Tag Archive | "Lorenzo"

Buy Or Sell

Is it too early to start thinking about the trade deadline?  That used to be an easier question to answer.  The new playoff format implemented by the league last year complicates this issue somewhat.  Sure, maybe if you’re the Miami Marlins you’ve been thinking about the trade deadline since early May, but for other teams it’s not that simple.  This is the case for the Kansas City Royals.

DaytonMoore

Whether you like the new playoff format or not, it’s here to stay for at least the foreseeable future and complicates the General Manager’s job for at least half the teams in both leagues.  Currently the Royals sit three games under 500 and five and a half games out of first place.  Their record is 30-33.  Certainly not the end of the world, especially with close to a hundred games left in the season.

In the wild card standings, the Royals are six games back.  Three of the teams in front of them in the wild card race are in the Eastern division and one each in the West and Central.  Again, not necessarily the end of the world or the end of the season.  Compare this record with a team like the Astros who are currently twenty one games below 500 and the Royals chances at the playoffs seem absolutely brilliant by comparison.  But ohh my, what a difference a week makes.

Coming into the beginning of the week, the Royals had a six game winning streak; this brings their winning percentage up to .476 from an abysmal .418.  Add to this an eight game losing streak from the second place Cleveland Indians and all of a sudden you have a division race, not to mention that their latest victory was off of the central division leading Tigers.  The Royals took two from the Tigers to win that series, their only loss was to Max Scherzer.  Scherzer has lost how many games this year?  Oh right, zero.

Wednesday, the Tigers sent 2011 Cy Young and MVP winner Justin Verlander to the mound and he shut the Royals out for seven innings holding on to a two run lead.  But in the 9th, Lorenzo Cain connected off of Jose Valverde for a two run homer that tied the game.  The Royals would go on to win the game and the series in the 10th inning when Eric Hosmer singled in the final run.

It would seem that bullpen troubles aren’t unique to Kansas City.  Detroit’s pen currently has a record of 4-12 proving that they aren’t invincible.  The Royals have a 3-2 record against the Tigers with their only other loss to them coming back in April off of, whom else, Max Scherzer.  These two teams will play thirteen more times before the season is over and the Tigers can’t send Verlander and Scherzer to the mound for all one hundred and seventeen of those innings.

This was a huge series for the Royals.  Not only does it keep them within striking distance in the division, it provides a giant mental boost.  Winning the Tigers series sends the message that the Royals can beat the supposed best team in baseball, whereas a sweep by the Tigers would have put them far enough back in the standings that Dayton Moore would probably start getting his resume ready and his replacement would be trying to figure out how to sell off some of the key pieces of this team.

It isn’t exactly certain what a selling season for the Royals would even look like.  Would they trade off the pitching they just acquired at a cost of their own best prospects or would they get rid of their young talent that they have locked up during their most cost effective years?  Neither sound like good options and something tells me they didn’t keep their receipt for Wil Myers.

The Royals have ten games against division rivals this month.  If they can keep their winning streak going into July they will start to look like a buying team.  Shoring up the bullpen would go a long way towards making a playoff run but buying players this year may be problematic as well.  The once well stocked Royals farm system was thinned out quite a bit to get them where they are now (30-33).  However, if it works and the Royals make the playoffs, Dayton Moore will look like a genius.  If they don’t, well, at least they aren’t the Astros.

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Royals Weekly Rundown: A-ced in Oakland, Butler’s Back

Well so much for the offensive revival.  After the Royals out-slugged the Angels to take two of three, they finish the week at 2-4 after getting swept by the A’s.  Nonetheless, there’s a silver lining in all of this.  The club still sits at .500 and a few Royals hitters are mashing up the month of May.

Best of the Week:  Billy Butler

What a difference a week makes.  Big Old Country Breakfast bounced back from last week’s worst to this weeks best including a celebratory 5-for-5, 5 RBI night against the Angels.  Butler hit safely in five of six games this week and .480 overall (12-for-25) with a homer and 10 RBI.  As a result, Butler’s average has risen 45 points from .228 to .273.

