The curtain rises to reveal a conference room. There is a large table with papers, file folders, pizza boxes, coffee cups and other items that suggest the men around the table have been there for a long time. In one corner of the room is a small table that doesn’t match the larger table that dominates the room. It’s as if this small table was added as an afterthought. On this table is an older model computer and a monitor. The walls of the conference room are decorated with blown up photographs of past Royal greats… George Brett, Bret Saberhagen, Kevin Appier. There is a spot on the wall where it is obvious a photo was recently removed. Probably Frank White.
The men gathered around the table are engaged in debate. They are scouts and baseball operation people. General Manager Dayton Moore is in the middle. There is a lone man in the corner with the computer. He is not part of the group. He is a sabermetrician.
Dayton Moore: Gentlemen, we are not leaving this room until we decide on a suitable target for our utility infielder.
Baseball Op Man #1: The Cardinals non-tendered Ryan Theriot. Thoughts?
Scout #1: Good clubhouse presence. And he has a ring, so he’s a proven winner.
Baseball Op Man #2: Yeah, but he was a Cub.
Scout #2: Average glove. He’s played mostly up the middle, but has played a few innings at third and could fill in in the outfield in a pinch.
Sabermetrician: Could I say something? I’ve done some research on this…
Scout #1: (Interrupting) You guys hear anything?
Dayton Moore: Solid guy. Good character. But doesn’t excite me. I need a name that Royals fans know and can get behind. We have a good young nucleus and we need to show the fans and the players that we are committed to winning.
Scout #2: What about Jack Wilson? Good glove, but no power. Low RBI totals.
Baseball Op Man #1: Last season he played 21 innings at third and 340 innings at second. We could use that versatility.
Scout #1: And, he’s a right handed batter.
Dayton Moore: He played 17 games for the Braves last year. That intrigues me.
Sabermetrician: I’ve run some numbers on Wilson…
Scout #2: (Interrupting) Moving on!
The room falls silent.
Dayton Moore: I’ve been wondering… What do you guys think about bringing Yuniesky Betancourt back? I thought he did a great job with us. He did everything we asked.
Scout #1: You know, I’ve always said he has plus hands.
Dayton Moore: All I know is the coaches loved him. I almost didn’t do the Greinke trade because Milwaukee insisted he was part of the package. A character guy like that is tough to give up. But I hated that son of a gun Greinke so much I had to do it. Guy was a cancer.
Sabermetrician: You’re aware in two and a half seasons with us, Yuni walked 34 times and posted a .282 on base percentage. And he was even worse with Milwaukee with a .271 OBP.
Scout #2: This guy and his OBP. How many shortstops had 68 RBIs last year? Huh?
Baseball Op Man #1: He had a boatload of Polk Points, too.
Baseball Op Man #2: You. Geek. Send one of those electronic message things to Jon Heyman and get an idea of what the journos think.
The sabermetrician sighs and turns to his computer.
Sabermetrician: When are you guys going to upgrade my system like you promised? This 386 is on it’s last legs.
Dayton Moore: I’m really intrigued by bringing back Yuni. Solid clubhouse guy. Good citizen. You know, my biggest regret was not being able to pull off that Billy Butler for Betancourt trade. We could have had him for an extra season. That would have accelerated the process.
Computer: You’ve got mail!
Scout #1: I love that the computer tells you when you have a message.
Sabermetrician: Heyman says if we offered Betancourt $2 million, that would be considered a bargain. But we have to act quickly. There are other teams interested. (Turning to his computer) Other teams? What the hell?
Baseball Op Man #1: Don’t forget, Yuni led our team in home runs and RBIs a couple of years ago. That’s amazing offensive production from a shortstop. A right handed hitting infielder with power…
Sabermetrician: Yeah, but Betancourt is an offensive liability. He made 436 outs in just 588 plate appearances. Billy Butler made 11 more outs, but that was in 90 more plate appearances. Yuni is an out machine.
The entire room turns to look at the sabermetrician.
All: Nerd! Nerd! Nerd!
Scout #1: Love the power. Love the plus hands even more. The guy is a rock.
Baseball Op Man #1: He hasn’t played any at third, though. And he hasn’t played at second since 2005.
Dayton Moore: But he’s versatile, right?
Baseball Op Man #2: Sure… I guess so.
Sabermetrician: No! We should discuss this Mr. Moore. You preach the need for versatility, but Betancourt hasn’t played anywhere but short for the last six years. And he’s an awful defensive shortstop. His bat is a liability. He’s a horrible option for this role.
Dayton Moore: (Slams palm on the table) So it’s settled. We’re bringing back Yuni. A power hitting utility infielder. This is a great day for the Royals. We’re going to have the best depth in the Central.
The men get up from the table, shaking hands and slapping each other on the back. The sabermetrician walks out of the room.
Dayton Moore: Next we need to address the catcher situation. What do you guys think about bringing back Miguel Olivo?