Monday, December 27, 2010

The "Rotation"

As David Gobielewski pointed out earlier this week over at FanGraphs, the Royals' rotation heading into the 2011 season is looking pretty dicey.  ZiPS is not particularly kind to any of the projected rotation with the best ERA+ projection being Luke Hochevar's 91*.  Luke's 6.4 K/9 is also the best rate amongst projections for the potential 2011 rotation.

*Gil Meche is also listed at 91, but I have yet to see anyone talking about Gil Meche realistically being anything but an arm out of the pen in 2011. 

It is obvious that even with tempered optimism for Hochevar in 2011 that the rotation is going to be brutally awful.  The rotation of Hochevar, Kyle Davies, Sean O'Sullivan, and Vin Mazzaro is not a Major-League-caliber rotation, and that is only four pitchers.  As mention, Meche's shoulder negates his ability to log innings as a starter.  As of Sunday, Anthony Lerew has gone the way of Bryan Bullington is pitching in Japan in 2011.  Bruce Chen is still a free agent but wants a multi-year contract.  Brian Bannister's days in Kansas City are--for all intents and purposes--over. 

While the issue of what will happen with the fifth slot is certainly one of concern, there is another issue that is likely to present itself.  What follows is a list of the current Royals "starters" and the number of starts they have logged over the past three seasons with additional minor league starts in parentheses:
  • Luke Hochevar: 2008 - 22 (+3), '09 - 25 (+8), '10 - 17 (+2) 
  • Kyle Davies: '08 - 21 (+11), '09 - 22 (+8), '10 - 32
  • Vin Mazzaro: '08 - 0 (+27), '09 - 17 (+9), '10 - 18 (+6)
  • Sean O'Sullivan: '08 - 0 (+25), '09 - 10 (+16), '10 - 14 (+15)
Granted, O'Sullivan is only 23 years old and Mazzaro is 24, so their respective start totals can be expected to have been curbed a bit as a result of their age, but the pitchers listed above have averaged 25.67, 31.33, 25.67, and 26.67 starts over the past three years.  Hochevar managed to pitch only 103.0 innings in the Bigs last season.  The top four candidates from the current 40-man roster for spots in the rotation combined for 81 starts in the Majors last year.  That's half a season's worth of starts (read: oh, shit, that's not enough).

In 2010, the Royals were able to plug in guys like Bullington, Lerew, and Chen who were able to eat starts for a team beset by injuries.  Unlike last season, Zack Greinke won't be making 30+ starts.

Everett Teaford as he escapes grasp of the Matrix
The Royals are also getting to the point where the pitchers at the upper levels of the farm system are pitchers whose development is actually integral to the future of the franchise and whose arbitration clocks need to be delayed.  Yes, Dayton Moore & Co. have said Everett Teaford and Danny Duffy will likely be competing for that final spot in the rotation come Spring Training.  Teaford has made one start above Double-A.  Duffy has made seven starts above High-A.  Given Moore's general pattern of hesitancy in regards to the deliberately slow advancement of their top prospects through the system, it doesn't really make much sense to me that Duffy would be in the mix.  It would absolutely shock me if Duffy broke camp in the starting rotation in Kansas City.  Hell, I'd be a little surprised if he was in Omaha.  Past Teaford (who at the very least isn't a prospect-type that needs to be treated with kid gloves), there is organizational filler like Manauris Baez, Kevin Pucetas, Luis Mendoza, or Nathan Adcock (the Royals Rule V pick who has never pitched above High-A) who could conceivably spot start, but there is a serious lack of starting pitching depth at the upper levels of the organization that is expendable enough to be able to throw to the wolves, a la Eduardo Villacis.

So unless we are talking about transitioning Robinson Tejeda or Joakim Soria to the rotation, the Royals are realistically going to have to add multiple arms.  As much as Jeff Parker* is going to hate this, I think one of those arms needs to be Kevin Millwood

*Apparently, we are going through the same Week-After realization because I just went over to Royally Speaking to find that link, and saw this column...

