A Kansas City Royals Christmas Wishlist

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Dear Santa,

 

First off, thank you for finally getting me the Christmas present I have asked for pretty much every year of my life: a Kansas City Royals World Series Championship. Whereas the 2016 season was one fraught with some difficulties, 2014 and 2015 were magical times that many fans like myself will never forget. You da man, Claus.

 

For Christmas this year, I would like …

A “Finally Puts It All Together” Potion for Yordano Ventura

Given his recent production on the mound, Royals fans have an over-inflated sense of value in regards to Ace. On one hand, it is hard to blame them. We all remember his very successful rookie year, in which he threw 183 innings of 3.20 ERA – 1.298 WHIP – 7.8 K/9 ball.

He slumped a little during his sophomore season. He threw less innings (163.1) and saw his ERA rise to 4.08 (which is actually still acceptable/respectable in the AL). But don’t worry, it happens to a lot of guys …

His third season (2016) is the troubling one. Baseball people will tell you this is usually the season a player will truly figure it out and take a big step forward in regards to consistently realizing his potentiat. His 3rd season featured a career worst in ERA (4.45), WHIP (1.441), HR/9 (1.1), BB/9 3.8 and SO/W (1.85).

He is under a relatively team-friendly contract through the 2021 season. He has a crazy amount of arm talent & a fiery disposition on the mound, which at least this writer believes to be an asset, not a detriment. Taking that point a bit further, I imagine if he were a clean cut white guy, a lot more people would talk about how gritty and competitive he is as opposed to immature and selfish. But that’s a whole nother can of worms for a whole nother forum.

Regardless, please give him whatever he needs to get back to that fire-balling, strike out machine we saw in 2014.

 

A Healthy Shoulder for Kyle Zimmer

We’ve been dangled this carrot for a long time. But in fairness, it’s a pretty damn tasty carrot. In Zimmer’s only real extended time in the minors (2013), he threw 108.1 innings of 1.172 WHIP – 11.6 K/9 – 3.89 K/BB baseball. That’s really good, you guys.

But of course, we all know the other side. He threw the same amount of innings that year as he has in total during his other four seasons (108.1 vs 114). In this past year’s latest edition of “We have figured it out and now he will be cured!”, he (as well as Dillon Gee and Luke Hochevar (apparently it is the new black)) has undergone shoulder surgery to correct Thoracic Outlet Syndrome and is on schedule to be ready for Spring Training.

Main point here being that for the 2017 Royals to have success, someone with last name Zimmer or Strahm or Mills or Junis or Staumont or (insert other prospect’s name here) is going to have to establish himself as a legitimate starter behind Duffy, Ventura, Kennedy and Vargas (assuming he is healthy). If Chris Young gets more than a handful of spot starts for this team, things have gone awry.

 

An Everyday Right Fielder that Should Actually Be an Every Day Player in the AL

Whelp, looks like Christmas came a little early on this one. Jorge Soler gives us the big stick in right field that we haven’t had since … GASP! … Jose Guillen. (Please refrain from saying his name 3 times).

He is controllable/affordable for 4 years and should help replace some of the 26 HR – 100 RBI average per season that left with Kendrys Morales. If he actually becomes the player that many have projected him to be, he could eventually replace it on his own.

I really don’t think people realize how sorely we will miss #PulledPork’s offensive production.

 

Every Short-Sighted Dummy McDummerson Who Is Spouting the Wade Davis Trade Means the Organization Has Given Up On 2017 to Shut Their Dumb Asinine Mouths

Let’s look at some facts. For those who don’t usually operate under the constraints of those, here is a definition.

  1. The Royals won the 2015 World Series Championship
  2. The Royals did not return to the playoffs during the 2016 season
  3. At the time of the trade, the Royals only had 9 players on contracts that extend past the 2017 season
  4. 5 of these are pitchers, leaving only 4 position players under contract. Two of which are catchers.
  5. One of those pitchers is Kelvin Herrera
  6. Kansas City is the 34th largest media market in the United States
  7. The current Royals television contract produces the 4th lowest revenue per year of any team in the league

Despite their recent success, the Royals will never be in a position to be among the big spenders. The cards are geographically stacked against the franchise in that regard. This didn’t magically change just because we won a World Series.

And you know what? That’s okay. Truth is the biggest spenders don’t win every year like we anecdotally remember them doing in previous eras. It’s almost like some of that stuff they have been putting into the recent CBA’s to help even the playing field for smaller market clubs is actually working. Weird.

The organization constantly has to juggle winning now AND in the future. They can’t go the “big boy” route of buying new free agents every year to fill holes. They have to have a constant flow of young controllable talent to stay relevant.

The Royals traded from a position of strength to make up for a weakness. Yes, Davis is one of the top 5 closers in the game right now. Correct, Herrera has been very good, but not been “Wade Davis” good. Affirmative, behind Herrera there are few of the recognizable names under contract in 2017.

However, I fall into the camp that we can give the benefit of the doubt to Dayton Moore at this point (and if you don’t, dear lord what more must the man do?). He has always shown an ability to put together a bullpen. Whether it is trusting in the next wave of young arm talent to come up (Kevin McCarthy, Scott Alexander, Malcom Culver, Tim Hill, Eric Stout, Evan Beal, etc.) or finding those diamonds in the scrap heap (Madson, Blanton, Young, Guthrie, etc.), the 2017 bullpen may not be the fire-breathing hydra of doom that we have come to expect in recent years. But have faith that GMDM’s track record means it will be more than serviceable.

And just as GMDM has shown he can put together a bullpen, he has also shown an inability to draft/develop true American League corner outfielders. Soler is the prototype for that description. He is a player that did not exist in the Royals system prior to his acquisition. He can help you win now AND for the next 3 years after that.

This move does more good than damage to the hopes of the 2017 Royals, in addition to making them (potentially) DRASTICALLY better in 2018 and beyond. 4 years of a real corner outfielder coming into his prime on a team friendly contract is worth more than one year of a top 5 RP in baseball, especially considering the replacements (or lack thereof) in place.

 

Look Santa, I could go on, but you’ve got a lot of letters to read. I get that. Stop by the house for a drink sometime. I’ll crack a Crown Town and we can toast to a very successful 2017 (and beyond) for the Royals.

 

 

 

 

 

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Author: Zach Hodson

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