Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The "Very Special Announcement" Edition

It's been a poorly kept secret, but it looks like Kansas City will get the All-Star Game in two years, which I really do find to be a "very special announcement", despite some of the negativity associated with the game in general. To the naysayers, it's an tax-expensive non-necessity that will really do very little for the Royals and the city in the long run. Hey, I say it's very nice that MLB is not running back to the same cliched history wells of Boston and New York and putting the Royals and their fans in the spotlight for once. I'm making plans now to go, and I'm hoping the team puts their best foot forward and makes us all, team, city and fans alike, look good. With that said, here's a few ways to make the ASG a greater success and avoid any, um, disasters:

1. Send more than one player to the game. We'd love to see Moustakas start at 3rd, Gordon roam the outfield, Greinke start the game on the mound, and Billy Butler deliver a game-winning hit for the AL squad. What we don't want to see is some retread that the Royals have signed who fills up a meaningless stat line with a noticeable first half who becomes the lone Royals representative based on the every-team-must-be-represented rule. Right now, KC has the longest active streak of sending just one player to the ASG (since 2001). Extending that streak to '12 will be embarrassing.

2. Contend! We don't want to be like the Pittsburg Pirates who were already an amazing 30 games below .500 when they hosted in 2006, no, not even close. Hopefully, the team will be in the throes of a genuine youth movement with a pleasantly surprising win total at the worst.

3. Don't charge an arm and a leg for the FanFest. Look, most of us aren't rich and beautiful, so getting into the game itself or the home run derby is a pretty tall order. However, the FanFest offers a cheaper alternative for the less-affluent but no-less-passionate fan. That being said, admission to this year's event in Anaheim is $30 without Ticketmaster fees. In this economy, that's a little steep. A family of four will have to shell out a lot of dough for tickets alone, not to mention concessions, parking, and an authentic black ASG hoody for the teenage fair-weather goth in the bunch. All I'm saying is, if the experience is affordable by the time KC gets the event, more people will show up.

4. Get Buck O'Neill in the Hall of Fame and celebrate it at the 2012 ASG. Major League Baseball could go a long way in righting a grevious wrong in their recent history. It would have been so much better for the Negro League great and baseball ambassador to enjoy this honor while he was living. But we can honor his legacy greatly by making it a center of attention at the Midsummer Classic in the city he came to love.

See you in KC, July 2012!

Friday, June 4, 2010

What made my day today...

My question to Joe was "Aren't a little hard on Yuni sometimes?"

Oh by they way, you can follow me on Twitter: @DaveMath330

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Nobody's Perfect

How do you think you would have reacted at losing your place in history?

If you were Armando Galarraga, victimized by Jim Joyce's blown call in last night's game, would you have lashed out (or in Jim Rome's words "go all George Brett on him")?

Instead of being the unprecedented third hurler to throw a perfect game this season, Galarraga sealed his legacy by simply shaking his head, smiling, then finishing the game. The word "class" has been tossed around talk radio all day because of Armando's moving on and doing his job. I couldn't agree more. He is not going to always be known as the guy who lost a perfect game because of a missed call. He'll be known for his sportsmanship, his forgiveness, and humanity. For that, he's getting a lot of love.

He did make history.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


21 years later, I still fantasize about pulling this card out of a pack. Thanks for the memories, Junior!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Perfectly Unlikely

Check it out - even Billy the Marlin approved:

Roy Halladay threw the 20th perfect game in Major League history last Saturday night vs. the Marlins, a mere 20 days after A's pitcher Dallas Braden did the same against the Rays (how does THAT feel, Florida?). The last time there were two perfectos in one season? Lee Richmond of the Worcester Ruby Legs sat down the Cleveland Blues 1 to 0, and the Providence Grays' John Montgomery Ward bested the Buffalo Bisons 5 to 0. The year? 1880. Ahoy, ahoy!

So what's more unlikely than two perfect games in one season? How about breaking your leg while celebrating a walk-off grand slam? Ouch.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Flip This Player

The trading deadline approacheth, and the Royals no doubt are on the list of (desperate) sellers. So for all those amateur Dayton Moores out there, the questions mostly are about who may be willing trade partners for some of the, ahem, more experienced players. After all, isn't this why these players were signed in the first place? (Is it?)

So let's get an idea what these players may bring in some hypothetical trades, especially given the Royals needs. Let's start with the players the Royals fans would actually like to see unloaded...

