It’s Hard to be Positive When …


A reader recently commented, “Dude, if DM says, yes, you say, no. If he says, no, you say, yes. Stop complaining.”

I think I have been pretty fair in my assessment of Dayton’s moves over the last year.  I feel I have gone out of my way to applaud his efforts to rebuild the minor league system, invest more in the draft, and increase the team’s presence in international free agency.  Still, the comment made me pause and step back.

Was I being too hard on the Royals?  Was I being overly critical of Dayton Moore and his moves?  After some soul searching and deliberation, I found the answer to my questions to be no.  The reality is plain and simple, I don’t set out to argue against everything Dayton does.  Every move that is made gets broken down as honestly as possible regardless of my preconceived notions.

Still a little positivity never hurt anyone so I set out to find something uplifting to say.  Then I came across this, on The Hardball Times, and the air left my balloon of positivity.

After reading that article, I turned to find inspiration from the work of others to get me back in a positive mood.  To that end, I came across an article that Jordan Bratt published on Bleacher Report.  The title alone, “staying Podsitive” made me smile so we were off to a good start.

"Who’s to say the Royals don’t add another big left arm and/or a couple sticks?"

That is the very definition of optimism.

If we are going to be honest about the state of things, Dayton Moore himself has all but stated the team won’t be adding a big left (or right) arm or a couple of sticks.  These players don’t come cheap in terms of dollars on the FA market, or in terms of talent on the trade market.  The payroll is basically what it is going to be for the 2010 season which means any influx of talent at the major league level would have to come via trade.

As Royals fans, we all know what Dayton is up against on the trade market.  Trading Meche, Callaspo, or DeJesus opens up a hole to be filled for 2010 and 2011.  Trading Guillen doesn’t do much of anything since the team would have to eat a sizable chunk of his contract to send him elsewhere, and I can’t imagine any other team is going to give up much in return.  Any thought of trading Greinke, Butler, or Soria would set a depth charge to the team’s chances of getting to 0.500 in 2010, 2011, or even 2012.  There is some serious pitching talent in AA and below, and Dayton could trade some of that to upgrade the major league team for 2010.  Sacrificing the potentially bright future to make a run at being “competitive” in 2010 just isn’t worth it.  Based on the moves he has made this offseason, Dayton agrees.

Erik Bedard comes up from time to time, but let’s step back and face facts.   Bedard is still recovering from a torn labrum and inflamed bursa sack.  The most optimistic estimates have him returning to pitch at some point in May while the more pessimistic reports have him getting back to the mound at some point after the All-Star break.  I’m still waiting to read something that explains how signing Erik Bedard to an incentive laden one-year contract does the 2010 Kansas City Royals any good.  Maybe you get a half year of a very effective pitcher when he’s on his game, but let’s not forget who we’re talking about here.  Bedard is a guy who has had his dedication and desire to pitch openly questioned by his teammates in the past.  He has been unable to stay healthy and has never pitched 200 innings in a season.  There is also no guarantee that he can come back fully healthy, and if he does, there is no guarantee that he will be effective.  In fact, we can logically assume that it’s going to take a while for him to round back into form.  He’s not coming back from elbow problems.  We’re talking about the shoulder here, and that’s an entirely different ball game.

Would signing him make the 2010 Royals better?  Assuming he gets on the mound, absolutely.

Will his presence make the team competitive in 2010?  Probably not.

The main benefit the Royals would gain from signing Bedard is the chance that they could flip him at the trade deadline assuming he comes back in time, is healthy, and effective.  The last of those three criteria may not even be necessary to deal him, but it would sure help the potential return in a deal.

While we are at it, can we please stop this nonsense that the AL Central is up for grabs?  The Twins and White Sox are already out in front of the rest of the division, and I’m not going to dismiss the Detroit Tigers from the picture either.  That leaves the Royals, as things currently stand, to again battle it out with the Indians for 4th place.

Could the magic of 2003 happen again?  Sure it’s possible, but for all of the magic of 2003, the end result was a 3rd place finish and an 83-79 record.  They finished 7.0 games back of the division champion Minnesota Twins.  It was a fun summer, but it had little lasting impact beyond showing a generation of Royals fans what a 0.500 team looks like.

"Who’s to say Josh Fields doesn’t turn back into Mark Reynolds?  Who’s to say that doesn’t push along Alex Gordon’s development?"

This is a fun game to play, but it doesn’t really get us anywhere.  Who’s to say that Yuniesky Betancourt doesn’t hit 30 HR in 2010?  Who’s to say Dayton doesn’t wake up tomorrow with a newfound passion for sabermetrics?

See?  It really is fun.

All of the above is not to disparage Jordan Bratt’s article.  I truly enjoy people who see the landscape of baseball differently than I do and varying viewpoints all have merit.  I disagree with some of Jordan’s points, but the spirit behind them is inspiring.*

*I’m not being a smart-ass when I write that. I sincerely mean it.

Though I have my moments, I’m not exactly an optimistic or pessimistic person.  I’m a realistic, pragmatic person who values logic, reason, and rational thought.  That said, I have my moments of blind faith like everyone else.  I still believe that Kyle Davies can be an above average pitcher in a major league rotation, and I believe that Bryan Bullington can become a positive force in the Royals bullpen if he is given the change.

I really don’t know why I felt the need to write all of the above.  I guess it is important to me that those of you who read this site understand that I’m not “out to get” Dayton Moore.  If he says “red,” I’m not the type of person to shout “blue” when the object in question is clearly red.  When all the signs point to negative, I’m not going to argue that blue is red just to support Dayton Moore or cram warm fuzzies down your throat.

With a excellent offseason I was hoping for a return to winning baseball in 2011.  Now it’s looking more like 2012, but I’m not jumping ship and neither should you.  If Dayton Moore proves me wrong and the 2010 Royals are fighting for the division at the All-Star break, I’ll gladly eat crow.  Go Royals!

(Wally Fish is the lead blogger for Kings of Kauffman and FanSided’s MLB Director.  Subscribe to his RSS feed and add him on Twitter to follow him daily.)