1 2 Craig Brown - Royals Authority

Royals Authority

Long Live The Process

Browsing Posts published by Craig Brown

You may have heard, we started a new site in conjunction with Baseball Prospectus this week – BP Kansas City. Just in case you haven’t wandered over that way, here are a few links from this week to give you a taste of the coverage we will be providing.

Thursday
A fantasy baseball guide to the Royals

An early look at midseason trade candidates

Early season roster manipulation – Part 2

Wednesday
Kelvin Herrera’s electric slider

Merrifield could make more than a Whit of difference

Kansas City Baseball Vault Podcast – Over/Under Jamboree

Tuesday
Lineup Chatter: Who should hit second?

The Academy – Predicting the next breakout prospect

Early season roster manipulation – Part 1

Monday
Royals roster coming into focus

Dillon Gee and the quest for pitching depth

Sal Perez’s smart – but unsuccessful – adjustments

Changes

1 comment

As you probably have heard – either here on on Twitter – starting Monday this blog will no longer exist.

If you haven’t heard, we aren’t taking our Pop Tarts and riding off into the sunset. No, we can’t quit the internet. Instead, we are tackling a new challenge and moving to Baseball Prospectus and their newly created local site that will be dedicated to the Kansas City Royals. We are joining forces with the gang from Pine Tar Press and the podcasters from the KC Baseball Vault to give you what should be the premiere destination for independent Royals thought and analysis.

Look. We’ve already started Tweeting:

On Monday, if you visit this site, it will automatically redirect to the new location. It’s up and running right now, but since it’s kind of a blank slate at this point, I’ll hold off on giving you the url. Although if you use your internet sleuthing capabilities, it’s not difficult to figure out.

I wrote this when we made the initial announcement, but we are humbled that you continue to visit us to read about the Royals. We started blogging back when the Royals regularly lost 100-plus games. Now we’re blogging about World Champions. So worth it. A lot of you have been regulars since the beginning. Clark and I both started this just looking for an outlet to basically rant about this team. We rant less often these days, but are grateful to have an audience.

We’re also grateful for Rusty.
 

 
We’re looking forward to building that audience at Baseball Prospectus. As such, we’re not shifting focus or becoming lackeys for PECOTA. (Seriously. What was up with that?) You’ll be getting the same words there you would have read here. Our last move was met with a lot of trepidation, and in hindsight, that was completely understandable. This opportunity – being able to start a new Royals blog from the ground up with experienced writers – is a bit of a rush. And having the opportunity to work with Baseball Prospectus is something I don’t think any of us dreamed of when we started blogging. So we’re going someplace brand new with a new look and a variety of quality writers. On Monday, we hope you’ll add us as a new bookmark and from there we hope you return to visit daily to read about your Royals.

This is the next step for the blog. We’re excited. We hope you share our excitement.

See you down the road. Thank you.

Whit Merrifield’s name has gained some traction as the Royals search for clarity for their 25th man.

It’s an interesting name to consider, but unsurprising given his defensive versatility along with his speed. Speed will get you an extended look with the Royals. That’s been the case for 10 years. Versatility is something new to the roster calculus, but the Royals realize two things: One, the 25th man isn’t a super huge deal when the manager hardly ever uses his bench. And two, having a glove man who can play multiple positions allows the team to stock the bullpen at the expense of the bench. Who doesn’t love 13 man pitching staffs?

We’ve said it a thousand times, there just aren’t many interesting position battles on this team. And that’s a good thing, I suppose. Give the regulars time to get in the groove. So we’re basically down to fourth and fifth outfielder.

Merrifield is interesting in that he ate seven meals a day in preparation for spring training. Seven! I mean, that’s just absurd. Yet it sounds like he hasn’t sacrificed his speed for extra bulk. (Who doesn’t love the work the beats do at spring training?)

Meanwhile, I’m enameled with the “Who wants it less” competition at second base. You have Omar Infante, returning from injury, who has two hits in 11 at bats going head to head with Christian Colon, who is still looking for his first hit of the spring. The guy already has 19 at bats. Mercy. This is like watching the Indy 500 where drivers are required to race on four flat tires.

