Baseball seasons are long. If you want to be an astute follower, you need to understand the season’s length offers rhythms and streaks. It’s a stat head game because the season lasts long enough for stats and formulas to play out. Baseball is usually more like baking than stir-frying. It’s usually more sketch than improv. Usually.
Ned Yost and Dayton Moore busted out their woks last week, by demoting Butler in the line up and signing Raul Ibanez. So far, not tasty. Royals brass is not done improving, not even close. Alex Gordon is at least out for the Detroit Series, and Jason Vargas is likely missing a month. Eric Hosmer, despite last night’s great game, looks more like a Storm Chaser than a number two hitter.
The Gordon injury now makes this Ibanez resurrection experiment defensible. With Aoki and Gordon shelved, they need him. Facing the Tigers, Ibanez needs to give the Royals a reason to wave goodbye to Aoki. Ibanez shouldn’t take any more innings from Jarrod Dyson. I strongly think Dyson need to hit against righties moving forward regardless of their decisions on Aoki and Ibanez’s place on the team. If Ibanez really brings maturity and profesionalism to this immature club, they should dump Aoki and keep Raul. Ibanez can spell at DH and 1B. One of the keys to the second half of the season will be what the Royals decide to do with their trio of outfielders and how they perform.
There are two reasons you have a guy like Bruce Chen on your team. He’s good at teaching young players how to not get fleeced at strip bars, and a solid stop-gap starter when a rotation guy gets hurt. The scary scenario? Vargas doesn’t recover quickly or another starter goes down. When Guthrie is this rotations weakest link, this rotation looks very good. When he’s your 4th best guy and you are patching in your 5th starter ? That spells trouble for a team only averaging 4 runs a game.
Then there is Eric Hosmer, the unreachable wonder kid. Does anyone really think things are going to click for him this season? The Royals are contenders, and it seems like everyone, myself included, have been hanging all hopes on a young, aloof, and lost hitter. This team needs hitting and right now. This is James Shields last year with the team. The Royals don’t have any MLB ready prospects to deal, whats a GM to do? Maybe it’s time to go off script.
Perhaps Hosmer still has a grip on the imaginations of other GM’s. Maybe his high slot in the lineup has articulated the Royals belief in him and it has had some impact on other teams. Maybe the Royals need to find out at the All Star Break.
Hosmer alone won’t net what the Royals need. A package of Hosmer with Ventura or Duffy will be what it takes to get the impact player(s) this team needs. 810’s Soren Petro proposed a trade to Tampa that would land David Price, Ben Zobrist, and James Loney. I kind of love it. The Shields departure would no longer sting, and there would be a competent, every day right fielder. First base would be improved because, right now, Loney is a much better baseball player than Eric Hosmer.
Whether it’s this scenario or another, the team needs to rift. The Royals need to contemplate if Eric Hosmer is a “change of scenery” guy. He’s certainly an excellent candidate.
I have little faith in the Royals financial and tactical abilities when improvizing, but they have surprised me a few times this season already. In the meantime, pray for a split with Detroit and a quick recovery by Gordon and Vargas. The opportunity for a split lies in tonight’s game. The weakest pitcher in Detroit’s rotation, Drew Smyly, throws against Guthrie. Let’s hope the Royals can ride the positive wave created by Sal Perez’s heroics last night, and take this series opener.
Another big game. Ain’t it great?