Maybe hopeless is a strong word. In all fairness, the Royals will probably win more games this coming season than last. But the root of the improvement will probably have much less to do with who was brought in this offseason and much more to do with the improvement of players who were already on the 40-man roster. I mean Alex Gordon has to live up to some of his early promise, doesn't he? Billy Butler has to start to put it together for a full season sometime soon, right? If everyone else remains the same and these two start to fulfill their promise, that alone makes them a few games better.
Now, a couple of days ago the Star ran a feature on Coco Crisp in which Crisp states that his left index finger that he broke during his first season in Boston was not fully healed until the end of this past season--and he hit .341 in August and September, followed by .417 in the playoffs.
Obviously, no one is expecting a batting title from Crisp this year. The addition of his defense is what is so appealing, especially with the Royals starters being much more prone to fly balls. DeJesus in left and Crisp in center can start to make up for a lot of deficiencies on the defensive side of the equation.
But if the offensive version of Coco Crisp that we see is the Coco Crisp that was healthy in Cleveland and for the last two months in Boston, then we could actually be getting a helluva bargain for Ramon Ramirez, and maybe even an actual lead-off hitter, not just a guy hitting first.
And honestly, this is the first Royals story in quite a while that doesn't wear the stench of borderline mismanagement. The past week has been spent coming to terms with players who were offered arbitration who should have been released outright (John Buck, Jimmy Gobble, and Joel Peralta stand to make $4.89 million between them in 2009). I have to find some hope to cling to.