Thanks for reading today. We know the blog has been hit or miss lately, but we’re gearing up for our big launch of BP Kansas City. It’s coming a week from Monday. Exciting times.

It took the Royals almost a week to get their first win of the Cactus League, and now that’s out of the way, maybe we can focus on a few, more important things. Like the bullpen and the rotation.

Chris Young and Dillon Gee piggybacked on Sunday and reports on both were encouraging. Gee is less than 10 days away from having to be placed on the 40-man roster and impressed Ned Yost who said he threw the ball, “Exceptionally well.” Gee did nothing to derail his efforts to make the roster. I would assume a move is coming, as long as he holds steady in his next appearance. Meanwhile, Young was so efficient in his two innings of work, he had to head to the bullpen to complete his scheduled 35 pitches. All is well when you win.

Sunday also marked the debut spring appearance of Kelvin Herrera, the first of the big three relievers to get game action. These games tend to fall into a jumble of anonymous bullpen arms quickly, so it’s nice to see a familiar face. I haven’t seen reports on Joakim Soria or Wade Davis, but I’m assuming they will make an appearance in one of the games early this week. Bryan Flynn looked sharp in his second appearance and has to remain the early favorite to be one of the left-handed arms out of the bullpen.

I would never tell you to put any stock in spring training stats, but it is worth noting that Christian Colon is still looking for his first hit in nine at bats. It’s notable only because he is supposedly in a competition for the starting second base position with Omar Infante. Word is, Infante will DH in one of the Royals games today. This will be our first look at Infante this spring, so it will be interesting to see how well he’s recovered from the surgery to remove bone spurs from his elbow last November.

Two games today, with Kyle Zimmer making his second start of the spring in a tilt against the A’s. Working behind Zimmer will be Jonathan Dziedzic, Alec Mills, Christian Binford and Sam Selman. Kris Medlen makes his Cactus League debut against the Cubs. Following Medlen will be Luke Hochevar, Peter Moylan, Scott Alexander and David Huff.

It’s time for a new chapter. I’m excited to announce we are closing down this site (again) and moving over to Baseball Prospectus.

Last season, BP launched a handful of local sites. They are dedicated team blogs (Cubs, Brewers, Red Sox, and Yankees) that fly under the Baseball Prospectus banner and have become first-rate destinations for fans of those teams. This year, they are expanding their local roster and asked us to head what will become the BP Kansas City site. Of course, the opportunity to work with one of the leading baseball websites is a fantastic opportunity. As they say on late night infomercials: “But wait! There’s more.” In addition to Clark and myself, we are joining forces with several writers Royals fans will be very familiar with, to form what should be a one-stop shop for Royals coverage: Recaps, analysis, minor league goodness, podcasts, and general baseball writing. Stay tuned for those announcements later in the day.

The switch won’t happen immediately. Things are still under construction at BP, but we should be ready to move into our new digs sometime in the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, keep visiting here. There will be the usual content until we make the move. On the day of the switch, we will post the link to the new site at the top of the page. We should also note the articles that post on the local site will all be free.

Clark and I have been writing about the Royals for over 10 years. We have been part of several blog networks as Royals Authority and for a time hung our shingle over at Royals Review. We are humbled by those of you who have followed us through various iterations and platforms and are forever grateful to our readers. Thank you. We hope you share our excitement, change your bookmark, and follow us to the new address. It’s going to be great.

By the way, feel free to head over to BP today to read my contribution to their season preview series on the Royals. There’s some Royals Devil Magic involved.

Old news by now, but the Royals and Salvador Perez tore up his old team-friendly deal and replaced it with something closer to fair market value.

 

Let’s quickly review the dollars remaining on the old deal. Perez is due to make $2 million this year. Remember, this would have been his second year of arbitration eligibility. This is where his contract really begins to skew in favor of the team. Had he not signed the extension, he would probably be earning somewhere between $6 and $8 million this year. Following the 2016 season, a series of club options were in place. He was set to make $3.825 million in 2017, $5.15 million in 2018 and $6.3 million in 2019.

