After two rain delays and three losses in New York, how many of you are tired of hearing that song? Anyway….
On Sunday afternoon, Royals’ fans got their first look at newly acquired Sean O’Sullivan: five innings, seven hits, five runs, no walks and three strikeouts. O’Sullivan was a bit unlucky in the four run Yankee third inning as Mark Teixeira’s desperation reach went from foul ball to infield single and Scott Podsednik struggled with a ball in the left field corner that combined to lead to two more runs. Of course, O’Sullivan also surrendered three early shots to the warning track in deep right center as well that happened to stay up long enough to be caught.
I saw a lot of what prospect reports had indicated we might see out of O’Sullivan. Baseball America two years ago wondered if Sean’s lack of an ‘out pitch’ would make it difficult for him to succeed at the higher levels and there were several reports recently that O’Sullivan’s stuff becomes less effective the second and third times through a batting order. We saw evidence of both on Sunday.
That said, O’Sullivan has some decent movement on all three pitches and seemed willing to throw fastball, curve or change in just about any count. His fastball topped out at just under 93 mph and he tossed in some off-speed offerings as low as 74 mph, so O’Sullivan has the ability to mess with a hitter’s timing (his change-up averaged 78 mph, twelve less than his average fastball). Keeping in mind that he was facing the Yankees for the second time in a week, Sunday’s performance was not totally discouraging.
However, Sunday was another discouraging outing for reliever Blake Wood. As Craig astutely called about four weeks ago, Wood was simply not getting enough swings and misses to survive in the bigs and yesterday he could not find the strike zone either. In his last ten outings spanning just over eight innings, Wood has allowed 17 hits and 11 runs, while walking 5 and striking out just 4. Excluding the intentional walk to Jeter, Wood threw sixteen pitches on Sunday and fifteen were fastballs. Nobody has that good a fastball.
With three young relievers pitching well in Omaha (Blaine Hardy, Louis Coleman and Greg Holland) it may be time to give Wood some time to work on a secondary pitch in AAA and give one of those three a chance in the bigs. Such a move would also allow the Royals to stagger the experience of their future bullpen so they don’t suddenly find themselves relying on three rookies in the middle innings or, in the alternative, spending money on a veteran middle guy because they don’t want to rely on three rookies in 2011.
Onto the curiosity of the afternoon. Ned Yost played Yuniesky Betancourt for the tenth consecutive game since coming out of the All-Star Break, while sitting Billy Butler and resting Mike Aviles on Saturday. In doing so, he managed to basically play three of his four infielders out of position. Now, Wilson Betemit is fine at first if you want to give Butler a rest, but why not Getz at second (his natural position) and Aviles at third (given that Mike has not played his natural position of shortstop more than a handful of games as it is)? Just me being critical, I’m sure.
Okay, if you get all agitated about trade rumors and the fact that most never come true, then stop reading now.
MLBTradeRumors had some juicy morsels this weekend starting with the Royals interest in Jeff Francouer. That then expanded into a crazy jumble of Mets-Royals potential dealings that I am simply calling ‘five guys I hate and Gil Meche’. In some combination, the Mets were reportedly discussing Luis Castillo, Oliver Perez and Francouer while the Royals were talking about Jose Guillen, Kyle Farnsworth and Gil Meche. Some of the commenters over at Royals Review were trying to make some sense of how all that might work out, but I decided to just start drinking instead.
Also out in the wind is some Zack Greinke to Tampa talk. If you look at the haul that the THREE Cliff Lee deals and the Roy Halladay deal generated (not to mention Erik Bedard a few years back), then this gets interesting. However, the rather modest bounty paid by the Angels for Dan Haren certainly put a damper on any speculation that this is something the Royals should pursue.
Another nugget that has been rumbling around put got some more juice early this morning was Jon Heyman’s note that the Yankees made a ‘major proposal’ in an attempt to nab Joakim Soria. I don’t know what to make of this other than New York’s top prospects are mostly all catchers (if you are willing to believe Jesus Montero can actually stick there) or pitchers who certainly would not crack the top five in the Royals’ system.
Speaking as a guy who has written a trade Soria column or two in the recent past, it would seem to me that the Yankees would have to offer someone off their current major league roster in addition to Montero or Romine, plus an arm for this deal to make sense to the Royals. That is a hefty price to pay for a closer, even one as good as Joakim Soria.
Without question, this will be a wild week of speculation and rumors. It will be interesting to see what actually ends up happening by Saturday.