It isn't a sexy signing, but in the wake of the Zack trade, the Royals simply need to be able to have a starter give them innings, especially in light of the fact that their presumed top four starters cannot be relied upon to make 30 starts a piece.  What follows is the list of starting pitchers available on the free agent market who can reliably be expected to give you 30 starts: Kevin Millwood.  That's it.  One guy.  From the rest of the crop, Carl Pavano, Andy Pettitte, and well, just those two could reasonably give you 30 starts next year.

Of the Royals highly touted prospects, Aaron Crow has had 22 rough starts at Double-A, Mike Montgomery has 13 starts at Double-A, John Lamb and Danny Duffy have seven starts at Double-A, Chris Dwyer has logged four starts at Double-A, Tim Melville has made 22 starts in High-A, and Will Smith made nine starts in Triple-A for the reckless Angels before he was traded to the Royals and reassigned to High-A.  The first of those guys who is likely to make it to Kauffman is Mike Montgomery, barring some breakthrough for Crow.  For all the talk of Duffy getting a shot at the rotation in Spring Training, I just don't see how his lack of innings pitched equates to him breaking into rotation before Montgomery.

Regardless of how the prospects break into the Major League rotation, I just do not see how they can make it through this season without getting a ton of innings pitched out of someone who is not currently with the organization.  Unfortunately, Kevin Millwood fits this need better than anyone else.  Even more than that, I don't know that signing him for two years would be the worst thing in the world.  The Royals are not going to be playoff-bound in 2012 anyway, and if they were, it would mean that Millwood was likely their Number Five starter.  Given that they have no money on the books for 2012, the modest salary Millwood would be due would be palatable.

Now that I've said that, I'm going to curl up into the fetal position and suck my thumb until I fall asleep because 2011 is going to be brutal in Kansas City.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Zack Greinke Gone

My weekly post (and in all fairness, it's been slightly more than that lately) comes a day early this week, and this is all thanks to the fact that news of Zack Greinke being traded to the Brewers leaked a day earlier than they had planned to make the official announcement.  So, despite the fact that most of the internet dies on the weekend, here we Royals fans are, searching for anything to make Greinke's departure make sense.

The six-player deal sees the Brewers getting Zack Greinke, Yuniesky Betancourt, and $2 million in cash to cover the 2012 buyout for Batter Nine You Sucky's option after the 2011 season.  In return, the Royals are receiving Alcides Escobar, Lorenzo Cain, Jeremy Jeffress, and Jake Odorizzi.

My initial thought is, "Jesus, Zack can't catch a break.  Yuni is gonna be killing him at short again?"

Unlike some, I can't say I blame Greinke for wanting to be traded to a team that is competitive.  With the previous addition of Shaun Marcum, the Brewers have bolstered what had frankly been a shitty rotation.  Greinke, Yovani Gallardo, Marcum, Randy Wolf, and possibly Chris Narveson in the five slot.  If Narveson is your third starter you can probably write off 2011, even in the relatively weak NL Central.  This definitely changes things for Milwaukee, putting them right in the hunt (on paper).  Clearly, this is what Zack wanted.  One would imagine that this is also largely why he elected not to go to Washington, who have Jordan Zimmermann and then no one in their rotation. 

As things look right now, this appears to have been the best package the Royals had been offered for Greinke thus far.  Whether or not that is actually enough is certainly debatable, but it would appear as though the Rangers were unwilling to part with Martin Perez and the Jays were not going to give them Kyle Drabek and Travis Snider.  From all the unsubstantiated rumblings, it appears as though this was the best package on the table for the Royals as well as Greinke.

What did Dayton Moore get back exactly?  Well, there are now three new players on the 40-man roster.  Alcides Escobar was the 12th-ranked prospect on Baseball America's Top 100 list heading into 2010, which was coincidentally where MLB.com had him ranked.  Keith Law was decidedly less bullish on Escobar, who he had ranked 54th overall last off-season.  Heading into last year, I was pretty bullish about Escobar, whose glove was said to be very good and had begun to show signs of life at the plate. 

