Tag Archive | "Playing Time"

St. Louis Cardinals can survive without Allen Craig until playoffs

After a season filled with injuries to the pitching staff, now the St. Louis Cardinals will have to deal with an injury to one of their starting fielders, who also happened to be one of their most important hitters.

AllenCraigHurt

First baseman and occasional right fielder Allen Craig suffered a sprained left foot Wednesday in Cincinnati during a game against the Reds that the Cardinals eventually won 5-4 in 16 innings.

Craig went back to St. Louis for further examination Thursday and at least found out he did not have any broken bones in his foot. That probably gives him a chance to return before the end of the season, which is significant.

The Cardinals can likely survive through the rest of September without Craig even though he leads the team with 97 runs batted in and is tied with second baseman Matt Carpenter for the second-best batting average on the team at .315, behind catcher Yadier Molina’s .322 average.

In the worst case scenario, the Cardinals offense would fall flat without Craig’s contributions, specifically his incredible .454 batting average with runners in scoring position, and the team would lose the division title to the Reds or Pittsburgh Pirates and have to play in the one-game Wild Card round for the second consecutive year.

However, the Cardinals do have a solid backup for Craig. Matt Adams has been the Cardinals best hitter off of the bench this season, he has a .269 average with 11 homeruns and 38 RBIs in just 212 at-bats, which is about half of an everyday player. Plus, fans have clamored for Adams to get more playing time through much of the season.

Well, here’s his chance.

He certainly made an impressive first impression Wednesday with homers in the 14th and 16th innings to help the Cardinals win, but becoming a consistent hitter in the middle of the lineup will be vital for Adams now that he will be the starting first baseman for the foreseeable future while Craig’s foot heals.

The Cardinals also have 13 consecutive games against teams with losing records after they finish a three-game series with the Pirates during this upcoming weekend, so they will likely face less-than-dominant pitching that could allow the Cardinals to win even when the offense is not clicking on all cylinders.

But the Cardinals will be in an entirely different scenario come the playoffs in October. Those games are often dominated by good pitchers, and timely hits determine the outcome.

Craig is perhaps the best timely hitter in Major League Baseball, and the Cardinals would sorely miss his bat in the lineup during the playoffs.

The team got good news Thursday when Craig’s X-Rays and MRI came back negative, but it should not push its luck and force him back onto the field during the regular season unless he truly is fully healed.

If Craig can’t play the rest of the regular season, fine. It would certainly be nice to have his production in the lineup during the final weeks of the race for the National League Central Division title, but that will not determine whether or not the Cardinals are considered champions at the end of the year.

The most important title is settled in late October, and that is when Craig will be the most valuable

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Royals September call-ups playing a different role this season

From September 1 to the end of the season, Major League Baseball allows teams to expand their rosters from 25 to a maximum of 40 players. Teams call up players from the minors to give them major league playing time, or to add depth for a team’s potential playoff run. For many years, the Royals were out of the playoff hunt by September. So to make games somewhat interesting, the team called up minor league prospects to give them a taste of the majors and give fans a glimpse of the future. But this year, things are different.

Johnny-Giavotella

The Royals called up eight players from the minors this week: Catcher Brett Hayes, pitchers Francisley Bueno, Louis Coleman, Wade Davis and Donnie Joesph, and infielders Johnny Giavotella, Pedro Ciriaco and Carlos Pena. Except for Ciriaco and Pena, the others spent time on the Royals roster this season and only Joseph could be considered a prospect. But these players aren’t with the team to just get some playing time and audition for a roster spot next season. They’re with the Royals to provide depth on the bench and the bullpen and help the Royals win games down the stretch.

Hayes provides catching depth while Bueno and Joseph join Tim Collins and Will Smith as the Royals lefty relievers. Coleman shuttled between Omaha and Kansas City this season, giving the team solid outings while the struggling Davis is in the pen to regain his consistency. Giavotella will play second base as Chris Getz recovers from a possible concussion. Ciriaco will backup Alcides Escobar at shortstop. Pena signed with the Royals last week and played a few games for Omaha before joining the major league club. He provides a power bat off the bench and lets Eric Hosmer DH and Billy Butler play at first if needed.

With 23 games left in the season, each player will make the most of their playing time to help the team and to help themselves. And barring injuries by the starting players, their role will be to provide depth from the bench or the bullpen. How they play this month may decide if the Royals make the playoffs, or finish above or below .500. Whatever happens, it’s good to see the Royals play meaningful games in September.