He joins Alex Gordon, who deserves honorable mention this week, as the Royals two hottest hitters.  Gordon also hit .480 this week (12-for-25) and now has hit safely in 14 of 16 games in the month of May.  Gordon’s current .343 average ties him with Boston’s Dustin Pedroia for third in the American League.

Worst of the Week:  A-ced in Oakland

What hurts isn’t so much that they were swept by a struggling team, it’s how they lost.  The Royals led late in all three games, but ultimately dropped three straight one-run games.  The Royals bullpen, arguably the club’s biggest strength, blew two of those leads in the eighth including Sunday night’s thanks to a 403 foot blast by Yoenis Cespedes.

Kansas City’s bullpen still ranks third in the AL with a 3.07 ERA, so I believe this weekend’s sweep highlights the issue of their struggling offense rather than their pitching.  On paper, the Royals lineup is as deep as any in the AL including three players hitting over .300 in Gordon, Lorenzo Cain, and Salvador Perez.

However, the Royals still rank 13th out of 15 in runs scored (only the Mariners and White Sox have scored less).  A lot of the struggles derive from the lack of production from the heart of the order.

Butler appears to have turned things around, but Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas are in the midst of a serious slump.  They hit a combined 5-for-49 last week, a frightening .102.

The Road Ahead:  Eastbound and Down

Kansas City begins a three-game series with Houston on Monday night to wrap up the road trip.  Make no mistake, these are games the Royals have to take advantage of if they want to keep pace with Cleveland and Detroit.

They finished off the week with a four-game home series against the Angels.

Probable Pitchers at Houston Astros:

Monday at 7:10 CT:  Jeremy Guthrie (5-1, 2.82 ERA) vs. Dallas Keuchel (0-1, 4.82 ERA)

Tuesday at 7:10 CT:  Wade Davis (3-3, 5.98 ERA) vs. Bud Norris (4-4, 4.32 ERA)

Wednesday at 7:10 CT:  James Shields (2-4, 2.45 ERA) vs. Jordan Lyles (1-1, 6.63 ERA)

Probable Pitchers vs. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim:

Thursday at 7:10 CT:  Ervin Santana (3-3, 2.77 ERA) vs. Joe Blanton (0-7, 6.62 ERA)

Friday at 7:10 CT:  Luis Mendoza (1-2, 5.50 ERA) vs. Jason Vargas (3-3, 3.55 ERA)

Saturday at 1:10 CT:  Jeremy Guthrie (5-1, 2.82 ERA) vs.  TBA

Sunday at 1:10 CT:  Wade Davis (3-3, 5.98 ERA) vs. C.J. Wilson (3-3, 3.72 ERA)

Follow Adam Rozwadowski on Twitter @adam_roz

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Kansas City Royals Power Rankings

It’s week two of the I70 Baseball Royals Power Rankings, and to say this week didn’t go well would be an understatement.  The Royals defense was atrocious and their hitting and pitching weren’t too far behind. Let’s take a look at the power rankings through May 12.

JeremyGuthrie

#5 Ervin Santana- (Previously: #2) Santana saw his ERA “balloon” to 2.79 with a couple of mediocre starts this week. The right hander gave up seven runs on 15 hits in 12 1/3 innings of work against the Orioles and Yankees. On the positive side he only walked one in the two starts and now sports a 39-6 K-BB ratio.

#4 Lorenzo Cain- (Previously: #1) Cain was due for a cold streak, and boy did he find one. He was just 4/20 on the week with two walks and five strikeouts. Cain is still amongst the team leaders in most every offensive category, but he only has one RBI in his last seven games.

#3 James Shields- (Previously: #5) Shields moves up in the rankings after allowing two runs over 16 innings in two fantastic starts. The week started off in controversy for Shields when he was pulled after 8 shutout innings against the White Sox. Of course, the bullpen lost that game and set the tone for a treacherous week. Shields now sits at 2-3 with a 2.48 ERA and 53 Ks in 58 innings.