SCOTT PODSEDNIK, OF - KC's outfield was already crowded with a number of Quadruple-A types with a measure of speed and not that much power, so this signing was puzzling to say the least (see: almost all of GM DM's trades and signings). Pods, though, might be a useful piece for a team that needs a fourth outfielder, like, say, the Red Sox.
Teams that might be interested
: Red Sox, Giants, Rockies, Yankees
Could net: Developing middle relief prospect or backup infielder

JOSE GUILLEN, DH - The $36 million dollar man will scare off a lot of teams with his low on-base percentage, high price-tag, and complete uselessness in the outfield. The Royals would likely have to pay the bulk of his salary and accept quite a bit less if they want to get anything before he departs for free agency. Making it tougher is the fact that Jose has already burned his bridges with a good number of teams in the majors.
Teams that might be interested: The Yankees may bite if they miss having Nick Johnson for his power badly enough. Other than that, it's a stretch for anyone to take him.
Could net: B-grade outfield prospect or if the Royals are brave, another player with years left on a ridiculous contract needing a change of scenery (Vernon Wells? Raul Ibanez? Might be nice to have him back.)

RICK ANKIEL, OF - Need an oft-injured outfielder with a little bit of pop when he's healthy? Ankiel will be that and come fairly cheaply for the rest of this year and next. Plus, a return to the NL might do him some good, and like Pods, may get the Royals some bullpen help for next year.
Teams that might be interested: Braves, Phillies, Giants, Padres (who may possibly be buyers, for once)
Could net: A back of the rotation starter project or a decent Class A project/prospect.

JASON KENDALL, C - I really don't see the Royals offering him (he wouldn't fetch a great deal on the open market anyway) as it appears their plan is to keep the veteran in place and hope that Wil Myers develops in a timely fashion. But if the need for a catcher gets desperate enough, some teams may come a-knockin'...
Teams that may be interested: Angels (word is that Mike Napoli will be given a shot to be the everyday first baseman since Kendry Morales went down, if so, they may want some help at catcher), Rangers (who are little tired of the punchless wonders of Matt Treanor, Taylor Teagardin, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia), Marlins.
Could net: Minor league middle relief help

YUNIESKY BETANCOURT, SS - Since there won't be a lot of shortstops available at the trade deadline, there may be a snowball's chance in heck that KC will be able to unload the performing-better-than-expected sportswriter pinata. (Pronounced pin-ya-ta. I still don't know how to write the 'n' with the squiggle mark above it. Sue me.)
Teams that may be interested: Padres, Twins may show minimal interest, but most teams will probably wait until the player's outright release.
Could net: Low-A project, cash.

I won't get into other lesser players who KC would probably do better to just release (Farnsworth?). But now it gets trickier; it would be better to see a few of these fan faves stick around, but if KC gets an offer too good to refuse, we may be saying bye-bye to...

DAVID DEJESUS, OF - The truth is, he actually has some high value right now. A lot of contending teams would love to know exactly what they're going to get when they trade for a player, and no one better epitomizes that notion better than DDJ: a better-than-average fielder who is hitting for a career-high average who could comfortably hit in the 1, 2, or 3 spot and may provide some real spark in front of a big bopper. With his team-friendly salary, he may be the Royals' most attractive piece.
Teams that may be interested: Yankees (some fans have actually coveted him), Giants, Phillies, Red Sox, Reds, Mets (goodbye, Frenchy).
Could net: Top-of-the-line young relievers, plural (who for some reason, teams never seem heartbroken to part with; see: Nunez, Leo; Ramirez, Ramon. Maybe we could get either of these two back), top-notch position prospects may not be out of the question, either. If anyone offers a shortstop, well, even Dayton Moore shouldn't screw that one up.

BRIAN BANNISTER, SP - Mr. FIP's days may be numbered as the Royals are counting on some young arms coming up that will bring more consistency than Banny does. We still love him, though.
Teams that may be interested: Just about everybody is pitching-strapped these days (does any team ever say they don't need pitching?), but the Mets - who'd definitely like a do-over in the Ambiorix Burgos deal - and the Dodgers may look the hardest at him. The always pitching-thin Rangers could make a deal if they're still in contention (NO2G! doubts it).
Could net: An almost-major-league-ready position player, and the Royals want middle-infielders the most.

ALBERTO CALLASPO, IF - A good-hit, bad-field player like AC may be attractive to a contender who could use a decent bat off the bench.
Teams that may be interested: Cardinals (who may want to upgrade at 2B), Twins (ditto), Dodgers.
Could net: Major-league experienced bullpen help, or another utility type in exchange.

ALEX GORDON, 3B/OF - Depending on who you ask, the Next George Brett has either been a complete bust or a prime example of the epic fail-ness of the Royals' player development system. I think the truth lies somewhere in between for the time being, but it's not out of the question that he'll become a better player. I don't really believe that KC will try to move Alex Gordon, but if some team starts dangling the right prospects, Dayton may bite.
Teams that may interested: Dodgers, Yankees, Braves (who may think that he can still play 3rd), Rays (especially if it looks like Carl Crawford is leaving).
Could net: Another prospect needing a change of scenery, Double-A pitching.

KILA KA'AIHUE, 1B - It's been pounded into the ground that Kila needs a longer callup than the cups of weak Folgers he's been getting. At this point, it would be doing Kila a great favor to trade him.
Teams that may be interested: Giants, Angels (who are really feeling the power outage with Kendry Morales down), Rangers.
Could net: A decent Triple-A pitcher or (if they're lucky) a catcher prospect.

