I just need to vent real quick. Earlier today, the Kansas City Royals claimed pitcher Chris Volstad off waivers from the Chicago Cubs. Volstad didn’t have a great year last year, but my gut tells me the Royals signed him more because of his potential, which is fine. This signing is okay as long as he is used next year as either a reliever or an emergency starter. If he starts over 15 games next year…well, if that happens there is a good chance the Royals are in trouble. But it wasn’t the Volstad signing that bothered me. It was the comments GM Dayton Moore made after the signing. So lets pick apart what Dayton is saying and why it is so distressing.
“We know who we are and how we have to build this team,” general manager Dayton Moore said, “and how we have to build our rotation. We’re going to be as aggressive as we can, but we know who we are and how we need to do it.”
This is Dayton alluding to the Royals being a small market team and how they can’t spend as thrifty as the big dogs in baseball. It’s true, but it almost reads like we as fans shouldn’t expect much this offseason. As in “no big catch on our fishing line”. I totally think this is Dayton preparing us for them to not sign a Zack Greinke or Anibal Sanchez. I can understand this to a degree, but I would rather have a GM who is confident and doesn’t use a team’s limitations as an excuse.
“His career, obviously, hasn’t gone to script,” Moore said. “He’s had a lot of ups and downs, but he’s still very young. Our scouts have seen him, and his stuff is still good. He just hasn’t had a lot of success but, hopefully, we can get him back on track.”
Of course Moore is talking about Volstad here. I have no issue with the Royals signing guys like this. It is a necessary evil in baseball, just in general. But doesn’t that read the same as if he was talking about Luke Hochevar? Shouldn’t you be fixing the first Hochevar you have first before taking on another Hochevar? and do the Royals get a discount for having two Hochevar’s on their roster? BOGO anyone?
“We’ve got to look internally,” he said. “We’ve got to look through trades. We’ve got to look, certainly, through free agency…we might be able to pick off a player or two, but we’re not going to build our team through free agency. It won’t work.”
I actually agree with Moore here. I think the teams needs to really look for trades this offseason rather than on the free agent market. I’ve written before that Tampa Bay would be a good partner. But as a small market team, you need to have an open mind and keep all options available. The Royals won’t be able to go out and sign a major name, but they can still make a splash in the free agent pool if David Glass is sincere about spending the dough.
“We’re not going to jump out there and be crazy on things,” Moore said. “We’re going to be aggressive and try to create as much depth and competition as we can. We know it’s going to continue to be a work in progress with everything we do in building a rotation.”
Depth is good. Bring as many pitchers to camp to compete as you can. Just don’t break the bank on lesser talent players. Spend money accordingly. Although, if there is a pitcher out there that you can get at a good price, the Royals should pounce. What if Greinke or Shawn Marcum would take a hometown discount? You can be crazy without anyone checking you into the nuthouse.
“He’s healthy and still young,” Moore said. “He broke into the major leagues when he was very young. He’s had some success, but it’s mostly been down lately.
“That being said, you get guys when they’re on the downturn. You don’t get them when they’re on the upturn.”
Alright, this is where I have a problem. Look at that last line. I’m sorry, that is just stupid thinking. You CAN get players on an upturn. You’ll have to either pay the money or trade talent for them, but like I have said ad nauseum, to get talent you must trade talent. If all you acquire are guys who are at the downturn of their careers, then that will be all you have; players at the downturn of their careers. Yes, some will pan out and improve. But the chances of that happening are slim and none. I’m sorry, but making such a ridiculous comment is insane and makes me think the sooner Dayton is fired, the better. I get that the Royals are not going to be a financial monster. But neither is Oakland’s Billy Beane and look what he does year after year. Dayton just seems like he can’t be creative or isn’t even willing to try. Maybe it’s just me, but I think having some of these “upturn” players would help Kansas City. It’s like Moore is working inside of his little itty bitty box and isn’t willing to venture outside of it.
So what do we take away from Dayton Moore’s comments today? Well, it seems like Moore is willing to live and die by his constraints. I really hope this doesn’t mean the Royals don’t sign two solid, established starters. I hope this doesn’t mean that they won’t re-sign Jeremy Guthrie. I hope this doesn’t mean that February rolls around and the pitchers competing for a starting gig are a bunch of Volstad’s. More than anything, I hope that this doesn’t mean that they are putting all their eggs into the “well, Duffy and Paulino will be back soon” basket. Sure, they should return in 2013. But you have to look at them as if they will not contribute to the Royals next year. Anything you get from them is a bonus. If they are counting on those two to return, plus Chen, Hochevar and Volstad to improve plus whatever lot of castoffs they acquire this winter, then we are in trouble. Dayton Moore has had over six years to build a rotation that is acceptable at the least. Instead, the Royals rotation looks like the island of misfit toys. At this point, I would take King Moonracer in the Royals rotation.
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