The trades made by Dayton Moore this weekend pointed out the wide disparity of opinions that one fan base can have. While the majority of us blogging about the team and those who read what we spew out were in favor of moving veterans like Scott Podsednik and Rick Ankiel, it was interesting to read or hear the reactions of many other fans (casual or serious) who hated the moves.
While finding a united opinion amongst a fan base might be impossible, I would wager that if you went back in time to early 2007, we Royals’ fans had visions of lots of series like this:
- Friday night – a walkoff home run by Alex Gordon
- Saturday night – a two run go ahead homer by Billy Butler in the 8th
- Sunday afternoon – a run scoring double in the first from Butler and a home run from Gordon in the fourth
Never mind that the games were against the Orioles and never mind that the sweep only got the Royals within 15 games of .500: THIS is what we thought/hoped would be the norm by now. Maybe it was just a good weekend against a bad team, but maybe, just maybe, it is the start of something good.
At any rate, for most of us, this was a fun weekend to be a fan of the Kansas City Royals. In addition to the Gordon-Butler heroics, we saw the organization, for maybe the first time, really embrace the future as opposed to paying it just lip service.
Alberto Callaspo and Scott Podsednik were both good enough players that the Royals could have kept them, ran out the ‘not enough value coming back to trade’ line and ground out a couple of more wins between now and October, but instead they shipped them out for four younger players. One of those younger players is Sean O’Sullivan, who 11 innings into his Royals’ career, I am already more confident in than Brian Bannister or Kyle Davies.
What the above two moves really did, however, was solidify an everyday spot in the lineup for Alex Gordon’s next last chance and opened up third base for Mike Moustakas whenever he is ready to take on major league pitching (the over under is May 22, 2011, who’s in?).
Dayton Moore followed up those two deals by doing what all the old crusty columnists say cannot be done: trade garbage for value. Nothing personally against, Ankiel and Farnsworth, but they have enough warts on their professional baseball resumes that trading them seemed pretty illogical. Instead, Moore went to the Braves’ well once more and pulled out an unconventional reliever with real upside (Tim Collins) and a serviceable centerfielder (Gregor Blanco), plus another reliever. Return aside, the upside of that deal is that it clears out one more veteran who was just going to take at-bats from players who need them (Maier, for example) and another who was in the way of letting the Royals have a look at the crop of young relievers coming up in the system.
After all that, the Royals still found themselves with one Jose Guillen too many, but that did not deter them from recalling Kila Kaa’ihue from Omaha. The long awaited and much deserved promotion was welcome news, even if the plan to get him at-bats was less than pleasing.
This will be a test of what Ned Yost is about as, fresh off signing a two year deal to manage the Royals, he should be ready to find at-bats for Kaa’ihue at the expense of Jose Guillen and, to a smaller extent, Willie Bloomquist (which means Guillen in right field, but who doesn’t need to see that a couple times a week?!). With the trade of Podsednik, it’s easy to put Gordon in left and ‘find out’, but it’s going to take a little intestinal fortitude to right Kaa’ihue in the lineup everyday with Jose Guillen glaring at you from across the locker room.
Of course, the idea of trading Guillen in August is very much alive. With all the activity over the weekend, there are teams out there who woke up Sunday morning and wondered if they could have/should have done more. Guillen will clear waivers and hence tradable all the way through August to whomever might be in panic mode. The key for Yost and Moore is to not wait for Guillen to be moved before installing Kaa’ihue in the everyday lineup.
Hey, no one said being general manager or manager of a major league team is all sunshine and roses (although it has to be pretty sweet gig). Sometimes you have to get called an SOB by an angry veteran for the good of the team’s future. You got the new contract Ned – now go out there and write down the lineup that will help you win meaningful games in 2011 and 2012 and not meaningless games this August.