December 12, 2012; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals general manager Dayton Moore (left), newly acquired pitcherJames Shields
(center), and manager Ned Yoast display Shield
Everything about James Shields was outstanding Tuesday night. He dominated a hot hitting line up, in a series opener, and registered his 1,500th career strike out. When the game was stopped to acknowledge the milestone, he was annoyed. Dude was so locked in, he didn’t want to pause and celebrate his individual moment. Would be nice to see more of that behavior from other players. Some of them celebrate broken bat singles harder than James did his big K. James is a winner, a leader, a guy who belongs in pennant races.
Meanwhile, Dayton Moore, and the rest of the team’s leadership, continues to show how ill-equipped the are to take this organization to the next level. This week we got very different opinions on why Mike Moustakas continues to struggle and why he should not be sent to Omaha.
Moore thinks Moose is mentally fit, Brett thinks he’s doomed once he makes an out in his first at bat, and Yost think Moose’s defensive value outweighs his short-comings at the plate. Rusty Kuntz called out Billy Butler for not turning the corner hard on singles, saying they have not been able to get Butler to do that for a long time.
Cracks are showing.
This is not all bad. Things often have to break around the house before they get fixed properly. The Royals shifting, flawed philosophies do need fixing. While I don’t think Moore nor Yost are the right guys to take the Royals any further, it would be good to see even more conflict because that could at least mean an ending to the business as usual tenor they have been employing.
May is half over and the Royals are just over .500. This month, on paper, looks to be the right time for the Royals to make large strides in the win column. Let’s hope the Royals end May a little over .500. Not only will they have a chance to still compete and catch the other post season contenders on the field, but they will still have time to make more intelligent roster decisions.
It’s clear the brass feels the heat and expectations are weighing on them. Good. This may force them to use Danny Valencia, Johnny Giavotella, and Mike Moustakas appropriately. ( The Moose/Valencia platoon is here now and netting better results.)
The troublesome and contradictory words from Royals leadership is disturbing and revealing, but it may also be the beginning of a smarter, better season netting a real post season chase.