ZACK GREINKE, SP - Here's where we may have to think the unthinkable. Even though he's 2-8 on the year, it's recognized that Zack is still an elite starter up there with the Lincecums, the Cliff Lees and Sabathias of the world. While being owed a mere (!) $30 million, other teams would salivate at the possibility of adding him to their rotation and would give the moon and the stars and even Pluto for him. Personal note - if Greinke is traded, I will become an automatic fan of the team who gets him.
Teams that may be interested:
Um, everybody?
Could net: Elite prospects (yes, plural) at any position, young position player with high upside and team-friendly salary.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

My Two All-Star Ballots

The first All-Star vote tallies were released recently, and as usual, the Yankees and Phillies are dominating the leaderboards. But there are a couple of pleasant surprises. First, I'm happy that it's Evan Longoria over A-Rod for third base. Second, it will be sweet, but perhaps bitterly so for Angels fans, if Vlad Guerrero wins the nod for DH.

Just for fun, 'cause it's my blog, here's my two All-Star ballots. Every year one ballot goes to the players who I think actually deserve it, and one ballot goes to the Royals, (plus a few almost randomly chosen NL players...yes, ALMOST randomly chosen) and I'll run down the reasons a couple of them may actually deserve it.

Here goes:

C: JOE MAUER, TWINS - Who'd you expect, Gerald Laird?
1B: JUSTIN MORNEAU, TWINS - Hitting .381/.497/.697. 'Nuff said.
2B: DUSTIN PEDROIA, RED SOX - Too many Yankees on everyone else's ballots.
SS: DEREK JETER, YANKEES - I really can't pick Elvis Andrus over him...this is one spot where I'll concede that this is the All-STAR ballot.
OF: ICHIRO, MARINERS - Can't wait till he gets to 3000 AMERICAN hits.
OF: FRANKLIN GUTIERREZ, MARINERS - If I were a GM, I would have a serious covet for this guy. Average + Gold Glove defense? Want...even though his offense has dropped off a little of late.
OF: SHIN-SOO CHOO, INDIANS - Listening to the Dodger game on 790 KABC last night, I heard Charlie Steiner say "Pardon me boy, is that the Shin-Soo Choo?". I have nothing to say to that.
DH: VLADIMIR GUERRERO, RANGERS - Welcome back to Anaheim, Vladdy.

C: YADIER MOLINA, CARDINALS - By default, really.
1B: ALBERT PUJOLS, CARDINALS - Really, do I need to explain?
2B: CHASE UTLEY, PHILLIES - He's like Ryne Sandberg, except, you know, better.
3B: RYAN ZIMMERMAN, NATIONALS - Sorry Alex Gordon...
SS: TROY TULOWITZKI, ROCKIES - The engine that makes the Rockies go. Boy, never thought I'd say that in my life.
OF: ANDREW MCCUTCHEN, PIRATES - My second favorite outfielder right now (see Gutierrez, Franklin).
OF: RYAN BRAUN, BREWERS - He's the reason that I think the Brewers could trade Prince Fielder right now and not be any worse for it. He's the muscle in this outfit.
OF: ALFONSO SORI--no I just can't do it!! JAYSON WERTH, PHILLIES - 1.044 OPS. Whew, that was close.

Now, here's that other ballot I was telling you about...

C: JASON KENDALL - His ability to actually CATCH a good game has really diminished. Shouldn't even be in the discussion.
1B: BILLY BUTLER - How deep is first base in all of baseball? Here's a list of regulars who have a higher OPS than Butler right now: Morneau, Youkilis, Miggy Cabrera, Konerko, Joey Votto, Pujols (!), Ty Wigginton, Adam LaRoche (the other one...plays for Arizona, remember?), Adam Dunn. And a few names below Butler? Adrian Gonazalez, Prince Fielder, Ryan Howard, Kendry Morales, James Loney (the player who should inspire more anger in a Dodger fan than any other. I'll write about that soon.), Todd Helton.
2B: CHRIS GETZ - Ha. Hahahha.
3B: ALEX GORDON - He's out of position now! He's an outfielder!...oh geez.
OF: DAVID DEJESUS - The ultimate McDonald's player. You know exactly what you're going to get. Which is a player who's never in serious All-Star discussion.
OF: RICK ANKIEL - Hey, I heard he was a pitcher once.
OF: SCOTT PODSEDNIK - I can't really be all that sarcastic here. Pods has actually made some meaningful contributions to the Royals, and they seem offensively more confident and competent with Scotty batting #1 or #2. All-Star, then? Um, no.
DH: JOSE GUILLEN - Mostly rooting for him so we can flip him for prospects.

Last, I wish I could vote for the pitchers to start (thankfully, all-star balloting rules prevent such a disaster as a fan-voted pitching staff. After all, who'd want to see Cole Hamels and Andy Pettitte every year?). If I could?
AL - DAVID PRICE, RAYS as starter