Here we are, on the last day of 2013, on my last post of 2013 (unless the Royals make a move at some point today, in which case, this is my next-to-last post of 2013). In the first four parts of this series, I’ve covered New Year’s Resolutions for the infielders, the outfielders, the starting rotation, and the bench and bullpen. Finally, I’ll turn my attention toward the decision-makers in the organization, starting with the owner.
Despite elevating the payroll to record highs last season and for next season, Glass’ work should not be done. His resolution for 2014 should be to pay what is needed to support the Royals on the field. Next year is probably the Royals’ best shot at a postseason berth in some time, and as of right now, the odds aren’t great. I appreciate that Glass has been so kind to use a small portion of the insanely high television revenues to bring more talent into the franchise, but this team needs even more talent to truly compete, and more dollars may be needed from Glass to accomplish that goal. Of course, adding more money to the pot won’t automatically add more wins if the money isn’t being spent wisely, which brings me to the general manager.
For 2014, Moore should resolve to stop spending so much money on players that can be easily and cheaply replaced. Luke Hochevar and Wade Davis are fine relievers. They’re also going to make around $10 million next season. The Royals have an army of solid relief arms in the minors, waiting to be paid the league minimum to produce strong results in Kansas City. Spending millions of dollars on replaceable players and then making comments about being near their payroll limit is kind of like buying nothing but candy bars and ice cream and then complaining about not being able to afford dinner. Then again, who would complain when they have a bunch of candy bars and ice cream? I’m getting off task. Regardless, foolish spending has been a problem for much of Moore’s tenure, and it’s why I haven’t been as hard on Glass as some have. Glass isn’t without blame, but I can’t fault an owner too much when he sees a GM lighting tens of millions of his dollars on fire in the middle of Kauffman Stadium – or right field, if you prefer. Moore could allow himself more payroll flexibility if he were to find trade partners to take on Hochevar and/or Davis, even if it’s just for prospects. That extra money could be used to get a real number 2 starter, which leads right into another resolution for Moore, and perhaps a more important one:
Never be content with just being good.
The Royals, right now, are a good team. A good team that is probably not good enough to make the playoffs. I’ve said it before, and I’ll continue to say that the Royals need another starter to slot behind James Shields and take pressure off the young guns. Moore shouldn’t be satisfied with the current team, and he should always be looking for ways to improve it.
Yost’s resolution for next year should be to cut down on the bunting and to let his hitters hit. In 2013, the Royals had the 3rd highest number of sacrifice bunts in the American League, with 37. They also had just 4 above average hitters in the lineup. Now, the lineup has 6 players who should be above average at the plate, which should mean the team won’t need to give away outs to move baserunners. I do expect to see quite a bit of hit-and-run, especially at the top of the order, with Norichika Aoki’s speed and Omar Infante’s contact skills, but the bunting should be reduced dramatically next year. And speaking of the top of the order, Yost should also resolve to never put Escobar in the 2nd spot ever again. Never. Ever.
Some people may argue that Yost needs to learn to manage his pitching staff better, including knowing when to pull his starters, knowing which relievers to use and when, etc. I don’t necessarily disagree that Yost can improve in that area, but I’ve never been one to put too much blame on the manager. It’s not that I think Yost is a managing savant. It’s just that 25 other managers in baseball make identical mistakes, and even those other 4 are far from perfect. In my opinion, Yost simply needs to cut down on the bunts and let this talented roster win games.
There you have it, Royals fans. New Year’s Resolutions for the organization, from the front office to the dugout. If they all commit to these resolutions (and not the way your coworker ‘commits’ to working out more, only to stop going to the gym in mid-February), the Royals could be looking at their first playoff appearance in 29 years. Here’s to hoping for a very successful 2014.