Tag Archive | "Failure"

To Start Or To Relieve: Wade Davis

James Shields was the “big name” in the Shields/Wade Davis trade, but the success or failure of the trade hinges on Davis. Shields is the Kansas City Royals’ ace, but he’s a free agent after the 2014 season. Whether he pitches well or not, it’s likely he’s gone after two years. However, Davis is under team control until 2016. The Royals believe Shields will improve the team now. As for Davis, the Royals believe he will develop into a two or three starter and be a part of the starting rotation the next few seasons.

wadedavis2013springtraining

This spring, the Royals plan to give Davis every chance to make the starting rotation as their 3-4-5 starter. From 2009-2011, Davis started 64 games for the Tampa Bay Rays. But last year, Davis stayed in the bullpen, appearing in 54 games. During Spring Training, the Rays gave Davis a shot as their fifth starter, but he lost out to Jeff Niemann. And when Niemann went down with a broken ankle, the Rays promoted Alex Cobb to the starting rotation, leaving Davis in the bullpen.

So is Davis a better starter, or a better reliever? Let’s see what the stats say:

Year ERA G GS IP ER WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
2009 3.72 6 6 36.1 15 1.266 8.2 0.5 3.2 8.9 2.77
2010 4.07 29 29 168.0 76 1.351 8.8 1.3 3.3 6.1 1.82
2011 4.45 29 29 184.0 91 1.375 9.3 1.1 3.1 5.1 1.67
2012 2.43 54 0 70.1 19 1.095 6.1 0.6 3.7 11.1 3.00
4 Yrs 3.94 118 64 458.2 201 1.315 8.6 1.1 3.3 6.7 2.04
162 Game Avg. 3.94 44 24 171 75 1.315 8.6 1.1 3.3 6.7 2.04
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 2/20/2013.

Davis prefers a starting role, but his stats say he’s a better reliever. He had a much lower ERA, and over nine innings gave up fewer hits and struck out more batters. However, he did walk more batters over nine innings, which isn’t good if you’re a reliever. And with the Rays talented starting rotation last year, Davis stayed in the bullpen.

But how does Davis as a starter compare to the 2012 Royals starting rotation? Here’s the stats of the top five Royals starters:

Rk ERA G GS IP ER WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
1 Bruce Chen* 5.07 34 34 191.2 108 1.367 10.1 1.5 2.2 6.6 2.98
2 Luke Hochevar 5.73 32 32 185.1 118 1.419 9.8 1.3 3.0 7.0 2.36
3 Luis Mendoza 4.23 30 25 166.0 78 1.416 9.5 0.8 3.2 5.6 1.76
4 Jeremy Guthrie 3.16 14 14 91.0 32 1.132 8.3 0.9 1.9 5.5 2.95
5 Will Smith* 5.32 16 16 89.2 53 1.606 11.1 1.2 3.3 5.9 1.79
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 2/20/2013.

If you take Davis’ worst year, 2011, he had a better ERA than the Royals rotation, save Jeremy Guthrie and Luis Mendoza. The Royals rotation had more SO/9 than the 2011 Davis and except for Mendoza and Will Smith, the Royals rotation had a better BB/9 ratio than the 2011 Davis. If Davis was in the Royals starting rotation last year, he would likely be the number three starter behind Guthrie and Mendoza.

So what does this mean? Well, Davis is a good middle of the rotation starter, but is a better reliever. If Bruce Chen and Mendoza regress, Luke Hochevar pitches like Luke Hochevar and Davis pitches like he did in 2010, he’ll be in the starting rotation. But if Chen, Mendoza or Hochevar have a great Spring Training, Davis might end up in the bullpen.

But that’s not likely, despite what happens this spring. The Royals will give Davis every opportunity to make the starting rotation, just to show the Shields/Davis trade wasn’t a bust like some Royals fans and pundits think it is. If Shields and Davis are starters, the trade doesn’t look bad. The team got two quality starters to improve their rotation. But if Shields is a starter and Davis is a reliever, then the trade looks like the Royals got an ace for only two years and another bullpen arm in an already strong bullpen. Not bad, but not that good either.