He promptly disappointed at the plate and had a statistically middling season with the glove.  He was a 0.6 WAR (FanGraphs' calculations) player, owing largely to his defense.  Given his speed and 21.5 LD %, one can probably assume he was unreasonably unlucky in 2010 as he had a meager .264 BABIP.  His career ML BB% is too low at 5.8%, but he is still a marked improvement from Betancourt at short, is only 24, and can't really be worse than he was last season.  Dayton Moore has apparently confirmed that this will move Christian Colon off short now, which is probably for the best, and turns second base into an organizational position of strength with Colon, Johnny Giavotella, and injury prone Jeff Bianchi filling out the depth chart at the upper levels of the minors.  One of those three almost has to hit at the big league level.

As far as Lorenzo Cain is concerned, John Sickels had this to say about him in October:
I don't expect Cain to hit .300+ every year, but I can see him as a consistent .270-.290 hitter with some seasons that get beyond that. If he boosts is isolated patience a bit, maintains his polish on the bases, his offensive and defensive skills will make him quite valuable.
As much as it blows to be relieved that Cain should unseat the newly-acquired previously-apparent starter in center field, Melky Cabrera, we can hopefully rest at ease next year with Moore having a reasonable out in telling The Melk Man to go screw, and that he's no longer the starter in left.  He also has been mentioned (I honestly cannot remember where I saw this) as a potential candidate to lead off, which probably isn't a good thing, but who else on this godawful team should be?  Chris Getz?  While we may not have gotten to see Dyson manning center on Opening Day, Cain's plus glove and more developed bat logically force him into the starting lineup. 

The pitcher with the most upside in the deal is 20-year-old righty Jake Odorizzi, who posted 10.1 K/9 in low-A ball, and has a career 9.4 mark with a 3.40 K/BB.  Kevin Goldstein at Baseball Prospectus slots Odorizzi in at the ninth slot in the Royals' stacked farm system, and fifth amongst starting pitchers.  According to Goldstein, he was the top starting pitcher in the Brewers' farm and would be a top three prospect in almost any other organization.  Granted, he is not that advanced, but if his ceiling is that of a borderline Number Two pitcher, he has me the most excited of all of the players in the deal.

This leaves Jeremy Jeffress, who is more likely to grace the cover of High Times than Sports Illustrated.  Goldstein had Odorizzi as a top 101 prospect.  Jeffress slots in right ahead of Odorizzi at the #8 spot in his revised Royals prospect rankings.  Heading into 2009, he was #100 on Baseball America's list.  He has a career minor-league K/9 of 10.6 and was not converted to the bullpen until 2010.  His fastball has been clocked at 102 MPH.  He also was reported to have been added to Milwaukee's 40-man roster to avoid his expulsion from the game, as he has been suspended twice in the minors (first time for 50 games, second for 100) for pot use.  MLBPA members are no longer tested for marijuana, hence the addition to the 40-man. 

Honestly, I don't really give a damn about the marijuana usage.  I am surprised that the same GM who jettisoned Danny Gutierrez* and Daniel Cortes for their character issues didn't care in this instance.  I'd imagine the inclusion of Jeffress comes with one of two motives: (1) Moore is planning on turning around and packaging Jeffress, possibly with one of their glut of outfielders (read: Alex Gordon) for something else he perceives as a need, or (2) Jeffress promised to find Jesus and go to church with GMDM every Sunday. 

*Gutierrez was for pot use, if I remember correctly.

Jeffress did advance all the way to Milwaukee this past season, and he does project to be a very strong reliever, and could join Tiny Tim Collins as highly touted prospects breaking camp with the big league club*.

*This is, of course, unless his second suspension has not been served to completion yet.

Now, what this means for the Royals in 2011 isn't that much different.  With Zack Greinke, they were going to be terrible.  Without him, they will be fucking terrible.  Can anyone see the Royals not being a 105-loss team?  That should net them the top pick of the 2012 draft.  I guess if 2011 was already lost, why not get the first pick of the draft out of it? 

The Royals are going to be really hard to watch next year.  They should be defensively improved, and maybe that will begin to negate the loss of Greinke.  As Moore had intimated a few weeks ago, he expects Everett Teaford and Danny Duffy to compete for the fifth-starter job.  If no outside players are brought in to supplement the pitching staff, one would assume that Teaford, whose arbitration clock need not be delayed for cost-saving purposes, would be that fifth starter. 

