Saturday, February 28, 2009

No More Germans? Juan Cruz, Royal?

Spend a day or two away from the internet, and all of a sudden things start happening on the Kansas City sports scene.

First, I get a phone call informing me that the Chiefs traded their second-round draft pick for Mike Vrabel. Oh, and Matt Cassel. This marks the fourth* straight move the Clark & Co. have made that have left me ecstatic. While I am not of a mind that Cassel is a sure thing, I love that they now have a young quarterback with the knowledge that they did not have to use their third pick overall on a quarterback, none of whom I was crazy about in the first place. Now they can spend that pick on a left tackle or Michael Crabtree (I personally have my fingers crossed for Crabtree), which I think are of better value than, say, Matthew Stafford**.

*It might even be the fifth straight if Carl Peterson was actually forced out. Obviously, I was elated when the Chiefs signed the GM candidate I wanted, fired Herm Edwards, signed the head coach I wanted, and got the best quarterback that was likely to be available this offseason.

**Now Stafford may be a great pro, but it should be noted that Georgia was ranked #1 to start the season, had one of the best running backs in the country, and managed to end up a very distant third best team in their own conference--one that had a down year, at that. Not finishing the year a consensus Top 10 team seems like an utter failure to me, and Stafford is the face of that disappointment, whether it is fair or not. And, sure two of their three losses were to Florida and Alabama, but the third was to Georgia Tech at home. For a team of Georgia's pedigree, that should not have happened.

Then I'm screwing around on the internet, trying to convince myself that Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li will be worth seeing for its hilarious shittiness, when I find out that the Royals signed Juan Cruz for a paltry two-year, $6 million contract with a club option for a third year.

Even with the loss of the second round draft pick, I really like this signing. With the assumption that Type B free agent Mark Grudzielanek signs somewhere eventually, the Royals will still have a first round draft pick and a compensatory sandwich pick. Cruz signed for $2.5 million less than Farnsworth but was easily the better pitcher last year. Cruz's K/9 was an astonishing 12.37 last year, and he has seemed to really put things together these last three seasons. Since his abysmal 2005, his ERA+ has jumped each season, starting with a solid 113 in 2006 only to jump up to 152 and 176 in the past two seasons. If Cruz is not the set-up man for Soria, I would be shocked.

This also solidifies my thinking that the Royals were maintaining a unified front in insisting that they were not going to have payroll pass the $70 million mark while Moore would secretly have the flexibility to pursue other free agents if the price were right. The Royals activity after the payroll jumped up to $70 million seemed to indicate as much.

I don't think anyone foresaw the market shifting so seismically, so I am ready to forgive the price tag on the Farnsworth signing now that the following things have taken place:
  • the Royals made a legitimate run at Orlando Hudson
  • the Royals signed Juan Cruz who was arguably the best middle reliever on the market this offseason
To make things even better, I think it can now be said that the bullpen is a strength again. Cruz was dominant last year. We all know what we have in Joakim Soria. When he was healthy, Ron Mahay was lights out last year. Trey Hillman seems to realize that Jimmy Gobble is a LOOGY and only a LOOGY. There will be little to no pressure on Kyle Farnsworth, and the Royals have no shortage of more than serviceable guys that they can trot out there from the stable of guys like Doug Waechter, Robinson Tejeda, or John Bale.

This does mean of course that someone was cut loose. Esteban German was the odd man out and was designated for assignment. Honestly, as much as people complain about TPJ, German was the first likely cut in the event of a signing like this. Hell, he'd probably have gotten cut loose anyway. Maybe German could have thrived under a different situation in which he played every day. The fact of the matter is that German was entirely redundant. He is basically a less talented Alberto Callaspo, who may or may not start at second. If Callaspo is coming off the bench, then what is German doing on the team? German should not be manning a position on the field. His positional flexibility (all of which he was terrible at, by the way) was negated by the fact that both Willie Bloomquist and Mark Teahen can play all of the positions Esty could and they could do so better. He had no place on the roster and did not do anything particularly well.

