The Royals went out and got Johnny Cueto and Ben Zobrist which is exactly what I hoped they’d do, so I know now that the acquisitions have to be huge mistakes because I’m never right about shit like this. They gave up some good arms in the process, but like the old adage about making omelets and breaking eggs goes, in order to lead a gift horse to water, you need to teach him to fish, first.
WILL pitcher Sean Manaea (given up for Zobrist) be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame as a member of the New York Yankees? (Because, haha, it’s not like the Oakland A’s will KEEP him or anything.) Probably. Is it worth it if the Royals win just the second World Series Championship in franchise history? Maybe, yeah.
But that’s the thing: with this season’s astonishing success, I–along with everyone else in Kansas City, really– have just accepted the postseason as a foregone conclusion. And that’s beginning to make me worry.
See, the thing is, you’ve still only got two really quality starters. Cueto is a legitimate ace, and Edinson Volquez could be a number two starter on any team. But beyond that, you’re left with a lot of inconsistency and question marks.
What if Danny Duffy’s most recent start is more indicative of his reality than the previous six? He looked pretty awful before heading to the DL but came back strong. Now, he’s back to vintage Duffy. (Meaning: the first-half of ’15 Duffy, and everything before ’14 Duffy. You know, flashes of dominance tempered with extended bursts of disappointment.)
Speaking of, Yordano Ventura is even worse than Duffy in that regard. His highs are higher, but his lows are lower. His irregularity was so maddening that he was hours away from a bus ride to Omaha before receiving a pardon from the governor. He came back with a gem but then subsequently shit the bed against Toronto on Saturday. What if he can’t get it together?
Last and certainly least, the rotation is rounded out by Jeremy Guthrie. While Guthrie seems like a “really cool guy” or whatever, statistically speaking he is one of– if not the— worst starter in the major leagues. Opposing batters are hitting .315/.365/.484 off of him this season. That is miserable. Guthrie is old and tired and, quite honestly, not fit to be a starter in the major leagues at this juncture.
So I mean, again– when/will Duffy and/or Ventura find a semblance of consistency, and what in ever-loving hell is Guthrie still doing in this rotation?
And my concerns don’t stop there.
While Zobrist was a tremendous addition, you’ve got the league’s worst second baseman starting on a daily basis, a catcher who appears to be rapidly declining at the plate before our very eyes, and a third baseman who went INSANE in the first half of the season reverting to form.
When Alex Gordon returns, how long will it be before he returns to form? He’s definitely the kind of guy who’ll rush things, so it would only reason that he comes back at less than 100%.
Lorenzo Cain is one of the best center fielders in baseball, but is he really the kind of guy capable of carrying a whole offense?
Eric Hosmer has spent the month on fire, but he’s not a stranger to these spurts; how long will it be before he’s swinging at pitches a foot or more outside of the strike zone and dejectedly shaking his rat-tail on his trip back to the dugout?
Why does the everyday right fielder have as many home runs as Nori Aoki, the guy he replaced? And why is it more than half the amount of David DeJesus? (And no, I’m not insane—I don’t want DeJesus back. It is a little discouraging, though, to know that Aoki is batting .312/.375/.380 while his replacement is at a cool .244/.278/.313.)
I mean, I trust Kendrys Morales, but anything beyond him feels like Oscar Pistorius firing blindly into a dark bathroom. (Too soon? Probably too soon. Hearne—kill the Pistorius quip.)
My point being, AGHHHH. This team is driving me absolutely insane. I feel like they’re destined to either win the World Series and make Kansas City explode into an orgiastic frenzy of Boulevard-fueled looting and ritual blood-letting, or they’ll slip quietly back into second (or third!!!) place, the weight of the knowledge that they mortgaged their future making them slowly sink into a hobo-piss filled Brush Creek.
So, I guess what I’m saying is “GO ROYALS.”