The Kansas City Royals: Spring Cleaning

The best picture ever taken of anything that has happened during a Royals game. Nori certainly has a flair for the dramatic. Photo found on Twitter.

Speaking by the calendar, summer doesn’t officially begin until June 21st, so the title is accurate. The month of May is clearly the Royals least favorite month of the year; an 8-20 record in this month last year will probably lead to a 10-18 month this year. Improvement! Hardly so, however, as we began it 0-5, and will likely finish it worse than that. The Royals are now well under .500 on the season and considering how good Detroit is once again this year, the Royals are going to need a run in these last 100 games better than what they had last year.

So many things about which to be frustrated. Swept at home against the Astros, a bullpen with more holes than swiss cheese, and describing the offense as anemic would be far too kind.

Long side note here: I love this team. Even though, since I moved to Kansas City in August of 1993, the Royals have only had three winning seasons (four if you include the strike shortened one) I still cheer for them, and have hope of one day witnessing the playoffs come to Kauffman. But what happened last year and what is happening this year is just so. Frustrating. I hardly have the time nor the finger strength to type out all of my grievances. But there is one thing I firmly believe: absolutely none of the Royals failures in these recent years is Dayton Moore’s fault. Even if we lose 100 games, Dayton should still be our GM. Because honestly, who out there could do it better? But there is something he can do: clean house.

I’ve written frequently about lineup and game management and how bad Ned Yost is at it. I believe if I were managing Moose would be hitting well and the team would still be above .500 at the very least. Pompous? Yes. But I am without shame. What needs to happen with the team now can only happen at a front office level.

1. Give Louis Coleman the heave-ho. Dear lord this guy is bad. After yesterday’s game against the Astros, he has the absolute worst ERA – at 6.11 – in the bullpen. He has also allowed more home runs and has the worst SO/BB ratio of anyone in the pen as well. Anyone sitting in Omaha or Northwest Arkansas is bound to be better.

2. Bring Mike Moustakas back. I have not paid attention to how he is hitting since being sent down and quite frankly I don’t care. He is better than Pedro Ciriaco or Danny Valencia or Jimmy Paredes. There’s only one thing he needs to do to start hitting better: get out of his own head. He is much too conscious of feet placement and the path of his bat to be relaxed up there. He needs to not think and just rely on muscle memory. Or, as I’ve been saying since early last year, just bat him third. He will see fastballs, and he will get hits.

3. Billy Butler is the most worthless DH in the history of the game this year. We owe him $8 million this year. There is no way around that. We can’t trade him because nobody wants him, and we all know Dayton won’t send him down, even though he should. The best we can hope for is that he is benched in favor of, I don’t know, literally anyone else we may have. The only saving grace is that he has a $1 million buyout on his contract next year.

What stinks the most about this is that he used to be so good. Just take a look at his stats. An All-Star just two years ago, he now only has warning track power, and his OBP has plummeted 80 points. No one seems to be able to explain it, but I can: he lost weight. I’m serious about this. When he was a little on the heavy side, he had more muscle and could drive the ball. Now he just can’t put one over the fence. He needs nothing but bench press, curls and Snickers bars for the next two weeks so he puts back on some weight. The idea of “clogging up the base paths” is A. stupid, and B. won’t matter when he hits it 40 feet over fence.

4. Free Johnny G! The amount of times this kid has driven I-29 is obscene, and if we won’t give him consistent AB’s at the big league level, then we need to find someone who will. Surely we can get a reliever out of him. Not Koji Uehara or anyone that’s established, but finding someone better than Coleman or Tim Collins won’t be difficult.

As for the lineup; Yost tinkers with it so much but has yet to hit anything that works on a consistent basis. And it’s because he refuses to think outside the box. If I were managing, which I should be, it would look like this:

  1. Dyson, CF
  2. Infante, 2B
  3. Moustakas, 3B
  4. Perez, C
  5. Gordon, LF
  6. Hosmer, 1B
  7. Cain, DH
  8. Escobar, SS
  9. Aoki, RF

Yes, we traded for Aoki with the specific reason that he would be the leadoff hitter. But check the numbers. Guess who gets on base almost ten percent more – and is much faster – than Aoki? That’s right, Jarrod Dyson. Aoki would be an excellent bat to have at the bottom of the lineup to keep the inning going. My reasons for hitting Moose third are well established, Salvy is tied for team lead in home runs (I realize that’s not saying much) and who has the best OBP and batting average of anyone on the team? Lorenzo Cain. I know that had he played more games in center last year he would have won a gold glove, but he is sorely needed in the lineup every single day, and he can’t be if Yost continues to platoon him with Dyson.

Speaking of which, this would be my lineup all day, every day. I don’t care about righty-lefty matchups or any of the other bogus reasons baseball people have come up with to justify changing the lineup all the time. If Moose or Gordon or Salvy need a rest, they will get one, but that lineup is what I would stick with every single day for at least two weeks, maybe even a month. What’s the worst that could happen? Certainly being swept at home by the worst team in baseball is as low as we can go.

If Tyler Durden is correct, then the Royals should be playing without care right now. And that is how you win in baseball. You don’t think. Sure, you can think before the game. Scouting reports and such. But while you’re in the box, the field, or on the mound, your mind needs to be shut off, so to speak. The Tigers and Toronto Blue Jays are winning right now because they are playing loose and without a trace of self-consciousness. Players can’t control lineup decisions or who Dayton sends down or calls up. What they can control is how they play the game. Maybe that is the key to playing to our potential.

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