This move is not about 2011, though.  In the long run, this does probably make them better in 2013.  Maybe Moore could have gotten more for Greinke.  I know I wish he did, but unfortunately this seems to have been the best deal of the bunch.  At the very least, this deal looks better right now than the Johan-Santana-to-the-Mets and C.C.-Sabathia-to-the-Brewers deals look in retrospect.  It is hard to be overly excited about this deal, but I really don't know what else to say other than that it happened.

To make room on the 40-man roster, Joaquin Arias was designated for assignment, potentially joining Lance Zawadzki on the list of players I have needlessly written about in the offseason because they have been DFAd before ever donning a Royals uniform.  Phil Humber is the other Royal who has been DFAd to make room for the Royals rash of recent moves.  All three were expendable.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Phillies???

Pardon the excessive question marking in the title.  I rather dislike the usage of multiple question marks and exclamation points, but seriously.

It seems like many people dismissed the rumors of there being a mystery team involved in the Cliff Lee bidding war as being baseless and/or a negotiating ploy from the Cliff Lee camp.  It would appear that these skeptics (myself included) were dead wrong. Cliff Lee signed a five-year, $120 million deal with a vesting option for a sixth year with the Philadelphia Phillies, who had not been linked to Lee at all prior to Monday. 

This can only mean good things for the Royals insofar as the potential return for Zack Greinke is concerned.  Where it was popularly thought that the loser of the Lee sweepstakes would have to press and get a trade worked out for the 2009 AL Cy Young winner, both teams have been left with their pants down.  Well, the Rangers and Yankees are still without the ace they coveted, and the next best option after Zack would appear to either be Carl Pavano (via free agency) or Matt Garza (via trade).  It has long been thought that these two teams have been the two most likely destinations for Greinke, but the surprise signing of Lee in Philadelphia adds a new wrinkle. 

Of late, the Nationals have appeared to have been getting involved in the Greinke talks.  With the Phillies seeming to have set themselves apart in the NL East as it currently sits, the Nationals are not the only team that may feel the need to get involved in the trade talks.  The Braves' strong 2010 has to look a little less encouraging given the fact that the Phillies now have what looks to be the best rotation in recent memory.  The Braves have previously been said to have had interest in Zack; now they may feel the need to do something to keep pace in the changing landscape of the NL East.  If the Nationals become aggressors, can the Braves stand idly by, especially when they have the deeper system and just got back into the playoffs?

The other team that this could mean something for is the Blue Jays.  While they have appeared reticent to include Drabek and Snider in trade talks, the Yankees' failure to land Lee leaves them vulnerable given the sorry state of their starting rotation.  The addition of Greinke to what is already a promising young rotation would make Toronto much more threatening.

And then there are the Rangers and the Yankees, both of whom have been jilted by Lee.  With all of these suitors, it can only mean good things for Kansas City, as long as Moore doesn't hold fast to the notion that the talent in return isn't at a specific position.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Melky Cabrera Is Now a Royal: Simon Says Championship

The Melkman cometh, and I feel really dirty.

Having gotten that obligatory pun out of the way, last week Dayton Moore clearly decided that he was going to acquire only the shittiest outfielders on the free agent market.  First, there was Francoeur, and all twelve Royals fans were up in arms.  We knew it was coming--we'd known for years--but that didn't make the reality of the signing any easier to deal with.

Dammit.
Not to be outdone by himself, Dayton Moore went out and signed the awful Melky Cabrera.  It took Braves fans less than a month last year to hate Melky Cabrera, with the labels of fat and lazy being applied to Cabrera rather liberally throughout the season.  With his weight listed as 200 lbs for last season, he was 30 lbs heavier than he is listed at on his B-R Minor League page.

More importantly, if he is the starting center fielder heading into spring training as Bob Dutton reported, then the spectacular defense of Jarrod Dyson would definitely seem to be gracing the new stadium in Omaha or wasting away on the bench in Kansas City.  Instead, the owner of a cumulative -22.3 UZR/150 in the outfield (-20.8 in LF, -30.4 in CF, and -7.6 in RF) in 2010 will be patrolling center.  Sure, we're talking about a small sample size.  If he came into camp motivated and in shape, 2010 could prove to be the outlier rather than a harbinger of things to come. 

