Tag Archives: Billy Butler

Bringing Back Beltran

Let the Battle for Beltran Begin

Free-agent slugger Carlos Beltran is in Kansas City meeting with the Royals front office. The club is hoping for a big-bang reunion with Beltran, who began his career in Kansas City in 1998. He was traded to the Astros during the 2004 season. He batted .287 and compiled a .835 OPS for the Royals. Most impressively he produced four seasons of 100 runs and 100 RBI in a five-year span from 1999-2003. Beltran arrived in Kansas City on Monday and is staying through Tuesday to meet with club officials and listen to the Royals’ pitch to have a homecoming with the right fielder. The Royals most likely will need to be willing to go to three years to sign Beltran. The Mariners also have a big interest in adding a bat like Beltran’s and are expected to make a serious offer to Beltran to get him to be their designated hitter. ESPN reported Beltran has a three-year offer on the table for $48 million, though it did not specify which team made such an offer.

Bringing Back Beltran
Bringing Back Beltran

The leader in the Beltran sweepstakes is the Yankees because of their payroll and chances to make the playoffs. The main reason Beltran is still a major free agent at the ago of 36 is because he brings a clutch bat that can push these teams into the playoffs. The Royals have seen in first hand how important Beltran can be in a lineup. One thing they haven’t been able to see is what he can do with hitters around him such as Billy Butler and Alex Gordon. Signing Beltran will help Butler and Gordon’s RBI numbers because Beltran gives protection to the middle of the lineup. At some point fans and front office executives will have to worry about carrying two designated hitters on the same team in aging Beltran and Butler. The Royals may be able to play Beltran in right field for this season but in 2015 he will be most effective as a DH. I personally wanted the Royals to pull the trigger for Dexter Fowler for one of the relievers. This trade made sense because the Royals needed another outfielder and had a surplus of relievers. The Astros were able to jump on the low asking price the Rockies put out there on Fowler. The best-case scenario would be the Royals sign Beltran and in 2015 they decide to move Butler for a needed piece at that time. The only way this signing makes the Royals better is if both Butler and Beltran are in the lineup together for the first two years. In addition, if the Royals can’t make that work, the return for Butler should be high because of his consistency at the plate. While the Royals will lose their draft pick to the Cardinals for signing Beltran, they will gain a draft pick from who ever signs Ervin Santana. Lastly, The Royals lineup next year will look like this… LF Gordon, RF Beltran, 1B Hosmer, DH Butler, C Perez, CF Cain, 3B Moustakas, SS Escobar, 2B TBD. This lineup now puts fear in opposing pitching staffs.  If the Royals are able to sign Carlos Beltran it will most likely be their biggest free agent signing since David Cone. The cheers at opening day when Beltran takes the field will be the loudest I will hear at the K in my short life so far.

Spencer Montgomery

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Royals 2013

Wait, did I just see the Royals on ESPN? I have caught myself thinking this more already than any other season in recent years.  Dayton Moore and the Royals have finally gone all in for this 2013 season.  With a huge trade for James Shields, the Royals were finally able to go from being one of the worst starting rotations in the history of the MLB to one of the better rotations in the AL.  To go with a better rotation, they Royals have offensive threats that could contribute to a rare winning season.

The biggest X-factor this season is health. The Royals have invested so much this season, so if James Shields or Salvador Perez gets injured, fans can kiss this season goodbye. Concerning health, the major statistic I see is which starter pitches the most innings. Last year, the starters went just six innings too often.  Though the bullpen was dominant, the relievers were typically worn out.  The Royals trade for Shields has given Kansas City a workhorse. It has also given the Royals and Ned Yost options for their rotation and bullpen.

james-shields

The starting rotation is bound to be better this year than last, but by how much? As I said earlier, the inning the starters consume will show the specific talents the Royals have in the bullpen. Right now, here is how I see the starting rotation shaping out:

2012 Statistics

1. James Shields: 15-10, 3.52 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 223 Ks, 58 Walks in 227.2 Innings

2. Ervin Santana: 9-13, 5.16 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 133 Ks, 61 Walks in 178 Innings

3. Jeremy Guthrie: 8-12, 4.76 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, 101 Ks, 50 Walks in 181.2 Innings

4. Wade Davis: 3-0, 2.43 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 87 Ks, 29 Walks in 70.1 Innings

5. Luis Mendoza: 8-10, 4.23 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, 106 Ks, 59 Walks in 166 Innings

 Remember when I said they Royals will have options this season?  Well, what should the Royals do with Luke Hochevar and Bruce Chen?  I have always been a huge believer that the best way to motivate and get the best out of players is through pure competition.  I hope Ned Yost has made it clear that no one’s starting spot is a lock. Mendoza has been pitching extremely well so far this offseason and spring training. While this does not matter too much, it does show that he is coming in ready to compete for a job.  This season, the Royals will have something they have not had since they traded away Zack Greinke.  The Royals will once again have a pitcher with whom they will expect a win no matter what in James Shields.  “Big Game James” actually thrives off of pitching in games against the best teams and will get his opportunity in the Royals opener against Chicago White Sox.  Plus, Shields will bring playoff experience to the staff.

The Royals’ bullpen has been the strongest part of the team because of young prospects coming in and producing immediately.  Greg Holland and Aaron Crow are the “Leaders of the Relievers”.  Both can come in with confidence that they will get the team out of any jam.  The 5 players below are current locks on having a spot in the rotation due to how they have fared in the majors so far.  Holland will close and Crow will be the set-up man just like last year. With Luke Hochevar being put in the bullpen, the relievers are starting to form a complete group.

 Greg Holland: 7-4, 16 Saves, 2.96 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 91 Ks, 34 Walks in 67 Innings

Kelvin Herrera: 4-3, 2.35 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 77 Ks, 21 Walks in 84.1 Innings

Tim Collins: 5-4, 3.36 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 93 Ks, 34 Walks in 69.2 Innings

Aaron Crow: 3-1, 3.48 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 65 Ks, 22 Walks in 64.2 Innings

Louis Coleman: 0-0, 3.71 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 65 Ks, 26 Walks in 51 Innings

 Nate Adcock, Will Smith and Everett Teaford are all fighting for one spot in the bullpen and it will most likely be this way the entire season. Will Smith did a better job than most expected last year as a starter but did not perform at a high enough rate to retain his role in the rotation.

The Royals will not intimidate opposing pitching staffs with their power, but will with their ability to run the bases, hit for contact and situational hitting.  The biggest difference from last year to this year’s offensive attack is having Salvador Perez healthy.  Along with Perez, look for Alex Gordon and Billy Butler to carry the load for this lineup For the most part, Gordon and Butler have been consistent.  I expect Butler to finally jump into the thirty home run club and be the sole member from the Royals.  Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas could both take major strides this year as well. Hosmer should benefit immensely from playing with the USA team because he gets to see how the best players prepare themselves on a daily basis.  I do not expect Perez to hit in the .300’s but around .280 mark.  Though the Royals may lack strength in power, they more than make up for it in their athletic youth.

Billy+Butler+Alex+Gordon+UQF6ulLEYBdm

Alex Gordon (LF): .294/.368/.455, 14 HR’s, 72 RBI, 93 Runs in 161 Games

Alcides Escobar (SS): .293/.331/.390, 5 HR’s, 52 RBI, 68 Runs, 35 SB’s in 155 Games

Eric Hosmer (1B): .232/.304/.359, 14 HR’s, 60 RBI, 65 Runs, 16 SB’s in 152 Games

Billy Butler (DH): .313/.373/.510, 29 HR’s, 107 RBI, 72 Runs in 161 Games

Mike Moustakas (3B): .242/.296/.412, 20 HR’s, 73 RBI, 69 Runs in 149 Games

Salvador Perez (C): .301/.328/.471, 11 HR’s, 39 RBI, 38 Runs in 76 Games

Jeff Francoeur (RF): .235/.287/.387, 16 HR’s, 49 RBI, 58 Runs in 148 Games

Lorenzo Cain (CF): .266/.316/.419, 7 HR’s, 31 RBI, 27 Runs, 10 SB’s in 61 Games

Chris Getz (2B): .275/.312/.360, 17 RBI, 22 Runs, 9 SB’s in 64 Games

Come September, I expect the Royals to finish at 79-83.  Lorenzo Cain’s health will be crucial as this team aims to achieve a winning record.  With major injuries to any of the starting lineup, the Royals winning chances diminish because they do not have the depth to plug another player in without a great drop off.  Furthermore, the Royals do not have the pieces or money to make trades to improve the roster in the middle of the season.  The Royals are all in this year and pitching will tell the story for the Blue Crew.