With a $6 million signing bonus to be paid up front, Perez is taking a pay cut from the agreed upon club option for 2017. Instead, he will be making $3 million. From there though, the pay begins to adjust upward and is more in line with the market. Perez will bank $7.5 million in 2018, and $10 million in 2019. That’s a realization of $5.225 million just on salary alone over his old contract. Fold the $6 million he will collect for putting his name on the paper and the Royals are paying Perez $11.225 million more over the life of the old contract.

Then, the Royals tacked on a couple more years at $13 million each. That brings the total package to $52.5 million guaranteed.

The Royals, who years ago drafted college seniors so they could pay them a $5,000 signing bonus, just ripped up the most team friendly contract in franchise history so they could give a player more money. As in $37.225 million more. These are not your older brother’s Royals.

From Dayton Moore: “We went into Salvy’s previous deal with expectations that obviously he was going to be a terrific player. We’ve always believed in him. As a talent, as a person, as a teammate. And he’s out-performed that contract. He’s an underpaid player in the game.”

A general manager of a major league baseball team just referred to one of his players as “underpaid.” Let’s all take a moment.

Ok.

Yeah.

I mean, come on. This isn’t supposed to happen. Sal’s agent is supposed to call the Royals, ask to renegotiate his deal, and the Royals will either delay or outright refuse. Why should they redo a contract? A deal is a deal, right? Players don’t give back money when they underperform their contract. Except the Royals kind of know someone who did.

We found the Meche money!

“I reflect back to Gil Meche and what Gil Meche did and in the spirit that he felt it was important to retire and forgo the last year of his contract when he couldn’t perform as a starting pitcher,” Moore said.

It’s interesting that Moore should reference Meche in the Perez press conference. Meche, at one point, represented optimism for the Royals and Moore. He was the first big free agent signed by Moore, and he pitched well for the first couple seasons of his five year contract. Then, he was horribly abused by manager Trey Hillman, and in a low point in franchise history, had his career ruined.

Tuesday’s press conference felt very much like a World Series victory lap. Sure there’s been parades and talk shows and the adoration that comes with winning the championship, but this felt different. It was the Royals celebrating another one of their key players by doing what they thought was the right thing. Absolutely, it’s crazy the Royals decided to throw so much money at a player who may not even be a catcher three years into this contract. But they saw it as the right thing to do.

Moore, Ned Yost and even Perez spoke about respect, love, and family. Integrity and leadership. There is a genuine feeling about these comments. This isn’t some laundry list of platitudes. It’s real. The Royals saw an important player who was underpaid and they set to correcting that. How far have we come from the days where players like Johnny Damon couldn’t wait to get out of the city? Simply amazing.

My initial reaction is they went a little too far in their correction. I’ve been on the record saying they could pick up his remaining options and sweeten the deal with a little bonus money upfront while tacking on a couple more options at the end. I guess what feels troublesome about the contract is, family or not, the Royals are on the hook for $26 million for Perez’s age 30 and 31 seasons. Team options would have given the Royals some measure of protection it feels like they’re sorely going to regret not having. You’re looking a player with four consecutive years of declining offensive production, who plays an extraordinarily demanding position, who has already had a knee surgery and has suffered several concussions. The risk the Royals assumed when they awarded Perez an extension after he had played in only 60 big league games is nothing compared to the risk they are holding on the back end of this contract now.

Here is Perez’s workload from 2013 to 2015 compared to other regular catchers:

Perez Workload

That doesn’t include the 143 innings he caught in the 2014 postseason or the 146 innings from the Royals run to the title in 2015. That’s a grand total of 3,845 innings over the last three years. Perez is practically lapping the field. In this day and age, that’s an insane amount of time behind the plate.

Maybe you could forgive the workload if Perez had been able to keep up his offensive production. Yet, that hasn’t been the case.

