Leftridge: The Royals Playing Limbo: How Low Can They Go?

RsfansWell, it was bound to happen, right?

The magic that kept the Royals in first place throughout most of April and a chunk of May has worn off, and we’re left with the sad truth: the unicorn we’d all admired is nothing more than a malnourished horse with a traffic cone taped to its head.

Gone are the comeback walk-offs, the tight-rope successes of an oft-shaky bullpen and the jaw dropping tenacity of a reassembled starting rotation. The offense—which had previously been SO DAMN GOOD at hitting with runners in scoring position—strands men like irresponsible Floridians ditch unwanted pet pythons.

People everywhere are shocked and appalled, because this is just what they expected. (Not that this makes a lick of sense; the thought processes of hardcore sports fans rarely do.)

It’s classic “Royaling.”

Disappointment from the cornerstone youth. Erratic defense. Faulty pitching when it’s needed most. Bad in-game management. Expensive, cold hot dogs. Stupid bobbleheads.

When it rains, it pours, and right now, the Royals are in the middle of a good-old fashioned Midwest, springtime underwear soaker.

The thing is, I’m not surprised. I was SURPRISED when they were seven games over .500, and I was SURPRISED when they led the division for as long as they did. I wasn’t expecting Kansas City to produce an AL Central champ this year. I figured they’d have their first winning season since ‘03 and contend in 2014.

And this can still happen.

It is, however, growing ever more unlikely with each passing day. So clearly, a lot needs to be done. Specifically, there are two HUGE personnel moves that need to be made. The first is probably the most obvious:

Mike+Moustakas+Kansas+City+Royals+v+Cleveland+68heH-5OXKMlMike Moustakas needs to go to Omaha. Look, I think Mooooose will be a really fine player someday. I think he’ll hit a lot of scary homeruns and play gritty, impeccable defense. But he’s not going to start doing that tomorrow, and he’s not going to do it unless he gets his head right. He’s clearly out of his element at this point, and every moment he spends languishing with the big league squad is another day where he’s not being repaired.

In a recent KC Star “Q & A with Bob Dutton,” someone asked the cantankerous old scribe about this very subject, and his response was predictably PC and Royals-friendly: You want the player who gives you the best chance to win. If you demote Moustakas, who takes his place? Who gives the Royals a better chance to win than Mike?

Well, anyone, actually. Miguel Tejada can play adequate defense AND looks better at the plate than Mixmaster Moose. Irving Falu. Johnny Giavotella (he’s been playing third, as of late). ANY SINGLE OTHER PERSON gives the Royals a better chance to win. Seriously. And that may not be the case a year from now, or maybe even one month from now, but in order for that to hold true, Moustakas needs to be fixed.

It worked for Billy Butler. It worked for Alex Gordon. I don’t understand why they’re not trying it with Moustakas. Probably because this organization is infuriating with their insane levels of loyalty, which leads me to the second move that needs to be made:

Release Jeff Francoeur. Frenchy is great with the fans. I’m sure he’s a fantastic guy to have in the clubhouse. He’s a little “bro-ish,” sure, but I like him. I don’t think he’s a very good right fielder, though, and he’s worse at the plate than he is on defense. His patience is laughable. He swings out of his shoes at first pitches in nearly every at bat. He is not an everyday outfielder for any team, except the part where the Royals have made him an everyday outfielder for their team.

Lol, Classic Royals.

Jeff FrancoeurI like how his playing time has diminished to some degree with the call up of David Lough, but I still don’t like how he hasn’t been, well, released. Once Jarrod Dyson is healthy, there’s no excuse to keep Frenchy around. You jettison him and eat his salary. You forget that the whole experiment with yet another highly unproductive corner outfielder ever happened. You frame your “Frenchy Quarter” t-shirt to laugh at later, once his presence is but a faded memory.