Spencer Montgomery

Shaun+Marcum+Milwaukee+Brewers+v+Colorado+cphK8DYS2Swl

Royals in 2013

As the 2012 season winds down, the Royals will end with yet another disappointing season. Going into this year, tons of optimism surrounded this team. With the likes of Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas entering their full first year in the bigs, Danny Duffy, Luke Hochevar and Bruce Chen in the rotation after finishing off the 2011 season on a strong note. Expectations then dropped off during the first home stand of the year; with the Royals losing their first 10 games. Trying to dig out of a big hole, the Royals got as close as 4 games under .500. After an abysmal July, the Royals are poised for another losing season. To transition a negative into a positive lets look at the upside for 2013, by position.

Catcher:
After signing Salvador Perez to an extension, he is the future. The question was, after knee surgery, how was he going to come back. His numbers do not lie, .313 8HR and 17 RBI’s in 37 games. Let me enlighten you with this, in 76 career games in the major leagues, Salvador is hitting .323/.350/.507. Healthy I think is an understatement.

First Base:
After a very successful first season in the majors, the highest of expectations were carried by Eric Hosmer coming into this season. After his rookie year his number read .293/.334/.465 with 19 homers and 78 RBI’s in 128 games. Hosmer has disappointed this season so far going .228/.299/.353 with 10 homers and 49 RBI’s. There’s no question that Hosmer is the first baseman of the future, with a great ceiling. Hosmer looks to snap this slump before the end of this season, but hopefully the sophomore slump will just be a sophomore slump.

Billy Butler is an under-average first baseman with a great, consistent bat. He will primarily play DH, like he always has. (See Designated Hitter)

Second Base:
The biggest question going into next season is the question of second base. With Chris Getz having a great 2012 season, I would expect to see him starting in 2013. But with Christian Colon’s recent promotion to AAA and Johnny Giavotella playing a little 3rd base in the minors, I fully expect to see Colon in the 2nd base spot sometime next season barring an injury or an unproductive beginning of the year. Maybe a trade will happen this offseason to open this position up a little more. With the bad defense from Giavotella, and the recent surge in the bat of Getz, look for Chris Getz to begin 2013 as opening day 2nd baseman, but Colon not far behind

Third Base:
MOOOOOOSEE!!! A fan favorite around Kauffman Stadium is the Royals now and future 3rd baseman. Moose has had a good, not great, but good second year in the majors. His numbers are around .256/.306/.451 with 18 homers and 54 RBI’s. Not only has he shown his bat, but for an ‘average’ third baseman, he sure knows how to flash the leather. For the Royals to be a successful team, Moose has to be the player everyone saw in the minors.

Shortstop:
Biggest surprise of 2013 is Alcides Escobar’s bat. His numbers are at  .297/.337/.404 with 4 homers and 39 RBI’s. Firmly placing himself in the #2 hole in the lineup. Escobar, as well, is an outstanding defensive shortstop. If he can keep up his hitting he could put himself in a few All Star Games.

Left Field:
Alex Gordon at the beginning of the season lost his swing. Maybe because he has been moved up and down and up and down the lineup. Recently, put back in the leadoff spot and has hit better than .300. If Alex Gordon can keep the bat going like the second half of this season, he could stay in that leadoff spot and be very productive. It also does help out his case that he is a gold glover and has a rocket for an arm.

Center Field:
Lorenzo Cain, brought in to be the everyday center fielder, went on the DL early in the season. During his rehab he had a long setback. Since coming back from the DL, Cain has been the player that everyone thought he would be. Showing his average, power, speed; also showing his defensive skills we saw flashes of in the very short time at the beginning of the season. Hitting in the 3 hole is not in Lorenzo’s future here in KC, but he could be a great 2 hole hitter or somewhere in the bottom to provide a spark.

Right Field:
Wil Myers. No question that he has killed minor league pitching. With Jeff Francoeur blocking him here in the majors (or supposedly blocking him. I don’t know how someone as bad as Francoeur has been this season can block anyone.) Wil Myers has shown scouts everything they need to see and when Myers joins the major league roster in September, he won’t be leaving.

Designated Hitter:
Billy Butler has proven that he is an elite hitter in this league. This year already passing his career high in home runs and still going. Billy has proven over the past few year that he can consistently give you a .290 average, 18+ home runs, 85+ RBI’s and help the team win. This year he is showing his power, playing 113 games he had 24 home runs and 73 RBI’s with a .302 average. Billy is KC icon (Ask Robinson Cano) and will be the leader of this team for years to come. Clint Robinson may start the season in the majors, providing some pop off the bench and to provide Butler or Hosmer with a day off.

Projected 2013 Opening Day Lineup:
1. Alex Gordon – LF
2. Alcides Escobar – SS
3. Mike Moustakas – 3B
4. Billy Butler – DH
5. Salvador Perez -C
6. Eric Hosmer – 1B
7. Wil Myers – RF
8. Lorenzo Cain – CF
9. Chris Getz – 2B

Bench:
Jarrod Dyson
Irving Falu
Brayan Pena

Starting Pitching:
Dayton Moore can strikeout or hit a homerun in free agency this year. He does not have the history of wowing anyone, yet hes never had this much major league ready talent.  Every year he seems to surprise everyone with a less than stellar free agent signing. This offseason, I would like to see Dayton Moore ink a guy like Shawn Marcum, a guy with Kansas City ties. If we went off past signees, we would see a guy like Jair Jurrjens. Here’s where I see the rotation looking like.

1. Shawn Marcum – Free agent signee, Kansas City native, now best pitcher on the Royals
2. Bruce Chen – And yet again, there he is.
3. Luke Hochevar – Never know what your gonna get.
4. Jake Odorizzi – Having a good year in the minors, should be a little higher, but Dayton has Luke Hochevar love.
5. Jeremy Guthrie – First full year with the club, giving his past he will get a shot.

Alternates:
Will Smith and Luis Mendoza are the only other players that have a shot at seeing a spot in the rotation to begin the season. Danny Duffy and Felipe Paulino will see the rotation whenever they return from surgery. Also, John Lamb could very well get a mid season look if he comes off the surgery well.

Bullpen:
Everett Teaford – Been good as a long reliever, not so good as a starter.
Luis Mendoza – If he doesn’t make the rotation.
Aaron Crow – Down year, they might try and stretch him out to see if he can be a starter during spring training.
Tim Collins – Dominating 2012 season.
Kelvin Herrera – Looking to be lights out, he needs to upgrade his breaking ball
Greg Holland – Nasty stuff. If Joakim Soria does not recover by the beginning of the season, here is your closer.
Louis Coleman – Great stuff. Good addition to the pen
Jeremy Jeffress – His problems gone??

I could be extremely wrong on all of this. We all know that sometimes the front office does some questionable things, or just really surprising things. Who knows, Jeff Francoeur could begin the season as a Royal. All I know is, its OUR TIME….right?

mike trout

Random Ramblings About Everything

Greetings all. It’s been awhile since I’ve gotten the chance to sit down and write an article for this website, something I always look forward to doing and take pleasure in doing so. Between working 35 hours a week, rushing fraternities for college, and trying to get a few college credits knocked out in the process, I’ve had little time to sit down and do what I enjoy almost more than anything else: writing about sports. And boy, has a lot changed in the sports world in the last couple months. So here it goes folks.

During my 2-month hiatus, 2 sports have crowned champions. The Los Angeles Kings won their first Stanley Cup in franchise history in late May, defeating the New Jersey Devils in 6 games. The Kings playoff run was possibly the most improbable, yet one of the most impressive runs in NHL playoff history. They became the first 8th seeded team in NHL history to win a Stanley Cup.

The Kings lost just 1 game away from Staples Center all postseason, thanks in large part to the play of goalie Jonathan Quick. Quick seemed to stop everything – and yes, I mean everything – that came his way in the playoffs. Captain Dustin Brown provided the scoring, as he scored almost 50 percent of the team’s playoff tallies. The Kings proved once and for all that no matter how efficient and talented you are on offense, goalie play wins games in the postseason. Just ask the Canucks and Blackhawks, the 2 highest scoring teams in the NHL this past season. Both failed to make it out of the first round.

The NBA also crowned a champion in the last 30 days. Not to take anything away from the Stanley Cup Finals, because nothing beats playoff hockey, but the 2012 NBA Finals were probably the most anticipated and intriguing finals since the Lakers/Celtics matchup in 2008. It was Durant against LeBron, prodigal son vs. villain. Thunder vs. Heat, a final many predicted would transpire before the season even started. And after 5 thrilling, well-contested games between the Thunder and Heat, LeBron James and the Miami Heat were crowned champions. The ring less king was no more. All criticism of James, many of it being unjustified, hushed to a slow murmur rather than shouting, obnoxious television pundits over-analyzing James at every turn (see Bayless, Skip.)

The importance of the Heat’s championship should not be overlooked. LeBron finally got off the snide, Dwayne Wade wrote his ticket to the hall of fame, and Chris Bosh’s importance was finally realized by all. Not to mention the all-important 38 year old Eddie Curry getting his first championship. More importantly, Miami hoisting the trophy has ignited NBA free agency this summer.

Teams are now attempting to construct their own “big 3” in order to compete with the Heat, among others. The newly located Brooklyn Nets resigned Deron Williams and added Joe Johnson and Gerald Wallace, giving them a big 3 of their own. The Lakers made perhaps the biggest splash of all trading for Steve Nash to pair him up with Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, and Andrew Bynum. Los Angeles is now likely Oklahoma City’s biggest competitor out west.

The mystery still remains as to where Dwight Howard will end up. Brooklyn is maxed out on the cap, so they are no longer a possible destination. The only 2 teams in play for Howard at this point are the Lakers and the Magic. If the Lakers were to acquire Howard, they would have to give up 22-year-old Andrew Bynum in the process. That’s a risk I’d be willing to take if I were Los Angles, considering Kobe himself recently admitted his years in the league are numbered. Regardless of where Howard lands, parody in the NBA is slowly improving. Although the league is still driven by big markets, Oklahoma City has proven winning in a small market can be done.

The All Star Break is here in major league baseball, and what a first half it was. The first half of 2012 has been about complete games, young superstars, 38 year old knuckleballers, and the overachievement of several teams. 19 year old Bryce Harper, who became the youngest position player to ever play in an All Star Game Tuesday night, has the upstart Washington Nationals on top of the National League East. Harper has a rare combination of raw power, blazing speed, and extremely advanced baseball instincts for a 19 year old. However, Harper isn’t the only young stud that has made a mark on the first half of the season. 20-year-old Angels outfielder Mike Trout has also impressed the baseball community with his immense talent. A few have even made the case for Trout being the AL’s MVP.

With Trout in the lineup, the Angels have gone 38-22, overcoming newly acquired star Albert Pujols’ struggles and battling their way to a 48-38 record at the break, good for 2nd in the American League West. The Yankees and Rangers are tied for the best record in baseball at the break, and the surprising White Sox are atop the American League Central. White Sox DH Adam Dunn is the leader in the clubhouse for the Comeback Player of the Year award, slugging 25 HR’s and 61 RBI’s in the first half.

In the National League, Pittsburgh Pirates’ centerfielder Andrew McCutchen has the Buccos atop the National League Central at the break for the 2nd time in the last 29 years. If the season were to end today, McCutchen would get my vote for NL NVP. McCutchen finished the first half with a .360 average, best in all of baseball, adding 19 HR’s and knocking in 61 RBI’s. It was one hell of a first half for him and the Pirates, a team I’d like to see stay in contention deep into September.

The 1969 Mets were dubbed the “Amazin Mets” after winning their first World Series Championship in franchise history. The ’69 Mets were young, inexperienced, and were expected to be the worst team in baseball in 1969 (or so I’m told.) What does this have to do with 2012? Well, the Mets are amazin again in 2012, as they have a 46-40 record and sit atop the National League Wild Card standings. Many were picking the Mets to lose 100 games this season. Now they’re on pace for 90 wins, and if the season ended today, they’d be playing the Los Angeles Dodgers in the playoffs.

New York’s success can be attributed to 38 year old knuckle baller R.A. Dickey leading the National League with a 2.37 ERA and 137 strikeouts, and David Wright returning to his pre-knee surgery form, batting over .350 and knocking in 60 runs in the first half. This team might not be the most talented, but their character and heart are second to none.

I haven’t even mentioned Matt Cain and Philip Humbers perfect games, Josh Hamilton’s 4-homerun game, Robinson Cano being mercilessly booed at the HR derby, and Johan Santana’s no-hitter, the first in Mets history. It’s been an exciting first half on the diamond. Why not expect more of the same in the second half?

Outside of hockey, basketball, and baseball, 26-year-old Webb Simpson won his first major championship, hoisting the U.S. Open crown at famed Olympic Club. The win was not surprising in the least to golf fans, but more surprising was Tiger Woods’ collapse on Saturday and Sunday. Woods entered the 3rd round with a 2 shot lead over the field, a lead nobody thought he would yield at a major. Woods went on to shoot 8 over on Saturday and Sunday, finishing an underwhelming tie for 29th.

Rodger Federor won his 7th Wimbeldon Championship this past weekend, a win that bolted him into conversation for the best men’s tennis player in history.

Looking ahead, the 2012 Summer Olympic games are set to begin in London within the month. Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte should represent the U.S. well in the pool, Tyson Gay looks to become the most decorated runner in U.S. history at the summer games, and the “new dream team” will attempt to bring home the gold behind LeBron James and Kevin Durant. The summer Olympics are always enjoyable to watch, and I recommend you tuning in the mellifluous voice of one Bob Costas and enjoying the games. Not to mention training camp beginning for most teams in the next 4 weeks. Those crisp fall Sunday afternoons are right around the corner.

Most people think summer is the death for sports. Unless you’re a baseball fan, it can be a tad boring. But the Olympics should give those non-seam heads something to watch this summer. And if you’re not into the Olympic games, as I sit typing this, there are only 64 days until the Super Bowl champion New York Giants face off against the Dallas Cowboys in the NFL season opener.

Tyler Howard

Luke Hochevar

Royals Split Against Yankees

With a 0-10 record at home, the Royals were in desperate need for a home win. The Royals leaned on Danny Duffy, but Mike Moustakas ended up carrying the load for the Royals at the plate with 3 RBI’s and a home run. Moustakas has been swinging the best bat for the team in this young season. Along with Moose, Eric Hosmer and Jarrod Dyson each had 2 hits. Danny Duffy recorded his second win and ate up 5.1 innings with six hits and two runs. Nathan Adcock gave up one run in his first inning of pitching after Duffy. Jose Mijares and Aaron Crow both accounted for holds giving up zero runs. Jonathan Broxton earned his 5th save. In the ninth inning, Broxton gave a single up to Jeter, then walked Granderson. The initial feel around the ballpark conveyed the message “ here we go again”. The fans had seen this downfall before. This team has invented different ways to lose at home and today was about to be one of them. Next, Teixeira grounded up the middle, where Getz dove fully to field it and then flipped it to Escobar at second to start the double play. After the fantastic play, the overpaid, Alex Rodriguez hit a drizzler to third. Moustakas charged and fielded bare handed which led him to fire the ball to first getting the final out.

Just when the Royals were starting to act more confident with their continued success, New York’s powerful lineup was up and ace CC Sabathia took charge. Bruce Chen recorded his fourth lose at the feet of the Yankees. Chen survived for 6.2 innings. While Chen did make it deep in the game, he gave up 9 hits and 6 runs pushing his ERA to 4.98. Collins, Coleman, and Kansas City native Hottovy finished off the game without giving up another run. The positives for the blue crew were slim, but they did score two early runs against big CC. While Escobar stole his 6th base on the season, he also was penalized with his third error. The Royals had 7 hits while striking out only 8 times.

