A few quick notes…
— The Royals made their first move of the off season this week when they claimed reliever Aaron Laffey off waivers from the New York Yankees and designated Jesse Chavez for assignment.
Hey, it’s a waiver claim. What did you expect? Dayton Moore can’t make a trade until after the last out of the World Series.
There are a few things wrong with Laffey. First, he doesn’t miss bats. According to FanGraphs, just over five percent of his strikes were on swings and misses, way below league average. Second, he lacks command. A 4.5 BB/9? Yuck. And third, he doesn’t get enough ground balls to offset his first two deficiencies.
Here’s what’s right with Laffey… He’s better than Jesse Chavez.
Laffey is surplus. A guy to add depth to the challenge of spring training. If he lasts on the 40-man roster that long. The most interesting thing about this signing is, he’s eligible for arbitration for the first time in his career. He’s not going to break the bank or anything, but still… It’s possible they will exchange numbers, but that doesn’t mean he has to make the team.
— It appears Dave Eiland interviewed for the vacant Royals pitching coach position. He was the Yankees pitching coach for three years from 2008 to 2010. Evaluating a pitching coach on past performance is difficult, but when it’s the Yankees and their bloated payroll, it’s even more impossible.
Eiland comes shrouded with a bit of mystery. He left the Yankees for a leave of absence due to personal reasons in June of his final season with the team. The leave was open-ended and lasted 25 days. No reason was given.
Then, at the end of the season, the Yankees announced he wouldn’t return. Of course, thoughts turned to his mid-season leave and whether it impacted the end of his run with the team. The Yankees and Brian Cashman insisted it had nothing to do with performance. This led former sportswriter, now blogger, Murray Chass to unearth this nugget:
The dismissal, as it turns out, stemmed from the 25-day leave of absence Eiland was granted in June. Neither the coach nor the Yankees said why Eiland took the leave other than to say it was to take care of a personal matter.
The matter was serious enough that the Yankees told him he could return to his job as long as he didn’t resume any of the activities that led to his leave of absence. He didn’t adhere to the agreement and was fired. No one has spelled out those activities, and I will refrain from speculating.
Nice! I’ll speculate. I think he had a habit… Of chewing all the free gum in the clubhouse. Or something. Really, I think Chass used to be respected. Now, he’s just a hit and run artist who doesn’t give a crap.
Any of the activities? Plural? Indicating Eiland had more than one issue. And then insinuating that he basically relapsed. If Chass is so connected he can get this info, why can’t he get the rest? Stay classy, Maury!
The one thing I’m surprised about this development is that Eiland himself confirmed to the St. Petersburg Times that he interviewed for the position. Given that the Royals control leaks like the Soviet Kremlin, it probably can’t help Eiland’s chances if he’s confirming he talked with the team.
Eiland worked his way up the Yankee minor league system and the thought at the time was, he won the job because of his relationship with the young pitchers that were coming through the system. Something like that probably works in his favor. However, the leave of absence – if it truly was for something that can cause you to relapse – and the fact he’s confirmed his interview, make him an unlikely fit for this team.
— I’m a little late mentioning this, but Aaron at I70 Baseball had an outstanding recap of the 2011 Royals. Well worth your time.
— Bubba Starling is close to returning to Instructional League action after straining his quad.
— Dutton reports Wil Myers is rediscovering his mojo in the Instructional League. Myers will probably open the season repeating Double-A, but could get a mid-season move up the ladder.
Myers had one of those Alex Gordon type of seasons where he had a freak injury, struggled a bit and lost confidence. Fortunately for him, it happened in Northwest Arkansas. Repeating that level can only help. Besides, with Jeff Francoeur under contract for two years, the Royals are going to take their time with Myers.
— Really lookin’ forward to the weekend, you guys.