Year Age Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
2011 21 KCR 39 158 148 20 49 8 2 3 21 7 20 .331 .361 .473 .834 128
2012 22 KCR 76 305 289 38 87 16 0 11 39 12 27 .301 .328 .471 .798 115
2013 ★ 23 KCR 138 526 496 48 145 25 3 13 79 21 63 .292 .323 .433 .757 105
2014 ★ 24 KCR 150 606 578 57 150 28 2 17 70 22 85 .260 .289 .403 .692 91
2015 ★ 25 KCR 142 553 531 52 138 25 0 21 70 13 82 .260 .280 .426 .706 89
5 Yrs 545 2148 2042 215 569 102 7 65 279 75 277 .279 .306 .431 .737 100
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 3/1/2016.

His wRC+ has declined in each season since he made his debut.

2011 – 126 wRC+
2012 – 114 wRC+
2013 – 106 wRC+
2014 – 92 wRC+
2015 – 87 wRC+

In order for the Royals to get value from this reworked contract Perez has to say behind the plate for the entirety of the deal. And in order for him to say behind the plate, the Royals must learn to give him regular days of rest.

The prism of production makes this look like a risky deal for the Royals. Yet there will be fallout of a more positive kind. For starters, players take notice. They knew Perez sacrificed a lot of earning power with his first deal. They will see how the Royals “did the right thing” to bring him closer to market value. Will that translate to free agent signings? Who knows. But the Royals are building on their newfound reputation as a destination. Players already want to play here. Something like this can’t hurt. There’s also some goodwill on the part of the fans, too. Nearly everyone knew about Perez’s contract and felt he was underpaid. This is well received by many corners of the fanbase. And we can probably throw the final mound of dirt on the old “Royals are cheap” mantra. Ten years ago, something like this never happens. Moore and the Glass family have completely turned this franchise around, on and off the field.

Still, the Royals just exchanged a contract that carried minimal risk for one that has a great deal of it, especially in 2020 and 2021. With all contracts, time will ultimately render the verdict, but for the moment, this feels like the Royals gave away too much. The price of family and sentimentality runs high.

The surest sign games are close to getting underway in Arizona and Florida: The Royals announced their starting spring rotation for the first week of games.

With pitching the currency of baseball, the Royals have a plethora of starting pitching (as well as relief arms) in camp. The overall quality of those options remains to be seen, but there figures to be a battle for the first five starters to crack the rotation. At least in the first couple weeks of the season. There figures to be plenty of movement throughout the next six months.

 
It may have been a bit of a surprise to learn Ned Yost tapped Kyle Zimmer to open Cactus League play on Wednesday. Upon reflection, this is the kind of move with foresight that makes total sense. The Royals are champing at the bit to get Zimmer some major league service time. We all know the injuries and setbacks the right-hander has experienced since being their first round draft selection in 2012. Strictly because of those pesky injuries, Zimmer has thrown only 207 professional innings since signing with the Royals. The Royals want their major league staff to have ample opportunity to view Zimmer up close to see what they have. It’s not about evaluating him to break camp with the team. It’s about the future. Does he have the stuff to compete if a big league call-up happened for him later in the season? By having Zimmer first, should the Royals decide to keep him in the big league camp for most of the summer, he will be more of a known commodity should that call to the majors eventually come. This is about developing a comfort level with Yost and pitching coach Dave Eiland.

This is a positive development. The Royals wouldn’t be doing this if they didn’t think Zimmer could compete in Kansas City at some point this summer.

Before we move along, let’s revisit Baseball Prospectus’ evaluation of the 24 year old as part of their Top 11 Royals prospects. Zimmer checked in at number two:

When healthy, Zimmer will show as complete an arsenal as any prospect in the game, led by a four-seam fastball that will sit 92-95 mph with movement and touch higher. His bread and butter is a hammer curveball that he can locate for strikes, take out of the zone to generate swings-and-misses, or use to coax ground balls. Those two pitches alone would make him a quality prospect, but he also features an above-average slider that flashes plus with hard tilt, along with a solid-average change for good measure. He repeats his delivery, and he throws all four pitches for strikes to all parts of the plate.

That’s one helluva scouting report.

