Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Off Topic. Hot Topic. Off Topic. Dystopic.

All right, so this is going to be a little off topic for a bit (but it does get back to the Royals, I promise), but I feel that my absence should be explained at least a little. While none of what follows is particularly relevant (read: interesting), it does start to explain what has happened in the past week and a half insofar as the brevity of the majority of the posts here are concerned.

Starting two Sundays ago, my insanely time-consuming keeper league began its tediously long drawn out draft (essentially rounds 16 through 25) on a Yahoo! Group that we obsessively converse on. There are twelve people in the group and two Januaries ago we posted 5,176 times. A month without at least 1,000 posts is simply unheard of. As the reigning champion (second time in five years), I have the unenviable task of overseeing this draft, which means little by little I have to input the draft results into both Yahoo! and an Excel spreadsheet. The problem is that there are owners in the league who take hours to pick, so we're edging closer and closer to the roster input deadline for the first week of the season to count waiting on fucking lollygaggers. Whether it really needs to or not, I kind of have to police these half-assers to try to get them to make the life-changing selection of Jeff Francoeur in the 21st round.

To add insult to injury, the Yahoo! Group has begun to have posting lags in excess of two hours, so over the weekend, it was nearly impossible to follow what was going on in terms of draft progress.

Then tonight (Monday), the other fantasy baseball league in which I am commissioner was supposed to have its draft, only to have the manager who finished second last year pull out of the league 30 minutes before the draft because he didn't want the computer to auto-draft his team, which I found out as I walked into Little City (the coffee shop I work at) with three minutes to go until the draft began. As it was a head-to-head league, the draft was cancelled by Yahoo! and now it is not going to happen until Tuesday night.

Oh, and Austin was overrun by SXSW and the corresponding influx of hipster tourists who don't fucking tip but ruin the town for days while everyone who lives here has to do double the work for 10% more in tips while simultaneously getting fucked in that we can't do anything we'd normally do without having to pay twice as much to do it and wait ten times as long in line to get into where we normally go.

I fucking hate people.

My only real day off is Sundays, which also finds me writing a fantasy basketball column (soon to be fantasy baseball!) for Sports Grumblings--for which I do not yet receive compensation, and while I generally write a blog entry for both of my blogs, Sunday found me writing an entirely unnecessarily lengthy blog entry about Knowing for my other blog, Inconsiderate Prick, while being distracted by Tournament games, thus cutting into any time that I could have put into a Royalscentricity entry--especially considering the fact that I also went to I Love You, Man last night--entry on IP to come soon.

Anyway, so I've kind of wanted to write an entry regarding the release of Jimmy Gobble, who does actually get lefties out, and the semi-puzzling nature of the club's statement about not having room for a LOOGY on the roster while trying to force Horacio Ramirez into the rotation. Initially, I was intending to have this be an in-depth look at this issue, but it's already 2:30 as I write this, and I have to work in the morning.

I'll have to paraphrase, I guess.

So, as you've most definitely read, the Royals said after releasing Gobble that they simply didn't have room on the roster for a left-handed specialist (I'm pretty sure it was in a Bob Dutton article, initially). Royals fans have taken umbrage at this statement given the (seemingly) stubborn insistence upon having a left-handed starter in the rotation despite the fact that it would appear as though Horacio Ramirez has no right being in any starting rotation.

Now, I am not going to make some sweeping judgment call based on Spring Training stats--if I were, I'd be freaking out about Greinke and Meche--but Horacio Ramirez doesn't have a glowing resume. His only time in which he was effective was last year in Kansas City as a reliever, but the statistical sample size is too small to make any meaningful determinations by. Upon being shipped to Chicago, he promptly blew up.

But he was at least league-average early in his career, which of course happened to be in Atlanta, so at the very least, Dayton Moore has seen a lot of him. He surely knows him as a pitcher much better than we do.

While I am not crazy about the notion of having Horacio Ramirez starting every five days, I am also not vehemently against at least trying him out in that role (as long as something better doesn't come around when teams cut loose their players embroiled in battles for roster spots) and seeing if he can cut it for a few starts. If he blows and lasts into May in the rotation, then I will be up in arms, but it does increasingly feel like Bannister might be best served by trying to put it together in Omaha to start the season. While the Royals do seem perversely married to the notion that a left-handed starter is a necessity, I think there is value to having one (just not necessarily one who finds himself on the 40-man roster) and more value than we tend to acknowledge. Sure, Moore's fixation on the issue seems a bit odd, but there are quite a few prominent lefties in the division that it would be nice to neutralize here and there.

Which brings us to the recently dismissed Jimmy Gobble. The Royals' aforementioned statement has been taken to fly in the face of the Horacio insistence by many in the Royals blogging community. I get how it can be construed that way. I just think it is a matter of apples and oranges.

In stating that the Royals do not have room for a LOOGY, they're stating that they want pitchers who are more flexible than that, and if Gobble has proven anything of late, it is that he cannot get righties out to save his life. While one could argue that Horacio Ramirez may not be able to get either righties OR lefties out, he would theoretically be pitching to more than one hitter in any given day, and over the course of the week would be facing more than, optimistically, seven batters. Maybe Mahay and Tejeda aren't as dominant when facing lefties as Gobble, but they do carry in their bag of tricks the ability to actually get righties out as well. If it is the difference between Tejeda making the 25-man roster and Gobble, I'll take a chance on Tejeda, personally, and I do not think that the statement is necessarily in direct opposition to what the Royals are attempting (as pointless as many see it to be) to do with Ramirez.

Releasing Gobble when they did may also allow for him to get on with another club earlier in the game, which would certainly be doing a guy with years of time within the organization a favor.


Big Donkeys said...

HoRam is only effective when he keeps the ball down and induces grounders. Of course, those ground balls are promptly booted by Royals infielders. If HoRam does make the starting rotation, I think it would be wise to keep Teahen away from 2B when he's pitching. Same thing with Hochevar.

Royals Nation said...

Are Royals infielders really that bad? Jacobs is a tremendous defensive liability, and Butler could be as well (if they would ever try him in that role consistently, they would know). However, Callaspo grades as an average defensive 2B, at best, albeit one with poor OOZ rating. Grudz was very solid for three years. Pena was very good in '07 and '08 and Aviles was one of the best in baseball for '08. Gordon was poor last year but is regarded as a potentially excellent defensive 3B. As it stands, I don't think HoRam will necessarily be hurt by the Royals infield in '09. Starting Bloomquist would help - especially with HoRam and Hoch.

Old Man Duggan said...

First is going to be weak.

Bloomquist is the only second baseman on the roster I have any confidence in.

Aviles is generally regarded as being a lesser shortstop than his metrics last year bore out, which at the very least makes me hesitant to hope for as great a defensive season as we were treated to last year.

While Gordon is expected to get better, the fact does remain that he was awful last year.

These things worry me.