Tag Archive | "Winning Team"

St. Louis Cardinals Will Win Despite Lack Of Speed

The St. Louis Cardinals project to have an Opening Day lineup full of players who will regularly get on base and it also features plenty of power to drive them in. The one thing the team will lack, however, is speed.

Jon Jay

The Cardinals stole 91 bases in 2012, which tied them with the Texas Rangers for 24th of 30 teams in Major League Baseball, but players who stole more than a quarter of the Cardinals bases last season are either hurt or no longer with the team.

Shortstop Rafael Furcal stole 12 bases last season but is out for the season with an elbow injury, and fellow shortstop Tyler Greene, who had nine stolen bases, is now with the Houston Astros.

That leaves the Cardinals with about four regular stolen base threats. Slow-footed but incredibly intelligent catcher Yadier Molina stole 12 bases last year and could very well steal another dozen or so this season. Rightfielder Carlos Beltran had 13 stolen bases last year, but he is 35 years old and has slowed down considerably in recent years after various knee injuries.

The other proven stolen-base threat from last year’s team is centerfielder Jon Jay, who had 19 last season. He will likely lead the team again this season unless outfield prospect Oscar Taveras makes the team, but even he hasn’t stolen more than 10 bases in a season during his four seasons in the minor leagues.

Shortstop Pete Kozma stole just two bases during his brief 26-game stint with the Cardinals at the end of 2012, but he once stole 24 bases in 2008 and had 13 in 2010, all in the minor leagues.

Other than those options, the Cardinals will likely enter the season with a pretty slow team, but that’s not necessarily a terrible fault.

The Cardinals won the World Series in 2011 after stealing just 57 bases, which ranked last in the National League, and only the Detroit Tigers had fewer steals with 49 that season. The Cardinals also made it to within one game of the World Series in 2012 while ranking 24th.

And they aren’t the only team that has found it can win without stealing bases. In fact, just three teams that made the 2012 playoffs ranked in the top half of baseball in stolen bases. The Oakland A’s were ninth, the San Francisco Giants were 10th and the Washington Nationals were 15th.

Otherwise, all of the best teams didn’t steal many bases. The World Series-champion Detroit Tigers actually ranked dead last for the second year in a row, but they had great power and great pitching.

Those two factors are also why the Cardinals shouldn’t be too concerned about the number of bases they steal in 2013.

They have a lineup that should easily rank in the top 10 in all three of the Triple Crown categories, batting average, homeruns and runs batted in, and they have a pitching staff that should be more than solid if not for too many injuries.

Sure, Chris Carpenter is no longer an option at the top of the rotation, but the Cardinals have arguably the most young talent on their pitching staff since the days Tony La Russa decided to come to St. Louis because Matt Morris and Alan Benes were on their way to the big leagues.

The Whitey Herzog disciples will forever yearn for the days when Cardinals players of the 1980s slapped the ball into play and ran like the wind around the bases, but those days have long since passed. And they aren’t coming back anytime soon, at least not as long as the Cardinals furnish a lineup with five batters who can hit 20 or more homeruns.

So while the Cardinals style of play might not be terribly exciting on the basepaths, nearly every other aspect of their play is good enough that they will likely once again be playoff contenders come September.

Posted in CardinalsComments (0)

All Time Cardinals Team Tournament: Buck Final

We have arrived at the regional finals in the All Time Cardinals Team Tournament.

The winner of this round advances to the Final Four, to be held at the official site of the United Cardinal Bloggers.

Following along with the finals can pay dividends.  Enter now in the All Time Cardinals Team Tournament Contest and win a copy of A & E’s Complete World Series DVD Set. Details here.

Our bracket has worked all the way down to two teams from the sixteen we began with.  While some of the lower seeds held on for just a while, it ultimately came down to the top two seeds in this region, the 1942 team vs the 1985 team.  Who wins is entirely up to you.

