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PrattTribune - Pratt, KS
  • Royals recent roster moves really rewarding?

  • Royals’ general manager Dayton Moore has been at it again, making some moves to try to get KC over the hump. Many in Royals nation were expecting a serious run at the post-season this year, but with the team floundering in mediocrity for most of it, Moore has been tinkering with the roster recently in an attempt to get things headed in the right direction.
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  • Royals’ general manager Dayton Moore has been at it again, making some moves to try to get KC over the hump. Many in Royals nation were expecting a serious run at the post-season this year, but with the team floundering in mediocrity for most of it, Moore has been tinkering with the roster recently in an attempt to get things headed in the right direction.
    As anyone who has followed KC even a little bit this summer knows, the Royals main weakness has been at the plate. They have also at times struggled in middle/ long relief, and their bench has been an embarrassment. There have been some roster quirks that have created some weird issues for the Royals as well. Moore’s moves have been aimed at redressing those problems.
    Within the past month, Raul Ibanez was added to try to bring some veteran leadership to the clubhouse, as well as provide a bat off the bench. Ibanez can play 1B and the corner outfield positions, so that gives manager Ned Yost another option there. But Ibanez is not really a “game-changer” as far as being that “impact player” who will jump-start the Royals moribund offense. He’ll do ok, he’ll give you a professional effort, but he’s probably past his prime at age 42. No one is going to mistake Ibanez for Mike Trout.
    The Royals infield has been faced with a weird problem this year. Corner infielder Danny Valencia was added to the roster before the season, basically to platoon with 3B Mike Moustakas in case the Moose had another awful season at the dish. But with Billy Butler on the roster as DH (and emergency 1B), the KC bench only had room for a spare catcher, a spare outfielder, and one more guy. That “one more guy” position has been problematic.
    KC has experimented with 2B Johnny Giavotella, OF Justin Maxwell, Util Jimmy Paredes, INF Pedro Ciriaco—and probably a few other guys whose names escape me at present— in the “one more guy” role. But they’ve never had a decent back-up at middle infield that could play shortstop competently without being a complete black hole at the plate.
    As a result, Alcides Escobar has been starting every game this season, and it has begun to show at times recently in careless play. The Royals need a back-up infielder that can spell Escobar at shortstop occasionally.
    The back-up catcher, Brett Hayes, was a joke. AKA “Mr. Oh-fer-April–and-May,” Hayes was doing nothing to justify his spot on the roster. He couldn’t hit a lick, and his game-calling skills were being called into question on the infrequent opportunities he was given behind the dish.
    Page 2 of 3 - So how has Moore gone about tweaking the roster? He recently added lefty specialist Scott Downs and RHP Jason Frasor to the bullpen. To date, Downs has been reasonably effective against lefties, but Ned has to remember not to let him face any RH power hitters.
    Frasor has seen limited action, usually only facing a batter or two in a match-up type situation. The sample size has been small, but he hasn’t gotten lit up when he’s been in there. He picked up his first win as a Royal Wednesday night although facing just one batter. Frasor was able to put an end to a scary Twins threat by picking up a whiff out of the pen. So, as long as they’re used properly, the bullpen seems to have enough good guys in it. The pen has been one of the few constants for KC this summer.
    Hopefully, an upgrade has been made at back-up catcher. Brett Hayes was released and veteran Erik Kratz was acquired from Toronto in a trade for Danny Valencia. I liked Valencia— he did what he was asked to do and did it pretty well when not injured— but perhaps it was a move that had to be made in order to allow some wiggle room for Dayton Moore to address his other roster issues. Kratz’s numbers at Toronto are not eye-popping, but he has to be an upgrade over the awful Hayes.
    Valencia’s departure opened a slot to bring up Christian Colon from AAA to fill the reserve infielder role. Colon had some success in spot duty earlier this season. He should be able to give KC the competent back-up middle infielder that they have been missing for most of the year.
    Mike Moustakas has been showing signs of coming out of his 4-month slump, which may be what made Valencia expendable. Hopefully, Moose will not revert back to stinking now that he realizes his job is not in jeopardy.
    In the outfield, KC seems content to stick with Alex Gordon in left, and some combination of Nori Aoki, Lorenzo Cain and Jarrod Dyson in the other two spots. The lead-off spot in the order continues to be a concern. Aoki, Cain and Dyson have all been tried in that spot and all have come up wanting. When Cain was promoted to lead-off, he promptly went into a tailspin and lost about 40 points off his batting average in a couple of weeks.
    Aoki and Dyson are similar types, both easily defended. Take away the bunt and play the outfield shallow and you’ve got them in a pickle. In short, the lead-off spot continues to vex KC. And the lack of power continues to drag them down. Billy Butler has come to life recently, perhaps coinciding with getting to play 1B with Eric Hosmer nursing a hand injury. But it remains to be seen if the power surge will continue, especially when Hosmer resumes his spot at 1B.
    Page 3 of 3 - So, long story long, I don’t think any of the recent moves are likely to give the Royals the jump-start they need if they are going to qualify for one of the Wild Card slots. They AREN’T going to overtake the Tigers and win the division. Not with THIS line-up. The Tigers are just way better, as my cat Roxie is continually reminding me. (She’s a big Tiger fan. It’s a feline thing, apparently.)
    Yes, Dayton Moore is tinkering with the line-up, but so far it’s basically just been around the edges. The trading deadline has passed, and while some teams were picking up players named Price, Lester and Cespedes, the Royals biggest name acquisition has been Ibanez.
    Yes, Dayton Moore has made some moves to make the roster less awkward, but I’m not seeing anything that is going to take them to the next level. Unless additional moves are made, or unless the current players start playing a whole lot better, KC is going to end up this season as they did last year— close but no cigar.
     
     
     
     

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