#2 Jeremy Guthrie- (Previously: #3) Guthrie didn’t have his best stuff against his former team, but still managed six innings with only one run allowed. He’s now gone 18 starts without a loss and leads the team with a 2.28 ERA. One concern for Guthrie moving forward is his recent control issues. He’s averaged nearly three walks per outing in his last four starts.

#1 Alex Gordon- (Previously: #4) Alex Gordon responded to being moved to the three-hole with a bang and a hot week rose his average from .306 to .320. The 29 year-old right fielder now leads the team in doubles (8), home runs (6), RBI (28), average (.320), and slugging % (.548). Gordon has been the lone bright spot in an increasingly bad offense.

Honorable mention: Luke Hochevar- Before you throw anything at me, yes Hochevar has been terrible at letting inherited runners score BUT he’s been outstanding outside of that. In 12 1/3 innings, Hochevar has allowed 10 baserunners and struck out 13 batters. He has an ERA of 0.73 and a WHIP of 0.81. If we could simply convince Ned Yost not to bring him in with runners on, Hochevar may actually be an asset.

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I really like this Lorenzo Cain fellow

In a way, the 2013 performance of center fielder Lorenzo Cain is bittersweet. On one hand, I’m glad he’s playing well, especially with the struggling Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas in the lineup. But if Cain stayed healthy last year, would he play as well in 2012 as he is now? It’s hard to say, but Cain played well before various leg injuries limited him to 61 games, ending up with a .266/.316/.419 line with 222 at-bats, 31 RBI, nine doubles, seven home runs, striking out 56 times, drawing 15 walks and stealing 10 bases.

Lorenzo_Cain

Cain knew a good 2013 performance would decide if he was the Royals center fielder of the future or another has-been. In the offseason, Cain worked on strengthening his legs to avoid the leg and hip injuries that plagued him last year. And so far, it’s paying off. He’s played 17 of 18 games with a .350/.420/.483 line, 60 at-bats, nine RBI, five doubles, a home run with 14 strikeouts, six walks and two stolen bases.

Against lefties, Cain has a .357/.500/.357 line with 14 at-bats, four RBI, two strikeouts and three walks. Against righties, Cain has a .348/.392/.522 line with 46 at-bats, five RBI, five doubles, a home run with 12 strikeouts and three walks. He’s hitting and scoring well against left and right handed pitching, though he’s faced more righties than lefties.

Among regular staring position players, Cain leads the team in batting average (.350), on-base percentage (.420), on-base percentage with slugging (.904) and he’s got caught stealing three times. Actually, he leads the American League in being caught stealing, so his running game needs some work.

Cain has a .970 fielding percentage in center field, with the league fielding percentage being .990. His range factor per nine innings as a center fielder is 2.41, with the league range factor per nine innings is at 2.66. He’s only committed one error in 119.2 innings of play, so while his current defense is below league average, he’s far from a defensive liability in the field.

It’s unlikely Cain will keep up his high batting average and he won’t hit a lot of home runs. But so far, Cain is a good center fielder who can hit, get on base and play average defense. If he stays healthy (and there’s still a question if he can) and works on his running game, Cain will be a solid center fielder for the Royals. And at 27, he’s got the potential to improve. With the Royals offense being what it is, let’s hope he does improve.

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Why I’m thankful I’m a Royals fan

I believe the Royals are a team on the way up. It’s hard to see that sometimes, especially with all the losing over the years, a disappointing 2012 season and the sometimes questionable moves of General Manager Dayton Moore. But the team is much better than it was just a couple of years ago and there’s plenty to be thankful for.