You have read about the teams as we have went along, but here’s the tale of the tape in this regional championship match:

1942 1985
1 Seed 2
106 Wins 101
61 Losses 48
World Champs Finished Lost World Series
Enos Slaughter
.318/.412/.494
13/98/100
Best Hitter Willie McGee
.353/.384/.503
10/82/114
Mort Cooper
22-7
1.78 ERA
Best Pitcher John Tudor
21-8
1.93 ERA
Billy Southworth Manager Whitey Herzog

Now it’s up to you.  Tell us who moves on by placing your vote below.  Is it the I-70 Namesake from 1985 or the franchise’s most winning team from 1942.  You decide.

Voting closes at 8 p.m. on Thursday, March 29th

Buck Region Championship

  • (1) 1942 (60%, 6 Votes)
  • (2) 1985 (40%, 4 Votes)

Total Voters: 10

Loading ... Loading ...

Posted in Cardinals, Classic, FeaturedComments (0)

Leading The Young Royals Into Battle

Spring Training is underway and the Kansas City Royals begin their 2012 campaign. This year, fans are excited about the Royals young, talented players and their boundless potential to be part of a winning team.

But the players can’t do it alone. The Royals coaching staff has to provide guidance on and off the field to make the Royals a winner. Here’s the men who will lead the Royals into the 2012 Major League campaign.

Manager Ned Yost: This will be the second full season Yost manages the Royals, after replacing Trey Hillman during the 2010 season. Yost managed the Milwaukee Brewers from 2003-2008, leading the Brewers an 83-79 record in 2007, their first winning season since 1992. The following year, the Brewers were 83-67 with 12 games left and on their way to an N.L. Wild Card before a 3-11 September slump and a four game sweep by the Philadelphia Phillies cost Yost his job.

Before managing the Brewers, Yost spent 12 years with the Atlanta Braves Major League staff as a bullpen and third base coach. He also spent parts of six seasons as a catcher for the Brewers, Texas Rangers and Montreal Expos from 1980-1985.

With Yost’s experience managing small-market Milwaukee and his 12 years with the Braves, the Royals believe he is the one who can make the Royals a contender. Whether Yost can led the Royals to the promised land is uncertain, but he will be given every opportunity to succeed since the Royals recently picked up his 2013 option year.

Batting Coach Kevin Seitzer: A Royals player from 1986-1991, Seitzer enters his fourth season as the Royals hitting coach. In 2011, the Royals had a team .275 BA (4th in the A.L.), .329 OBP (5th in the A.L.) and .415 SLG (5th in the A.L.). The team lead the A.L. with 41 triples, second in the A.L. with 325 doubles and third in the A.L. with 1,560 hits. However, the Royals finished 11th in the A.L. with only 129 home runs and 442 walks and 12th in the A.L. with 1,006 strikeouts.

Seitzer’s job this year is to get the lineup to cut down its strikeouts, take more walks, get more men on base and hit for more power, especially home runs. So far the team is buying into Seitzer’s coaching, with Alex Gordon being one of the players he helped make into a better hitter.

Pitching Coach Dave Eiland: With a Major League record of 12-27 and 5.74 ERA over 92 games, Eiland’s career wasn’t stellar. But his five years as a pitching coach in the New York Yankees Minor League system and three years as the Yankees pitching coach from 2008-2010 landed Eiland a job as the pitching coach for 2012, replacing long time pitching coach Bob McClure.

Eiland helped the Yankees win a World Series in 2009, so he knows how to win. However, Eiland has a tough task ahead of him with a suspect starting rotation, but a solid bullpen. In 2011, the Royals finished 12th in the A.L. with a 4.44 ERA, while giving up 557 walks, the most in the A.L. Eiland wants the starting pitchers to pitch into the late innings, using the bullpen to hold leads or give the offense a chance to rally in the late innings if they’re behind. Time will tell if Eiland is up to the challenge.

First Base Coach Doug Sisson: With a long baseball coaching career in college and several levels in the Minor Leagues, Sisson enters his second year as the Royals first base coach. From 2008-2010, Sisson served as the Royals minor league field coordinator, overseeing the Royals minor league system.