Say what you will about TPJ's bat, but at least he is a great defensive replacement. There was a 'great' in that last sentence. There is no 'great' to be inserted into anything on Esteban German's resume.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Prospecting for Gold

The boys over at FanGraphs are perhaps my favorite baseball writers out there. They are doing some fantastic work over there.

Yesterday, Mark Hulet put up a piece on the Royals' farm system for their on-going series "The 2009 Prospect Mine", and it is probably a little helpful to read what an outsider has to say about the Royals' system.

Obviously, we are all familiar with all the names that are mentioned in the column, but I think I can speak for many of us in saying that we Royals fans could probably stand to read what some outsiders have to say about the team--especially if the "Guess the Royals Record" responses over at Royally Speaking (at the bottom of the entry) are an accurate barometer of what Royals fans are thinking for their prospects this season.

There are a few things to consider from the column:
  • Hulet thinks Kila Ka’aihue's power is for real but that his average is just as likely to settle in near .260. He remarks that maybe the Royals would be better off paying Kila league minimum to do what Mike Jacobs will do. Hopeful Royals fans agree.
  • He thinks both Daniel Cortes and Carlos Rosa may be looking at a future in the pen, with Cortes having the potential for being a dominant eighth- or ninth-inning guy. Rosa seems to be limited to a bullpen role by his lack of a viable third pitch.
  • He sees Mike Moustakas possibly making his way to AA by the end of the season.
  • Eric Hosmer could get the Travis Snider fast-track treatment as his bat is so polished that Hulet thinks our newest treasure may see High-A pitching this season.
  • Danny Gutierrez could move quickly through the upper levels of the Royals system with his age, three pitches, and relative health after his hairline fracture.
  • Danny Duffy's issues with his shoulder could get in the way of him becoming the number three starter that his skill-set could enable him to become.
  • While Jose Bonilla was one of the top prospects in Rookie ball, his paltry walk rate could hinder him. He seems to do everything else fairly well, though, including catching.
  • He projects Johnny Giavotella as topping out as a utility player with a few possibly productive seasons.
So what can we take from this?

It would seem that maybe there is enough talent at the lower levels that could actually get fast tracked to affect the Royals by the end of the 2010 season. Obviously, it is more likely that Moose and even Hosmer don't arrive on the scene until 2011, but if things break right...

Oh, who am I kidding? These are the Royals.

OK, seriously. There is talent in the system, thanks in large part to Dayton Moore getting the Glass family (where are Franny and Zooey? Seymour?) to spend in the draft and deal with guys with higher contract demands. It would seem the years of the Royals' system producing two prospects per decade are gone. There are always going to be some question marks. Remember how Felix Hernandez was crowned King Felix at the age of 20? Well, Mariners fans could probably talk your ear off about how he has not become a young Dwight Gooden.

While we wait for Billy Butler and Alex Gordon to live up to their potential, we can look to the youngsters in the farm system with wide eyes, but we should remember that expectations are best constructed tempered.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Tony Peña, Jr.: The Answer?

After a season of historically shitty proportions, I think it is a fair assessment to say that the fanbase of the Kansas City Royals would like to see Tony Peña, Jr., thrown out of the airplane as it reaches cruising altitude on the way back from Arizona. Without a parachute.

To say Tony Peña, Jr. had a bad season would be like stating bacon is pretty good. He had the lowest batting average in the American League of players with at least 200 at-bats. His ratios were .169/.189/.209, and those are not typos. He had an OPS+ of 7. Yes, single-digits. 7.


As in, "Why didn't they ever make a Leonard Part 7*?"

*Or, perhaps the better question would be, why did they never make the much needed first five parts? I think I speak for America, nay, the World, when I say that we needed those first five parts not only to lift our spirits and defeat the threat of totalitarian rule worldwide, but also to fully prepare us for the beauty we were to receive in Part 6.

Seriously. An OPS+ of 7 is so unspeakably bad that seeing that number in that column actually made my mind explode all over the wall behind me. My skull is missing. It will probably land somewhere in the Gulf of Mexico in about an hour.

