Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Last week, Yordano Ventura solidified himself as a starter on the opening day roster. He is the most exciting, promising rookie the team has had since Johnny Damon. Ned Yost actually spoke to the media with a tone that smacked of common sense, with no air of condescension, or even his famous huckster mystery.
"“It doesn’t do any good to drag this stuff on. Really, after an outing like tonight, and after outings like he’s had all spring, you look foolish if you try to continue to hold your cards close to your chest.”"
The Royals then decided Justin Maxwell is so valuable, and likeable that Mike Moustakas has a shot of playing all over the infield. Then the Royals began greasing the skids for Danny Duffy‘s placement in the bullpen. It is actually a good thing his performance made it impossible to keep him on the major league roster.
I really don’t like Justin Maxwell on this team. Jarrod Dyson‘s career line is 251/322/338/600. He went 34 for 40 on steals in 2013. He is a unique and distracting weapon. Maxwell’s presence on the roster means a little less of Dyson.
Alcides Escobar is not a viable big league hitter, even when he is healthy. He is not healthy. Omar Infante is also not healthy, and his durability track record says he won’t stay healthy all season. It is almost a good thing Infante’s injury is lagging this long and may force the Royals to make the appropriate roster decision. (Isn’t it kind of painful to realize how perfect Emilio Bonifacio would have been for this team?)
The Royals still have a strong bullpen, and a suspect rotation. They certainly have a very weak history of developing young starters. How could the Royals have thought tinkering with Duffy’s “starter potential” was wise? You would think they would do all they could to push every chip into the young man’s starting pitcher future. I actually think Yost wants Duffy to enjoy the big league minimum salary in the bullpen while he waits his turn to start. That’s something Ned Yost would do for a player he loved.
There are no advanced statistics for chemistry and confidence, but most of us know these are important attributes for a team sport logging over 160 games. Guys that have played under this regime have consistently lauded the clubhouse and leadership of this organization. After an 8-20 May, the team still held it together, and made things exciting in September. Perhaps these “player-first”, head scratching moves are part of that “togetherness-culture” the Royals enjoy.
Maybe it’s time to stop letting it anger me. Maybe we need to realize this huckster cleverness is just part of the marriage. Is it simply time to let go and let Royals? Many of us bemoan the Royals for not thinking outside the box. Maybe they often do think outside the box, just not the way we want them to.