In addition to first base, Sisson is also the baserunning and outfield coach. The Royals had a good outfield last year with a career year by Alex Gordon and solid seasons from Jeff Francoeur and Melky Cabrera. Last year, Royals ranked 2nd in the A.L. with 153 stolen bases and caught stealing only 58 times. Sission’s familiarity with the players who came up through the Minors should be an asset to the team.

Third Base Coach Eddie Rodriguez: A baseball lifer, Rodriguez spent six seasons as a Minor League player before having a long and varied career as a Minor League manager and coach. Rodriguez was a coach for several Major League clubs, joining the Royals as the third base coach in 2010.

Rodriguez is also the infield coach and with Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas solidly at the corners, Rodriguez will focus his attention on a middle infield in flux, with projected starters Alcides Escobar at shortstop and Johnny Giavotella at second base. If Rodriguez can help improve the middle infield, the Royals will be a better team this season.

Bench Coach Chino Cadahia: A long career as a coach and manager in the Rangers and Braves Minor League systems, 2012 will be Cadahia’s first season as the Royals bench coach.

Cadahia is also the catching coach and will be responsible for catchers Salvador Perez, Brayan Pena and Manny Pina, depending who makes the Opening Day roster.

In Atlanta, Cadahia spent 2007-2010 as bench coach for manager Bobby Cox. Working with one of the best managers in Major League history and his relationship with Yost in Atlanta should be an asset to Yost and the Royals.

Bullpen Coach Steve Foster: This is Foster’s third season as the Royals bullpen coach, after spending 2007-2009 as the bullpen coach of the Florida (now Miami) Marlins. Foster spent time as a pitching coach in the Marlins Minor League system, a scout for the Tampa Bay Rays and a college head coach and pitching coach. Foster also co-authored the book Lessons From Little League and Life with his father Steve Foster Sr.

Besides answering the bullpen phone properly and making sure the relief pitchers are warmed up and ready to enter the game, Foster will assist pitching coach Dave Eiland and preside over a Royals bullpen which was one of the highlights of the 2011 season.

It’s up to the players to win the games, but it’s up to the coaching staff to make sure the team is in a position to win. If the Royals play well, the coaching staff gets some of the credit. If the Royals stumble, the coaching staff gets a lot of the blame.

Posted in Featured, RoyalsComments (0)

A Look Back At The Worst Royals Team Of All Time

In the last 15 years, the Kansas City Royals have put some pretty pathetic teams on the field. As some time has passed since some of these historically inept Royals teams have come and gone, it is interesting to take a look back at the worst of them all, the 2005 version of the Royals.

Having the benefit of perspective, it really is astonishing to think that anyone in the organization expected that team to do anything other than suck really bad.

The 2005 Royals were entering the season coming off of a 104 loss season, their second 100 loss season in 3 years. And as hard as it is to believe now, up to that point, those were the Royals’ only 100 loss seasons in franchise history. Little did anyone know, that was just the beginning of a stretch of some of the most disgracefully inept (borderline insulting) brand of baseball anyone would ever witness. In order to fully appreciate the level of stink that graced Kauffman Stadium 81 times in the summer of 2005, we must first take a quick look back at 2004:

The 2004 Royals came into the season with some glimmer of hope, as crazy as it seems now. They had just completed a 2003 season that saw them lead the division most of the year and remain in contention into September. The Royals felt that if they only could carry that positive momentum into 2004, and add a few key pieces, that they would be ready to contend again. Enter Juan Gonzalez and Benito Santiago and a slightly higher payroll. Clearly this approach was miscalculated at best, and delusional at worst. Nonetheless, it represented a somewhat honest attempt at fielding a winning team for the first time in quite some time, which was refreshing in its own way.