Now, the instant the curtain was drawn on his season, TPJ got Lasik. To summarize what that article says:

According to Peña, he had been having trouble seeing the ball and was not comfortable in the glasses. In Dominican winter ball after the surgery, he added walking to his repertoire, batting .275 and getting on base at a clip of .347. He totaled more walks 46 games than he did in two seasons with the Royals.

Obviously, any hope that one can derive from Peña's success this past winter must be tempered with the caveat that any progress was achieved in the Dominican Republic and not at the Major League level. This may not translate at all. A Tony Peña, Jr., who cannot get on base at a clip of at least .300 is untenable. His glove does not make up the difference between anything less than that. If--and this is a big 'if'--TPJ can somehow muster a .330 OBP, then not only would it seem that he could remain a Royal but that the Royals' middle infield problems may already be solved.

Ordinarily, I would probably make very little of this story. I try not to get too worked up over anything that I read during Spring Training. More often than not, articles that come out during Spring Training are, put nicely fluff. Put in less forgiving terms, much of it strikes me as light propaganda with the aim of either inflating the value of players who will not make the team but could conceivably yield something on the trade market or trying to sell those last few season tickets. This could very well be the former of those two.

The only reason I have a sense that there may be more to the contents of this article is that a similar thing happened going into the 2007 season.

2006 saw Cleveland's young shortstop Jhonny Peralta take a dump in the batter's box. His Age-23 season left Clevelanders brimming with hope for what they were sure to enjoy for years to come: a shortstop with legitimate 25 home run potential who had put up a .292/.366/.520 split in his "rookie" (yes, he had 242 at-bats in 2003, but he spent most of 2004 in the minors, so for all intents and purposes 2005 was his "real" rookie season) season. Sure, there could be some drop off, but he had sported an OPS+ of 137! What wasn't there to love?

In 2006 after that bold 2005 campaign, Peralta's OPS+ plummetted to 83. His ratios fell to a shocking .270/.323/.385, while he mustered a paltry 13 home runs.

As the 2006 season was coming to an end, Peralta decided that his myopia may have been becoming a greater problem than he initially thought. In the offseason that followed, he had Lasik eye surgery. What followed was a return to the 20+ home run, triple-digit OPS+ realm that Indians fans had hoped for after 2005.

I would be the first one to tell you that Tony Peña, Jr., is no Jhonny Peralta--offensively. Peña never was and never will be the hitter that Peralta is. Moreover, Peralta was not even wearing his contacts during that subpar sophomore season. Peña cannot say the same for his worthless 2008 at the dish.

But as one of the myopic masses, I can say that I do see the ball much better with contacts than when bespectacled. The same goes for when I played basketball in junior high and high school. When I finally got contacts, my depth perception and field of vision were much improved. I can completely understand where an athlete would be helped by no longer needing glasses.

Maybe Peña does not pull it together. Maybe he does not have the requisite skill-set to be a competent hitter at the Major League level. Maybe the hope that springs eternal in most fans as teams report to Florida and Arizona in February of every year is simply intoxicating me. By no means do I want this entry to be read as a love letter to Tony Peña, Jr.

I am simply positing the idea that perhaps Tony plays his way back onto this team--maybe back into the starting lineup. If his poor vision actually cost him last year and he can play capably offensively in 2009, then doesn't a starting infield of Mike Aviles and Tony Peña, Jr., at second and short actually look good defensively--at least in comparison to what the alternatives would seem to be?

If Tony Peña, Jr., is no longer broken, I think the Royals might be better off than having to trot out any of those other options at second.

Alberto Callaspo's skills at the plate seem enticing, but going into his Age-26 season he has totalled 399 at-bats in parts of three seasons in the Majors while spending more than his share of time sidelined because of behavioral transgressions. His stats would indicate potential, but the way he carries himself off the field raise warning flags. Furthermore, he could conceivably net someone in return on the trade market. I love the minor league history of doing whatever he can to get on base, but he does not avoid the bad decisions that accompany a man who does whatever he can to stay on the field.

