Saturday, July 30, 2016

Future Boy

Denver this weekend with my son and daughter-in-law. Among the many reasons I love spending time with my son is the opportunity to dissect Royals baseball. Astute observers of this space will recall Scott Michael Matson’s Royals Love is genetic. He can’t help it. He’s powerless to fight it.
 
Surrender, Dorothy.

Today, we both (each?) have a much greater appreciation for what this team accomplished in 2014 and 2015. Now, with the benefit of the Royals’ 2016 clank and 20/20 hindsight, we better understand how all the stars, moons and Rex Hudler’s planets aligned during those two years.

The three best relief pitchers in the game each with an assigned inning, Hosmer and Moose ascending and a wide-open capturing of a window of opportunity related to Messrs. Young, Morales, Medlen, et al. 

‘14 and ‘15 also happened when the Tigers, Tribe, White Sox and Twinkies were down. Right now, the Indians look like the Atlanta Braves of 1991.

Father and son at the '14 World Series.
Scott thinks we’ll sign one of the Big Three Free Agents (my caps) after 2017: Cain, Hosmer and Moustakas. His money is on Moustakas. The logic is compelling: Cain’s increasingly injury-prone and he’ll be 31. On-the-field production aside, Hosmer’s a big-market commodity in a small market.

He looks at the future and sees a core of Moustakas, Perez, Cuthbert, Hunter Dozier and Raul Mondesi. Three of them are third basemen, so maybe Moose switches to first. 

Scott thinks, and I tend to agree, Brett Eibner is the latest in a decades long series of adequate-but-by-no-means-outstanding Kansas City Royals right fielders. (See also: Alex Rios, Jeff Francouer, Daryl Motley, Pat Sheridan, Tom Poquette.)

If we want Salvy to have a Yadier Molina-esque career, he should catch 100 games and split the other 50 at first base or DH. 

I thought Whit Merrifield was the second coming of Ben Zobrist. A more realistic assessment is he’s the second coming of Greg Pryor. My son says there’s a reason he was a 28-year old rookie.

We each (both?) scratch our heads over Yordano Ventura. Flashes of brilliance, interrupted by periods of getting rocked. But he’s locked into a team-friendly contract, so let’s continue to give him the benefit of the doubt.

A couple more days to the trade deadline. We’re apparently shopping Volquez and Morales, Davis and Kennedy. Word is we’re asking for top-level prospects in return, guys who will be MLB-ready in 2017. No takers so far. Which means Volquez and Morales likely have two more months in the powder blue, then seeya.

Still, my son argues, there is reason for optimism. The cyclical nature of the game these days, combined with the future core and Dayton Moore’s abilities, lead Scott to believe we’ll be competitive in the Central and fighting for playoff berths again soon.

Scott also thinks Ned Yost is gone after this year. One way or the other. Then who? I have an idea. Except his days and night are sort of full these days, what with the saving of lives and the cutting edge pulmonary research.

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