As soon as the next off-season hit, it was like Royals ownership and management immediately wanted to get the message out that since they went for it last year and it failed miserably, that it would be a cold day in hell before they would ever try anything like that again. Come April 4, 2005, Royals fans who took off work early and spent their hard-earned money to come out to Kauffman Stadium for Opening Day, were therefore treated to this opening day lineup:

David DeJesus-CF, Ruben Gotay-2B, Mike Sweeney-1B, Calvin Pickering-DH, Matt Stairs-RF, Angel Berroa-SS, Terrence Long-LF, John Buck-C, Mark Teahen-3B, Jose Lima-SP

Not shockingly, the Royals were beaten 11-2 by the Tigers in their first of 106 losses that season. The 2005 Royals would start the season 5-9 before going on a 9 game losing streak to fall to 5-18. They would eventually fall to 8-25, before Manager Tony Pena decided he had enough and quit. Interim manager Bob Schaefer got in on the fun, going 5-12 before Buddy Bell was brought in as the permanent replacement for Pena. In most seasons, a 9 game losing streak would be far and away the low point in the season. Not for this team…not even close. They would go on to treat their fans to losing streaks of 5, 5, 8, and 19 games before going into just standard Royals Stink Mode in late August. To put it further into perspective, that 19 game losing streak saw their loss total rise from 63 to 82 before their win total rose from 38 to 39.

The passage of time allows us to look back at seasons like 2005 and find the humor in some ways. If Project 2012 can come to fruition and the Royals are fielding championship caliber teams for years to come, the 2005 season can then become nothing more than a hilarious footnote in Royals history.

Posted in Featured, RoyalsComments (7)

2012 Anticipation

“Same old Royals.” “Another pointless September.” “Time to trade off our stars.” Those are the statements that you’ll hear from casual Royals fans every fall. Pessimism is normally at an all-time high, everyone is more focused on football, and nobody cares about making it out to Kauffman for a “meaningless” baseball game.

Things have been different this time around.

The hope and optimism surrounding “The K” during the current homestand hasn’t been higher since 2003 (the Royals last winning season). Fans are finally believing that the Royals are close to being a legitimate contender.

Right now, the Royals are 20 games under .500, 22.5 games back in the division, and way past being eliminated from playoff contention. It’s hard to see any fanbase in professional sports rallying behind a team with those numbers, but Royals fans did it during the past week. Kauffman Stadium attendance from last week (September 13th-18th) averaged out to 24,621 people per game. Last season during the same time period, attendance was at 16,952 people per game. The 2010 Royals had about the same record as the 2011 Royals (2010: 61-91, 2011:67-87) and both teams were eliminated from the playoffs right around the start of September.

The difference this year is that the players are still having a ton of fun on the diamond, which makes going to games much more exciting. The players on the Royals’ current roster genuinely love playing the game. Not only do they love playing the game, but they love winning, and they love winning together. They are a group of kids who really like each other and want to bring a winning team to Kansas City.

Does anyone think that Jose Guillen really liked playing for the Royals? How about Mike Jacobs? Ross Gload?

Doubtful.

And has any Royals team since 2003 been this excited about winning games in September?

Doubtful.

Has any Royals team had as much camaraderie and chemistry as this team besides in the ‘70’s or ‘80’s?

Highly doubtful.

Everyone on the roster is excited to be playing for this team in Kansas City. There’s no doubt that they are disappointed about how this season went, but you can sense that they are all anxious for 2012 to be here. The excitement on the field has brought excitement to the seats inside Kauffman Stadium. Expect the excitement to multiply in 2012.

Posted in Featured, RoyalsComments (2)

I-70 Series By The (Jersey) Numbers

The second part of the I-70 Series for 2011 will take place in St. Louis this weekend. The story of two franchises that are both ultimately headed towards winning ways at the same time for the first time in years can be told in many different ways. Series breakdowns and predictions will be made. Here at I-70 Baseball, we plan to weigh the teams against each other in a whole new way.

Thirteen active players on each of the two rosters share a jersey number. As we take a look at the thirteen players for each team, we will decide which player holds an advantage over the other and ultimately come out with our prediction for the winning team based off this obviously scientific formula.