Willie Bloomquist had one extra-base hit last season. When your ratio line reads .279/.377/.285 and those figures are in that order, there is a huge problem, and it would seem that the lofty OBP would likely come down over the course of a full season as pitchers learn that they can just throw strikes and have little damage done. As a super-sub, he can be serviceable. As a starter at second base, the Royals are fucked.

Mark Teahen is desperate to start. I don't blame him. There is not a scenario I can imagine in which Mark Teahen is a better defensive second baseman than Mike Aviles. His bat may be better than Peña's even under the ideal situation I've hinted at where TPJ becomes a serviceable offensive player, but Mark Teahen walking out to the field every inning with a glove and hunkering down on the right side of the infield but not at first is frankly scary. His bat may play above replacement level at second, but I would venture to say that his glove will not.

Mike Aviles at second, however... That is something I could stomach.

If Tony Peña, Jr., can somehow make that viable, I am all for it.

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Catcher Conundrum

The more I think about it, the more I think the Royals break camp without John Buck.

Obviously, the Royals offered Buck arbitration, leading one to believe that they are indeed interested in carrying both John Buck and Miguel Olivo on the Major League roster.

Yes, this could happen. The Royals could very well walk into Opening Day with two entirely redundant catchers. Within their roles as catcher, they do have different strengths, but offensively they are more or less the same player.

And this was not an issue for the Royals going into last season. The Royals acquired Miguel Olivo last offseason and felt confident in heading into the 2008 season with Buck and Olivo. Matt Tupman sat in the minors. Brayan Peña was brought in to battle it out with Tupman in Omaha, but the Royals were intent on having Buck and Olivo battle it out for the starting catcher spot and content with having the winner take the field.

The 2009 offseason went a little differently. Matt Tupman was re-signed to a minor league deal. Brayan Peña was added to the 40-man roster. J.R. House was signed to a minor league contract with an invite to Spring Training. Vance Wilson was signed to a minor league contract.

Now, Vance Wilson is likely going to catch in for the Double-A Naturals in his hometown in Arkansas, but he has spent a lot of time catching at the Major League level. He will either be in Double-A or in Kansas City. His acquisition would appear to me to be injury insurance.

Tupman was dropped from the 40-man roster, but re-signed with the team. His having been dropped from the 40-man sends a signal that the Royals were not happy with their now 29-year-old catching "prospect" stagnating in Omaha with a .229/.285/.318 split. At this point, Tupman is little more than organizational depth.

Having not been happy with Tupman, the Royals brought in J.R. House from the Astros organization. House--like Tupman--is 29, but he has torn up Triple-A pitching for years. Once a top prospect in the Pirates organization, he got lost in the shuffle after a few injury plagued seasons--the Pirates had Ryan Doumit, Humberto Cota, Ronny Paulino, and Neil Walker at the time--and was discarded by the Pirates. He played college football for a year as West Virginia's third-string quarterback, and then came back to baseball. He is too old to be considered a prospect (just like Tupman), but his career minor league split is .310/.372/.496. He may very well be a Quadruple-A player. He is certainly a very good Triple-A player and immediately takes Tupman's place in the organizational depth chart at catcher in Omaha.

This brings us to Brayan Peña, the third catcher on the 40-man roster. With House's signing, it would seem clear that Moore saw enough from Peña in Omaha last year that he will be the Royals' backup catcher. A former Brave, he fits the bill of the player Dayton Moore wants. He is 27-years-old, has strung together four straight encouraging years at the Triple-A level. While still in the Braves organization, he was stuck behind Brian McCann and had his position on the depth chart usurped by über-prospect Jarrod Saltalamacchia. The signing of House would reasonably indicate that Peña (or possibly, but less likely, House himself) is who the Royals are pegging to be backup catcher in Kansas City this season.

Taking that into account, that would mean that only one of the pair of Miguel Olivo and John Buck will be breaking camp with the Royals. Since the Royals chose to exercise Olivo's option for 2009 and only had to offer arbitration to Buck to bring him to Spring Training. Seeing as though Dayton Moore has been extremely active on the trade market since taking the job, Buck is more than likely auditioning for other teams this spring, with the potential of netting some meager prospect at best, and having to pay him only a fraction of the contract they are on the hook for should they cut him before the season starts in a worst-case scenario.

