Friday, May 21, 2004

I don't think its possible for a major league pitcher to be any less effective than Brian Anderson has been this year.

B. Anderson (in progress): 3IP, 8H, 6R, 5ER, 3BB, 1K, 2HR

This is the problem with a team like the Royals. They sign a pitcher like Brian Anderson to a decent contract ($6.5 million for two years) with the expectation that he'll be one of their best starters (which is reasonable, although there was no reason to believe he'd be anything but an average starter, as he has been his entire career).

Through 10 starts, he has unquestionably been the WORST starter in MLB. The Royals could throw any pitcher - ANY PITCHER - besides Anderson right now and he would be more effective. You just can't be more impotent on the mound than he has been this year. Eduardo "But he's cocky!" Villacis looks like Cy Young incarnate compared to Brian Anderson.

But the Royals are locked in. He's signed to a contract that a team like the Royals can't eat, so they have to pitch him, even though he has absolutely no business pitching in the major leagues right now. He's obviously untradable, and I suspect at this point he's been put on waivers to see if anyone would claim him, but no sane team would.

We all hailed Allard Baird for his shrewd moves this winter. Hell, everyone said that the Brian Anderson signing was what turned the offseason around.

Not one signing has worked out (in order of importance to the team):

1) Brian Anderson - worst starter in MLB.
2) Juan Gonzalez - nothing. No power, no defense.
3) Curtis Leskanic - bad, bad, bad.
4) Joe Randa - well, he is what he is - an average third baseman, but steady.
5) Benito Santiago - quite possibly the worst starting catcher in MLB, which is nothing new for the Royals.
6) Scott Sullivan - he's been ok, but nothing spectacular.
7) Tony Graffanino - started hot, then injured.
8) Matt Stairs - part-time who has done about what he's asked to do, but a terrible defensive player.
9) Kevin Appier - a freebee, but he obvious has contributed nothing and should probably retire.
10) Kelly Stinnett - everyone needs a cheap backup catcher.

This reminds me a lot of the winter that the Mets had a few years ago. Everyone praised Steve Phillips for his aggressive moves, getting Roberto Alomar, Mo Vaughn, Roger Cedeno, Jeromy Burnitz, etc. The rest was a laughable history. He lost his job a bit more than a year later.

The Royals signings were on a much smaller scale, and I think on paper they were much more reasonable (and at a small fraction of the cost without the burden of any long term contracts). Allard will probably survive this, because he did the right thing - find undervalued talent in the market and don't commit yourself to anything more than two years. Unfortunately, none of the signings have worked out at all, so here we stand at 13-25 (13-26 after tonight).

Random Thoughts

BB instead of DD? Why the hell is Brandon Berger playing left field while David DeJesus is rotting away in AAA? DD has nothing left to prove in the minors, and this season has gone to hell. Screw service time - put him in the lineup NOW!

Affeldt to close. Its hard to know what to make of this move. The Royals have been touting Affeldt as a future 20 game winner, and this team needs quality, home-grown starting pitching in the worst way. So why give up him after less than a full season of starts? He hasn't been very good as a starter, but you have to let talented pitchers find their way, because it can take years. Not everyone is Mark Prior. It took Ben Sheets four full seasons as a starter before he finally started to become dominant. Why give up so quickly?

Affeldt was spectacular out of the bullpen last year, and I think he'll make a great closer eventually. But a great starting pitcher is much more valuable than a great closer, in my mind. Unless there is something with Affeldt that we don't know about (blisters?), this is a perplexing decision.


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