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David Freese could be right-handed version of Matt Adams for St. Louis Cardinals

The moments of brilliance for St. Louis Cardinals third baseman David Freese come in flashes.

MLB: NLCS-San Francisco Giants at St. Louis Cardinals

He hit one of the most memorable home runs in franchise history in the 11th inning of Game 6 of the 2011 World Series against the Texas Rangers and just Monday he delivered a vital pinch-hit, two-run double to extend the Cardinals lead to 8-5 in the eighth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers.

But those moments are not enough for a player who the Cardinals have tried to make a cornerstone at the third base position. They are more fitting of a pinch hitter, such as first baseman Matt Adams, who has been a left-handed, pinch-hitting weapon for the 2013 Cardinals.

Sure, Freese is a good guy, he is considered a good teammate and he combined for a .295 batting average in 2011 and 2012, topping out with 20 home runs and 79 runs batted in during the 2012 season, but he has since become an average player, at best.

He started the 2013 season in a horrible rut. He bottomed out with a .163 batting average April 29 and a 20-game hitting streak between May 17 and June 11 raised his average to .284, but he is now back down to .265 with just six home runs and 46 RBIs.

Those aren’t horrible numbers and were good enough when the Cardinals did not have a replacement infielder outside of the .255-hitting Daniel Descalso, who also has a paltry .310 on-base percentage.

However, Freese also has a -0.4 Wins Above Replacement value, meaning he has played slightly worse than would be expected from a typical third baseman, and the Cardinals now have a replacement, although he comes in the form of a second baseman.

The team called up second baseman Kolten Wong from Triple-A Memphis last week, and manager Mike Matheny has started him in three of his first four games.

With Wong getting regular playing time at second, regular second baseman Matt Carpenter has had to move elsewhere. At first, Carpenter got a needed day off, but Matheny has continued to put Wong in the starting lineup so Carpenter has moved to his original position at third base and Freese has moved to the bench.

Freese isn’t buried on the bench, however. Matheny has given other regular starters extended time off throughout the season. He sat center fielder Jon Jay for several consecutive days in April and early May when he was struggling to fix his swing, and shortstop Pete Kozma didn’t play for several days in a row in late July and August when he went in an extended slump at the plate.

But a long-term view of the Cardinals infield suggests Freese could be the odd man out if Wong takes the starting job as second baseman and Carpenter becomes the everyday third baseman.

Carpenter plays solid defense and occasionally replaced Freese late in games in 2012 because Matheny wanted a stronger defensive player at that position in the late innings. Plus, Carpenter has hit .312 with 61 RBIs and has a WAR value of 5.1.

More than anything, the Cardinals figure to get more consistent production with Wong and Carpenter in the lineup than Freese, who has always been a streaky hitter.

Yes, he hit .390 in the 2011 postseason and was the Most Valuable Player in the National League Championship Series and World Series that year, but his batting average had also dropped from .326 to .297 in the six weeks that led up to the playoffs.

Instead of the everyday third baseman, Freese could take on the role Adams has for the Cardinals throughout the season. Adams has played in the field in just 46 of the 76 games he has played in during the 2013 season, but he has hit .277 with nine home runs and 34 RBIs while primarily coming off the bench.

Freese has some power and could give the Cardinals a reliable right-handed pinch hitter, which has been a lacking aspect of the team for much of the season.

Freese is a good player, but his value to the Cardinals might be higher in the late innings off the bench than throughout an entire game at third base.

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Francoeur had his chance, Giavotella gets another chance

Last Saturday, the Royals cut ties with outfielder Jeff Francoeur, designating him for assignment. Taking his place is infielder Johnny Giavotella, who will get regular playing time at second base.

Johnny-Giavotella

Royals fans clamored for these moves, but it’s too early to tell if they will make a difference. This year, Francoeur spent most of his time on the bench and ended up with a .208/.249/.322 line with three home runs and 13 RBI. Giavotella went three for four with two RBI in his 2013 debut against the Minnesota Twins and went 0-3 with a walk against the Cleveland Indians Tuesday night.

Giavotella will get plenty of playing time at second, with Chris Getz being sent down to AAA Omaha. Giavotella still doesn’t have the defensive prowess of an Elliot Johnson (or Chris Getz for that matter), but he does have offense, something desperately needed in the Royals lineup. Giavotella didn’t make the most of his opportunities at second base the other times he was on the team, but with Getz in Omaha, Giavotella will get an opportunity to see if he belongs in the Big Leagues.