Regardless, Olivo is the starting catcher in Kansas City this offseason, and logic would dictate that John Buck is on the outside looking in, barring an injury to Olivo or Peña--which is probably why Buck was offered arbitration in the first place. Moore's mantra this offseason seems to be depth, depth, depth. He seems overly concerned with preparing for a worst-case scenario, having become increasingly enamored with guys like Willie Bloomquist and Mark Teahen as super-subs as their versatility spells relief in the unfortunate event of a season-ending injury to one of the key pieces of the Royals' puzzle. Buck was offered arbitration, allowing for the Royals to cut ties with him while committing very little money to him assuming the Royals make it through Spring Training without any catching injury disasters, but in the event of disaster, Buck is still an option.

Cutting Buck loose in the offseason, netted the Royals nothing and left them with only a major Miguel Olivo injury standing between the Royals and needing to start an untested Brayan Peña or J.R. House for an entire season. When Spring Training comes to a close, the Royals can shop Buck to an interested bidder, see if anything materializes, and in a worst-case scenario cut ties with him having to pay for--at most--45 days of his services.

Or at least Dayton Moore's moves this offseason would point to this being the scenario that plays out by April 6th. I think he is cagier than we are giving him credit for in this situation.


And thanks for the linkage, Royals Review. The spike in hits I got from y'all is absolutely insane. I am very much appreciative, and frankly awe-inspired by the traffic that must make its way through the site.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Hudson, the Artful Dodger

Well, it looks as though Orlando Hudson is set to put ink to paper with the Dodgers. In Jayson Stark's write-up on the deal, it is said that the Royals were offering a deal $1.22 million in excess of the Dodgers base salary of $3.38 million.

Now, maybe the incentives in the deal tipped the scale in favor of the Dodgers--apparently the incentives in the Dodgers' offer equal the base salary of $4.6 million that the Royals were offering-- but it would seem to me that the Royals outbid yet another big market team only to be spurned by a player using Kansas City's interest merely as leverage.

It would also appear (which I kind of had an inkling was going to be the case) that Dayton Moore would have been able to get David Glass to ease from his stance on adding payroll if the circumstances were right. With the breakdown of the 25- and 40-man rosters, it was clear some fat was going to get cut anyway, but this does signify a willingness to spend when it makes sense (and when it doesn't like with Farnsworth).

What else is there to say, really? We clearly cannot get too down on Moore's offseason, as he was in the running for Hudson after his wanton spending spree, and even outbid the major market Dodgers in the base salary game. There isn't much else, Moore can do.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Guillen in Shape?

Bob Dutton is reporting that Jose Guillen reported to camp trim and fit. As you may remember last year, Guillen blew for the first month plus, and his lackluster performance was largely thought to be the result of having reported to camp up to 20 pounds overweight.

Is this a sign of a reformed Jose Guillen ready to contribute in any way he can or a Guillen trying his best to be ready for the World Baseball Classic? As long as he makes it through the WBC without injury, I guess it doesn't matter, but hopefully there has been a shift in attitude and we'll get a rejuvenated Jose Guillen. He has been able to go through seasons without incident before, maybe the worst is behind us.

If he were to string together an impressive first few months more in line with his 2007 season, there could also be the possibility of being able to trade him by the deadline--a prospect Royals management and fans would likely embrace, as a Guillen whose performance would be worthy a trade could actually net some talent.

Or maybe I'm being entirely too optimistic...

Spring Training!

Moving on to Less Reprehensible Second Basemen

According to Buster Olney, the Royals are entertaining finding a way to fit Orlando Hudson into their plans. This is a signing I was begging for months ago, although in all fairness, this buyer's market was not even remotely considered when I wanted so badly for this to happen. Of all the free agents, I thought he and Adam Dunn would fit what the Royals needed most, with O-Hud's well-roundedness levelling the playing field in a head-to-head evaluation of whether he or Dunn would bring more to the Royals.