Except for second base and right field, the position players are in good shape: Yes, Eric Hosmer had a down year and Mike Moustakas cooled off after a good first half of the season. And Lorenzo Cain‘s injury-plagued season featured a just serviceable Jarrod Dyson in center field. But solid contributions by Alex Gordon, Billy Butler, Alcides Escobar and the limited playing time of Salvador Perez showed promise. If Hosmer, Moustakas and Johnny Giavotella improve, Cain stays healthy, Wil Myers takes Jeff Francoeur‘s place in right field, and the lineup hits for more power, the Royals will have a young, potent lineup. There’s still a lot of ifs, but there’s less ifs than just a few years ago.

The Royals have one of the better bullpens in the American League and they’re young: The Royals bullpen ERA in 2012 was 3.17, which was sixth overall in the Majors. They were second in the Majors with 535 strikeouts, just behind the Colorado Rockies with 589. They also pitched the second most innings at 561.1, just behind the league leading Rockies at 657.0 innings. Throwing that many innings showed the weakness of the starting rotation, but the fact the Royals bullpen pitched that many innings and still had a decent ERA and strikeouts shows they more than held their own.

And most of the bullpen is under 30. Joakim Soria, who’s been with the Royals for six seasons and a “grizzled” veteran, is only 28. bullpen standouts Kelvin Herrera and Tim Collins will be 23 next season. The oldest bullpen pitcher in 2012 was 32 year old Ramon Colon, but he only appeared in three games, pitching a total of eight innings. If the starting rotation were as good as the bullpen, the Royals would be a much better team.

The Royals are making the effort to improve the starting rotation: The starting rotation was bad, ranking 26th in the league with a 5.01 ERA and pitched a total of 890.0 innings, 28th in the league. The pitcher with the lowest ERA outside of Jeremy Guthrie was journeyman Luis Mendoza with a 4.23 ERA.

The team knew they had to improve the starting rotation this offseason, so they made a trade for Ervin Santana and just signed Guthrie to a three year, $25MM deal. Yes, both pitchers aren’t aces and the Royals know they need a front of the rotation starter. But Santana and Guthrie are dependable, league average pitchers who will provide innings, keep the team in more games and not overwork the bullpen. There’s little chance the Royals will sign Zack Greinke, but they might have a chance with Anibal Sanchez or Shaun Marcum. The team is also willing to trade prospects for a veteran starter. The question is what prospects are the Royals willing to give up, what pitchers they’re looking for and how much of a risk they’re willing to take. The starting rotation still needs work, but they’re already better than 2012′s rotation.

The Royals aren’t the Miami Marlins: Fans like to gripe about team owner David Glass, but at least he’s not Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria. How would you like to be a fan of a team who spent almost $634MM on a stadium, most of it publicly financed? Then sign free agents Heath Bell, Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, trade for Carlos Zambrano and Carlos Lee, which ballooned payroll to around $155MM, resulting in a 69-93 record, last in the National League East?

The Marlins traded away players Haney Ramirez, Anibal Sanchez, Omar Infante, Randy Choate, Edward Mujica, Heath Bell, Reyes, Buehrle, Josh Johnson, Emilio Bonifacio and John Buck for a bunch of young, unproven players, dumping a total commitment of $220MM in salary and making the Marlins a N.L. version of the Houston Astros. And don’t forget the Marlins Park $2.5MM home run sculpture that looks like the result of a Hunter S. Thompson all-night bender. Hey, at least the Marlins have outfielders Giancarlo Stanton and prolific Twitterer Logan Morrison (well, they are willing to trade Morrison). Between the two teams, the Royals have a much brighter future than the Marlins.

Finally, I have the opportunity to write about the Royals for I70 Baseball: I’m having fun writing about the Royals, despite 2012 not living up to expectations. I’ve learned a lot more about the players and coaches on the Major League roster, Royals prospects, the game of baseball and statistics. I’m thankful Bill Ivie gives us Royals and Cardinals fans the chance to write about their teams and being able to share it with other fans is an honor. And I look forward to writing about the Royals during this offseason and 2013.

