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 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.
I 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.
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