I could sit here and feign indignation at the fact that Hochevar was sent down today, but Sam Mellinger is definitely more plugged into the Royals machinations than myself and his explanation for the motives behind the move makes perfect sense to me.
Ponson needing to be on the big league roster before May 1st to avoid an opt-out clause kicking into effect necessitates his initial placement on the 25-man roster and in the rotation, at least for the time being. His presence with the big league club may not be desirable, but once he is sent down* he remains a warm body that can make a spot start in a pinch. I do agree with Moore's desire for organizational depth, especially insofar as having starters who are ready to step in and at least eat some innings up. I can stomach ten starts from Ponson if I have to. I think
*We do all think he'll get sent down, right?
The Ramirez rationale makes sense to me as well. While they may not be ideal for the rotation from a fan's standpoint, I do get keeping one's word to signees as being a good business practice for a team that already struggles to get players to sign with them, even after having put together the best offer. For that reason, Ramirez will likely get a chance to pitch his way out of the rotation, and sadly we'll have to sit through that for a while.
With the slightly arguable exception of Luke Hochevar (he's been fairly solid, but by no means dominating), there really hasn't been a candidate to authroitatively emerge for either of the final two rotation spots. If Ponson can indeed be sent down once his contractual criteria have been met, then I really don't see any way that a healthy Hochevar doesn't make more starts than Ponson.
Furthermore, I am not entirely convinced that the Royals are done acquiring pitching. Dayton Moore is nothing if not active in the pursuit of pitching. As rosters shake themselves out, potential acquisitions will make their way to waivers and the open market. The glut of Major League-ready catchers in the Royals stable also makes a trade plausible.
So, while we could justifiably take issue with the signings of this offseason (and really, we're just talking about Horacio Ramirez here because Ponson is a minor league deal that I still think is as filler moreso than anything else), the Royals are probably doing the right thing here given the lay of the land today, especially if it pushes back the arbitration-eligibility of Hochevar.
And, yes, I am wearing my Nikes in my black sweats with my phenobarbital-infused vodka, and I'm writing this from my bunk bed with my trusty plastic bag at my side.