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Jake Odorizzi Joins Royals

Jake Odorizzi Joins Royals

SPRINGDALE, AR – Right-handed pitcher, Jake Odorizzi, was brought up to the Kansas City Royals on Sunday, September 16.  Odorizzi becomes the 32nd former Natural to make it to the major leagues.

Odorizzi spent the beginning of the 2011 season with Wilmington (A Advanced) and the latter part in Northwest Arkansas pitching a total of 147.0 innings.   He went 10-7 on the season and posted a 3.73 ERA in 27 starts.

The Illinois native has spent the beginning of the 2012 season with the Northwest Arkansas Naturals going 4-2 with a 3.32 ERA over seven starts.  Oddorizzi was transferred to Omaha (AAA) on May 17 and has surrendered 35 earned runs in 107.1 innings with Omaha.

Odorizzi went into the 2012 season rated as the fourth-best prospect in the Royals organization by Baseball America.

The 22-year-old was acquired from the Milwaukee Brewers along with RHP Jeremy Jeffers, INF Alcides Escobar and OF Lorenzo Cain in exchange for RHP Zack Greinke and INF Yuniesky Betancourt, December 19, 2010.

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It’s broke, fix it

The Kansas City Royals, coming off wins in ten of their last fifteen games with both great starting pitching and timely productive hitting from the offense, saw a change in the batting order.  Manager Ned Yost seemed to want to change it up in the three spot in the order, which has been a black hole for Royals hitters this season. The third spot in the batting order is supposed to be a position that a guy gets the opportunity to get guys who are on base in to score runs. But the problem is that the offensive production that the Royals lineup has put together this season is just not working.  The Royals are 11th in the American League in runs scored yet they are in the upper half of the league in both hits and batting average.  So what is the problem? A team that gets hits should be able to score runs but if they are not in the right order than the guys getting the hits do not have the opportunity to do so with guys on base.

The third spot in the batting order for the Royals this season is batting .223 with 57 runs batted in and only 30 extra base hits in 466 at bats. Putting that into perspective the nine whole in the lineup has driven in 55 runs.  It would be great for the nine spot to be two RBIs behind the three spot if the fact were that the three spot has lets say 80 RBIs or so.  But that would also mean that the Royals were scoring more runs and winning more games than they have this season.

The Royals have used numerous hitters in the three spot this season including Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Lorenzo Cain, Billy Butler and most recently Alex Gordon.  Gordon, who seems to be comfortable batting leadoff not only has a good batting average, .291, but it his on base percentage, .367, that makes him such a viable candidate for the number one spot in the order but if the guys behind him are not producing enough to get him in than his getting on base does not truly matter.  Some may say why mess with his psyche since he has had success at the leadoff spot the last two seasons but with the season lost the question to ask is why not? If the Royals truly are playing for the future then why not try out a few guys at the number three spot to see what they can bring to the table. Eric Hosmer proved that in his young career he is not ready for the role of run producer at the top of the lineup.  His production, or lack there of, this season has pushed him all the way to the bottom of the order.  He will turn things around and more that likely end up being the future three hitter for the Royals but something is going to have to change in his approach for that to happen. The Moustakas and Cain experiments were never going to stick because that is not what the future has in store for either of them.  Moustakas projects to be a solid five hitter with power and a batting average of .280 if not a touch under that.  Cain could fit into two different spots in the order.  He could be a six hitter with the pop that he has shown so far in his late entrance to the 2012 season but he seems to look more like a seven or eight guy with speed to get on for the top of the order.  Billy Butler is purely a number four hitter.  This gives the Royals three different guys to get on in front of him throughout the season.  The reason Butler is not a good fit at number three is his lack of speed.  If he gets on base with a double it is not a sure thing that a single will score him.  If he gets a single a double will more than likely never score him.

