Mar 5, 2013; Surprise, AZ, USA; Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Luke Hochevar (44) pitches against the Oakland Athletics during the fourth inning at Surprise Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

The Same Old Story

I know, I know….It’s only spring training, but still. Hochevar got lit up today.

I think there are two camps in the Hochevar debate at this point:

1. This group wants to see Hochevar dominate spring training to justify his stupid contract. They want to see him finally pan out and earn back some of the trust he’s betrayed over the last several years. They read the articles about Hochevar’s “discovery” of problems he had pitching out of the stretch and they hope that maybe this is the “discovery” that finally actually makes a difference because, Lord knows, none of the others have amounted to much. Now I’m not saying this group is naive to Hochevar’s deficiencies. I think you’d have to be a fool not to see them at this point. But they realize that organization will probably refuse to abandon Luke at this point and are just hoping a miracle happens.

2. This group, of which I am a part, hopes that Hoch just blows it throughout spring training and the organization somehow comes to the realization that they’d be better served cutting the ties before the regular season starts and saving themselves some money. As I stated above, I don’t think the organization will be willing to part ways with Hochevar unless he absolutely implodes.

This presents an interesting conundrum. Is it okay, as a fan, to kinda sorta halfway root for one of your pitchers to suck? Here, I’ll put it nicely. I hope that Luke Hochevar pitches like the Luke Hochevar we’ve seen over the last few years. I guess that’s a bit vague as he’s shown a FEW flashes of brilliance in that time. But I think if you look at the overall product, you’ll catch my drift.

So far, Luke Hochevar has pitched in three different games:

  • On February 27th, Hoch was knocked around for 2 ER in 1.2 innings. He gave up 2 hits and 3 walks to the Milwaukee Brewers.
  • On March 5th, he gave up 3 hits and a walk in 3 innings against the Athletics. Nothing resulted in runs, though, so I’m sure the outing was looked on as a positive one by the organization.
  • Today, Hoch showed some 2012 form as he got tagged with 4 ER over the course of 3.1 innings pitched against the Angels. 3 SO, 2 BB, and 5 hits before he was replaced by Bruce Chen.

Look, I know it’s spring training, but we’ve done this dance before. I don’t need to see Hochevar blow games in Arizona to know that I don’t want him blowing games during the regular season. My mind was made up before he ever took the mound this spring.

What do you think? Is it wrong for me to hope he blows it?

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Tags: Kansas City Royals Spring Training

  • jimfetterolf

    Everybody got lit up yesterday, ump wasn’t giving a low strike, pitch had to be thigh and up, which is why about 300 runs were scored and Getz and Francoeur looked like Mantle and Maris. There are games like that.

    As for “hope”, I hope he pitches well enough that some other GM will trade a couple of lottery tickets for him at least. Way too many pitchers and several have no options left. At the moment, assuming Davis’ shoulder is alright, I’ld trade Hoch, Chen, and Mendoza, for sufficient value, and be comfortable with Will Smith and Yordano Ventura close. Just a matter of finding a trade partner.

    • Michael Engel

      I think at most they’ll trade one. I remember hearing Joe Girardi say something on XM during the winter meetings that “if you have seven starters, you don’t have enough”.

      Sounds of it, Davis is going to be fine, though, so that’s good.

      • jimfetterolf

        Everybody loves depth, but Royals have about nine or ten starters, counting Will Smith, Yordano Ventura, and Nate Adcock, and three of the edge ones are out of options, so are most expendable at the moment.

        Dayton Moore is looking for value received and that will drive it and is why I think Luis Mendoza may be most likely, he’s simply worth more to Colorado or Baltimore or Boston, ground ball pitcher in a band box, cheap and controllable.

        • Michael Engel

          Let’s be realistic though. I love me some Yordano Ventura, but he’s the youngest guy still in camp and wasn’t superb in Double A. The Royals aren’t the kind of guys to outright skip levels most of the time and they’re in no immediate need to bring him up. Then there’s the service time consideration that is always going to weigh in on their minds. It’d be awesome if he could make such a quick jump but let’s face it, baseball doesn’t work that way usually and teams don’t act that way either.

          Also there was something on Royals Review done by Jeff Zimmerman indicating that nearly 40% of starters will hit the DL in the big leagues (something like that – didn’t go back to find it right now). I think Adcock could handle starting but he’s not getting any work that indicates they expect him to be a starter in the big leagues this year. He’ll stretch out in minor league camp and get ready for Omaha and if they need him later on he’ll be there, but I doubt they’re considering him part of their overall depth.