Alex Gordon, LF, KC Royals
Gordon is the man set to dominate in 2011, by his own words. He has not exactly let the fans down at this point. A strong batting average, decent home run total, driving runs in at a career best pace and above average fielding have many Royals fans screaming for Gordon in the mid-summer classic.
Yadier Molina, C, St. Louis Cardinals
Molina is one of the core members of this franchise. Known primarily for his gold glove caliber defense, Yadi has shown that he has an above .300 quality batting average and should be feared at the plate as well as behind it.
Decision
This may be one of the hardest numbers to decide and the two teams have cornerstone players wearing the number 4. The idea here may be to go with the player with the best overall body of work and for that, Molina takes the number 4.
Mitch Maier, OF, KC Royals
Maier is a backup outfielder that has seen very little playing time for the Kansas City Royals this season. A strong batting average based on a small sample size, Maier brings little to this argument.
Lance Berkman, OF, St. Louis Cardinals
One of the most feared free agent signings in recent memory, Berkman has found a rebirth and youthfulness that many had written off for better times. Berkman has become a core part of the offense and continues to shine.
Decision
No brainer on this one, a bench player up against a key component. Give number 12 to the Cardinals as well.
Matt Treanor, C, KC Royals
Treanor was picked up late in the offseason to provide exactly what he has become – a defensive, veteran catcher who had a strong handle on the pitching staff. With a young staff, the Royals needed this type of guidance, and they received just that.
Jon Jay, OF, St. Louis Cardinals
Jay was the reason the franchise felt Ryan Ludwick was expendable in 2010. By 2011, Jay was the reason the Cardinals signed Lance Berkman. A strong outfielder that plays well when not overexposed, Jon Jay is a key contributor when used properly.
Decision
A battle between players that are not used everyday makes decisions hard. However, Jay has become a central part of both the Cardinals offense and defense. Number 15 is in the Cards.
Jeff Francis, SP, KC Royals
Francis has many Royals fans wondering why he is in the rotation. He has surrendered a league worst 104 hits and boasts a 3-6 record.
Kyle Lohse, SP, St. Louis Cardinals
For a team without its ace pitcher, Lohse has been one of the reasons the Cardinals find themselves still in contention on some level. A 7-3 record and a sub 3 earned run average will help any team.
Decision
I was one of the biggest Lohse detractors the last few years but I will eat my crow, and award the Cardinals the number 26 in this contest.
Brayan Pena, C, KC Royals
Pena has been, at times, a bright spot and, at others, a failure. All in all, he has handled the pitching staff well and posted a respectable offensive number for a catcher regarded for his defense.
Tyler Greene, IF, St. Louis Cardinals
Greene has been one of those conundrums for the Cardinals. A player that has always performed will in the minors just can’t seem to get it together in the big leagues.
Decision
The Royals get a runaway for the number 27. Greene shows no reason to be taking a roster spot as he is the same player as Ryan Theriot, without the bat.
Eric Hosmer, 1B, KC Royals
Hosmer represents the future of the franchise for the Royals and has given fans and the team no reason to doubt the future isn’t bright. Hosmer has shown that he is level headed, strong willed, and shows flashes of excellence at the plate and in the field.
Jake Westbrook, SP, St. Louis Cardinals
Westbrook was the center piece of the Ludwick deal last season and has had moments where he has proven why. Other times he has made fans wonder. Ups and downs abound despite the fact that he came to the team as a pitcher that was supposed to be consistent in his position.
Decision
The Royals fans would kill me if I did not award number 35 to the Royals franchise. Hosmer has a bright future and Westbrook needs to perform at the level the Cardinals acquired him for.
Blake Wood, RP, KC Royals