As for Francoeur, it was a move that needed to be done. He couldn’t find his hitting stroke and with David Lough and Jarrod Dyson playing well, the Royals weren’t doing themselves or Francoeur any favors. The players and the team like Francoeur and he does have leadership qualities, but he wasn’t getting it done on the field. And Francoeur would be the first to admit he wasn’t playing well enough to stay with the Royals.

These moves needed to be done, but there’s still more issues the Royals need to overcome if they hope to become contenders in the A.L. Central. Mike Moustakas is improving with a .218/.279/.326 average, but he still has a long way to go. Wade Davis is 0-3 in his last three starts and Jeremy Guthrie went 1-1 with a no decision. In those games, the Royals went 1-5. Billy Butler is still being Billy Butler, but he isn’t hitting with power, with only one home run in June. Alex Gordon had a rough June with only three extra base hits, but with his grand slam Tuesday night, he appeared to be getting on track again. That is, until Gordon left Wednesday night’s game with a concussion and a hip contusion. Let’s hope Gordon makes a quick recovery.

Given all the Royals troubles this year, they’re still hanging in there. They had a 16-11 June and were 38-42 on July 2, 5.5 games back of the Indians. But they need to do more than tread water. They need to win games and win series to get above .500 and contend.

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Are These The Final Days Of Jeff Francoeur For The Kansas City Royals?

The Kansas City Royals are playing solid baseball and winning games, bringing them closer to the division leading Detroit Tigers.  The team is hitting well and is about to get a punch in the arm from rehabbing speedster Jarrod Dyson when he returns from his minor league rehab assignment.

Jarrod_Dyson

That leaves the Royals with a roster choice to make at the big league level and the choice may be simple: it’s time to release Jeff Francoeur.

Francoeur, known as “Frenchy” to many fans, has been a very likable and fan-friendly player in Kansas City.  The team has capitalized on his popularity with ticket specials, the “Frenchy Quarter” section in the ballpark, and many items bearing his name in the gift shops.  His popularity, however, has not transferred to solid play on the field.

He has been used sparingly in the month of June, yielding playing time to David Lough in right field.  Meanwhile, Lough has played well enough to deserve his spot on the big league roster, showing flashes of power and speed that may make him a solid option off the bench as the Royals enter a playoff run that has been a long time coming.

Dyson has not been a massive success during his rehab in Omaha, posting a paltry batting average just over .200.  He has, however, been getting on base, showing patience at the plate, and doing what he does best: running.  His place on the major league roster has always been speed off the bench, solid defense, and an occasional start.  A platoon situation in right field that features Lough sharing time with Dyson would be a huge upgrade from what Francoeur has provided the last few seasons.

The Royals are primed to make a run at a playoff spot this year.  To do so, they will need the best 25 men they can find to put on the field on an everyday basis.

When Dyson is activated, it will be time to say goodbye to Jeff Francoeur.

Bill Ivie is the editor here at i70baseball.
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Ronny Cedeno provides depth for St. Louis Cardinals, but little else

In an offseason of sparse, small moves, the St. Louis Cardinals made another signing Monday that will minimally impact their season, and hopefully it won’t be a factor at all.

RonnyCedeno

The Cardinals signed shortstop Ronny Cedeno to a one-year contract to be a back-up option in case starting shortstop Rafael Furcal’s right elbow has problems again in the upcoming season.

The 30-year-old Cedeno is an eight-year veteran with a career .247 batting average while playing for four different teams: the Chicago Cubs, Seattle Mariners, Pittsburgh Pirates and New York Mets. At best, he’s been an inconsequential player on irrelevant teams.

The Cardinals aren’t an irrelevant team, and something will have to go terribly wrong if Cedeno sees much playing time. The team has Furcal penciled in to be the everyday shortstop, and  Pete Kozma would seem to be a fairly solid back-up option given his .333 batting average in 26 games at the end of last season.

In many ways, the Cardinals had no need for Cedeno unless they think Kozma can’t hit above .250 and play decent defense. Both Kozma and Cedeno are righthanded hitters without much power, so the Cardinals certainly didn’t improve the back-up shortstop situation by this move.

Maybe the Cardinals think Kozma needs to be pushed during spring training or during the season if he has to regularly play shortstop with Furcal out because of injury. But still, the team has Daniel Descalso and Matt Carpenter as other middle infielders who could supposedly move over to shortstop if Furcal gets hurt and Kozma plays terribly.

General manager John Mozeliak said the team needed “insurance” at the position. Well, as some television commercials suggest, this is a cut-rate insurance policy and not the Allstate value plan. Cedeno should have to play above his career average in spring training just to break camp with the club.

