Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Musings From Roy F. Almania: Big Vs In Surprise?

Greetings one, greetings all, and welcome to the first day of spring-training game action, Kansas City Royals style. The House of Georges team is pleased to announce that the one and only, Roy F. Almania will be back in swing to offer occasional opinions and observations regarding the Kansas City Royals. When my illustrious cousin didn't respond to my initial outreaches, I was afeared we'd have to contract out our always-popular Royals coverage. But alas, I heard from him this morning, and he promised to dump some verbiage in my inbox within 10 minutes of the conclusion of today's game. And deliver he did. We'll not say that his swing is full; I'm not even sure that it'll be check. He shrewdly avoided any commitment to a monthly offering, but at least for today, he came through. His thoughts on how things look for the boys in blue, just after the jump.

To all the Royals fans out there, I'd really like to be able enough to say that I told ya' so. Had I offered some off-season insight like I done last year, I'd have a bit of rights to do just that. But, what with the economy and all, I found myself needin' some part-time work this winter, so apply at the Kum & Go I did. They had me workin' nights. Still do, actually, which don't leave as much time as I'm used to for what's to be done 'round the ranch. Most 'specially sleep and study up on my favorite baseball team.

I do have some key points to offer, and I'm in a bit of a time crunch to get this off to cousin Bank', so the noggin's a bit foggy and I can't well say what the best order for these is. But here they is either way:

1) I wasn't so sure how I felt about the Mike Jacobs acquistion. Coco Crisp I'm fine with. In him we get a decent bat, decent speed, and an everyday outfielder. Another first baseman, though? I can't quite feel good about that what with the logjam that was already there: Billy Butler, Ryan Shealy, Ross Gload, and Kila Ka'aihue just to name a few. I know Jacobs hit some 32 over the fence last year, but his OPS was dad-gummed awful. Not only that, but factor in that the acquisition was another one with Atlanta, which makes me fear Dayton Moore's ability to contact other clubs. Especially when the other clubs he seems to frequent are known for their worst-in-baseball record last year. I'll do my best to give Jacobs a shot at showin' us he can get on base as well as hit for power, but I'm still feelin' squirrely about the whole darn thing.

2) I may as well move directly left in the infield, and eyeball the dustmite collection going on at second. I just can't put a finger on why a body wouldn't want to move Mike Aviles over, and plug Mark Teahen in at short. Instead, they're bringing more folks like Willie Bloomquist and some random kid named Tug while lettin' that fool of all fools Alberto Callaspo spoil the camp vibe with his Visa/itinerary debacles. Some folks want to point to his .305 average, and error-free, 74-game performance last year, and well, I can't really argue much with the numbers. But Lord, almighty.

3) Much depends on the production of Alex Gordon and Billy Butler this year. I heard from a nearby farm-hand that Moore don't care much for Butler's attitude, but the boy hit a single and a long ball today, so I imagine there was a curious eye or two on the double B this afternoon.

4) Tony Pena, Jr., Mike Moustakas, Mitch Maier, Shane Costa, and Esteban German. I reckon them five names will circulate more than any this year with regards to filling in the holes that need fillin'.

5) Most of all, though, is the rotation. The thought of it gives me a mighty headache without even truthfully thinkin' the thing through. The way I see it, and I seen it this way for some time, now, is that there's only two starters in the five-man pitching staff: Gil Meche and Zack Greinke. Now, we all know that Brian Bannister showed us flashes two seasons past. He also showed us a heapin' plate full of misery one year ago, so the boy's a crapshoot. I understand that a certain Kansas City someone keeps a mighty tight tab on the boy. That leaves Kyles Davies and Farnsworth, along with Luke Hochevar as three guys battlin' for one spot, and they're all righties. So are Meche, Greinke, and Bannister, which leaves the 34-year-old John Bale, a woeful Jimmy Gobble, and an injured Ron Mahay to fill in as the club's only southpaw. 'Cept for one thing: Horacio Ramirez, who did just as I feared he'd do today in his start in Surprise: get rocked. The man gave up six runs in two-thirds of an inning today, and I haven't for the life of me figured out who thought, or why they thought it, that he might be a good nod for this already talent-plagued rotation.

Makes me want to put a pitchfork in the back of a promisin' sow, it does. Now, I can't for the life of me figure out what the story has been with Luke Hudson or Brandon Duckworth; neither's on the roster, though Ducky came in today and gave up half the runs Ramirez did in more than two innings of work. Course, they wanna pin some o' them first-inning runs on Teahen's errant throw, and I reckon that's fair, but I just knew this'd happen either way.

In sum, there'd been two things on the brain this winter: how the Royals'd fare in Surprise, and how their season'd start off. Both are usually stinkin' terrible, and today didn't lend me to think that things'd be much different. I channeled today's game hopin' that KC'd start off with some Big Vs (at's for "victory") in Surprise. Instead, they delivered another Big D. And that, my friends, stands for disappointment.