Orlando Hudson, using nearly every advanced defensive metric, is entirely worthy of the myriad defensive accolades he has collected. Granted, he has spent time on the DL in years past, but his glove is tremendous. He is very capable swinging the bat as well, making him appealing in a way that none of the other internal prospects for second base are.

Bob Dutton has stated that this signing is a long-shot, especially given the fact that signing Hudson would result in the Royals having to forfeit their second-round (editors note: corrected from erroneously "corrected" written first round pick) draft pick. But apparently if the price is right, they can cope with the loss of the draft pick.

Obviously, I am no fan of wrecklessly giving away draft picks, but the Royals do qualify for a supplemental draft pick with Grudz's having declined arbitration, so it is a sacrifice I think is worth it. To clear up room, you'd have to think they'd be willing to move Teahen for next to nothing, as he'd surely be the odd man out giving the already crowded 25-man roster what with the lack of options for the glut of first basemen/middle infielders they have filled the 40-man with this offseason. As much as we'd prefer Bloomquist to have never been signed, it would surely seem that Teahen would be the slightly more desireable piece in the eyes of a trading partner, certainly moreso than Wee Willie Bloomquist.

Sure, I'd prefer to have the Royals simply cut bait with less talented personnel than have to deal Teahen, but the signing of Hudson may afford them the luxury of not having to ask for talent that is almost ML-ready. If they had to go prospecting with someone who hadn't seen action at a level above High-A ball, it would be more digestible under these new circumstances. After all, they'd seem to have legitimate Major Leaguers at every position, with the possible exception of catcher and short--that is if Mike Aviles falls apart in an Angel Berroa-like sophomore campaign, although Bloomquist is arguably an insurance policy of sorts in this scenario.

Regardless, it is refreshing to see the Royals of all teams, looking at their books in an effort to stretch things out as much as possible and bring in veteran talent of the caliber of Hudson. If they were to miraculously sign him, it would obliterate nearly every disparaging word I'd said of Moore this offseason. I know it's not easy, but if he were to get one of the two players I wanted the Royals to sign as far back as last summer--yes, I wanted Hudson more than every other middle infielder and saw him as more realistic than option than any of the jokers that signed with the Yankees--I can reconcile the signings of guys like Willie Bloomquist and Kyle Farnsworth for each and every one of the 162 games the Royals will play this season.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Roberto Alomar: Bit of a Dick

All right, I know he didn't play for the Royals, but Jesus Christ, this cannot be ignored.

So Alomar joins the ranks of former Mets who are apparently horrible human beings--right there with Ambiorix Burgos.

Perhaps the weirdest part of this story is the following excerpt from the article:

In April 2005, Alomar told Dall he was suffering from erectile dysfunction and confided "he was raped by two Mexican men after playing a ballgame in New Mexico or a Southwestern state when he was 17," the suit says.

That is fucked up.

It's not fucked up enough to balance out the fact that this guy, if we're to believe the plaintiff, continually lied about having been tested, and HIVed his live-in girlfriend, just so he could go bareback, which leads me back to the title of this post...

In terms of baseball, how does this affect his Hall of Fame chances? Obviously, he measured up well in comparison to other HOF second basemen, although the last few (possibly AIDS-riddled) years have been used to argue against his inclusion by Roberto Alomar naysayers. Does something as fucking awful and evil as this (if he's guilty) successfully keep him out? It's certainly possible because willfully AIDSing someone you love borders on attempted murder.

Victor in The Battle of Who Could Care Less

The victor in the titular battle is none other than this blogger after another blah signing. This time it was one-time Royal righty, Jamey Wright. Minor league contract. Invite to spring training. If he makes the opening day roster I'll be shocked. He is capable of a fill-in start midseason should the five-plus starters ahead of him on the fifth starter depth chart die in a boating accident. Clearly, he just wanted back into the fold, knowing a good thing when he saw it.