Ned Yost has a tough task of putting together a line up with the guys that he has on his roster this season.  With guys struggling and having three players, Alex Gordon, Alcides Escobar and Billy Butler, being the only to stay consistent all season long it is hard to put a line up together This all being said here would be the lineup for both the current and the future Royals that I would put together if I was signing the lineup card every night:

1.Current- Chris Getz (2B)                   Future- Alex Gordon (LF)

2.Current- Alcides Escobar (SS)         Future-Alcides Escobar (SS)

3.Current- Alex Gordon (LF)               Future- Eric Hosmer (1B)

4.Current- Billy Butler (DH)                Future- Billy Butler (DH)

5.Current- Mike Moustakas (3B)       Future- Mike Moustakas (3B)

6.Current- Salvador Perez (C)             Future- Wil Myers (RF)

7.Current- Eric Homer (1B)                 Future- Salvador Perez (C)

8.Current- Jeff Franceour (RF)          Future- Lorenzo Cain (CF)

9.Current- Lorenzo Cain (CF)             Future- Chris Getz (2B)

The problem that the Royals have faced this season is that the guys producing are not in the right spots.  Gordon may be the guy who leads off for this team in the future but if he can give this season a boost from the three hole that is all Ned Yost is trying to do.  Nothing from the three spot seems to have been working so why not put the guy who is hot in that spot.  Some will say if it not the future than why try it but if he continues to put a guy who is continually slumping in that spot there people will still be upset.  The players for the Royals have put their manager in a tight spot by not allowing him to put them in the three hole.  He is just trying something new and just because it may not work once does not mean it will not work over the rest of the season.  Trying something new that does not work once is better than leaving something old that has not worked for 117 games so far this season.

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Checking the Bottom Line on the Greinke Trade

It’s not yet time to close the books on the Zack Greinke trade of a year and a half ago. That day won’t come for a long time.

But now is a great time to check the bottom line, to begin to gauge who is coming out better on the trade – the Royals or Brewers.

It will be years before we can judge just what the Royals let get away in Greinke, what they got in return in Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar, Jake Odorizzi and Jeremy Jeffress, and what the Brewers got in trading away Greinke on Sunday. But we can take a first look now that Greinke’s time in Milwaukee is finished.

By one standard, the Brewers came away from the trade as the decided victors. After all, they did reach the NL Championship series with Greinke, while the Royals haven’t sniffed the playoffs in a generation. After all, in the end, you play to win the World Series. The Brewers did what they could to make a run at it.

But taking a bit more of a long-term perspective, the balance tips currently in favor of the Royals.

While the Brewers have plummeted to fourth in the NL Central (nine games below .500 at the time of the trade), the Royals’ “process” sputters along. The Brewers found themselves in such need of help at a host of positions that it made sense to pack Greinke off rather than attempt to re-sign him.

Meanwhile the Royals are plugging into the process the pieces acquired a year and a half ago.

So the Greinke Adventure in Milwaukee lasted just a year and a half. But how good really was Greinke in Milwaukee?

At the time of the trade that sent him to Anaheim, his ERA of 3.44 this year was just 20th in the National League. His WHIP of 1.20 was also just 20th. His nine wins were tied for 16th. His WAR this year was 2.3, good for 15th among pitchers.

And while the Brewers made a run in the playoffs in 2011, you could argue Greinke was even worse that year than this. Last year his ERA, 3.83, was 34th in the NL. His WHIP of 1.20 was 15th. His WAR was just 1.4, 52nd in the league. His 16 wins did at least tie him for 6th in the NL.

But when the Brewers needed Greinke most, he was far from the star they traded for. His ERA in one playoff game against Arizona ? 7.20. And in two games, one a win and one a loss, in the NLCS versus St. Louis, his ERA was 6.17.

Greinke failed to make the All-Star Game in either season as a Brewer. He was not a fan favorite. He was not popular with teammates. He was not a leader.

In short, Greinke hasn’t been the Greinke of 2009 since, well, since 2009. That season stands out more and more as a statistical anomaly. A one-hit wonder who keeps cranking out tunes, but just can’t quite capture the sound of his Cy Young season.