Felipe Paulino threw a gem on his return from the disabled list. He handled the pressure of the Yankees lineup and gave the Royals exactly what they needed. Paulino threw six shutout innings, allowing just four hits and two walks while striking out six. He retired the first 11 batters he faced before walking Alex Rodriguez with two outs in the fourth inning. The Royals opened the first inning by scoring 2 runs. Jarrod Dyson reached on a rare error by Jeter and after Alex Gordon ripped a single into right field. Both runners scored easily on a double, smoked down the left-field line by Billy Butler. Gordon and Butler were the clear catalysts for the Royals. Gordon went 4-5 with 1 RBI and Butler drove in 3 runs on 2 doubles. Escobar and Getz created havoc on the base paths by each stealing one base. The highlight of the game was a rope thrown from Francoeur in right field to third to get a tagging Curtis Granderson. The bullpen for the Royals had another lights out game. While Mijares did give up a run, the pen had an impressive outing. Kelvin Herrera gave 1.1 innings of work with one strikeout. Aaron Crow ended the game with a scoreless ninth inning.

To end the series the Royals sent out Luke Hochevar. He struggled in the third inning immensely. Hochevar gave up 7 runs on 7 hits. The Royals fans went berserk on Twitter asking for Hochevar to be cut after tonight. This is extremely unlikely but I would not be opposed to it. 4 of the 7 runs came at the feet of Robinson Cano’s grand slam. Louis Mendoza came in as a long relief and did very well in his 4.2 innings of work. Mendoza did struggle with his command while giving up 5 walks. The walks were the main reason for the two runs he gave up. The hometown kid Hottovy gave up one run in 2.0 innings. Offensively the Royals were highlighted by the debut of Irving Falu. Falu started in his first ever major league game. His first at-bat was a triple to right field. He finished 2-4. Humberto Quintero bombed a homerun into the fountains. The series with two wins and two losses. Next up for the blue crew is the Boston Red Sox.

Spencer Montgomery

The Lowest Payroll in Baseball

Last year the Royals spent $36,126,400 on their payroll. (the least in the MLB) The Yankees spent roughly $200 million dollars. That is roughly 5.5 times the Royals payroll. This year the Royals are expected to add around $22 million to $58 million after Alex Gordon and the Royals agree on an amount. Currently the highest paid Royals is Billy Butler at $8 million. After reviewing the past of the Royals and other statistics, David Glass can surely reach a cap of $70 million. At the beginning of the 2010 season the payroll was set at $72 million. A perfect fit to meet the payroll would be either Edwin Jackson or Roy Oswalt. The team could still have wiggle room because the signing of either pitcher will not even reach $70 million. After looking at the list of teams that are not spending, I have come to conclusion that in today’s day and age, a team must be in the top third in spending to have a realistic chance to win.

Although the main reason for this years low payroll is the youth. For example, the team’s best player, Eric Hosmer, is making the league minimum ($414,000). While the Royals do not have to worry about locking up Hosmer or Moustakas for the future yet, they need to have a blueprint for the future WITH these cornerstones.

Expect to see this much more in 2012

I have great confidence in Dayton Moore because I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I can see the banners hanging. I can see the “K” filled with excitement. I can see the time when I can talk to my friends (even the ones that don’t like baseball) about the present Royals, not always having to look to the future but to be able to live in the present. The Chiefs and the Royals are the heart and soul of Kansas City.

While most fans have remained patient, some have broken that mold. Most fans are expecting this year to be the turn around year. I for one see this year being extremely promising but just another step on the stairs to greatness. With the division down as it is, I give the Tigers the edge over all contenders. Although Victor Martinez (the Tigers DH) will likely be out for the entire season, the Tigers have the experience and the talent to lock up the division.

All I am hoping for out of this season is to reach the next major checkpoint. The next checkpoint is to compete for the central division. I see that this young group of players can compete just as the Pittsburgh Pirates did last year. The greatest job Dayton Moore has done is creating competition among the team. For example, the bullpen could consist of a variety of faces. Also, Moore managed to keep the leadership that the team needed in Jeff Francoeur. The Royals have the youngest team in baseball. With the youth, KC fans can expect mistakes but also can expect the same feeling that came when Bo Jackson hit BOMB after BOMB into the fountains at Kauffman Stadium.

Although Moore has whiffed miserably with signings such as Jose Guillen (3 years $36 million) or Gill Meche (5 years $55 million). I still have complete confidence in his ability because of the product that will be on the field for next year. With the All-Star Game in Kansas City, this summer gives the Royals the chance to create excitement for the amazing fans of Kansas City.

Statistics come from http://www.stevetheump.com/Payrolls.htm

Spencer