Tag Archives: kansas city royals

RFP Of The Day: Dan Quisenberry

What a whirlwind this feature has been… When I saw the headline, Royals Winningest Pitcher Dies, my first thought was “Oh no! Dan Quisenberry died!” I come to find out it was actually a fellow named Paul Splittorff who passed, and on top of that, I discover that Quisenberry wasn’t even a starter. Turns out he was a closer, and a damn good one at that. He finished in the top three in Cy Young voting for four years in a row from 82-85. I guess I’m really giving away my age here. Sure I had a lot of Dan Quisenberry baseball cards, but clearly I didn’t watch a lot of Kansas City Royals games. The only highlight I can remember is George Brett charging the field during the infamous pine tar incident. I was a bit too young to remember their 1985 World Series win.

In a shocking turn of events, while looking for a good picture of Quisenberry, I come across one of his grave. Apparently the guy passed away from brain cancer in 1998 I must have erased that from my memory, because I sure as hell don’t remember that. What I remember though is a nasty submarine delivery and an even NASTIER mustache…..

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Trading Weekend…

Wall Street is closed on the weekends, but there were some major trades being made in the sports world over the weekend. The two biggest trades were undoubtedly the Magic getting Gilbert (a long time favorite of mine) from the Wizards, as well as Hedo Turkoglu, Jason Richardson, and Earl Clark from the Suns. My first reaction to the trade when I saw it flash up on the bottom line on TV was, what an upgrade! They got rid of Rashard, Pietrus and Vince, which is a win my book regardless of who came in. Nothing against Vince or Rashard, but if the Magic really want to be serious contenders they needed to get rid of both of them for the simple reason that they always choke in the playoffs. Here’s a reminder of how they felt last year about the Hedoless team. (NJ and Toronto fans nodding in agreement) Second, they got rid of Michael (I step out of bounds twice a game) Pietrus. I’m not positive how Air France has done this year since I really don’t follow the Magic that closely, but Pietrus is a guy that frustrated me when he was in a Warriors uniform. I can only assume that those are the same type of sentiments that Magic fans have about him, but maybe not. All in all it was like the how the A’s finally rid themselves of Jack Cust. Addition by subtraction.

How will this new look Eastern Conference beast be with all the new parts? I really can’t say for sure that they will be better than the old group, but since they are taking in veterans that have played in multiple systems, I’m sure integrating them into the game plan won’t take as long as many expect. I also believe that Hedo and Arenas want to prove that they are good again, and will have plenty of reasons now that they will be playing for a winning team. I’m sure both want to revive their image, and winning cures that quickly just look at Vick! A lot of people seemed shocked that they’d blow up their team like this with only a quarter of the season gone by, but my thinking is that all of this seeming panic goes back to the summer of Lebron. The Magic are about to find themselves in a similar situation that Cleveland faced last year with Dwight’s contract expiring in 2012. Feels like a do or die move to try and get a championship. If you are the Magic, you definitely should be scared that if they don’t get a championship in the next two years then their chances to re-sign Dwight will be nearly impossible as he looks to take his talents away from central Florida. They already have experience losing a once in a lifetime center seeing Shaq flee to LA. Centers don’t grow on trees as we’ve seen with guys like Oden and Bynum never really making it to their potential level or staying healthy for that matter. The Magic are now deep into the luxury tax, but it will only be worth it if they can appease their big man to stay, and a championship might be the only way to do that. I hope it works out for them, unless of course Dwight has an aching to come to Golden State! Then I wouldn’t mind watching his “Decision” from the Epcot Center.

