same group that four years ago was saying that it was the wins that didn’t matter, but all the behind the scenes stuff did.

Every year is the time to win, but you still have to be objective about your chances. I once heard Keith Law on a podcast say that teams that didn’t have a legitimate shot at making a title run should be in constant rebuild mode. (Or at least something to that effect.) Teams shouldn’t sacrifice long-term potential for moderate short-term gains. It’s a waste of resources and assets that ultimately doesn’t amount to much.

This is all a long way of saying yes, I hope James Shields does win a Cy Young. But I still got the 2013 Royals at 80 wins (as of right now), and I don’t see even a dominant James Shields really mattering all that much.

If you could compare the Dayton Moore regime to one current television show, which one would it be? – Josh, Austin.

No brainer: ‘How I Met Your Mother’.

The show has had a longer run than intelligently justifiable. For all the things that it’s supposed to be (funny, or a winner) it’s not, there’s one excruciatingly unlikeable character (Robin or some combination of Chris Getz, Ned Yost, or Luke Hochevar) among a gaggle of forgettable parts, and the one piece of the puzzle that’s supposed to be the comic relief and the most recognizable of them all (Barney or Jeff Francoeur), is so far-and-away, eye-roll inducing annoying, it’s unbearable.

Other than that, both ‘How I Met Your Mother’ and the Dayton Moore regime have been real gems.

What’s your pre-Spring Training prediction for the Royals record? – Brian, Georgia

As I said above, 80 wins. Of course that’s movable up or down dependent on Spring Training and who wins the position battles coming out of it.

By the way, there is no more overrated, and insanely archaic baseball philosophy than the idea that 20 scattered at-bats a week for four weeks, against mediocre pitching, is a true barometer for which player deserves more playing time than another. Spring Training as a playing time determinant is a farce and not enough media members do a good enough job of calling out organizations on that fact.

Also, as it stands now I’m 80% confident that Miguel Tejada is named the starting second baseman by the middle of March. And 80% is probably too low. That’s the Dayton Moore “WTF” move of the offseason, and while the laughable “there’s nothing to see here” people continue to give these kinds of acquisitions a pass, I’ve seen this movie before. Like every Ben Stiller or Farrelly Brothers vehicle: second verse, same as the first.

Tags: James Shields Kansas City Royals

  • Marcus Meade

    … so you’re tellin’ me there’s a chance!

  • jimfetterolf

    I figured over 80 wins last year before the injuries and figure healthy, more experienced, with a full season of at least three better SPs gets another 5 wins above what should have been last year. Just play .500 against the Tigers and the division is in sight. Better pitching and the offense couldn’t be much worse, so there we are.

    “continue to give these kinds of acquisitions a pass”

    Yeah, like Luis Mendoza in ’10, Frenchy and Melky for ’11, Paulino too, Guthrie in ’12. Dayton Moore is a gambler at the bottom of the roster, wins some, loses some.

    • Kevin Scobee

      You just named three guys that are among the worst at their positions over the last three seasons, none of which were at the bottom of the roster.

      DM has failed as GM at putting together a roster by using the resources he has available. Tejada isn’t a worthwhile gamble, it’s a blatant display of the systematic problems of the epidemic that is his player major league player evaluating skills.

      You have to win more than lose on those types of pickups. He’s not close.

      • jimfetterolf

        Last three seasons don’t matter, careers don’t take the field. Of the five I mentioned, one had a bad season last year, two were our best starters in ’12, one had a great, if tainted year in SF, and one blew an elbow after starting out as an ace.

        “none of which were at the bottom of the roster”

        Melky, Frenchy, Paulino, Guthrie, and Mendoza all looked like failures at the time of signing or trade and were treated as such by the bloggers and used as evidence Dayton Moore couldn’t put together a roster. Guthrie was the only one picked up for more than loose change. Tejada is, at the moment, an irrelevancy, a coin-flip for depth at worst.

        “DM has failed as GM at putting together a roster by using the resources he has available.”

        I hear that a lot from the usual suspects and disagree. I think he’s done a fine job and am optimistic that, with good health, we’ll have a contending team this year and for the next several as maturity catches up to talent and the farm keeps developing prospects. That’s why they play the games :)

  • http://twitter.com/oldmanduggan Josh Duggan

    I think James is, in fact, James Shields. I could be wrong, but I thought Shields had an opt-out clause if he won the Cy Young this year.