Here we go again… It is June 20th and once again our beloved Royals find themselves in the cellar of not just the Central but also the entire American League. Of course now is the time for fans to flip out and complain about what little progress this team has made.
Fans have been told wait for next year for too long, and they are beginning to grow tired of it. I don’t blame them. But for those that are suggesting that the Royals could have prevented this in the offseason, they need to stop and consider reason.
You can’t in one breath complain about Lorenzo Cain being blocked in center by a free agent stop gap, and then in the next breath complain that the Royals didn’t sign a player to man second base. You have to chose one way or another or else you are someone who is going to complain regardless.
Either the Royals should have signed the stopgaps and stick with them until the deadline, while they keep the seat warm for the prospects in Omaha. Or the Royals shouldn’t have messed with either. What isn’t fair is to complain about the Royals being in last place because they didn’t sign free agents and then go off and bash the Jeff Francis or Jose Guillen signing.
Obviously there were other guys available this offseason, but there was no reason at all for the Royals to drop boatloads of cash on an aging veteran. Thankfully it seems they have learned from that mistake when they signed Jose Guillen to a three year thirty-six million dollar deal.
People are glad that the Royals aren’t blocking their own prospects, but some are also complaining that they should have added veterans to some of the positions that aren’t playing up to snuff, particularly second base. The thing that has to be remembered is that literally every position on the roster besides catcher could have a prospect emerge as major league ready this season.
No matter where the Royals spent the money they ran the risk of blocking a prospect, unless that money was spent on one or even two year deals for catcher or the rotation. One year deals aren’t the issue here though, because they are so easy to flip at the deadline and they involve very little commitment by the team.
So if fans are wanting the Royals to add more serious players to make them contenders this year, it is just ludicrous to think that it could have been done without shelling out multi-year deals and huge bucks. I mean what pitcher could the Royals have added without doing that? Carl Pavano? I’ll take Jeff Francis and Bruce Chen.
A local radio host openly complained today about how the Royals went into the season with Chris Getz and Mike Aviles competing for the job at second base. First off it didn’t seem that ridiculous in the offseason that one of the two could be a solid contributor. Secondly, Giavotella is waiting in the wings and after tearing through the second half of last season and the Arizona Fall League was knocking at the door. Finally, I question anyone’s baseball understanding if they really believe that the Royals could have became contenders in 2011 if they would have just spent a few million for a second baseman.
The same show host, then went on to talk about the rotation holes and how the Royals should have spent big bucks this offseason in that area. But my question is who should they have signed? What pitcher on the market could the Royals have brought in that could have made them contenders in 2011 and would have fit into their long term plans?
Also, we shouldn’t forget that heading into the season the Royals had four of the top starting pitching prospects in baseball, all of which could have been ready for their debuts within a year’s time. When you add in Aaron Crow and a couple of the lower tier guys, then it is easy to see why the Royals proffered the stop gaps in the rotation for this year anyway.
What the Royals didn’t foresee was Montgomery and Dwyer both struggling immensely and John Lamb having to undergo season ending Tommy John surgery.
It is much wiser for the Royals to wait out this season and feel for what they have before making the moves on the market. Next offseason the Royals will have had another year of evaluating their prospects, some even at the highest level. Not to mention that the starting pitching class for this offseason is much more impressive than last.
The Royals will have money to spend and should they play it right in the offseason, could very easily position themselves as favorites for the AL Central entering 2012. It is frustrating that once again we find ourselves in last place. But sometimes one must take a small step back in order to take a giant leap forward.