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Lets Go, Lets Do This

There are five games left in the regular season. This means it’s a good time to look back at the season and decide if it was a success, middle of the road, or a failure. In the sports world success can a relative term. I would hope in the Royals front office that anything short of a World Series Title would be considered a failure. But as a fan I have a lot less pressure. If I measured the Royals success or failure by World Series titles I wouldn’t even watch baseball. I guess you could call me an “in it for the ride” type guy. As a fan I have the freedom to set my own expectations for the team at the beginning of the season.

Kauffman Stadium is shut down for the season.

In late February Bill Ivie sent me a direct message on Twitter asking if I had thought about writing about the Royals. I’d never thought about it, and I didn’t have any experience. I responded by relaying that information but added that I’d write something up and give it a try. On March 8th my first article appeared. This being the 28th article I think about blogging all the time, and I have six months of experience.

My first article starts out like this:

Royals Fans have been searching for something, anything that might point to a resurgence of an organization that was not even good enough to cheat during The Steroid Era

In summary that was my expectation for the 2011 season. I didn’t expect a division winner. I didn’t even expect a .500 record. I wanted the much talked about prospects in minors called-up, and I want to see those prospects produce at the major league level.

The prospects are up and meeting or exceeding expectations. When they were struggling we saw them work their way through their troubles. They have improved. Not only have the prospects done well, so have the veterans. At the beginning of the season my friends and I mockingly called Alex Gordon: Dominator. Now we call him the Dominator and we actually mean it. Jeff Francoeur has put on a defensive display in right field, and Melky Cabrera has had a career year at the plate.

Is there a lot of work to do? Sure, the team is still 20 games below .500. (I’ll discuss 2012 expectations later) But as a fan my 2011 expectations have been met. There are several postives Royals fans can get excited about. Since this current line-up has been together this team has played around .500. Mix in some decent starting pitching and Royals fans can really get excited.

When I played football in high school my team was winning a game we had no business winning going into halftime. The adrenaline from being up on this team was so strong we were upset that there had to be a halftime. We had momentum. I kind of feel like that as a Royals fan right now; we don’t need no freakin’ off-season. Let’s go, let’s do this. We ended up winning that game. Maybe the Royals will win something next year.

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Did The Cardinals Do Enough?

To answer this question one must first complete the question. Enough to win the NL Central? Enough to Win the NL? Enough to win the World Series? And even, enough to win the Wild Card? The answer to all four questions is NO. It is way too little and way too late.

The trade deadline is there to strengthen title contenders and help those out of the pennant race reload. It is not there to make mediocre teams just a bit less mediocre. I am sorry to break it to Cardinal Nation but that is what this team is and that is all that was accomplished with this year’s moves. The deal was big, but big deceptive, not big productive. I liken it to a child moving food all around his plate to give his parents the appearance he is eating.

Edwin Jackson, Corey Patterson, Octavio Dotel, Rafael Furcal and Marc Rzepczynski are all fine players. Fine being used in the loosest sense of the word. The issue is, save Rzepczynski, the rest of this group was best equipped for a pennant run in 2007. John Mozeliak deserves credit for not standing pat. The pressure is on to prove to both Cardinal fans and more importantly Albert Pujols that the team will do whatever is needed to win. A for effort…unfortunately C for results.

The moves made at the trade deadline by Cardinal management were nothing more than attempt to save face and undo poor decisions that were made before a game was played. The moves that should have been made, the real moves. Needed to take place back in January or February. It was then that Cardinal brass made the decision to go for offense over defense. I think everyone can agree that approach has become a horrible failure.

It started out great. A few games were lost here and there but Theriot and others were hitting well and everyone thought it would all balance out in the end. Problem is it did balance out, just the wrong way. Berkman stopped hitting .400 and Theriot is back under .270. Had Furcal’s glove come over in May maybe things would have been different. Had Dotel replaced Franklin by June…who knows. Had there been an actual backup plan in place for inevitable walls that would be hit by Lohse, Westbrook and McClellan. Well, you get the idea, things may have been different.