The middle relief pitcher has often been a bright spot for the Royals this season appearing in 23 games already this season. 24 strikeouts to 10 walks (1 intentional) has proven him a stingy pitcher with good stuff.
Mark Hamilton, 1B, St. Louis Cardinals
Hamilton represents what the Cardinals minor league system is capable of. A player who is honestly “blocked” in the depth chart, he has serviced well as back up but found most of his time come in pinch hitting or work in lopsided games.
Decision
The jury is still out on Hamilton who is not getting enough playing time to make an accurate decision on him. Wood, however is pitching well enough to bring the number 38 home to Kansas City.
Aaron Crow, RP, KC Royals
Crow is yet another part of the youth movement of the Royals franchise. Much like Hosmer, Crow is proving why everyone is getting excited. The Royals are showing confidence in the young man and rightfully so, he will be closing games before long.
Trever Miller, RP, St. Louis Cardinals
Miller has been another part of the conundrum for Cardinal fans. A pitcher that has dominated in the past suddenly cannot find his way in 2011. Miller is aging and it is starting to show.
Decision
Another young arm brings home a number to the west side of the state as Aaron Crow takes the number 43 in our run down.
Luke Hochevar, SP, KC Royals
Hochevar leads the Royals in starts and has not performed completely horribly in them, just mildly so. Still, he is eating innings and pitching well enough to keep the Royals happy with his performance, even if the fans are not.
Miguel Batista, RP, St. Louis Cardinals
A Non-Roster Invitee,
he has pitched horribly.
He is known for poetry,
fans pray for free agency.
Decision
Did anyone think that Hochevar could win a comparison against another pitcher? Neither did I. Of course, calling Batista a pitcher at this point is a bit of a stretch. Number 44 goes to the Royals.
Louis Coleman, RP, KC Royals
Another part of that strong middle relief corp for the Royals, Coleman has nailed down a few innings that he has been entrusted with, including the ninth inning a few times.
Kyle McClellan, SP, St. Louis Cardinals
McClellan, much like Lohse, deserves a lot of the credit for what the pitching staff has done. Though he had a rough start coming off the disabled list, he has been more than adequate on the mound in his starts.
Decision
Kyle McClellan has done nothing more than perform anywhere the team has asked him to, and done so at an above average level each time. Give the number 46 to the team under the arch.
Tim Collins, RP, KC Royals
Collins, while not as great as Coleman or Crow, has shown that the youth movement in the bullpen is worth while. At time erratic, he has managed to stay on top of his game and help the team out of many jams.
Skip Schumaker, 2B, St. Louis Cardinals
Skip has spent a good portion of the season on the disabled list. On top of which, it appears the franchise no longer looks at him as an every day option at second base. A solid teammate, he is playing out of his position and it has not gotten any better.
Decision
Based largely on the inadequacies of Skip Schumaker, the number 55 is heading west to Kauffman Stadium with young Mr. Collins.
Greg Holland, RP, KC Royals
The youth movement in the bullpen continues with Holland, who has seen limited time but has impressed with the time he has gotten.
Brian Tallet, RP, St. Louis Cardinals
Another player that has seen limited time do to being injured, Tallet has done nothing to prove why he should be trusted in tight ball games.
Decision
Two players with small sample sizes, but one has dominated in the short amount of time that he has had. Holland takes the number 56.
Felipe Paulino, SP, KC Royals
Paulino has made appearances in four games so far this year, three of them starts, and has no record to show for any of it. He has pitched well and shown solid command, it will take time to determine what his future is in Kansas City.
Fernando Salas, RP, St. Louis Cardinals
Salas has proven that the Cardinals have a youth movement of their own going on. The young man has inherited the closer role from Ryan Franklin and done so in stunning fashion.
Decision
One of the brightest spots out of the Cardinals bullpen, Salas takes the number 59 back to the east side of the state.

