As Royals fans, we worry a lot and tend to lose perspective in odd ways.   That happens when a one-time model franchise turns into one of baseball’s sinkholes.     It makes us say things like:

  • Yunieksy Betancourt isn’t really that bad.   Well, yes he is.   His on-base percentage is below .300 and he is, at best, a flashy but inconsistent defender.   Really what Betancourt has done is be not quite as awful as last year, better than Tony Pena Jr. and a one-armed Mike Aviles.
  • Scott Podsednik has been outstanding this year and I’m not worried about the occasional out on the bases.   Pods has been caught stealing 11 times and picked off 3 other times.    You wonder why a team that leads the league in batting average is only in the middle of pack in runs scored?   There’s part of your answer right there.
  • How can a team struggling to score runs trade away Jose Guillen.   C’mon, just stop it.

The burdens of being bad and basically made fun of since 1994, also makes us worry about things like:

  • Mike Aviles hitting an ‘empty’ .305.   Considering Aviles had the best WAR by any player since Carlos Beltran in 2008, was injured in 2009 and rushed himself back in 2010, let’s relax on that until sometime in 2011.
  • Jason Kendall bats second.   Playing Kendall every game is ludicrous and as much as we (and I’m in that ‘we’) are annoyed by that, I cannot really come up with anything that would be much different.  
  • David DeJesus smiles too much and is ‘really just a 4th outfielder on a contending team’.   That’s just the beaten dog syndrome there:  we’re bad, all our players are bad, cats and dogs are sleeping together, the world is ending.

I am sure the above two lists could be added to extensively:   a fully expect one of the first five comments to this column to be ‘bloggers will be negative about everything blue or something of that nature’.   However, you really want to worry about something?   Let’s worry about Rick Ankiel.

By worry, I am referring to what the Royals might do when Ankiel is healthy enough to return from his rehab assignment.

On Monday, I wrote about the value of trading or simply shedding Jose Guillen so that the Royals can get a good look at Kila Kaa’ihue.   However, if Guillen was traded tomorrow, who do you think would take his spot on the roster?   Almost has to be Ankiel doesn’t it?

With a $3.5 million salary and a zesty batting line of .210/.275/.419, Ankiel is likely the most untradeable commodity on the roster.    Given the organization’s apparent master plan for 2010 of ‘playing aging veterans who will not figure into the club’s long-term plans at the expense of younger players’, you know they will not only activate Ankiel sooner rather than later, but also play him on regular basis.

I worry about this simply because I do not trust Dayton Moore and Ned Yost to make the right choices here.   Barring not one, but two trades, Ankiel is just another guy getting in the way and another reason that Kila Kaa’ihue will not get a real shot in the majors and keeps Mitch Maier (who has the exact same OPS) on the bench.   While I do not have the love affair with Maier that some do, I would rather see him play everyday than Ankiel.

 I will yield and give some credit to Podsednik and Kendall for providing some veteran leadership and serving some purpose as bridges to the future, but Ankiel and Guillen really do not.     

Rick Ankiel is coming back sometime this month and he is going to get in the way.  Is there anyone that doubts we will see a lineup at some point with Ankiel, Podsednik and Guillen in the outfield with Bloomquist at second and Betemit at third?   Now, THERE’S something to worry about.