This move also adds fuel to the fire of people who are already frustrated the Cardinals haven’t improved enough during the offseason, while the Cincinnati Reds traded for Shin-Soo Choo, the Atlanta Braves added the Upton brothers and the Philadelphia Phillies added the steady and productive Michael Young, formerly of the Texas Rangers.

Many of the top teams in the National League made significant moves to improve during the offseason, and the Cardinals basically stood pat. OK, they signed bench players Ty Wigginton and Cedeno. Sorry, but those two won’t even make opponents’ scouting reports.

Overall, the Cardinals are going to need their core players to stay healthy and be consistently productive throughout the entire year because the rest of the league has improved. If the Cardinals fall behind six to 10 games in the division or wild-card race, the teams above them might be too good to allow for another miracle comeback.

Right now the Reds, Braves, Phillies, Washington Nationals, San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers are all built to be strong playoff contenders. Even with the expanded playoffs, only five National League teams will make the postseason, so a playoff berth is far from guaranteed for the Cardinals this season.

That competition should make for a fun season, so long as the Cardinals don’t have to file a claim on the Ronny Cedeno insurance policy.

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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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Eight Royals To Compete For Surprise In 2012 Arizona Fall League

Eight Royals To Compete For Surprise In 2012 Arizona Fall League

KANSAS CITY, MO (August 29, 2012) – The Arizona Fall League and the Kansas City Royals today named seven players from the Royals organization who will compete for the Surprise Saguaros in the 2012 Arizona Fall League.  An eighth player, a pitcher, will be announced at a later date.

The Royals prospects are right-handed pitcher Edwin Carl, left-handed pitchers Jon Keck and Justin Marks, infielder Alex McClure, infielder/outfielder Whit Merrifield and outfielder Brian Fletcher.  Infielder Orlando Calixte will be a member of the “taxi squad” and be eligible to play on Wednesdays and Saturdays only.  Fletcher has been designated as the Royals “priority player”, assuring he will be granted maximum playing time.

2012 marks the 21st season of the Arizona Fall League, created by Major League Baseball in 1992 to serve as an off-season league for top prospects.  The season will begin on Tuesday, October 9, with the Rising Stars Game set for November 3 and the Championship Game scheduled for November 17.

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Here’s your chance, Johnny Giavotella

The Royals were likely to call up infielder Johnny Giavotella after the Omaha Storm Chasers season came to an end, but Chris Getz‘s season-ending thumb injury last week gives Giavotella the chance to see if he has what it takes to be a Major League second baseman.

During spring training, a lot of fans expected (and hoped) Giavotella would make the opening day roster. But on March 25 Giavotella was optioned to AAA Omaha and Getz became the Royals second baseman. A lot of Royals fans and pundits were disappointed. But the Royals believed Getz’s defense was superior, his offense had improved and Giavotella needed more defensive seasoning in Omaha.

Giavotella did well in Omaha with a .331/.408/.504 line with five homers, 25 RBI and 152 plate appearances, playing second base. When starter Jonathan Sanchez went on the disabled list with biceps tendinitis, Giavotella joined the Royals May 9.

During his first stint with the Royals, Giavotella played 21 games and split playing time with Getz and Yuni Betancourt. He had an unimpressive .217/.260/.261 line with no homers and six RBI over 73 plate appearances, committing three errors at second base. Giavotella got more playing time at second when Getz went down with a rib injury May 16, but he still split playing time with Betancourt. The Royals sent Giavotella back down to Omaha June 12 when Chris Getz returned from the disabled list.

Giavotella returned to Omaha, ending up with a .323/.404/.472 line with 10 home runs, 71 RBI over 418 plate appearances. He played the majority of the games at second, committing six errors with a .983 fielding average. It appeared Giavotella would be a September call-up, if he was called up at all. Then last Friday, Getz broke his thumb during a bunt attempt and Giavotella was called up for last Saturday’s game against the White Sox.

Plans are for Giavotella to play five to six games a week at second base. So far, Giavotella’s five games since his return haven’t been impressive. His average over the last five games is .167/.211/.167 with three base hits, no RBI with six strikeouts and no walks. In other words, he’s in the lineup, but not really contributing. Of course this is a small sample size and there’s hope his offensive numbers will improve as he gets more playing time.

But what about Giavotella’s defense at second base? To be honest, his defensive numbers this season haven’t been impressive either, with a .949 fielding percentage and a 3.65 RF/9. Compare that to Getz’s .983 fielding percentage and 4.43 RF/9. Even Betancourt had a .975 fielding percentage and a 4.61 RF/9, and we all know how bad an infielder he was. The league average fielding percentage at second base is .983 and the league RF/9 is 4.62. In other words, all three players are just near or below league average. One is no longer with the team (Betancourt), another is out for the year (Getz), and the one who’s left (Giavotella) is below league average in both categories.