The next three arms in the rotation has a very regular season vibe. Edinson Volquez (who doesn’t want the Opening Day start) will pitch Thursday. He will be followed by Yordano Ventura and Ian Kennedy on Friday and Saturday respectively. Danny Duffy will get a turn in the Saturday game against the White Sox behind Kennedy.

As mentioned above Volquez is resisting getting the ball Opening Day. Ventura was the starter last year, but the Royals are obviously worried about how he handles being The Man. Do they think Ventura has learned lessons from over the last year and can take the ball and the number one starter responsibility? If they do, he’s your Sunday night starter against the Mets. If they don’t, there’s really no other option besides Volquez. So the Royals Cactus League rotation has a very regular season feel.

After your first three starters, things get a little muddled. Just a little. Chris Young gets the ball on Sunday and when the rotation turns over Kris Medlen will throw in a split-squad game on Monday against the Cubs, with Zimmer taking his turn for his second start on the same day against the A’s.

Speaking of the currency of baseball, if you’re interested in the minor league contract exchange rate, you’re in luck on Wednesday. David Huff, Peter Moylan, Brian Duensing, John Lannan, Ross Ohlendorf, and Chien-Ming Wang are all scheduled to get some work behind Zimmer.

Who’s ready to play ball?

The full squad is in Arizona, but the games don’t start for awhile. So here we are, already settled into a routine of the early days of camp.

Except this routine is about getting fitted for World Series rings. And enough pitching depth to fill a couple of major league rosters. And Jarrod Dyson on a hoverboard.

 

Speaking of that pitching depth, the Star is reporting the Royals still have interest in bringing Greg Holland back on some sort of deal where he would rehab from his Tommy John surgery with the team before returning to the big leagues in 2017. That’s an interesting proposition, given Kelvin Herrera and Wade Davis are under team control for the next two seasons and new addition Joakim Soria has a three year deal. Assuming Holland successfully rehabs (and given how long he pitched with the tear in his ligament, who doubts his ultimate recovery?) where exactly would he fit in the back of the bullpen? Sixth inning guy? Holy cow, that’s an embarrassment of bullpen riches. Except we’re talking about Tommy John surgery, so any assumption means we are getting ahead of ourselves.

Clark touched on this yesterday, but the Royals pitching depth is ridiculous. The Royals have so much major league pitching pedigree in camp, you can’t help but think that there’s at least two or three or more arms who can give the club some innings this year. Kansas City is now a destination for pitchers recovering from injury or underperformance. We’ve come a long, long way from having to overpay to bring a mediocre free agent to the team.

The good news about this depth, is that a pitcher has to be good enough to actually work his way onto the roster. The Royals already have a good base in place in the rotation. And you know about the bullpen. So this depth isn’t about a having a fringe guy who is going to make over 25 starts or throw more than 70 innings out of the pen. This depth is about filling small holes that will reveal themselves over time. Obviously, they can’t keep everyone who is in camp as a non-roster invitee, but they will surely be able to stash an arm or two in Triple-A for an emergency. One of the developments of these new look Royals the last couple of years is how well they manage their pitching roster. There seems to be quite a road map in place where the club knows exactly who to bring up at what time. It’s quite a dance between players with options and major league contracts and whatnot. In my opinion, the whole, “The Royals know what they’re doing, so get off their back and enjoy the ride” frame of thought is generally misguided, although in the case of how they handle their arms in bringing them on and off the roster generally makes perfect sense. So how about I enjoy the I-29 Shuttle?

Depth is the theme of this camp. (I’m not including Eric Hosmer‘s choice of t-shirt here.) And that remains a good theme, given this team won a World Championship just a few months ago and is returning nearly every key player from that squad. Yes, the routine of spring is upon us. Welcome back.

On Sunday the Royals announced Omar Infante would miss the first week to week and a half of Cactus League games. You would be excused if your reaction was, “Here we go again.” This is the third spring in as many years with the Royals that Infante will not be completely healthy. He missed time in 2014 with shoulder and arm issues and he sat out a portion of the 2015 spring with elbow soreness.

