OK, so I m a little late getting this up, but the Scott Podsednik contract is surprisingly a one year deal. Surprising because I had convinced myself that Dayton Moore was in the business of doubling whatever the going rate was for a player he was interested in signing. Maybe it was just my way to explain how the general manager of my team awarded two years to a 36 year old catcher. But when you get right down to it, how do you explain insanity?
Anyway, on to the Royals new leadoff man…
— The contract contains a club option for 2011 that vests into a mutual option if Podsednik reaches 525 plate appearances. I know I m making a giant assumption here, but I have to think the guy is a one and done. If he has a good year (I m on the record as saying that s highly unlikely) he s gone because he ll find some other huckleberry to overpay. (Hello, Brian Sabean!) And if he doesn t have a good year, the Royals won t bring him back. Hey, they did it with Mike Jacobs, so it can happen here.
Since he s going to bat leadoff, I think the only way he doesn t hit this mark is if he s injured. Let s just assume he has a mutual option. (Technically, I should add it s not a true mutual option. Podsednik has the opportunity to void the 2011 option. Apparently, there s a difference.)
— Podsednik is set to earn $1.65 million next year with the opportunity to earn another $250k in incentives. Those haven t been made public as of yet, but given the Royals track record, you have to believe it s based on games played or plate appearances or some wacky combination of both. And I would hazard a guess that whatever the incentives are, they will be easily attainable.
— His buyout is $100k, which is a fair rate for the amount of cash he ll take home next summer.
So we re left with a one year deal where he ll likely clear around $2 million. It s not an obscene amount of money and it s a short term deal. Hmmmm, where have I heard that before? Oh yeah, when the Royals signed Kendall. Or when they traded for Betancourt. Or when they signed Willie Bloomquist.
Taken individually, any one of these deals can be seen as harmless. Misguided, yes. But not enough to harm the franchise. (Except Betancourt. He s beyond awful.) However, taken together – and we have to take them together – it s contributing to the stagnation that is the Kansas City Royals.
Dayton Moore is nickel and diming the Royals to 95 losses and last place in the Central.
And do you see the pattern here? Lacking depth in the organization, the Royals needed a shortstop last summer when Aviles had the Tommy John. Moore somehow settled on Betancourt. Lacking depth in the organization, the Royals needed to get a catcher this winter after choosing to part with Miguel Olivo and John Buck. Moore somehow settled on Kendall. And now, the Royals who feel they lack depth in the organization in center field (more on this in a moment) decide they need a center fielder. They settle on Podsednik.
Here s a couple of things I don t get about the Podsednik signing, then I ll move on:
— First, why sign Brian Anderson to a major league deal if you re going to bring in Podsednik a few weeks later? Anderson is a poor man s Podsednik. You don t need both.
— Second, why not play Mitch Maier out there and see what happens? He s better defensively than Podsednik. Podsednik is probably faster, he s going to steal more bases although his stolen base success rate hasn t been impressive. (I said on Friday that I thought he was probably an OK baserunner, but a 69% success rate on steals isn t going to help a team.) And I d bet that if you gave both players 500+ at bats, they would have roughly the same OBP and slugging percentage. Podsednik would likely have the overall edge in the slash stats, but I m thinking it would be extremely close.
Statistically, the gap is narrow. However, Podsednik is going to make roughly $1.5 million more than Maier. Now if you re the general manager, you have to ask yourself, Would Podsednik s production be worth the extra $1.5 million? Somehow, Dayton Moore decided the answer was, Yes.
A couple other Royals notes:
— FanFest is approaching. It s this weekend at the Overland Park Convention Center. Any readers going?
I went last year and thought it was well done. Lots of activities, stuff for the kids, some cool things to see. However, it seems to me that it s one of those things where you go once every three or four years and you re all set. (I should add that autographs hold zero appeal for me and standing in lines holds less than zero appeal. Autograph lines are my personal perfect storm to avoid.)
They re rolling out the 85 team, which is always good to see, but that was 25 years ago. It s gone from, Hey, let s celebrate the title, that was awesome, to just being kind of depressing. At this point, only one other team has gone longer without making the postseason. Do you think they ll ever do the same thing for the 93 team or the 03 team? Nah, me neither.
— The Royals signed 39 year old Matt Herges to a minor league deal with an invite to spring training. He s pitched in the majors for part of 11 seasons that can be broken down like this: Three really good years, five OK years and three not so good years.
In other words, how he does is anyone s guess. But it can t hurt to give him a minor league contract and a shot. He can t be worse than Yasuhiko Yabuta or Victor Marte.
— Baseball America unveiled the Top 10 Royals prospects highlighted by Mike Montgomery at number one. I m sure Clark will have more on this later in the week. A question to ponder: Should we be concerned that of the 10 players named, only one of them (David Lough at #10) appeared in a game above High A Ball?
And if they had ranked Noel Arguelles – he would have come in at #3 – Lough would have been knocked down to #11.
BA gives the Royals and Dayton Moore high marks for improving the depth of the minors, with the pitching prospects collectively taking the greatest step forward.