Some Royals fans would like Giavotella to be the second baseman of the future and take Getz’s place. But to be fair, Getz played well with a .275/.312/.360 average and only committed four errors at second, despite having an injury filled season. And since Getz is not going to be a free agent until 2015, he’s probably going to be competing for a second base job in 2013, along with Giavotella.

Unless Giavotella has an injury, he’s going to be the Royals second baseman for the rest of the season. And even if his offense improves, his defense will decide if the Royals think he’s their second baseman of the future. Giavotella is being given a chance. It’s up to him to make the most of it.

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Rearranging the deck chairs on the S.S. Royals

In an unexpected move last Sunday, the Royals designated infielder Yuniesky Betancourt for assignment. I’m sure there’s some Royals fans who think this is an elaborate joke being played on them and the Yunibomber will be back. But it’s true. Yuni is no longer a Royal. Really! (I think.)

Remember when the Royals signed Betancourt to a one-year, two million dollar contract, telling shocked and disappointed Royals fans Yuni was going to be a part-time utility infielder? So what happened? Yuni got more playing time than fans wanted and he even had a decent June. But then Yuni became Yuni and went back to his worst everyday player in baseball self.

No team wanted to trade for him or claim him on waivers, so the Royals let Yuni go. Was it for his lack of defensive range? No. Was it for his .228 batting average? No. Was it for his -1.2 WAR? No. Yuni wanted more playing time, so the Royals cut him loose. According to Manager Ned Yost, one of the reasons Yuni was let go was to change the Royals losing culture. Are they serious? Did the Royals think signing Yuni would bring in a winning culture?

It’s things like this which frustrate Royals fans to no end. Never mind the team could have used infielder Tony Abreu, who they signed as a non-roster invitee, as a low-cost utility infielder. Or longtime Royals farmhand Irving Falu, who’s toiled ten seasons in the team’s minor league system. Instead, the Royals signed Yuni for two million and he performed like Yuni.

And the kicker? Abreu, the player who replaced Yuni, has some offensive pop but his defense is suspect. That sounds like a player the Royals just designated for assignment. Oh well, better late than never.

In another move, Doug Sisson was fired last Saturday. Doug who? You know, Doug Sisson, the former first base, base-running, outfield and bunting coach. Taking his place is Rusty Kuntz, who spent the last year and a half as a special assistant to the general manager while Sisson was first base coach. Now Kuntz is back, taking over Sisson’s duties. Why was Sisson fired? It’s hard to say. Maybe the players didn’t like him or his coaching, or perhaps Sisson and Yost weren’t on the same page.

Will this make a difference? Doubtful. It’s true Kuntz helped Alex Gordon convert to left field and he’s worked with outfielders Jarrod Dyson and Lorenzo Cain. But the Royals changing their first base coach in the middle of the season is just a symbolic blip in a long, disappointing season.

Then last Monday afternoon the Royals allowed the San Francisco Giants to claim situational lefty Jose Mijares off waivers. In return, the Royals got a $20,000 waiver claim fee. In other words, the Royals let Mijares go for next to nothing. The Royals did try to trade Mijares, but there wasn’t any takers.

Mijares wasn’t a bad pitcher. He had a 2-2 record with a 2.56 ERA, pitching 38.2 innings in 51 games. But the Royals didn’t see Mijares in their long-term plans. Even though he wasn’t eligible for free agency until 2014, it’s possible Mijares would make $2.5 million in arbitration. The Royals felt that was too much money for a situational lefty.

Taking his place is lefty Francisley Bueno, who the Royals signed as a non-roster invitee. For AAA Omaha, Bueno had a 1-4 record with a 2.75 ERA, pitching 55.2 innings over 35 games. He also appeared in three games for the Royals.

The Royals believe Bueno is more of a long-term fit and could be more effective against right-handers than Mijares. Ok, fair enough. But if that’s the case, why did the Royals sign Mijares in the first place? I’m sure Bueno would be more affordable and if he was good, the Royals would have better luck signing him than Mijares. And if Bueno wasn’t bueno, the Royals could cut him loose with minimum fuss.

The Royals 2012 season is sinking into oblivion and these moves aren’t going to turn the team around or reverse what Yost calls a “losing culture.” But it’s doing something, and for the Royals, doing something is better than doing nothing.

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