Friday, May 05, 2006

The End of the Allard Era?

In the coming week, I will breakdown why Allard should be fired or retained and discuss what the next GM should do with the talent in the organization. Mr. Glass will be pondering the same thing over the next few months. The four basic areas where his job will be assessed are:

1. The overall status of the organization
2. The farm system, drafts, and player development
3. Free agent signings and trades
4. Hiring coaches and staff.

Why Baird Should Be Retained?

1. The Royals are currently in a full rebuilding mode. Allard has implemented a pretty good plan for the organization, as the team must rely on its youth to eventually become a contender. While the organization's win-loss record has gotten steadily worse over the past 4 seasons, it does appear the organization is making some progress. The Royals do have some young pitching talent on the big-league team and have some good bats not too far away.

2. The Royals' farm system has made good strides recently. Last year's draft gave the Royals an easy superstar pick in Alex Gordon, an excellent young 2nd basemen in Jeff Bianchi, and a good college pitcher in Chris Nicoll. The Royals' 2004 draft was also a success, bringing the Royals' another potential superstar in Billy Butler. The 2004 draft also added a couple of nice college starters with JP Howell and Billy Buckner. In addition to improving the players the Royals have drafted, the Royals continually improved their draft position during the past few years, locking up the first-overall pick for 2006 and putting up a good fight for the 2007 first-overall pick. Overall, Baird and his scouting department have improved their drafts considerably over the past 6 years and those results are starting to show in the farm system.

3. Allard's 2006 free agent signings have been decent. Reggie Sanders, Mark Grudzielanek, and Doug Mientkiewicz have improved the Royals' defense on the right side of the field. Their offensive production has dropped off from their 2005 seasons, but those three have still been the Royals' most consistent bats. Elarton and Dessens have also pitched well for the Royals so far. The trades for Huber, Bautista, and Nunez cost the Royals virtually nothing and may pay dividends in the future.

4. Baird has hired some interesting characters who have contributed to the Royals' entertainment level.

Why Baird Should Be Fired?

1. The Royals have gone into a full rebuilding mode, during which the Royals have lost 100+ games in the past 2 seasons. The Royals haven't just been bad, they've been historically bad. The Royals are currently on pace to lose more than 106 games, which would make them the first team in major league history to lose 100 games for three seasons in a row and get worse each season. During the Baird's tenure, the Royals have tied or broken the franchise record for losses four times already and this season could be number five. That has to be a record as well. While Baird has implemented a good plan, the execution of the plan has been poor.

2. The Royals' farm system is making strides, but it still has major deficiencies. The Royals' pitching depth and quality still needs significant improvement. The Royals also don't have any quality replacements for Buck or Berroa in the near future. The biggest problem the organization faces is the inability to develop its own talent into good, consistent major leaguers. The Royals have not done this during the Baird Era and show no significant signs of making progress in this area.

3. Baird has made some laughable free agent signings, including Juan Gonzalez, Benito Santiago, Albie Lopez, Darrell May, Scott Sullivan, Brian Anderson, Jose Lima, and many others that David Glass surely regrets spending his hard-earned revenue sharing money on. The Royals have fared badly in the three main trades Baird has made. The Damon, Dye, and Beltran trades have lost a good second basemen (Mark Ellis) and gained very little in return. Mike Wood will likely turn out to be the cornerstone of the Beltran deal (he is a quality middle reliever, but not what you want for a superstar CF). However, Buck and Teahen are struggling badly at the big league level and may end up as backups. The Dye deal gave the Royals a shortstop who was as bad as Angel Berroa. The Damon deal gave the Royals Angel Berroa, which has probably done more harm than good.

4. Baird has done a terrible job of hiring organizational personnel. He let Tony Muser remain manager far too long and then hired Pena clown. Buddy Bell hasn't been anything special either, not that any manager could drastically improve the state of the organization. The Royals annually fire the pitching and hitting coaches with no noticeable improvements.

The Decision

I'm sure Mr. Glass is already pondering this, but I think he probably knows it's Baird's time to go. Mr. Glass sent out an ultimatum last season stating the Royals must improve to .500 this season or Baird would be finished. The Royals have tried changing managers and coaches many times, but that hasn't improved the ballclub. The one constant through the past 6 years of futility has been Allard Baird. The fans have grown impatient of an organization that has thrown away three seasons in a row now only to watch Teahen, Buck, and Berroa strikeout a lot and Huber sit on the bench. Some youth movement isn't it?

Allard deserves better. There probably aren't many GMs who work harder than him and he's fully dedicated himself to this franchise and I respect that. However, like Allard has said, it's a results-based business and he isn't getting the job done. Hopefully the next general manager will. In the next few posts, I will discuss what talent the next GM has to work with and what organizational changes must be made.

On a closing note, here's a quote from an article just after the Muser firing:

"If you want to feel sorry for somebody, feel sorry for the baseball fans in Kansas City. They've not only had to put up with 431 losses since July 9, 1997, but now there's a very real danger that their team won't even exist a year or three from now."

The organization still exists, albeit on the life-support of David Glass and major league baseball. There are still plenty of die-hard Royals' fans who will support this team once it becomes competitive again. Let's hope we can find a GM who can rebuild this franchise and get the Royals back to 1985, or at least .500.


At 2:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fired? Retained? How about shot?

At 8:05 PM, Blogger minorobserver said...

Player development is the biggest deficiency. This starts at the rookie level and they are continuing to fail. Mr. McGinn is head of that department.

At 6:33 AM, Blogger SoonerRoyal said...

Player development is a huge problem for this organization. It's especially been a big problem when making the transition from the minors to the big leagues. Guys like Buck, Berroa, Teahen, etc. haven't had a clue how to adjust to the big leagues. The Royals are doing a better job of not rushing their top prospects this year (although it's rumored Gordon could join the big league club soon).

The Royals' track record of developing pitching is atrocious and Mr. McGinn and the player development department should be fired for that reason alone. The Royals have had a reasonable amount of talent to work with, they just haven't turned the talent into anything.


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