Zack Greinke was the other big trade of the weekend. I love reading how the Royals got a good deal out of it. Really!?! You can already tell?!? They traded away their best player and have improved greatly?!? I guess they are like the A’s, but simply never win. The Royals have one of the youngest roster known to man. Aside from Vin Mazzaro who the A’s just traded to them, I don’t really recognize many names. I guess they could be like the Padres and sneak up on everyone, but that’s a laughable statement in itself. If they are a contender in two years I will gladly eat those words. I’d put the chances of them getting a Cliff Lee, Brandon Phillips, and Grady Seizmore type haul at 1%.  Personally, I thought the best part about this trade was that the Rangers didn’t end up with Greinke. He was supposedly their second target after they failed to get Cliff Lee. Now it looks like the A’s are still the only team that’s really improved in the AL West, which makes me that much happier. The Brewers get what they were desperately missing with Greinke’s consistent pitching, even if last year he wasn’t as great. Can you blame him? I’d have a hard time getting fired up for starts if I was on the Royals. I think he’s going to tear through the NL lineups and might be somewhat like Halladay was last year for the Phillies, although there’s a huge difference between the AL East and the AL Central. I actually picked the Brewers to win the NL Central last year, maybe I just picked them one year too early! Now that they’ll have Yorvani Gallardo and hopefully a healthy Chris Capuano, so there’s no reason to count this team out. Their young core can put up runs, but now they some pitching to match that powerful lineup. If they can find a way to bridge the gap between their new starters and the Axeman I will be saying I told you so 8 months from now when they are in the playoffs!


Seriously Royals Fans?

I googled the Royals and this came up.

Just saw this poll on espn.com, and I can’t believe the good people of Missouri, Kansas, and Nebraska actually think the Royals will win the AL Central. I’m an expert in blind faith to your local team, but really? Winning the division? ESPN asked, “If Joe Nathan is out for the season, who is the favorite to win the AL Central?” This question is a bit misleading, because if Joe Nathan WERE healthy, would the Twins even then be the favorites? Probably not. I think irregardless of Nathan’s situation (hmm, has a nice fantasy team name ring to it), the Twins are not the favorites. Despite Miguel Cabrera’s slumping trend and the downgrade from Granderson to Damon, the division still runs through Detroit. But what stands out to me most is that in three states, the majority of voters predicted the Royals would win it. I’m the first guy to go on record saying I like the talent in the Royals system, but until they actually contend within their division, I can’t even begin to speculate that they’d actually win it. Missouri is the state where the Royals play, so that makes sense, although for every Royals fan, there’s got to be 2 Cardinals fans who dislike the Royals. And sure, Kansas shares a name with the home of the Royals, but you’re equally close to the Rockies, so you should know better about your teams winning divisions. Lastly, Nebraska is where the Royals triple-a affiliate is, so I can see where all the Mark Teahens and Billy Butlers to come through your town would give you plenty of reason for optimism. But let’s get serious here, no matter how promising the talent on the Royals roster is, they’re still the least likely team in all of baseball to ever win their division. I’d say it’s pretty much a two horse race between the Royals and Nationals to be the team that never wins their division in our lifetimes. Having said all this, look for my next post about why the A’s will win the AL West this year. After all, they did acquire the Royals best player, Coco Crisp!


How to Even Out MLB’s Uneven Divisions

MLB's Divisions Make About As Much Sense As All This Japanese

Was just perusing Rob Neyer’s Chat transcript from Dec. 1, and someone posed this question….

Rob- Can you explain to me why MLB continues to have 4 AL West teams and 6 NL Central teams?

I’ve thought about this before, and the answer has always been simple in my mind. Move the Royals to the AL West, and switch the Brewers back to the AL in the Central division. Switching leagues is iffy, but the Brewers have spent the majority of their existence in the American League. As for Kansas City, the Chiefs play in the AFC West, and the Texas Rangers are stuck traveling to and from the Pacific Coast all season long. Now, every division has five teams. Here are the ones that would change….

NL Central: Chicago, Cincinnati, Houston, Pittsburgh, St. Louis

AL Central: Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Milwaukee, Minnesota

AL West: Anaheim, Kansas City, Oakland, Seattle, Texas

If Bud doesn’t want to move his team to the AL, I’d happily welcome the Pirates into the AL West, but that makes far less sense. Anyway, if anyone can find any flaws in my realignment, please comment. If not, please forward to Mr. Selig. Thank you.