Totaling up the numbers sees the Royals take home seven numbers and the Cardinals only taking home six. The numbers here show the Royals winning the series.

And numbers don’t lie.

Bill Ivie is the editor here at I-70 Baseball as well as the Assignment Editor for BaseballDigest.com.
He is the host of I-70 Radio, hosted every week on BlogTalkRadio.com.
Follow him on Twitter here.

Posted in Cardinals, RoyalsComments (1)

Faith?

I would consider myself to be something more than just a fan of the Chiefs and the Royals. I have had season tickets to both and follow both with the same desire as well as loyalty.

The last two seasons have been rough with both the Royals and Chiefs having horrid seasons, but I still watched I still had faith. Or should I say I thought I had faith. The reason I say this is because with the baseball season winding down in Kansas City I have had the chance to go see the Royals for free but didn’t because of the price of gas and hotels, but in that same week I found myself justifying $300 tickets to see the Chiefs. I ended up not being able to go to the Chiefs game, but the fact that I was willing to spend so much to see the now 3-0 Chiefs made me take another look at my fan loyalty to the Royals.

I would still say that I am a loyal fan and lover of the K but I don’t think I can say with 100 percent honesty that I have faith in the Royals. I knew Lamar Hunt would never let losing become the norm on the red side of the Truman Sports Complex, but I don’t have the same feeling for the blue side. Kansas City as a whole needs faith and hope that this ownership group will bring back the faith that was once found in the K.

The mindset of a Royals fan has over the years slowly been changed from “let’s win” to “let’s have fun.” A game at the K is no longer about seeing the product on the field but more about just going and having fun. The Royals need to have a winning team for several seasons before this mindset will change, but they need to look to Arrowhead to help build the fan base back.

The arguments of small market this and that can not be justified when there are 80,000 fans across the street wiling to pay double face value on upper deck tickets. The city is willing and ready to fill the K, but they have to have something to cheer about. The team needs to be in the playoff hunt and the team needs to go out there and make moves.

The team has started to make changes but there is not a burning feeling that these moves are franchise-changing. The team has yet to make a move to place the future of the team on the career of any player or coach. I want one or two people who I can point to and say, “This is the future.” I want to know who our stars are going to be. I want something to put my faith in.

Posted in RoyalsComments (1)

Just Pitch, Zack

Zack Greinke

Zack Greinke opened his mouth last week and set Kansas City on fire.

The Royals’ ace pitcher, who also happens to be the current face of the franchise, told the Kansas City Star’s Bob Dutton that he probably won’t be around to see the team’s current youth movement take root.

“There’s no reason for me to get real excited” about the team’s hot prospects, Greinke told Dutton, “because the chance of more than one of them making a major impact by the time my contract is up is pretty slim.”

First, let us acknowledge that there is some truth to what Greinke told the Star reporter. It is doubtful the Royals will field a winning team by 2012. A couple weeks ago in a post on this Web site, I said it’s great to be a Royals fan right now (obviously Zack doesn’t agree). I argued that even though the Major League team is bad right now, good or even great players were waiting in the wings. My article was probably overly optimistic. But even still, I argued that the Royals would probably be ready to compete in 2013 at the earliest.

So Zack is right about that.

He is also right that the Royals have attempted other rebuilding efforts during his time in Kansas City, and as he puts it, “obviously, none of them worked.”

I’ll give him that.

But he still should not have said it.

And here are a few reasons why.

One, players do not do that. They just don’t. They shut up and they play ball.

Second, let’s be honest here, Zack Greinke owes a lot to this organization. He owes his whole career to the Kansas City Royals. Remember 2006, when it wasn’t so great to be a Royals fan? Before the season started, our hottest prospect, 22-year-old Zack Greinke, walked away from baseball. He walked away to sort out some personal demons he was battling, and continues to battle to this day. And that’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with that. Life comes before baseball, ten times out of ten. But then, two months later, he came back. What did the Royals do? They welcomed him back with open arms. They gave him a spot on the team. He performed well and they gave him a huge contract. And in exchange for millions and millions and millions of dollars, all the Royals ask is that Greinke goes and plays catch with Jason Kendall once every five days.

(Of course, that’s oversimplified, but you get the point.)

Jose Guillen

Finally, there’s a fairness issue here. On another Royals blog this weekend, I read an interesting comment to one of the posts about Greinke. The commenter pointed out that during his three-year career with Kansas City, Jose Guillen said things like Greinke said. He used harsher words, perhaps, but the point was still the same.

What did Royals fans do? They made Jose Guillen Public Enemy No. 1.

What do they do when Greinke makes similar comments? His words become a rally cry.

So where does that leave us? I’m not sure. But I think the Kansas City Royals should do exactly what their ace pitcher asks. They should go out and get some players to help them win in the immediate future.

How should they do that?

By trading Zack Greinke.