The Brewers dealt away the shortstop of their future – Alcides Escobar – to get Greinke. So this year they were so in need of a shortstop that that’s essentially what they traded Greinke to get. They got Jean Segura, with a total of one game in the bigs to his credit. He’s currently getting his legs under him at Double A.

Meanwhile, Alcides Escobar may not be an All Star, but he should be. Just three years older than Segura, Escobar has established himself as one of the top fielders and hitters at the position in the American League.

Added recently to the Royals otherwise dismal lineup is Lorenzo Cain. The man who could soften the blow of the Melky Cabrera/Jonathan Sanchez disaster has rebounded from injury to flash some tremendous potential. So far he’s provided some pop with the bat. And when he’s fully healthy, he should be a dynamic fielder in center and a dangerous base runner too.

The Brewers also acquired from the Angels in Sunday’s trade two 23-year-old pitchers who were laboring unspectacularly in Double AA for the Angels.

In contrast, the Royals got in the 2010 Greinke trade 22-year-old Jake Odorizzi, who has asserted himself this year as one of the best pitching prospects in all the minor leagues.

And one final wild card in the equation is Jeremy Jeffress, who is still just 24 and is working to harness the talent that made him a first round draft choice in 2006.

Escobar and Cain are under team control through 2017. If “the process” is to finally succeed, they will be key components of it. Odorizzi will almost certainly be in the KC rotation next season. Jeffress might be back in KC before it’s all over too.

A year ago, the Brewers looked like they made the right move to get Greinke. But the more time passes, the more it looks like the Royals will come out the winners in that trade.

Check back in about a decade to see the final result. But right now, it looks like Dayton Moore is the winner in this trade.

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Keep ‘em comin back

Since being only 3 games under .500 and sniffing the top of the division the Kansas City Royals have done nothing but struggle.

The pitching has been horrendous while the bats have seem to come alive a little in the month of July.  The batting order has produced the best average in the major leagues for the month of July.  The biggest problem with that is the lack of extra base hits when needed and hitting with runners on base so that when they can put a team away they can do it without relying on a pitching staff that has not helped out at all.

The question surrounding the organization now is how to keep fans interested one and even more how to get them to go out to the K to watch a team that is everything but mathematically out of the playoffs.  One way that they Royals can make some noise with their fans is by making a trade or two over the next five days before the non-waiver trade deadline on Tuesday afternoon.  One trade that would help fan get excited would the to tade away right fielder Jeff Franceour.  Now Frenchy is a fan favorite and also a good clubhouse guy but not only is he terrible at the plate as of the last few weeks but he is blocking players that seem to be the future in Kansas City.  At the big leauge level alone, he seems to be blocking Jarrod Dyson from getting any playing time not only because he is taking up an outfield spot but the team just cannot afford to have center fielder Lorenzo Cain out of the lineup right now.  The biggest Royal’s commodity that Frenchy seems to be blocking from he major leaues is number one hitting prospect Wil Myers.  Over the last few weeks in AAA Omaha Myers has regressed some but everything out of Omaha says that he is seeing a lot fewer fastballs and just hasnt adjusted to seeing all junk while at the plate.  Matter of fact is that whether he can hit a curveball right now or not he could probably at least hit somewhere north of the .242 mark that Franceour is currently sporting.  Not saying that he will be an instant success but at least it would be a development process and not a guy who seems to not know what pitches to swing at and which ones to take.  .242 is not good at any level especially when it is in front of guys who need to be in Kansas City to prepare for their future.

Another thing that could put the fans in their seats is if the Royals go out and get some kind of pitching that is not Jeremy Guthrie.  Nothing against that trade or the fact that it could end up being an okay thing for this season but that is not a name that is going to bring people to the ball park.  If the Royals were to show that they are committing to this town and this team with a blockbuster deal that would help for not only the next two months but also for the next 24 months or so people would get excited. The names have been thrown around the league of guys that are available but will the Royals bite.  They have the prospects it seems that would attract teams to answer the phone when general manager Dayton Moore comes a calling.  Not only that they could trade guys like Jonathan Broxton, Yuniesky Betancourt and Franceour, get prospects for them and then flip those prospects for a guy who is in the bigs already and coud help the team now and in the future.

