Friday, May 27, 2005

Roster Move Time

The mini-buzz following Tony Pena's welcome departure has evaporated. After being swept by the Rangers, the Royals are now 5-10 under Bob Schaefer and are playing scarcely better than they were under Pena. I couldn't stand Pena's managerial style and I'm glad that he's gone, but the Royals' dismal record is primarily due to a poor roster, NOT the manager.

Given that this is a lost season, the Royals need to dump some dead weight, make a few changes to give themselves a chance to win more games and allow their prospects to develop at the proper pace.

1) Release Jose Lima, replace him in the rotation with Mike Wood. Jose Lima has a VORP of -20. MINUS 20. He is far and away the worst pitcher in major league baseball. The Royals have no chance to win when he pitches and the team is just sending him out there inning after inning simply to avoid using the bullpen (Daniel was right about that one). Lima has underperformed even my extremely low expectations.

He has no value to this team and any replacement level minor league pitcher would almost certainly outdo him. I'd rather see D.J. Carrasco, Ryan Jensen, Jimmy Gobble, Dennis Tankersley, hell even (gulp) Chris George starting games instead of Lima.

But Mike Wood is the clear choice here. Even if his performance suffers somewhat as a starter, he'll be miles ahead of Lima. And if the Royals really need Wood in the bullpen, then any of the aforementioned starters will do.

It was a mistake when he signed, and its an even bigger mistake now. End our collective misery, Allard. You did it last year with Leskanic, you can do it again.

2) Release Terrence Long, replace him with Aaron Guiel. TLong, sporting a hefty - 6.7 VORP, one of the the worst in all of baseball and the worst among outfielders, serves no purpose on this team. He can't hit, he's a lazy defender and a poor baserunner. He's only on this team due change-of-scenery exchange of bad contracts, but the change didn't do him any good. Release this man!

Meanwhile, Aaron Guiel is hammering the ball in AAA - 11 HRs, 13 doubles and even 4 triples. He's clearly recovered from his vision problems and has nothing else to prove in the minor leagues. Again, even at or near replacement level he's a huge improvement over Long. And I like Aaron Guiel.

3) Demote Leo Nunez and Ambiorix Burgos, replace them with Jaime Cerda and Jeremy Affeldt. Nunez and especially Burgos are hot prospects, and they've actually pitched pretty well overall. But they just aren't ready and are being severely rushed for no apparent reason. Both of them spent about 2 weeks in AA before their promotions. They both need to master their craft against AA and AAA quality opposition before cutting their teeth with the big club. I have no idea why the Royals are acting so desperate.

Affeldt's return is contingent upon his health, of course, but I'm working on the assumption that he'll be ready pretty soon given that he's making rehab appearances in Omaha. Cerda? Sure, his overall statistics have been terrible and he has control issues, but the Royals are completely clueless about using him properly. Cerda has a clear role in the major leagues - LOOGY - but the Royals insist on making him a 1 to 2 inning reliever. His splits are ridiculous:

Vs. Left: 11.1 IP, 9H, 2HR, 2BB, 10K, 0.97 WHIP
Vs. Right: 7.2 IP, 12H, 1 HR, 9BB, 8K, 2.74 WHIP

If the Royals just used him properly, he would be an effective major league pitcher. Perhaps you could make the argument that this team can't justify carrying a LOOGY on their roster, and I could go along with that, but that doesn't excuse the team from using him in ways that almost always end in failure.

4) Stop playing Eli Marrero against right handed pitchers. .091/.179/.152. His statistics against left handed hitters aren't very good either, but they dwarf his performance against right handers. He's a 150-200 AB platoon player and a solid right handed bat off the bench - no more (and a reason why it was ridiculous for the Royals to acquire him at his price tag).

5) Take the pressure off of Andy Sisco. Maybe it was overuse, maybe its dealing with late inning, close game situations. But my gawd the kid is 21 years old and fresh out of A ball. He's not handling the set-up role well at all. Just use him in long relief and mop-up, spot him occasionally in tight situations and ease the pressure a bit. I think this process is already happening to some extent (and he isn't pitching as often, which is a good sign), but its a point worth emphasizing: don't heap too much responsibility on an extremely young pitching prospect who wouldn't even be in the majors if he weren't a Rule 5.

6) Hire Bobby Valentine.
7) Draft Alex Gordon.

See Daily Lancer Wednesday.

8) Sell unsold tickets on Ebay. If you can fill an empty seat for $2 and bring in crowds of 30,000, why not? I've never seen a study on the impact of crowd size on player performance, but it couldn't hurt.

9 and 10) I'm still thinking.

Have a super weekend.


At 2:40 PM, Blogger Daniel said...

Thanks for the plug and the link, and for the record, I agree with almost everything you said -- except the demotions.

Reason? Not a very good one, really, but here it is...

It doesn't make lots of sense to me to demote Nunez and Burgos just because that's what ~should~ be done. If they are pitching well, keep them here, because I can't imagine that they aren't learning things during their time in the bigs. If/when they struggle for a period of time (damned if I know how long that period should be), then sit them down, talk about what they need to work on in the minors, and send them back down.

While I generally agree that they aren't ready, can that really hold up IF they happen to pitch well over an extended period of time? No, it really can't. If they manage to stay on the roster for the rest of the year and put up good numbers, it's obvious we're all wrong. Since they're already here, I say give 'em their head and let 'em pitch (just not 4 out of 5 games like Sisco).


Post a Comment

<< Home