There are a couple of recurring themes here. One, Infante is just not a good player anymore. In his two seasons with the Royals, Infante has hit .238/.268/.329. That’s horrific offensive production no matter how you slice it. His defense wasn’t great in 2014, but it was better last season. Still, there is absolutely no way his glove compensates for his lackluster bat.

 

The Royals have been vocal this winter that second base is an open competition between Infante and Christian Colon. I’ve been skeptical since this idea was first floated because this is so unlike the Royals. Sure, since they’ve gotten good they have been more calculating than emotional when it comes to certain players. (And that’s a good thing.) However, given the circumstances where Infante is a veteran with a track record and over $16 million owed to him over the next two seasons, and where Colon is unproven in the majors and we know how the Royals shy away from that at second base, it seemed that the idea of a competition was their way of selling something that no one was going to line up to buy.

Now, it kind of makes sense.

Since Infante is going to miss time again this spring, and if he struggles in the spring, or continues to be plagued by elbow soreness, you could certainly see where the Royals would lean to Colon. At least out of the gate.

At the very least, Colon should be on extreme standby. Second basemen don’t generally age well. And Infante is showing signs of suffering a complete medical breakdown.

Let’s revisit his 2015 injury list:

Feb 26

Infante arrived at camp and said he felt fine. Ominous quote: “I don’t really feel anything with the elbow… maybe just a little bit. Not worried.”

Which leads us to a week later.

March 6

Infante was scratched from his first scheduled Cactus League game with soreness in his elbow.

March 8

Infante received a cortisone shot in his elbow.

March 13

For the first time, Infante mentioned surgery as an offseason possibility to deal with bone spurs in his elbow.

March 23

Infante made his 2015 Cactus League debut in the field. He had been getting plate appearances as a designated hitter.

April 19

In a game against the Oakland A’s, Infante leaves in the fifth inning with a groin strain he suffered while legging out a double. At the time, he was hitting .250/.244/.350 in 41 plate appearances.

The Royals termed his injury as “day to day.” Infante returned to the lineup four days later.

June 3

Ned Yost backs Infante as the Royals starting second baseman. Infante is hitting .222/.232/.315 at the time.

June 15 – June 30

Infante goes on a run where he collects 19 hits in 57 plate appearances over 15 games. During this stretch, he hits. 333/.333/.421.

August 15

Infante sits out with back spasms. With Ben Zobrist at second base, the Royals are in no hurry to rush Infante back to the lineup. He sits for a week, making one appearance in the field as a late-inning defensive replacement.

Sept 7 – 16

The Royals go through a stretch where Infante sits out all but one game where he entered as a late-inning defensive replacement. There is no reported reason for Infante’s absence from the lineup. Zobrist started all games at second.

Sept 17

Infante returns to the lineup and posts a career high seven RBI going 3-4 with a double and a home run.

Sept 18

After two at bats, Infante exits the game against the Detroit Tigers with an oblique strain. He would miss the rest of the regular season and would not be included on any of the Royals post-season rosters. He travelled to Arizona in mid-October for a rehab assignment, but the Royals weren’t satisfied he was making enough progress to activate him for the World Series.

November

Infante underwent surgery to remove the bone spurs in his elbow. This is the surgery that was revealed last weekend to be a little more extensive than previously thought.

The Royals will try to convince themselves that a healthy Infante equals a good Infante. The reality is they have a 34 year old second baseman who can’t avoid injury and just isn’t that good anymore. He may have his moments, like that seven RBI game last September, but if the Royals choose to award Infante with the lion’s share of plate appearances at second base this year, they should expect to be underwhelmed offensively while keeping the trainers on the clock.

The Royals have had a black hole at second base for years. They thought they addressed the issue by bringing Infante on board. Sometimes, you convince yourself you need a new car and despite due diligence, you end up with a lemon. Infante will get every opportunity to stay healthy and remain in the starting lineup. The conventional wisdom will say the Royals built a big lead in the AL Central last year and won the AL pennant the year before with Infante in the lineup, so anything they can get from him in 2016 would be bonus. That’s the kind of short-sighted thinking second division teams engage. These are the new Royals. They should do the right thing and limit Infante’s appearances while actively looking to upgrade the position in 2016 and beyond.