Th simple fact is this.  The Royals would have to do something miraculous to play into October this season.  But they could keep everyone interested by making a late season run of good baseball along with the addition of a guy or two that will help in the future.  Training Camp is open in St. Joseph, Missouri for the Chiefs this week and if the Royals do not try and keep the fans interest, the fans will focus their attention to the other side of the Truman Sports Complex and just wait for Opening Day 2013 for a fresh start.

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Wait ’til next year! (We hope)

If there were any doubts the 2012 season was a lost cause for the Kansas City Royals, their 4-9 record and lackluster play after the All-Star break should erase it. The 12 game losing streak in April, injuries to key players, and the ineffectiveness of the starting rotation doomed the Royals 2012 season. The Royals are likely to suffer their ninth consecutive losing season and finish in fourth or fifth place in the American League Central. This is old news to Royals fans, but it doesn’t make it any easier to accept.

 

There’s still 65 games left in the 2012 season. The Royals have little hope making a playoff run, much less finishing around .500. Despite another lost season, there are some things to look forward to towards the trade deadline and the rest of the season.

The starting lineup is pretty much set and is looking good: Except for second base and right field, the rest of the lineup looks pretty good and they’re locked up for the next few years. The offense is showing more power and despite some defensive miscues in yesterday’s game against the Los Angeles Angels, the Royals defense is a bright spot.

The hopeful emergence of Eric Hosmer: His 2012 season so far is a disappointment, and Hosmer would likely be one of the first to agree. To salvage Hosmer’s season, the Royals moved him to eighth in the batting order. Hitting coach Kevin Seitzer is working on Hosmer’s approach at the plate, which is paying dividends. On June 23, Hosmer had a .213 average. In the last month, his average is up to .233.

The great play of Lorenzo Cain and Salvador Perez: What a case of what might have been for Cain and Perez. If the Royals had both players, or at least one of them for the season, the Royals might have a better win-loss record. Or maybe not. But it’s encouraging how Cain and Perez are playing after being out for almost half of the season. Now they need to stay healthy and play well the rest of the year and in 2013.

The Jonathan Sanchez/Jeremy Guthrie trade: I’m surprised the Royals were able to get anything for Sanchez. I figured Sanchez would clear waivers, refuse an assignment to AAA Omaha and become a free agent. But the Royals got Guthrie, who didn’t work out in Colorado. Guthrie’s start last Sunday didn’t inspire much confidence, but there’s a good chance he will pitch better than Sanchez.

The possible trades of Jeff Franceour, Yuni Betancourt, Jonathan Broxton and Jose Mijares: Of the four, Broxton is garnering the most interest. It’s unlikely the Royals will get a top of the rotation starter for any of these players, but they could get some solid prospects or Major League ready players.

A possible trade for a top of the rotation starter before the trade deadline: It could happen, however remote. If it does, the Royals will have to give up top prospects or perhaps one of their young players on the 25-man roster. Would the Royals trade someone like Hosmer for a top of the rotation starter that’s under team control for two to three years? It would be a big risk, given the fragility of pitchers and the superstar potential of Hosmer. But that may be what it takes for the Royals to gain a number one or two starter they desperately need.

The eventual arrival of Wil Myers and Jake Odorizzi: If or when Franceour is moved, Myers will join the Royals in right field. And it’s a matter of time before Odorizzi is called up and joins the starting rotation. Using the rest of the 2012 season to give them playing time will prepare them for the 2013 season and boost interest among Royals fans.

Of course there’s no guarantee 2013 will be any better than 2012. Key players could be injured, or the players the Royals get via free agency or a trade could flame out like Jonathan Sanchez. These are the Royals, after all. But the team is in better shape than they were a few years ago. There is always hope, because hope is all Royals fans have.

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