Friday, December 16, 2005

Royal Flush

Yeah, I'm not exactly sure what a royal flush is, because I don't play poker. I mean, yeah, I'm aware that it has to do with the jack, queen, and king - is it the jack, queen, king, and ace all of the same suit? I guess with all the poker that's on TV these days, there's no excuse not to know this. Every channel has poker now - ESPN, Bravo, the Travel Channel. I feel like one day I'll be flipping through and I'll see Panda Poker on Animal Planet. "Oooh, Ling Ling played that hand very well, he's going to be up by 200,000 bamboo stalks. What a performance."

Either way, Royal Flush is fitting today because of the big news out of Kansas City. Royals GM Allard Baird has signed not one, not two, not three, but four, count 'em FOUR living, breathing human beings who were actually on major league rosters this past year. That alone is quite the feat. So yes Royals fans, you can now cheer for Mark Grudzielanek, Doug Mientkiewicz, Scott Elarton, and Paul Bako. (I put the names in bold because real publications seem to do that, and I want to feel like a real publication). Some thoughts about these signings:

1. In one fell swoop the Royals picked up two of the most impossible to spell last names in baseball. It looks like a page out of the Krakow phone book. If you weren't already, I'll bet now you're REALLY missing the good old George Brett days, aren't you, Royals fans?

2. The Mets were interested in Grudz, but felt they couldn't bring him in without first moving Kaz Matsui and his salary. So to repeat, the METS were interested in a player, but couldn't afford him, thereby allowing the ROYALS to grab him. Nothing horribly backwards and unsettling about that. You know what it's like to see that the Royals signed a player your team wanted to sign? Imagine you're one of the popular kids in school, normal, decent looking, well liked. You've told some friends that there's a girl you kind of like, but you're not ready to make a move yet. However, before you know it, you heard that she just started going out with the captain of the chemistry club. "No, not the guy who eats his boogers, that's the captain of the physics club. You know the guy who only showers on Tuesdays? Yeah, that's the guy, she's going out with him. WTF???"
Seriously, I'm not actually that bitter. Number one, it's good for the game when the Royals can get a player and the Mets lose out. Number two, the day I get pissed over missing out on Mark Grudzielanek is the day I want one of you to gently push me off the Walt Whitman Bridge. We ain't exactly talking about Joe Morgan here.

3. I recently read an article in the Kansas City Star about how the Royals actually want to spend money this year but couldn't find anybody to take it from them. (shocker!) If you recall, they wanted to be in the hunt for Furcal, Morris, and Byrd, but were basically shot down early. And I truly feel sorry for Royals fans. I do give Allard Baird credit, however, for not compounding the problem by signing crappy players to big contracts and trumping them up (yeah Dombrowski, I'm still on you). I haven't found the financial particulars of any of these deals, but Elarton is a 2 year deal and the other 3 are one year deals, so I can't imagine it's too crazy. He's treating these guys for what they are, ok players who can help, but aren't marquee signings by any stretch.

4. And that's the problem. The Royals are terrible. These players don't exactly make them less terrible. On the one hand, I'm tempted to say that the Royals should have steered clear and played young guys. They have a 2nd base prospect named Donnie Murphy, ranked as their 9th best propsect by Baseball America. Perhaps he should have been given the job over Grudz. On the other hand, I don't really know that much about the Royals' organization, and perhaps they've decided Murphy isn't ready. Bigger than that, there is something to be said for the credibility of having a major leaguer or two on the roster, effectively declaring that you're in the business of winning baseball games and not the business of starting a glorified Triple A team. So I don't know. I'm not sure what major free agents are going to flock to KC because they were able to land Doug Mientkiewicz, but, as I said, Baird didn't hamper the financial situation for the future. I think these moves might be the right thing, even though I wouldn't go around expecting big things from the Royals in 2006. I really do hope we'll see a time when the Royals are competitive again. This was a great franchise for a long time, and it's too bad that they're basically the laughingstock of major league baseball. (And no, please don't remind me of the hypocrisy of that statement next time you see me gleefully wearing my Carlos Beltran jersey.)

Until tomorrow.


Anonymous Jae said...

Grammar nazi alert:

"I think these moves might be the right thing, even though I would go around expecting big things from the Royals in 2006."

Just because you are a part of the impossible to spell last name crowd doesn't mean you get to go around making mistakes like that.

You know what else is sad (other than the fact I regularly comment on this blog)? The Royals can't homegrow talent. It's one thing where if you go "Damn this guy was really good but we had to let him go because of money". But other than Damon, Dye, and Beltran over a pretty extended period of time, who else has come through their farm system? Angel Berroa? Joe Randa? Mike Sweeney!

They are an inept team that cannot scout properly and until they figure that part of the equation out, they will eternally suck.

8:13 PM  

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