Royals Spring Cleaning and Other Notes

snoopy17wf
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The moves and announcements have been flying fast and furious in the last three days for the Kansas City Royals.

  • It seems like more and more Mark Teahen will be the starting 2B on opening day. If this happens I will be elated because I think he is a solid ML player who has value to any organization. By putting him in the lineup at 2B his offensive ability goes from being an average asset as a 3rd or 4th outfielder to an above average asset at 2B. If he hits anything like he has this spring .472/.517/.981, it won’t really matter what kind of defense he plays. Reality is he will hit closer to his career line of .268/.332/.421, but even if he just replicates that he will be a top 10 offensive player at 2B. We also must not forget that he is only 27 and still has untapped potential. With Kevin Seitzer getting him back to what made him a good hitter before he ever got to the Royals I see a line of around .280/.360/.515. If they leave him at second base, let him get comfortable and let him play everyday I would not be surprised if he surpasses even my projection. I am a biased Teahen fan who thought he had enough value to this team, even as a 4th outfielder, to warrant the $3.575 salary he will be paid in 2009. If he can hold down 2B at a league average level defensively and simply put up numbers that match his career line, he will be a bargain for what the Royals are paying him. This also has the added benefit of keeping Willie Bloomquist in the super utility role for which he is best suited, and results in Callaspo either going to Omaha or being a pinch hitter for late inning situations. If he plays a majority of the games at 2B I can almost live with a month of Punch-Out Ponson in the rotation.
  • Yes I said a month. I fully expect that is all it will take before Ponson’s time in Kansas City has passed. I have said my peace on Sir Sidney, but Rany had an enjoyable post over on his site about the Ponson over Hochevar desicion.

"The other argument I’ve heard a lot in defense of this move boils down to, “Hochevar will be in the rotation soon enough.” If the best argument for this decision is that it’s going to be reversed eventually, isn’t that really an argument against this decision? The insinuation is that Hochevar will be the first man called up when either Ponson or Ramirez needs to be replaced. In other words, this decision is being made with an expectation of failure."

  • Today they announced that they have signed 17 year old Korean catcher Shin Jin Ho. He will report to the Arizona Instructional League next fall once he finishes high school. I know absolutely nothing about Shin Jin Ho, but I do know that it is good to see the Royals actively looking for and signing young talent in other parts of the world. This is just more evidence of the Royals functioning like a bonafide ML organization.
  • Speaking of operating like a ML organization, yesterday the Royals traded Ross Gload and cash to the Florida Marlins for a player to be named later. This is excellent news on a number of fronts. First, Ross Gload will no longer be on the roster and thus Trey Hillman will not be able to treat a role player like he is a starter. Second, Dayton Moore got something for a guy they were probably going to cut anyway. Third, and this one is actually the most important, the Royals sent cash with Gload to the Marlins. It would appear that Moore has finally opened ownership’s eyes to the need to “eat” some cash from time to time to make things happen. This is something Allard Baird never seemed to be able to do. This is even more significant because it covers up Moore’s mistake of signing Gload to a 2 year contract before the 2008 season when there was absolutely no reason to. So the Royals eat a portion of Gload’s $1.9 million contract for this season, but get something back for a guy they were probably going to release anyway. The only way this turns out to be a bad move is if they use Gload’s roster spot to keep Tony Pena Jr around for another season.
  • Some sad news came out yesterday. Luke Hudson announced his retirement and ended his comeback attempt due to continued pain in his right shoulder. I can’t imagine what he has endured in his career simply pursuing his dream to pitch in the majors, but based on his comments about what he was dealing with, he probably made the right decision.“It just feels like a sharp knife in there, and twisting when I throw,” Hudson said. “It’s just physically impossible.”I applaud Hudson for his efforts to make it back, and if nothing else he did get to pitch in the major leagues. Nevertheless I am saddened that such a talented pitcher never got to realize his potential due to numerous injuries and arm problems in his career.
  • Also yesterday LHP-John Bale was placed on the 15 day DL retroactive to March 27th. This comes as no surprise since he had his thyroid gland removed, but all indications are that he will be back within a couple weeks. Thanks to a multitude of injuries, the jury is still out on what Bale can do in the majors, but he definitely has a place on the Royals roster if healthy.
  • Another unsurprising move that occurred yesterday, Brian Bannister was optioned to Triple-A Omaha. After compiling a 5.76 ERA and 1.49 WHIP over 183 innings in 2008, BB poster a 8.53 ERA and 1.66 WHIP in 12.2 innings this spring. He is going in the wrong direction, and at age 28 time is running out for him to turn it around. If he does manage to right the ship he is still nothing more than a #5 starter on a ML team.
  • Finally to conclude a very busy Wednesday in Royals news, RHP-Joel Peralta was placed on waivers for the purpose of giving him his unconditional release. I was hoping that Peralta could rebound from last season, since his previous 3 seasons were above ML average. From 2005 to 2008 his ERA+ went from 109, 107, 124, and 71. He’s 33 and he probably has a few more seasons left in him, but I’m not upset that the Royals have moved on. His spring numbers weren’t terrible, but unlike in the starting rotation, the Royals have a lot of options for their bullpen slots.
  • Tuesday LHP-Gilbert De La Vara was returned to the Royals after being selected in the Rule 5 draft by the Houston Astros. Since he did not stay on the Astros ML roster, he was offered back to the Royals for $25,000 and Kansas City accepted him back. The Royals have assigned him to Triple-A Omaha. In 2008 for Double-A he had a 2.76 ERA, 21 SO and 15 BB in 33 innings. For Single-A Wilmington he had a 3.65 ERA, 31 SO and 12 BB in 44 innings. His SO/BB ratios don’t predict a lot of future success but being only 24 years old he has time to improve his command. Baseball America ranked him the Astros #21 prospect once they had acquired him via the Rule 5 draft from the Royals. Since BA ranks the Royals system #11 overall and the Astros #30 overall, it is safe to say he probably doesn’t crack the Kansas City top 30. Pitching in Triple-A at 24 however, he will likely get a call-up at some point in the next season or two. He has a chance to stick in the majors as a specialist, and possibly even more if he can improve his command.
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