          Shields/Guthrie/Santana/Davis/Hoch/Chen/Mendoza/Smith – those are pretty much the guys. If pressed they may go with Teaford/Adcock/Moscoso if it gets really bad, but until September, I’d bet you see any and all of those pitchers before Ventura. Maybe that’s incorrect on their part, but if he’s up before September I’d be very, very surprised.

          • jimfetterolf

            Agree, but I try to look at things from the GM pov, and what I see is a big crowd and that’s not even assuming one or more of the TJS guys return quickly.

            I’m looking at a rotation that is fairly set and a bullpen deep enough that Donnie Joseph and Louie Coleman will begin in Omaha because I have three non-optionable pitchers clogging up space. I have needs, most obvious an RF, I have some SPs, two or three of them an upgrade for the Rockies, so that creates possibilities. I’m also assuming Ervin Santana doesn’t re-sign, so looking for an ASB trade. All that puts Ventura in the mix in July.

            Do agree that Nate Adcock is an early possibility, right after Smith, but I’ld rather start the year with Smith than either Hoch or Chen, that gives more flexibility. Unfortunately, yesterday’s effort by Chen, Hoch, Hanson, and Crow probably didn’t give any useful information to the scouts beyond that the ump had a narrow, high zone.

          • Michael Engel

            Sure but you’ve brought up this Santana trade idea a dozen times and I don’t see how it works unless we assume the Royals are losing again. If he’s pitching well and the team is winning, they won’t trade him, expiring contract or not, because why upset that? If he’s pitching poorly, nobody’s going to trade FOR him. At best they’ll get an A ball flyer that probably won’t make it past the bench in Double A.

            But if they’re in the hunt at all in July, I can’t see Ervin going anywhere because I’d assume he’s a part of why they’re in the hunt.

            I’d be absolutely shocked if they pushed Ventura that quickly. I don’t think they need two long relievers if the staff they’ve built is what they think it is, but the Royals have been cautious of putting any player through waivers. It’s why JC Gutierrez is probably going to make the team or Francisley Bueno will because they’re stuck with them. Coleman and Joseph are better options but the logistics don’t help them. I’d much rather they trade one of the three #5s, but it’s more likely that they don’t – or at least not until the last days of spring training. I’m skeptical of them seeing the return they want to part ways.

            Like you, I’d rather Smith make the rotation because, frankly, he’s outpitching just about everyone in camp from what I’ve read/heard, but they aren’t going to clear out the cabinet just to make that a reality. Looking from a GM pov that big crowd is just where they want to be. It’s what prevents having to scrounge up Vin Mazzaro and Ryan Verdugo and hope they last three innings.

          • jimfetterolf

            It’s not uncommon for a one year guy to be traded at the ASB, and of the rotation, he would be most likely to go when Duffy comes back or Lamb or Ventura is ready, trade him for something rather than let him walk after the year. Maybe if a few of the #5s are traded and Santana looks to bring a comp pick they’ll keep him, but it’s getting crowded. There were the same thoughts with Sanchez, and Melky and Frenchy the year before. Should Chen or Hochevar survive SP they will be likely candidates also, walk-year trade bait out of a crowded group of SPs.

    • Ethan Evans

      I was thinking about the whole trade prospect too, Jim. But is there really a team that would make a deal for him? I mean, I suppose if he lit teams up for the rest of spring training, someone might take a flier on him and I guess getting something for him rather than nothing is a positive. I just don’t know that much will come of that and at this point, I just don’t want him pitching for us, regardless of how he gets his walking papers.

    • Ethan Evans

      I guess if you packaged him, like you said, something might be doable.

  • ArrowFan

    Is his contract guaranteed? I think Luke would make a great long relief guy as long as he never pitches more than once to any one guy he is good. But what he is not is a starter that can go deep into a game. There is not way we don’t trade or out right cut one of (Chen, Luke, or Palameno). Who ever falls the lowest will go, I think.

    • Michael Engel

      The CBA requires a team to pay 30 days salary if they release a player within 16 days of spring training starting. After that, it’s 45 days pay (if I’m reading the CBA correctly). They’d be on the hook for more than a million anyway. Once he makes the final roster, the Royals owe the full contract.

      He’s not going to be cut, though. I doubt the consideration’s ever come up in their mind once they offered him arbitration.