Perhaps a bit under the radar in the aftermath of the celebratory spray of locker room champagne was the contract status of Ned Yost and Dayton Moore. Both Royals manager and general manager were under contract for 2016, but when you win a World Series, you pretty much get to set your terms. And besides, teams like the Royals don’t usually allow their management to go into lame duck seasons. Stability and safety count.

So when the Royals announced on Thursday they extended the contracts of Yost and Moore, it was met with a nod of the head, possibly a sigh of relief, and the resumption of business at hand.

Yost had two years tacked on to his deal and is now signed to the Royals through the 2018 season. That timing is interesting given we’ve only spent all winter discussing the core and how they will be together for the next two seasons before a potential rebuild is at hand. So think for a moment about that lame duck comment from above. This assures that as the current version of the Royals play out the string in 2017, Yost’s contract status won’t be an issue. It may not feel like it because that’s something the Royals haven’t gone through, but this is actually a pretty smart decision they tacked two years on beyond this season. There will be plenty of questions late in the 2017 season and Yost’s contract won’t be among them.

That’s not to say everything is done and dusted. It’s difficult to imagine Yost wanting to remain through another rebuild. He will be 63 at the end of the 2017 season and after going through some very lean years with a pair of organizations, it’s doubtful he would want to press the reset button. And you can’t blame him at all for that.

Yost is a future Royals Hall of Famer. Two World Series appearances and the franchise leader in wins will get you there. It’s also easy to imagine they will retire his number and they will put a statue out beyond the fountains in right field. I submit something like this for the design:

 

Yost has 925 managerial wins in his career, which ranks him 66th on the all-time list. PECOTA may not think it’s within the realm of possibility, but I’d say it’s very likely he gets that 1,000th win at some point this year. His transformation from tactical dunce (Yordano Ventura in relief in the Wild Card game, anyone?) to genius with his finger on the pulse of his ball club was sealed at some point last October. That may be a simplistic, national perception, but those of us who have followed the Royals for a long time know that Yost has always had the respect of his players. They have formed the ultimate mutual admiration society. We’ve discussed in-depth in the past Yost has his moments where he’s managing through a tactical haze, but he always has his player’s backs. That’s the managerial long view. That’s why Yost is such a good manager.

When Moore’s first extension with the Royals was announced in 2009, the Royals were on their way to a 97 loss season, the worst in his tenure with the club. It was announced at the end of August in that year. It was not a happy time. To me, it symbolized all that was wrong with the club. Perhaps Moore just needed extra time to get The Process in place. After just three years in charge, I was willing to listen to that argument. Even if the results at that point were less than promising. The timing was brutal, though. Maybe in retrospect, it was more ballsy that anything. A statement that the Glass family knew Moore was their guy in leading the team forward.

Nah.

But it all worked out in the end, didn’t it? Which is really all that matters.

I fight an internal battle about Moore’s effectiveness as a general manager. There’s no doubt nearly everything he’s touched the last two and a half years has turned to gold, but the player development track record remains pretty dismal. Yet he did build a pair of World Series teams. Those are just two examples, there is so much that goes on behind the scenes. There is no such thing as a perfect general manager, but Moore, more than anyone, is responsible for setting the tone and building the foundation of what the organization stands for. He’s been wildly successful at transforming the Royals for also-rans to powerhouse. No small feat. If anything, he’s earned the security of attempting of keeping the window open beyond 2017.

At this point Moore and Yost are the Batman and Robin of the American League. After five and a half years, it’s difficult to imagine another paring of manager and general manager in the organization. It’s clear they feel the same. Yost has gone on record as saying he didn’t want to finish up his extension until Moore had his in hand. Such loyalty is admirable, as it’s seldom seen in this game.

Whatever they’re doing in management at One Royal Way, it works. Together, these two men built this Royals team and they deserve every opportunity to keep this run going. It’s nice to see they’ll be a part of this organization, and this city, for the foreseeable future.

%d bloggers like this: