One of my goals this year is to start writing about the Kansas City Royals again. It's something I've always enjoyed, and the team has been more fun to watch this past year than any since 2003.
This is, of course, a terrible idea.
The main reason is that I am about to become a father for the first time. Our little girl is due on March 27, which is basically opening day. I don't know much about raising children (I do have a DVD from the California Children & Families Commission that I'm hoping will be helpful), but my guess is that it won't lead to more free time, and I certainly wasn't a prolific writer before.
At any rate, I'm going to give it a shot. Starting with a look at the main transactions that have taken place since the season ended.
That's right, cutting edge analysis only two months after something has happened. Count on it!
Moves to Address the Abysmal Starting Pitching Situation.
11/07/11 Kansas City Royals traded CF Melky Cabrera to San Francisco Giants;
San Francisco Giants traded LHP Jonathan Sanchez to Kansas City Royals
Richmond Flying Squirrels traded Ryan Verdugo to Northwest Arkansas Naturals.
11/18/11 Kansas City Royals called up Ryan Verdugo from Northwest Arkansas Naturals.
11/23/11 Kansas City Royals signed free agent LHP Bruce Chen.
11/29/11 Kansas City Royals signed free agent RHP Jonathan Broxton.
12/21/11 Kansas City Royals signed free agent LHP Jose Mijares.
In 2011, the Royals had a team ERA of 4.44, which was 12th in the American League. That is not good. The bulk of this awfulness came from the starting rotation, who contributed a 4.82 ERA versus 3.75 from the relievers.
Having this information on hand, you may look at the transactions above and wonder why only one of the signings actually addressed the starting pitching situation.
I'm not saying that adding Jonathan Sanchez to the starting rotation isn't a nice move. But, it's sort of like putting a new rug in the living room to spruce things up, but leaving your beer-stained couch and milk crate coffee table as the centerpiece.
Bringing back Bruce Chen is nice, as he was probably the best starter last year. Bringing in Broxton and Mijares certainly adds more depth to a very good bullpen. But, at the end of the day, four-fifths of the rotation of suck that took the mound last year will be doing so again this season.
On a positive note, the starters for Kansas City did drop their ERA from 5.13 before the All Star Break to 4.44 after.
Minor League Moves
11/11/11 Kansas City Royals signed free agent LHP Alejandro Viloria.
11/15/11 Kansas City Royals signed free agent LHP Tommy Hottovy.
12/08/11 Kansas City Royals claim Cesar Cabral off waivers from Portland Sea Dogs.
Kansas City Royals traded Cesar Cabral to New York Yankees.
12/12/11 LHP Aaron Laffey elected free agency.
12/13/11 Kansas City Royals signed free agent RHP Juan Gutierrez.
Kansas City Royals signed free agent C Max Ramirez.
Kansas City Royals signed free agent OF Greg Golson.
12/14/11 Kansas City Royals signed free agent RHP Devon Lowery.
I don't know who any of these people are.
This is the kind of in-depth analysis you can expect about the minor league moving forward.
Utility Infielder Option #1
11/30/11 Kansas City Royals designated SS Jeff Bianchi for assignment.
12/09/11 Chicago Cubs claim Jeff Bianchi off waivers from Kansas City Royals.
Jeff Bianchi had a promising season in between single and double-A ball in 2009, but lost all of 2010 to injury, and just never put it together last year at Northwest Arkansas.
I list him here, because as somebody who has played both shortstop and second base, he could have been a usefull player for the Royals if the bat ever came around.
Oh, and he's probably going to become a hall of famer in Chicago. That Theo Epstein kid is wicked smart.
Utility Infielder Option #2
12/08/11 Kansas City Royals traded 3B Yamaico Navarro to Pittsburgh Pirates
for RHP Brooks Pounders and 3B Diego Goris.
Brooks Pounders assigned to Wilmington Blue Rocks from Kansas City Royals.
Diego Goris assigned to Burlington Royals from Kansas City Royals.
Yamaico Navarro was in a great position to be the Royals super utility player this year. But, he was an a-hole. And what happens to a-holes? They get traded from Boston to Kansas City to Pittsburgh. Unless they can hit. If they can hit, they get to keep being a-holes all they want.
Better learn how to hit, Yam.
Utility Infielder Option #∞
12/20/11 Kansas City Royals signed free agent SS Yuniesky Betancourt.
Joe Posnanski says it best here.
Rany Jazayerli has a good take on the signing here.
I'll just link to what I wrote when theRoyals picked up Yuni the first time.
Thankfully, I was way wrong about Cortes's future. The jury is still out on Yuni, though.