This would all be rendered irrelevant if Melky Cabrera could hit.  His first five seasons would indicate that he cannot.  With a triple slash of .267/.329/.380, an 86 OPS+, an average of 60 R, 23 2B, 3 3B, 8 HR, 10 SB, 54 RBI, 43 BB, 62 SO per season, and only six players found with a wOBA worse than Cabrera's .313 and at least 2,500 plate appearances since 2006 (three of whom will also be Royals in 2011--you know who they are), he has done next to nothing to indicate that he will be able to hit going forward.

If he has one saving grace, it is that he sort of draws walks and doesn't strike out much.  His 8.1 BB% is very comparable to David DeJesus's 8.3 BB%.  There are only 21 players from 2006-2010 with the same plate appearance stipulation as above with a lower K-rate than Melky's 13.0%.  His O-Swing % is a rather high 27.9%, but his overall Contact % is a respectable 87.9% 

Yes, he is just entering his prime, as Dayton Moore has reminded us all, but a shitty player's prime is still likely to be shitty.  Using FanGraphs' WAR, only Yuniesky Betancourt has a lower WAR than Melky (the next two worst are Teahen and Francoeur).  Given that he has nothing that he does well, it simply puzzles me that Jarrod Dyson would not be given a shot.  At least Dyson does something well.  It just seems that in a season that is already lost that it might make sense to not sign HORRIBLE FUCKING PLAYERS to block players who we could at least learn something about.  Instead, we will get to watch the shittiest defense in baseball get shittier, and also have those shitty defensive players not be able to hit.  Even if Dyson plays so poorly as to warrant being replaced, Gregor Blanco and Mitch Maier can both play as poorly as Cabrera, and neither are arbitration eligible until next year.  Combined, they cost less than Melky, they can both play as poorly as Melky with a hand tied behind their back, and they are both already Royals.  

Goddammit.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Jeff Francoeur Signed By Royals, World Keeps Spinning On Its Axis

I guess I should have been careful what I said late last night (I 'wrote' that last post at 4:00 A.M.).  

Goddammit.

If ever an SI cover got it right, it's this one...
Since Dayton Moore took the job with the Royals, it has seemed inevitable that Jeff Francoeur had a stop in Kansas City in his future.  It is finally happening, as the Frenchman and the Royals have agreed to a one-year, $2.5 million deal with $500,000 in incentive bonuses and a $3 million mutual option for 2012.

In other words, the Dayton Moore Royals are paying the man who has the 2nd lowest WAR (-2.1*) amongst the top 200 players in plate appearances over the last three seasons at least $2.5 million this next year.  At that price tag, it is hard to imagine a scenario in which Francoeur isn't limited to facing lefties, the only possible way in which he would not be a black hole in the line up as his platoon splits are .299/.343/.481 against LHP versus .256/.296/.403 when facing RHP.  If his signing somehow meant that the Royals were resigned to a righty/left platoon split in right field with Francoeur and Alex Gordon, maybe this could work.  After all, Gordon has hit a staggeringly bad .215/.290/.370 versus LHP**. 

*Using Baseball-Reference's WAR, not FanGraphs'. 

**I know he's been bad, but holy shit, when your platoon split makes Jeff Francoeur look decent your failures have to be magnified, right?  We keep making excuses and holding out hope, but he's been moved off position and has done so little capably in the Majors over the past two years that I'm done with him.

Unfortunately, there is nothing about the day-to-day management of the team that would really point towards this logical platoon being stuck to, and while that is irksome, it is nothing compared to the fact that Dayton Moore has once again given us pause, forcing us to wonder what it is that he looks for on the free agent market.  Yes, the farm system appears to have been miraculously overhauled, but what fucking trick does he think he has to tap into some mysterious potential that Jeff Francoeur has.

If there is one thing we can take solace in as Royals fans, it is that once this season which admittedly is already lost well before it ever began, we shall hopefully be free from the specter of a future with Jeff Francoeur.  Maybe all it will take is Frenchy blowing ass like we all know he will to flush this notion of competency that Dayton Moore seems to have about Jeff Francoeur.