(Not So) Early Predictions for the Cy Young – National League

About three weeks ago, I broke down the AL Cy Young race.   I’m not so sure about my prediction anymore, as Roy Halladay has had a lackluster last few outings.  What I would like to point out, however, is that I also mentioned that if Zack Greinke were to “regain his form, his final numbers might end up too good to ignore.”  Well, at this point, that’s looking like the case.  Greinke’s numbers are now so good across the board it looks like he may be a lock, at this time, for the award.  He leads in the AL in ERA, WHIP, and Shutouts, is second in Ks behind Justin Verlander, and third in Batting Average Against, behind Matt Garza and Felix Hernandez, respectively.  There’s still a month of baseball left to be played, but he looks like the clear front runner in that race and should bring a little bit of pride to what’s left of the Kansas City Royals’ fan base.

Now, on to the topic at hand – the National League Cy Young race.  Once again, I’ve narrowed it to a group of five: Chris Carpenter, Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Adam Wainwright, and Dan Haren.  We’re going to do this one by process of elimination.  Haren is probably the longest shot at this point, given his team’s standing.  He has the least impressive record of the bunch and the highest ERA.  However, I put a lot of weight on WHIP when it comes to assessing a pitcher’s performance, and in that aspect he is the best, 0.95. Like I said, though, he’s a longshot, and would need to finish out strong to have a serious chance.

That leaves us with four.  Adam Wainwright has the most wins of the bunch, racking up an impressive 17-7 record.  But, he also has the highest WHIP and BAA, along with the next highest ERA behind Haren.  His record is due in part to his team’s success.  While he’s no doubt having a great year, his numbers just don’t stack up with this bunch.

Matt Cain is also having an outstanding year for a contending club.  Historically a hard luck pitcher, Cain boasts an impressive 13-4 record.  His 2.51 ERA and 1.16 WHIP are more than respectable.  Cain, though, is supposed to be a power pitcher, yet his strikeout numbers are low, and his K:BB ratio is easily the highest of the bunch. Next.

And then there were two.  Chris Carpenter (16-3) and Tim Lincecum (13-5) are the clear front runners for the award.  I’ll be honest, I’m not sure I’m quite ready to choose between them.  Carpenter has the better record, ERA, and WHIP, but Lincecum has substantial advantages when it comes to Innings Pitched, BAA, and has 34 more strikeouts than the next guy, Javier Vazquez, in the NL, and 104 more than Carpenter.  Lincecum has thrown 34 more innings in 4 more starts than Carpenter.  Granted, a pitcher shouldn’t necessarily be punished for missing starts due to injury, but you have to look at the numbers as a whole, and overall, I think Lincecum’s numbers are slightly more impressive.  But, both guys have a few more starts to go, and that will be what separates the two.  Carpenter will have an opportunity to set himself apart, and I think he’ll need it.  Because, at this point, although unlikely, I’m predicting Tim Lincecum to be the first repeat Cy Young winner since 2002 when Randy Johnson won his fourth straight.


Early Predictions for the Cy Young – American League

On the heels of Chappy’s MVP predictions, I figured there’s no reason not to start talking about the Cy Young races.  Today, we’ll start with the American League, where I’ve narrowed it down to six guys.  I had my list at seven, but after comparing the numbers, it was obvious that Edwin Jackson simply didn’t belong.  There were others you could make a case for as well, such as Jarrod Washburn and Mark Buehrle, but ultimately, they wouldn’t have a chance to win it, so for that reason, we’ll leave them out.   So, without further ado, I’m envisioning the award coming down to this group: CC Sabathia, Josh Beckett, Roy Halladay, Justin Verlander, Zack Greinke, and Felix Hernandez.  Fortunately, the Cy Young Award seems to place less emphasis on the team’s win-loss record than, say, the MVP award.  So, you could still argue that Halladay, Greinke, and King Felix are at a disadvantage, but I don’t think at this point it takes them out of the running.