Matt Kelsey is a Royals writer and the content editor for I-70 Baseball. He can be reached at mattkelsey@i70baseball.com.

Posted in Featured, RoyalsComments (1)

The Final Straw For A Beloved Cardinal

It doesn’t happen very often in St. Louis, but on Saturday night the Cardinals were humiliated. The 12-5 loss may have been the most embarrassing defeat the team has suffered in a very, very long time. As the redbirds walked off the field following a sloppy third inning, they were booed loudly by the home fans. I have never been a fan of booing a team – especially a winning team – but the performance on Saturday was tough to watch and the fans are starting to get restless with struggling players.

While there have been several players go through a rough patch this season, none compare to Brendan Ryan. Yadier Molina has had a hard time at the plate, Holliday isn’t living up to his salary, Schumaker is batting 40 points below what is expected of him, even Albert has been scrutinized, but nearly all patience has been lost for Brendan Ryan. I believe his little act on Saturday night was the final straw.

It is one thing when you cannot hit the baseball. It is an entirely different thing to not have your head in the game. There is absolutely no excuse for that. Brendan Ryan was all over the place in that 12-5 rout by the Brewers. He was throwing to the wrong base and dropping relay throws from the outfield. Then, there is his side-arm throw he picked up somewhere along the line that has zero accuracy. On one play, Ryan threw home to get the runner (who had basically already scored) and the ball was ten feet off target.

I wouldn’t mind it as much if he just wasn’t able to hit, but when you take that into the field? That’s when the plug needs to be pulled. Defensive lapses cannot be tolerated.

It is time to “put up or shut up” for the Cardinals shortstop. The fanbase has always supported Ryan. He is an extremely likeable guy and I think everybody has been extra-patient with him this season. The fact of the matter is, Brendan is hurting the team. Unfortunately, there is not much management can do with Ryan except sit him on the bench. He has little if any trade value, and if we tried sending him to Memphis he would be picked up off of waivers. Do we really want to get rid of him all together?

This isn’t anything new either. Ryan’s stuggles go way past the Milwaukee game. He is currently riding a 4-for-40 skid. During that slump, he has scored twice. Keep in mind that he was playing nearly every day. Ryan also hasn’t batted in a run since June 19th; almost three weeks ago.

Brendan is coming off of a great defensive year, and even batted .292, but all signs of that player have disappeared. His average this season has dipped below the Mendoza-line (.198) and his on-base percentage is at .267. His BABIP (batting average of balls put in play) is 67 points lower than his career mark and he is striking out more this year than he ever has. His ground ball rate has jumped 6%, his fly ball percentage has done the exact same thing, and line drives have become scarce.

So who’s going to be our shortstop? Enter Tyler Greene.

“It’s a good time to give him (Ryan) a break and give Tyler a chance to play. Whoever plays the best, plays the most,” said Tony LaRussa following the decision to start Greene at SS on Sunday.

Greene was the Cardinals’ first round pick in 2005 and has carried the “prospect” tag with him all the way through the Minors. In two full seasons with the AAA-Memphis Redbirds, Greene has hit just below .300. This year, Greene is batting .291/.362/.465 with seven home runs, 52 runs, and ten stolen bases in only 62 games.

The 26-year-old infielder had a disappointing stint with the big league club in 2009 but has yet to disappoint so far this year. Through his first three games since the recent call-up, Greene is 3-for-9 with two runs, a triple, a home run, and four RBI. I know it is a very small sample size (35 at bats), but his .514 slugging percentage is awfully impressive as well.

The Tyler Greene experiment may go down as just that. An experiment. You never really know. The only thing certain is that Brendan Ryan hurts the team’s chances, and so far Greene does not.

Don’t look now folks, but for the first time in his MLB career, Tyler Greene has a job that is his to lose.

Justin Hulsey covers the Cardinals for i70baseball.com and his blog, Cardinals Front Office, that is also dedicated to Cardinal baseball.You may follow him on Twitter @JayHulsey by clicking here.

Posted in CardinalsComments (1)


Fantasy Sports Machine