And yeah, I know there’s more… these two aren’t the only rogue bone-bits in your McRib. Ned Yost HAS to be feeling some heat, Wade Davis and Luis Mendoza need to be more consistent in their starts, Kelvin Herrera could probably use a little minor league seasoning, and I’ve still got my eye on closer Greg Holland. But big dreams start small and sometimes, omelets and breaking eggs and SERIOUSLY, THEY LOST TO THE HOUSTON FUCKING ASTROS, you guys.

It’s time to make some changes.

Follow me on Twitter, @StanfordWhistle

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14 Responses to Leftridge: The Royals Playing Limbo: How Low Can They Go?

  1. Super Dave says:

    Welcome to Reality

    • Oh, trust me Dave, I know.

      And like I said, I don’t think they’re headed for another 100 loss season… I just don’t think they’ll actually contend. People got confused after an unusually outstanding April.

  2. smartman says:

    The Ol Royals are close to challenging the theory that even a broken clock is right twice a day.

    The inbred institutional failure of this organization cannot be underestimated. Doesn’t matter what your heart says when your mind doesn’t believe it.

    Any organization can be turned around with the right people. David Glass is too stubborn to admit that he has FUBAR’d the Ol Royals. Solutions can only begin when underlying problems are admitted.

  3. CG says:

    Well put. Couldn’t agree more. I wrote my version of the same issues two days ago. We have no winning culture for either team, Royals or Chiefs. As I pointed out in my story the Royals has a nice mix of vets in 1975, when they began to contend, and young guys. We had Cookie, Freddie, and some solid pitchers to work with Split and big Dennis. This team has tried to build nearly totally from the farm system. Clearly due to lack of money. We really only added Jamie and a hopeful couple other pitchers. Not much change. Our young guys are not ready, if they ever will be like Moose and Eric, Cain and Salvador are looking decent but still can’t hit when it matters and none of them have any power yet. We are last in the league in home runs. I have never been much of a Billy Butler fan. As I wrote, “look up Mike Sweeney and you’ll see a photo of Billy.” Same guy. Decent hitter usually when it matters not on a very bad team.

    As of today I consider KC one of the worst teams in the league. They have really jacked Jamie with no run support thus the 2-4 start, though he is pitching very well. I don’t think the rest of our starters are special, we’ll see. My guess is after some injuries and hurt feelings you’ll see Luke and Chen back as starters.

    Right now winning more than 78 looks good. As for me, I’m tired of waiting for next year. Been doing that for nearly 3 decades. Man if someone would have said, “Hey Craig I’ll bet you a million bucks the Royals are not in postseason for the next 25 years” this after we won it all in 85, I’d have said,”I’d hate to take your money but..” well I would have been very wrong. We have two very bad organizations Chiefs/Royals with great fans, just great. So damn sad. My gutt is the clowns/Chiefs will not do all that well, again other than Smith they have not done much, maybe the tight end, we’ll see…soft sched. could be 8-8, who cares, that still sucks.

    • Mysterious J says:

      First of all, they are not very good but they are certainly not one of the worst teams in the league.

      Second of all, NOBODY WHO KNOWS ANYTHING calls Big Game James Shields “Jamie”, Craigie.

    • Interesting Fact says:

      No you mean your writer wrote it for you to post on TKC

  4. Paul says:

    C’mon Lefty. I’m as disappointed with the recent skid as anyone, but Tejada over Moose is a mirage. The guy wasn’t even good enough to earn a major league job last year. You cannot base your decision on 28 plate appearances.

    Now Frenchy, yep it’s time. Sadly I don’t see David Lough as the answer. The Royals need to commit to Cain in right and Dyson in center, as soon as the latter is healthy.

    And we cannot lose sight of this – if the Royals win tonight they will end a 4-5 roadtrip. Considering two of the three teams they played were picked to be contenders this year, that’s not terrible. That would make them 12-13 on the road. They will have to play better at home, however. In almost every case playoff contenders play great ball at home and are at or just above .500 on the road.

