Do you ever get the feeling that Kansas City teams are snakebit?
About six months ago, I was looking forward to the Chiefs making another playoff run. But after injuries claimed Matt Cassell, Jamaal Charles, Eric Berry, Tony Moeaki, and Jonathan Baldwin (and probably others I’ve forgotten) the Chiefs were reduced to rubble. It was painful to let go of those high expectations and suffer through another losing season.
Hopes couldn’t have been much higher for the moribund Royals entering spring. But in the course of just days the hottest catching prospect in the league and our once-rock-solid reliever have gone down for an unknown period of time. The season appears to be crumbling before our eyes.
Kansas City fans like myself will need therapy if we don’t catch a break soon.
But rather than turn away in disgust, it might be best if we assess the damage and try to move on.
Win-Win: Following the Salvador Perez signing, there were actually rumblings that the Royals were taking advantage of the 21-year-old, convincing him to sign on for much less than his true value. Now we see how the signing was truly a win-win for Perez and the team. The Royals locked up an elite prospect, and Perez got some insurance for the unforeseen.
The unforeseen came into sight much sooner than expected. Experts forecast Perez will be out of action until the end of June. At that time, he’ll need to rehab in the minors. A slow start at that time could relegate Perez to the minors for most, if not all, of 2012.
So now the Royals scramble for a stopgap. Acquiring a capable replacement could cost the Royals players or prospects. The impact of the loss of Perez will be difficult to quantify, but the rapport he was building with Royals pitchers will be stunted at a critical time.
Window Closing for Closer: While Perez’ star was on the rise, Soria’s sun may be setting. His rocky 2011 had people questioning how much he had left in the tank. Now he’s sidelined with a mysterious elbow injury. This setback may permanently push Soria out of the closer role.
While the injury could be devastating to Soria’s career, it might not be so traumatic to the team’s chances this year, or in the future. It seems the Royals prepared for just such a situation.
With Jonathan Broxton, Greg Holland and Aaron Crow all ready to take on significant roles in the pen, Soria might be adequately replaced.
Knock on Wood: By not pitching for the next couple of weeks, Blake Wood would appear to have secured a spot in Triple A for at least the time being. It’s not time to give up on the 26-year-old. After all, manager Ned Yost said he was throwing 97 miles-per-hour before the injury. But with so much talent in the bullpen, Wood will have to light things up in Omaha to earn a spot.
Hope Springs Eternal: The Chiefs canned Todd Haley. They just signed Peyton Hillis, Eric Winston, Kevin Boss, and Stanford Routt. The draft hasn’t even come yet, and they look drastically improved.
Add in Baldwin for a full training camp, and bring back Cassel, Moeaki, Charles, Berry, etc., and the Chiefs look promising once again.
Let’s hope the Royals can rally after these spring training setbacks. Our teams aren’t snakebit. It only seems that way sometimes.