The Star did have a feature about the fact that the Royals were still dangling their toes in the free agency waters. Obviously, there are guys like the Orlandos and even Ray Durham, whose price tags have dipped much further than could possibly have been imagined earlier this offseason. O-Cab and O-Hud would both cost the Royals their second-round draft pick, which is much more than David Glass wants to sacrifice in addition to the fact that any such signing would likely take payroll over the $70 million mark.

It's too bad something can't be done to rid Kansas City of the albatross of a contract Jose Guillen has, allowing them to make a run at Adam Dunn and a legit bargain middle infielder (i.e. someone not named Willie Bloomquist).

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Straight-Brim Cordero?

I am a bit hesitant to run with a rumor without a listed source from MLB Trade Rumors, but Tim Dierkes is saying that there are whispers of the Royals having interest in Chad Cordero. The former Expo/National was slated to throw in a private session off the mound Monday.

The Cal State Fullerton alum made the jump from 2003 draftee to 2003 Major Leaguer, and by the end of the 2004 season he was the Montreal closer. In 2005 and 2006, he enjoyed his best two seasons, pitching so well as the finish fifth in Cy Young voting in 2005. His numbers in each season were as follows:

2005: 74 games, 74 1/3 IP, 47 SV, 2 -4 W-L, 61:17 K:BB, 1.82 ERA, 0.97 WHIP
2006: 68 games, 73 1/3 IP, 39 SV, 7 - 4 W-L, 69:22 K:BB, 3.19 ERA, 1.11 WHIP

Now, the WHIP in each of these seasons may seem a bit low, especially considering the relatively underwhelming strikeout numbers, and they are. His BABIP in these two seasons were .236 and .250. Without particularly overpowering stuff (his fastball over the past four years has averaged a mere 89.2 MPH, but his slider does drop off roughly 10 MPH), it would stand to reason that his WHIP and accordingly his ERA were probably lower than they should have been and his FIP for those two seasons would back that up (3.72 and 4.59).

2007 saw a return to the expected output, but there were reports of arm issues the latter half of 2007 that ended up rearing their head again in 2008 and shutting him down after a paltry 4 1/3 IP. His last season stood up like this:

2007: 76 games, 75.0 IP, 37 SV, 3 -3 W-L, 62:29 K:BB, 3.36 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, .309 BABIP, 4.13 FIP

It should be noted that on August 15th, Cordero's ERA and WHIP sat at 2.44 and 1.22, respectively. In his next 18 appearances his ERA was 6.35 with a 19:8 K:BB while allowing opposing hitters a .329/.395/.521 split and a 1.88 WHIP.

If the Royals were to take a stab at him, obviously they would have to be operating under the belief that the Chad Cordero at the end of the 2007 was an injured one and that he had recovered.

Personally, I would not object to adding him. His 2005 and 2006 seasons were obviously a bit on the lucky side, but when 'on' Cordero gets guys out. Cordero as their set-up man is certainly more palatable than Kyle Farnsworth, and the Royals are more than likely looking at having to cut loose a contract they're on the hook for anyway. If Cordero pushes someone else out, so be it. Healthy Chad Cordero makes the Royals better, and at this stage in the free agent market, the contract can probably be more on the incentive-laden side of things.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Chiefs Diversion

I have to say I am really excited about the new direction the Chiefs seem to be going in. They didn't fall into the trap that many struggling teams fall into by signing a coach from a team that failed to make the Super Bowl.

First, the Scott Pioli signing--really, the most highly regarded candidate league-wide for a GM position--and now they have grabbed the offensive coordinator from the NFC Champion Cardinals, who averaged over 30 points per game in the playoffs leading up to the Super Bowl and would have kept that up if Warner hadn't thrown that pick resulting in a seven-point swing inside the 10. Sure, it was debatable as to whether the Cardinals should have been throwing in that situation in the first place, but after years and years and years of conservative and predictable play-calling, I would much prefer a head coach who will not pussy-foot around.

Things are looking up on both sides of the Truman Complex. The Chiefs have a fly new front office. The Royals have steadily improved in each of Dayton Moore's years in K.C. Things are coming up Kansas City Sports Fans.