I thought I had gone through all the stages of Royals grief. Denial? Well, of course. I LOVE denial. That has been my default stage as a sports fan most of my life. Hey, maybe
Anger ... I have never really felt much anger about the Royals. I was angry about some of the preposterously cheap moves the Royals have made, and I was angry about the way the organization mistreated
Bargaining ... well, if you want the best for the Royals you must bargain with yourself.
Depression ... the
And finally, acceptance. Royals GM
Well, hey, it just is. The important thing for the Royals to do is find young talent, get that young talent, develop that young talent. That's what Dayton Moore came to Kansas City to do. And that's what this team's future is all about. Doing all they can to make
So: Acceptance. That's the last stage of grief. I figured to have gone through the whole range of emotions. But it turns out that the Royals, unlike actual grief, have a sixth stage.
The Sixth Stage: Bafflement.
Friday, the Royals announced that they signed outfielder
The Royals are soaked with mediocre-to-bad outfielders. Well first they have
Beyond DeJesus, the Royals have "right fielder" Jose Guillen, who will get $13 million in his final year of that disastrous signing. He can't play right field anymore, which is why the position is in quotations, and there's no reason to believe he can hit anymore either. But he's getting $13 million, so you have to hope. They just signed Scott Podsednik, who is coming off a decent year that he is 98 percent unlikely to repeat. They signed Brian Anderson, a one-time big prospect the Royals apparently believe has some untapped talent. They have
It seems to me that the outfield is chock full. It's not exactly chock full of goodness, but, hey, we've been over the treading water bit already.
Then they sign Rick Ankiel. I'm not saying this is a BAD move -- I'm so completely confused by it that I can't even think in terms of good and bad. Ankiel is one of the more famous stories in recent baseball. He was the preposterously gifted 20-year old pitcher who lost his nerve. He was the kid hitter in the minor leagues trying to live the dream. He was the 2007 call-up who hit 11 home runs in 47 games and the next year banged 25 homers in a comeback year that coupled nicely with
And all that's fine ... but what is he beyond the storybook pages? He's a 30-turning-31 year-old outfielder who has never had 500 plate appearances in a season. Last year, in 404 PAs, he hit .231/.285/.387.
He is a guy with some power and no plate discipline. He is a pretty good athlete with a great arm and shaky instincts. He's an interesting right fielder because of his arm, but the Royals figure to put him in center where he's at-best OK. He has a gigantic hole in his swing ... he hit .266 in the minors and .251 in the majors, and there's really no reason to believe that's changing. People talk about him improving ... but guys generally don't start improving at 31.*
To be honest: I don't know what to think about any of it. It's not impossible that Ankiel, playing in a comfortable atmosphere in Kansas City, will have a good year. Hey,
But what makes the whole thing so baffling is that I have absolutely no idea what this is supposed to accomplish. It is just so disconcerting that three and a half years after Dayton Moore was hired in Kansas City, their minor league system is so bereft of Major League ready talent, they are going around the league and signing 30-somethings that nobody else wants. It is troubling that the Royals plan in 2010, apparently, is to make fans hope that a bunch of older players will recapture their past glory -- or at least their past moderate success.
It is troubling that Dayton Moore's entirely sensible plan for success -- find young players, develop them, bring them to the big leagues -- seems to be spinning in the mud. If you are going to be that kind of organization, you actually have to BE that kind of organization. I don't know if Jason Kendall, Scott Podsednik, Jose Guillen, Rick Ankiel, Yuniesky Betancourt,
But I guess that's the point: If they ARE blocking younger talents, then the Royals are doing a lousy job of developing players.
And if they ARE NOT blocking younger talents, then the Royals are doing a lousy job of developing players.
So maybe it's really not confusing at all.