One had to do no more than watch Monday night’s game or Tuesday’s 5th inning to see how poor defense and a worn down staff can impact a game and a season. Edwin Jackson is a nice #3 or #4 but that still leaves two SP spots that need attending to. I like the moves for what they are, an upgrade over what they have. But to say the Cardinals are “going all in to win it all now”, as many local scribes have stated is ludicrous.

Is the team better than it was a month ago? Maybe. Were the Cardinals contenders then? No. And I am sorry but these moves did nothing to change that. Patterson will be gone after the season, as will Dotel, Furcal and most likely Jackson. The real question, the real motive behind the trades is this. Are they enough to stop Pujols from leaving?…

These are just my thoughts…keep on reading and you’ll get up to speed.

Derek is on Twitter @SportsbyWeeze and also writes for the Rams at RamsHerd.com

Also on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/SportsByWeeze

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GOLF! Why In The Hell Are We Golfing NOW?

The playoffs have started this week but do I get to see the Cardinals play? NO! I do not get to see the Cardinals play unless I am watching a pro-am golf outing for charity. Not making the playoffs was not what this team was made to do. It was not what the future of the farm system was traded for over the last three years. This season was the year that the Cards were to make a run to prove to Sir Albert that he needed to sign that long term discounted deal. This year turned out to be a year where everything we thought we knew was thrown out the window leaving us dazed and more than confused as we sit on our sofas watching that damn pro-am. This team CHOKED.

Before the All-Star Game I would have said that Rasmus and Freese had finally proven themselves as valuable members of the team. Dare I even say a bright spot. I would have also never have thought that Tony LaRussa might not be managing in St.Louis but still be managing. The words “complete rebuild” would have never have been on my tongue. Now, as I sit on my sofa wondering how much a ticket to see Sam Bradford’s 2-2 Rams (who saw that coming) is, I am wondering if it is time to blow it all up and rebuild on the ashes of old.

There is no easy answer as to why this team is teeing up instead of playing in the playoffs and that is why this off-season could be the beginning of a very serious end. Someone has to take the fall for this season. The question is, can one person shoulder all the blame? This team’s epic failure this season can not placed on one person, one event, or even one month. The entire team has to take ownership for their part in this season. The only problem is that one of these men will have to no longer be a part of this team once they finally accept their part of the failure. The last and most important person to finally accept blame is upper management. Everyone from the GM to the owners have to look in the mirror and admit we swung and missed on a bunch of decisions this year before any off-season progress can be made. Once this ownership of failure happens, the team as a whole can begin to answer the question – how do we turn this around?

The simple answer is to fire the manager. This is done every year in baseball. But baseball is probably the only sport where a manager/coach can play little to no role in a great team. Other sports like basketball and football place the play calling and thus the overall flow of the game on that man. Baseball on the other hand allows a manager to sit back most of the game not really making any major game calls. It is this fact that leads me to believe that a changing of the guard in St.Louis will signal a major overhaul of the entire roster. It is hard to say it when you have an All-Star Roster like the Cardinals do but if LaRussa goes, no one is safe. The departure of LaRussa will send rippling changes throughout the entire roster both on the coaching and player side.

Who is dumb enough to take over after LaRussa after 15 years? What coaches would stay on with the team without their long time leader and friend? Where would Tony end up? (Mets/Cubs). No one wants to be the guy that replaces the guy – they want to be the guy that replaced the guy that replaced the guy.

If LaRussa comes back for a 16th season this means that the team will have to make one major move in the off-season. This move will not be a major roster rebuild but could be, and should be, a blockbuster event. LaRussa has to know that a shock to the status quo is needed if he is to return. This move could be as simple as a major spending spree in the offseason or the adding of true winner like a Derek Jeter, but most likely it will mean trading away one of the stars of the pitching staff to bring back that spark that the team has been missing.

The only sure thing is that doing nothing is not an answer if this team wants to be on the field this time next year. Changes are coming fast but two or three bad changes in a row can take this team from a place free agents flock to a place where a bag of money still will not get you a meeting with a Boras client.

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