Until then, we'll get to watch what is sure to be the worst outfield in baseball struggle in the field* and at the plate.

*Yes, Jarrod Dyson is supposed to be great in the field, but I am skeptical that he will get the lion's share of the playing time in center.  The platoon split of Gordon and Francoeur could at least be strong-armed in right, but Francoeur's defense is three full seasons removed from being top-notch.  Mitch Maier, who may or may not get much playing time is honestly the only outfielder I have any faith in, and realistically he is a fourth outfielder.  I hope that Gregor Blanco is not in a Royals' uniform come opening day.

Winter Meetings Overload

So much seems to be happening all day long, yet it feels like for all the jibber-jabber and the whispering, nothing...  is...  happening...  Stasis.

Just do something.

Anything.

We all know that Frenchman is going to be a Royal.  Just give him the $18 million per contract that you've been wanting to, Dayton.  Get it over with.

Argh.  I give up.

It was fun, Zack.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Rant Addendum with Unfortunate NSFW Segment

All right, it occurs to me that I let one idiot get my dander up, and maybe I didn't handle it with the most grace in the world.  Since there are plenty of you who may not be aware, there was an Anonymous poster over at Rany on the Royals about a month and a half ago whose conduct was so bad as to force Rany Jazayerli to no longer allow Anonymous posting.  This commenter was spewing ignorant, anti-Muslim vitriol (amongst other things) toward Rany, who is Muslim.  If you need an example, his idiocy is sprinkled throughout the comments section of this post.  I'll refrain from re-posting it here, as it only serves to amplify the hatred that burns at this little man.


Fast-forward six weeks and this same commenter pops up over here.  Anyone who has been over at Rany on the Royals and active in the comments section knows of this troll.  His modus operandi and poor control over the English language give him away.

I think when I wrote the passage responding to him that it was with the hope that it would shut him up here.  To the extent that he hasn't posted here since the commenting setting was changed only verifies what I thought to be true:  He snipes from behind the curtain of anonymity but won't publicly own up to what he says.

As for myself, well, this is what I said:
By the way, RT, I welcome your poorly punctuated, often barely intelligible comments, but anonymous commenting is no longer kosher here.  Crawl out from under the rock in your mother's basement and hurl your inane insults from the open like the rest of us.  

Oh, and learn how to read and write, you ignorant choadfucking toolbag.  Your unoriginal, run-of-the-mill trolling could at least make sense, fucktard.  For starters, it is 'bestiality' without the 'a,' you pederast.  Your comment 

Duggan you fuck, you. Prick.  
was five words.  Five.  Two of which were the same word.  Yet, amazingly you were unable to string those five words together to make any sense.  Did you drop out of school when you were six, you three-toothed, jug-playing, horse-fellating hayseed?  When you are done taking on that Pasadena mudslide that your father/brother is about to lay on you, log in with a username, and feel free to respond.
I am accountable for what I say here.  Maybe it was a little rash, and it was inarguably pretty lewd, but I said it, and I'm owning it. I did allow this little parasite to bring me down to his level, and I also conceivably offended some people, so allow me to apologize.

To all the people who live in their mothers' basements, inane insult hurlers, ignorant choadfucking toolbags, fucktards, pederasts, six-year-old drop-outs, tri-toothed persons, jug players, horse fellaters, hayseeds, Pasadena mudslide enthusiasts, victims of incest, perpetrators of incest, inbreds, and people who are both brother and father to another person I apologize for lumping you in with this despicable piece of sub-human racist trash.  You people did not deserve for me to denigrate your existences like that.  Please accept my apology.

Now, dear readers, I apologize to any of the faint of heart at having to read some of what I wrote from a place of anger.  If it is of any consolation, the rough draft was far less civil.  Insofar as the cursing is concerned, well, it does find its way into this blog from time to time, as this is meant to be a reflection of this fan's experience.  Try as I might, there is still a little too much anger that finds its way out of this sports fan.

Back with non-troll-baited content Monday, unless something that happens at the Winter Meetings forces me into action before then.

