Many people were puzzled by the Kansas City Royals signing of Terrance Gore. What value does he bring to the team? Just stealing bases?
I’ve always been a supporter of the underdog. The player who was an afterthought. The guy who seems to be there to fill a spot on a roster. Nobody but the player himself and his coaches thinks he is worth being there. Maybe its the Andy Warhol in me. I want to see that 15 minutes of fame. More than that, its great to see them succeed beyond that 15 minutes. Jarrod Dyson comes to mind most recently. Terrance Gore of the Kansas City Royals is one of those guys.
Looking at his career statistics, you wouldn’t think he would ever make a major league club. Yes he stole bases, however few players with only that on their resume ever do. The Royals gave him that chance because they are one of the few teams in baseball that value speed. They understand the disruption that can be caused by just the hint that a runner will advance on the steal of a base.
In the 70’s and 80’s I used to marvel at the talent of Rickey Henderson. Ricky, as he would refer to Himself in interviews, was probably the best lead off hitter the game has ever seen as well as runner. However he got on base, once there, every defensive player on the field was nervous. On the base path, all attention was on him. He took over the game. Everything on the field was about stopping him from scoring.
Terrance Gore will join a team of Whit Merrifield, Adalberto Mondesi, and Billy Hamilton that should garner the same kind of attention. Unlike the players listed above, his role will be limited. But, his impact could be just as important. He will be coming in at key points of a game. When everything is on the line. Everyone in the stadium will be focused on him.
When Gore enters a game, the Royals will be in close games. They were terrible at that last year. For the first half of the season, if we were a run down, the game was most likely over. The Royals will need to do more than stealing bases to win ball games. Having that talent late in ball games can lead to wins. Gore is a potent weapon in those types of situations. If that leads to five or more extra wins a year, his signing will have been worth it.
I suspect he will be seeing some time in the outfield as well. With a short bench of position players, he will probably stay in if the game continues. He has been primarily been playing center field and doing a decent job by most reports. Dyson made his reputation by being that late game replacement guy. Something that is more common in the National League. If Gore is to stay on this club long term like Dyson, he will need to be solid defensively as well.
On a recent spring training interview with 810 WHB, Gore talked about his trade to the Chicago Cubs. One of the things he did was pick the brain of all the great hitters on that team. Try to find any advise to help him get better at that part of his game. For someone who got a standing ovation from his own team mates for his first Spring Training hit, the bar is not high for improvement!
Don’t look now. After two spring training games, Gore is two for four, has a double and a walk!
Maybe he did learn something from the Cubs, and hopefully that can translate throughout the 2019 season.