Rather than making a case for each guy, I’m going to cut right to the chase.  I put these 6 guys side-by-side (by side by side by side by side) and one player stood out: Roy Halladay.  See for yourself. If you asked me who I thought the frontrunner was, I would’ve said Josh Beckett or Justin Verlander.  Given Sabathia’s well-documented success in the month of August, I’d have given him the inside track to make a late charge.  I also would’ve thought that Zack Greinke’s dropoff since his outstanding start to the season would have taken him out of the running, but he still has very solid numbers.  His 2.33 ERA is still the best in the league.  So, if he were to regain his form, his final numbers might end up too good to ignore.

For now, though, it’s Roy Halladay who deserves the honor.  Part of me thinks he might get overlooked because he’s won the award in the past, but that was six years ago.  His 13-5 record is pretty remarkable when you consider he’s playing for a team that’s 8 games under .500.  It’s too bad he didn’t get the opportunity to pitch for a contender on a bigger stage down the stretch run of the season.  Nonetheless, if he keeps up what he’s doing, it would be a disgrace to give it to anyone else.  He’s easily the most consistent and dependable of the group.  All five of the other pitchers have been prone to blowups.  Halladay’s worst outing, numbers-wise, came two weeks ago against the Yankees, where he gave up 5 ER on 9 H in 7 innings pitched.  If that’s the WORST start you have all year, you take it in a heartbeat.  On top of that, Doc basically ranks in the top two in this group in each relevant category.  His 2.65 ERA is second only to Greinke’s.  His 173 IP is only short of Sabathia’s 178.2.  His 13 wins is only one less than Beckett and Verlander’s 14.  Most impressive, his WHIP (1.08) and walks (21) are far better than anyone else’s.  The only knock on Halladay’s numbers are the number of hits he’s given up and the low strikeout total – however, he’s right on par with Beckett and Sabathia in that department.  As for the hits, it should be noted that Halladay gave up a league-high 253 during his 2003 Cy Young campaign.  The key for him is damage control.  His strikeouts are limited because he excels at going deep into games.  He has 45 career complete games, only 7 less than the other five guys combined.  There’s no harm in giving up hits if they don’t score.

I hope this all makes it as clear as it is to me.  Like I said, I would’ve never put Halladay in the running before I dove into the numbers.  Obviously, there’s plenty of baseball to be played, but for now, the Cy Young trophy should be in the Doctor’s waiting room.


Mark Ellis, AL Player of the Week

The bright spots have been few and far between for the Oakland Athletics this year, as it has been, for the most part, a lost season.  Mark Ellis hasn’t exactly had the year he was hoping for either, missing 56 games and batting .216 through July 16.  However, Ellis has heated up tremendously since then, and entered play tonight hitting .283 on the year and leading all of baseball in RBI in the month of August with 19.  (Ellis added one to his total in the 4th inning tonight with an RBI double off AJ Burnett)

Ellis has been a cornerstone for the franchise at 2B since he was acquired along with Johnny Damon from the Kansas City Royals in 2001.  Now that Eric Chavez’s career seems all but over, Ellis will become the A’s longest tenured player.  It’s been an up and down career during his time in Oakland, but he has always been a dependable player, especially defensively, when in the lineup.  His propensity for the high infield popup from the plate hasn’t exactly endeared himself to the Oakland faithful, but for a franchise that is known far more as a revolving door, of sorts, than a dynasty, Ellis has been a breath of fresh air.  One can only wonder whether he will continue to be a key piece of the puzzle, or if the A’s will capitalize on his hot finish and deal him for more coveted prospects in the offseason.

Mark Ellis gets mobbed after his walkoff home run off Bobby Jenks Sunday

Mark Ellis gets mobbed after his walkoff home run off Bobby Jenks Sunday

While we’re on the subject of hot hitters, Rajai Davis deserves a mention for having the 4th highest batting average in the American League since July 28th, hitting .385.  Finally getting a chance to be an everyday player, although whether that’s where he belongs or not is still up for debate, Davis has proved to be a threat at the plate now, in addition to on the basepaths, where he’s always been able to swipe bags with much success.  With the A’s lack of depth in the outfield throughout the system, it also begs the question of whether Rajai could find a long-term home in Oakland.  Since the postseason is not in the cards for this season, these are the questions fans are left to ponder, however unexciting they may be.