Thanks for reading, and thanks for your patience.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Why am I still rooting for these Royals?

During the 1985 World Series, I was just barely six years old; a kindergartener living in central Iowa.  My dad was the one from Kansas City.  He watched the Series, cheering downstairs while I slept.  I didn't see a second of that World Series.   

As 98% of the people who would stumble across this site know, the Royals have not made the playoffs since that World Series win.  For a time, they were competitive but cursed to be in the same division as the performance-enhanced Oakland Athletics or a Twins team emboldened by Frank Viola's mustache.

That isn't to say that there weren't reasons to like the Royals after 1985.  While he may not have been the best all-around player in the game, one could easily have argued that the most popular player in the sport was a Royal through 1990.  Bo Jackson was an easy player for a young child to be impressed by.  He was on a Saturday morning cartoon, for Christ's sake.  Unless they start doing cartoons about overcoming Social Anxiety Disorder, there isn't about to be another Kansas City Royals star with a profile as large as Bo Jackson.  When I was in third and fourth grade and living in Rochester, Minnesota, we would go up to the Metrodome when the Royals came to town despite the fact that the family was in a brief period of semi-voluntary (my father's choice, not mine) poverty.

In the summer of 1990, we moved to Mulvane, Kansas, for the end of that baseball season and the duration of the next one, moving to Southeast Minnesota shortly thereafter.  Over the course of those two years, any doubt that I would continue on as a Royals fan was eradicated, as my freak baseball fan younger self devoured every Royals game I could.

I was 12 years old when we moved for the last time of my adolescence.  We moved to a town that only got stations from Wisconsin.  The internet was this thing that a friend or two had.  Without cable, box scores and shitty AP game capsules of any games that had concluded by press time were the only way to follow the out-of-market Royals.

Then came the strike.

And years of losing followed. 

Well, that doesn't actually summarize it very aptly.

One winning season since the strike.

Despite having that winning season in this past decade, the Royals still had the worst record in all of baseball.

Sure, I was a petulant and pretentious teen who deemed sports fandom as being below him.  I was lucky enough to have given myself a few years off from the misery of being a Royals fan.

But while one could argue that I'm still petulant and pretentious, I was too dumb to stay away from the Royals, and if that wasn't enough, something within me compelled me to take on the thankless task of writing an entire fucking blog about this awful fucking team.  I suppose I've been a glutton for many things, and punishment is apparently one of them.

Now that I can watch the Royals nearly every day, it causes more aggravation than anything else.  A brighter future is a carrot at the end of a three-year fucking stick.  Writing about this team makes you want to re-prioritize your life, and this past season left me sapped.  A move and the corresponding lack of MLB Extra Innings foisted a month-long Royalslessness upon me.  I needed it.

The Royals seem like they'll likely do very little of note this offseason.  That is, of course, unless they trade everyone's favorite Royal.  Then the entire 2011 season will be even more of a tiresome affair from the fans' standpoint, largely spent hoping that the handful of prospects who get called up don't suck.

Despite my existence as a Royals blogger being validated by the Rany Troll*, it becomes increasingly more difficult to justify both my Royals fandom and actually bothering to write about them at all.

*By the way, RT, I welcome your poorly punctuated, often barely intelligible comments, but anonymous commenting is no longer kosher here.  Crawl out from under the rock in your mother's basement and hurl your inane insults from the open like the rest of us.  

Oh, and learn how to read and write, you ignorant choadfucking toolbag.  Your unoriginal, run-of-the-mill trolling could at least make sense, fucktard.  For starters, it is 'bestiality' without the 'a,' you pederast.  Your comment 
Duggan you fuck, you. Prick.  
was five words.  Five.  Two of which were the same word.  Yet, amazingly you were unable to string those five words together to make any sense.  Did you drop out of school when you were six, you three-toothed, jug-playing, horse-fellating hayseed?  When you are done taking on that Pasadena mudslide that your father/brother is about to lay on you, log in with a username, and feel free to respond.

I'm going to try to stick it out.  Hopefully the future is as bright as the prospect experts say it is, but 2011 may try every last ounce of my patience.

Is anyone else feeling the same way?