The Royals get the day off following a defeat of Stephen Strasburg and a day when even I was interested in soccer.
Brian Bannister vs. Stephen Strasburg
After getting national publicity for his brain, Brian Bannister bounced back from two horrific starts to hold the Nationals scoreless through six innings and out duel rookie sensation Stephen Strasburg. It was not exactly a pretty game as Bannister had Jason Kendall bouncing all over behind the plate to block pitches and the Royals actually got out of an inning with runners on first and third, no one out and Billy Butler boxing a ground ball. There was some curious baserunning by the Nationals, who themselves were not very good defensively either, but in the end a 1-0 win is always nice.
Kudos to Ned Yost for staying with Robinson Tejeda in the 8th inning after he took just eight pitches to get through a 1-2-3 7th inning. It’s not that I don’t like Blake Wood, it is simply my tendency to refer back to an old baseball saying: ‘the more pitchers you use, the more likely you are to find one that doesn’t have it that day.’
Aviles Gets a Rest
While I liked Yost’s handling of the bullpen yesterday, this ‘need’ to rest Mike Aviles is just getting stupid. Against a crazy tough righthander like Strasburg, I can see the logic of wanting to get a left-handed bat in the lineup – even if it is in the person of Chris Getz, but do you really bench the guy who has the THIRD HIGHEST AVERAGE VERSUS RIGHTHANDED PITCHING IN BASEBALL?
Aviles is currently hitting .362 against righties, trailing only Robinson Cano and Josh Hamilton.
Is the club/organization/manager so absolutely certain that Mike’s arm is going to actually fly off when he uncorks a throw from short that they cannot sit Yuniesky Betancourt to get Getz in the lineup? Perhaps there is a fear that Aviles playing his natural position of short will start to remind people just how good he played in the field there in 2008. Such an occurrence would further point out that the Betancourt (even with him playing tolerable baseball this year) was a panic trade by a general manager who was miffed that Aviles hid an injury from them early in 2009.
And yes, if the above paragraph did not confirm it for you, I do own a Mike Aviles jersey.
Jose Guillen to the Yankees?
Okay, nobody go running to MLBTradeRumors for the source on this as I am just theorizing here, but what about Guillen to the Yanks?
First off, New York has not settled on designated hitter so far this year, using twelve players there and none for more than twenty starts. Combined they are hitting .239/.363/.395 with most of that on-base number coming from Nick Johnson’s bizarre ability to walk without hitting a lick. As usual, Johnson is injured once more, further creating a hole in the lineup.
Money is not generally an issue with the Yankees, but let’s say that there are enough variables when it comes to Jose Guillen that the Royals have to pick up half or a little more of his remaining salary. Right now, Jose is due about $6.6 million, so the Royals might pick up say..$4 million.
In return, the Yankees could send Chad Huffman back to the Royals. Huffman has shown some power, but was waived by San Diego this spring and picked up by the Yanks after that. As such, it is not like the New York organization would have any real attachment to Huffman. In essence, New York would give up $2 million and a player they barely know to get four months of Guillen. Probably a decent risk on their part.
On the Royals’ side, I don’t have much expectation that Huffman will be anything, but that’s not really the point of trading Guillen, is it? This deal finally opens a spot for Kila Kaaihue to play.
Unless the organization is so paranoid and insecure to be proven wrong about another Allard Baird guy (as Mike Aviles did to them in 2008 and again this spring), there is absolutely no reason at all to make a move with the sole purposed of opening an everyday lineup spot for Kaaihue. I swear I have written this line a thousand time already: play Kaaihue and find out if he can produce instead of just wondering and blathering crap like ‘slider bat speed’.
Reports are swirling that the Royals have or are on the verge of signing their first round pick, Christian Colon. I could care less what the signing number is as long as the shortstop is truly signed. Scouts outside the organization speculate that Colon could reach the majors as early as next year, so getting him signed and playing is critical.
These same reports indicate that Colon will start at High A Wilmington once he passes a physical (again, assuming an agreement actually is in place). My guess is the Royals would love to see him play well for the Blue Rocks and move him up for a month of work in AA Northwest Arkansas.
Time For a Moustakas Promotion?
Mike Moustakas is hitting .359/.426/.718 for Northwest Arkansas. He has eighteen home runs and twenty-two walks versus just thirty-four strikeouts. Exactly what are we waiting for him to prove at this level?
Since the Royals demoted Alex Gordon, moved him to the outfield and handed Alberto Callaspo the third base job, Callaspo has hit .264/.279/.389. That is not panic mode territory, especially for a player who hit so well last season, but it certainly is no reason to delay moving Moustakas another step closer to the majors, either.
And Just for Fun…
Royals lineup on September 5, 2011:
DeJesus LF, Aviles 2B, Butler 1B, Kaaihue DH, Gordon RF, Moustakas 3B, Colon SS, Kendall C (because it is just freaking inevitable) and Robinson or Lough or Maier CF