A Bad Rotation Move Will Sink ’14 Royals


June 30, 2012; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants pitcher

Brad Penny

(31) attempts to pick off the base runner at first against the Cincinnati Reds in the seventh inning at AT

The final piece to what could be a special season for the Royals has received more than it’s fair share of internet ink this week.  Yeah, you get it, the Royals really need one more quality starter.  Sorry, it’s a point worth bludgeoning.

We have all watched Dayton Moore and David Glass blow through red lights, or keep the car in neutral when the drag race begins.  It is not unfair, or irrational to worry that stubbornness and thriftiness will snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.  Some may even say, there would be nothing more “Royals” the Royals could do.  Preemptively destroying all of the great work they did this off-season with one last “Royals Move?  Sounds about right!”

This is the column I hope is mocked later.  This is the post I hope is used to call me a chicken little.  I hope this quick piece never serves as an effective, “I told you so”, weapon.  This is about the worst of the three routes the Royals can take regarding their Opening Day rotation.  This is the “disaster scenario”.

The Royals break camp with any combination of Wade Davis, Luke Hochevar, and Brad Penny as their 4th and 5th starters.  They just can’t start the season this way.  Brad Penny is no longer a major league baseball player.  He hasn’t been above average since 2007.  He’s no longer dating Alyssa Milano . What’s the point?  The thought of him making this team, while Yordano Ventura brushes up on his Nebraskan, makes me sick.

Davis and Hochevar have proven that their value lies in the pen.  Their times as starters in KC have been awful.  The Royals stuck with Davis about 7-10 starts too long last season, and that is one of the key reasons they missed the post season.  Two other reasons the Royals missed out on the playoffs last year?  They broke camp with Jeff Francoeur as their starting right fielder, and Chris Getz as their starting second baseman.  Everyone, but the Royals, seemed to understand who those two players were.  Role players at best.  Instead of gambling of Johnny Giavotella and David Loughthe Royals placed their April bets on horses with broken legs.

An argument could be made that Davis and Hochevar are safer bets for a winning April.  They have been there before, and the young guys can get an additional month or two of seasoning in AAA.  No way.  Davis and Hochevar will suck as starters in April, and they would continue to suck the rest of the year.  If Duffy and Ventura struggle early in the year, they still have huge upside.  They could improve!  Luke and Wade are bullpen guys.  Everyone knows it.  Let’s hope the Royals don’t need a losing April and May to figure out what the rest of baseball knows, again.

Davis and Hochevar can be valuable pieces to this team.  Great arms out of the pen, also serving as rotation insurance if the young guns collectively won’t fire.  If that happens, you slot Davis or Luke into the rotation.  Then you try like mad to trade them both, in order to trade and sign for that free agent starter you could have had all along.

Dayton Moore has proven that stubbornness is a part of his personality and decision-making. This off-season, he’s also shown his ability to think rationally and progressively.  Let’s all light candles and pray the Royals continue down this road less traveled, and don’t take that wrong, familiar one.