    I’m still undecided on Ned Yost. He comes across as prickly and subborn, not the players’ managers that are so successful today. It’s interesting to watch managers like Robin Ventura and Mike Matheny during games. They relate to their players, laugh with them, and have a rapport that doesn’t seem to exist with Ned.

    • I repeat: ANYONE is better than Moustakas right now. Yes, even Tejada. The most appropriate statistic in this situation is Wins Above Replacement, or WAR. Through last night, Moose was second to last on the team (bet you can guess who was bringing up the rear) with a -0.5, meaning essentially that he costs the Royals more (half a game, but still) than an absolutely average third baseman. Tejada, by comparison, was at 0.2. Still not great, but definitely not a negative.

      I know that Tejada isn’t the future– I’m not crazy, I promise– but he gives the Royals a better chance to win right now, period.

  5. CG says:

    I repeat one of the worst teams in baseball. Loser dude, or is it dud, when Glazer explains the NFL or Royals, just write it down. In time you will look back and go ‘man that guy was on it all the way’…The Royals are terrible, no hitting pitching is over rated, outside Jamie SSSSShields, no to much, NO HITTING, just Alex, defense ok, did I mention their pitching is overrated. No veteran help, none. NO HITTING, WORST HITTING TEAM AROUND, HAVE BEEN FOR A COUPLE DECADES NO HITTERS, JUST GORDON…BILLY BUTLER IS NEAR WORTHLESS. So did I make myself clear, oh yeah the lowly Houston Triple A team just beat our ace and the lowly Royals 2 of 3. One of the worst teams in baseball is name KC Royals. AGain.

    • Jess says:

      The Glazer is referring to himself in 3rd person…..Wow

      Please go back to Tonys site

  6. CG says:

    Lets see how the Royals looking now. Again I stand on my Tonys story and what I wrote here, ONE OF THE WORST TEAMS IN BASEBALL…AGAIN. They got zip.

  7. CG says:

    Glad I still have this artilce to address. Once again a few haters jumped on me for declaring the Royals terrible. Most fans thought this was just a bad bump. I said “one of baseball’s worst teams and wrote why.” As it turns out, everything I wrote was 100% correct. Now they have no pitching to go with the no hitting. Avoiding last place and last seasons just over 70 wins may be uphill for this untalented group of medicore young players led by one or two good ones. You need some stars to win. This team, so far, has no stars, Gordon is a hopeful, as I wrote. Billy Butler please, no team in the league would trade much of anything for good old, no scary, Billy Butler. He’s a nice guy and a decent hitter, nothing more. You bought one guy JAMMMMIEEE, that’s all you did…..kinda like the Chiefs…..you bought ONE GUY ALEX……HARD TO fix it with one guy….yes I am aware of the two or three Chiefs hopefulls at tight end and runnning back and corner. Maybe. With a weak enemy line-up they could be 7-9 or 8-8 BFD. But if that makes Chiefs nation happy, hey, you got a shot at average. Again hope I’m wrong and I’ll wait for preseason to end before I declare their fate. I haven’t missed yet lately. I did think the Royals could be .500, doesn’t look that way now. They really do stink don’t they, what do you Royals fans go out there for the atmosphere? Kids like baseball? I can see that a few times, but over and over again to watch what? I am curious. A team in its 3rd decade of being the worst pro fanchise in sports. I guess. “Wait til next year” this year is dead.

  8. CG says:

    I see my list of haters has nothing to say now. Once again. THE BEST VOICE OF WHATS GOING TO HAPPEN BEFORE IT DOES IN KC SPORTS, ME, is right again. No comments now huh….what are the Royals about 3-17 lately something like that. I was wrong not one of the worst in baseball…THE WORST. We got last years team back with the same result. JAMMMMIEEEE can’t even help 2-5 sucks and doesn’t help. I know he’s got a 2.50 ERA fifth best in our league, still 2 wins…sucks. No winning culture is the reason, there is no cure. Again lets see if the Chiefs who like the Royals added just one star will suffer the same curse. I don’t doubt it. They have stunk it up almost as long as the loser Royals.

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