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Another Series Loss Highlights Royals’ Many Issues

There's no hiding how bad the Royals are right now.

Let's get one thing out of the way before we start.

The 2022 Kansas City Royals, by run differential, are the second-worst team in Major League Baseball ahead of only the Cincinnati Reds, who might be the worst team ever assembled. These are not opinions, these are facts. The Royals are not a good baseball team and, unlike the Reds, they weren't trying to be bad.

Make no mistake about it: This was a team that was assembled to try and win games. That's why the likes of Carlos Santana, Adalberto Mondesi, Whit Merrifield, Hunter Dozier and Michael A. Taylor were all given everyday spots in the lineup: the Royals thought that this was a group that could win. The fact of the matter is that this group only has a chance to win one thing this year, and that's the first overall pick in the 2023 MLB Draft.

Were there good things in the series against the Baltimore Orioles? Of course, but most of it got drowned out by the fact that this Royals season is officially dead and done with — and they didn't even make it to July.

'Good, Meh, Bad' is a series highlighting the best and worst points of each Royals series, as well as whatever middle ground can be found. If there's a topic you'd like to see discussed, reach out to Jeremiah or Inside the Royals on Twitter.

The Good

Apr 19, 2022; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Royals manager Mike Matheny (22) celebrates with designated hitter Salvador Perez (13) after the win over the Minnesota Twins at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

After an 0-for-26 skid, Salvador Perez looks like he finally might be ready to get his season back on track after raising his average by nearly 30 points in Baltimore. Perez is the breadwinner of this team by quite a sizable amount, and the fact that he is set to make $62 million over the next three years makes him unmovable. While I don't believe that someone's contract should guarantee playing time, the Royals can't have a bench player making an average of $20M-plus over each of the next three years. Perez being good is a necessity.

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The Royals' bullpen pitched a really solid series, posting a series ERA of 2.45 in 11 innings to go along with a solid 1.27 WHIP. Amir Garrett came in and slammed the door on what was a red-hot Orioles offense in game three and, as of right now, he should be working his way up the pecking order.

The Meh

Aug 27, 2021; Seattle, Washington, USA; Kansas City Royals center fielder Edward Olivares (14) hits a two-run home run against the Seattle Mariners during the twelfth inning at T-Mobile Park. Seattle Mariners catcher Tom Murphy (2) watches at right. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Just as Edward Olivares was hitting his stride, he suffered an injury. When he comes back, he'll probably be re-relegated to the bench to make way for the return of Carlos Santana and the continued use of Ryan O'Hearn. One would think that this would be a good opportunity for Kyle Isbel to play an entire series, but that person would be mistaken. All it took was one "0-for" day at the plate on Sunday and he was sent to bench, paving the way for him to sit back and enjoy the hitting masterclass that was Dozier, O'Hearn and Merrifield.

The Royals should be using this season as a way to evaluate the futures of Isbel and Olivares. Instead, they are using it to routinely play three players that will not be on the team in two years. But, hey, at least they played in the majority of games in the series.

The Bad

May 9, 2022; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Kansas City Royals relief pitcher Carlos Hernandez (43) delivers a first inning pitch against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The entire fifth inning on Monday afternoon was terrible. Carlos Herandez couldn't get the last out and MJ Melendez's defensive performance raised questions about how he was graded so highly as a fielder. Hernandez has all the tools to be a reliable back-end starter but unless he can develop some consistency and the ability to work through tough innings, it doesn't matter how good his first four innings are. Then again, since this is the Royals, they'll probably raise a moral victory banner for his four scoreless innings during the next homestand. 

The next issue: the Royals' offense is simply pathetic. The Royals have played 26 games this year and have scored two runs or less 12 times. They are 2-10 in those games. I never thought I'd miss Hanser Alberto the way I have this year. After he posted a higher OPS+ last season than Dozier, Santana, O'Hearn, and Emmanuel Rivera, the Royals were left with no option but to let this threat to their organizational hierarchy walk in the offseason to join the LA Dodgers.

Thinking ahead, there needs to be a purge of the coaching staff and front office to signal that this era of Royals baseball is over. The Royals have spent too many years trying to win with their pieced-together core. Dayton Moore still has the final say when it comes to the assembly of this team. JJ Picollo's promotion to general manager came with a bit more responsibility, but not a power dynamic shift. Either Moore has to go, or Picollo must be allowed to do his job.

Series Grade: D

At least they won a game and strung some moral victories together.