The more things change, the more they stay the same. Obviously, whoever invented that saying had our Kansas City Royals in mind. Right? Perhaps not, but it certainly applies. We’re only a little over an eighth of way through the new campaign, and barring a swift turnaround, we are in danger of needing to blow the whole thing up with a massive fire sale. Thanks to our bush league offense we will not get one last run at the playoffs. Hell, we can’t even blame this horrendous start on Joakim Soria.
It feels as though the team has lost its identity. It’s strange to think how different our strategy is from the two world series teams. We’ve shifted from the lights-out bullpen, adequate starting pitching and small ball to a team with an average bullpen, good starting pitching and trying to slug our way to wins. It is not working, in the least.
Back to the Future
It seems as though we’ve travelled back in time to 2004. I keep expecting to see Ken Harvey getting hit with a cutoff throw. Speaking of Harvey, I wonder if he could come back and hit better than Hosmer right now. At least he may not swing out of his shoes and weakly groundout to second base. It’s hard to remember when another golden boy of the franchise had a worse contract year than Hoz. I’m not sure he deserves a golden shower at this point, let along a big contract.
One big contract that we do have is Alex Gordon. It looks more and more like that one may come back to haunt us. Last season may have been a foreshadowing, not an anomaly. He still plays good defense and displays a laser arm, but he’s lost a step and possibly some bat speed. He has yet to hit a home run this season, in case you were wondering.
Two guys actually having good seasons while playing for new contracts are Lorenzo Cain and Mike Moustakas. Although most of Cain’s hits have been of the Punch and Judy variety, his plate discipline has improved significantly as he’s walking at a very high rate. I’ve never understood, the way we’ve struggled to find a lead-off hitter, why Ned has never tried Cain there. He seems like the best suited for the role. Imagine if he was getting on base and Moose was hitting 2-run home runs behind him instead of solo ones. It will be interesting to see if Moose can keep up this home run rate and challenge Balboni’s record of 36. In 2004, Carlos Beltran was off to a similar start before being traded. Beltran hit 38 that year. Wouldn’t it be very Royal indeed if Moose hit 36-40 while being traded mid-year.
One part of this team that is not reminiscent to 2004 is the pitching staff and the starting rotation in particular. We’ve had some excellent starts, mostly from Duffy, Kennedy and Vargas. It’s amazing and sad how many of those starts were squandered due to no punch from the offense. Wouldn’t it be something if our rotation could face the Royals offense. We could see some complete game shutouts or possibly some no-hitters.
One of the more enjoyable aspects of watching a bad baseball team, and something many of us have grown accustomed to over the years, is watching the young prospects play. Jorge Bonifacio is one in particular that I’ve been very interested in seeing for awhile and now we have the chance. Albeit, the chance may be short since Jorge Soler is close to returning from his rehab assignment. Hopefully Royals fans do not expect Soler to be the offense’s savior because he is a prospect of sorts too. At this point in their careers I’m not sure Soler is any better than Bonifacio but perhaps his power can help.
Former Manager Buddy Bell was once quoted saying “I never say it can’t get worse.” Surely for the hitters it can’t, can it? Have we seen rock bottom yet? With the team averaging 2.5 runs per game and hitting right around the Mendoza line, I certainly hope it can’t.