Royals start tomorrow!

Posted by: jaihaux

Royals start tomorrow! - 02/28/07 12:57 PM

I'm a sucker for punishment. Why else to I root for the Royals/Chiefs/Jayhawks? But I can't help but get excited for the Royals this year. Will we win the AL Central? Of course not? Will we finish third? No. But there's hope. If we can get any kind of pitching, I don't see why winning 70 games is out of question, especially if the lineup stays healthy.

Around the horn:
CA: Uncle Back
1B: Ryan Shealy
2B: Mark Grudzielanek
SS: eww ... Angel Berroa
3B: Alex Gordon
LF: Emil Brown
CF: David DeJesus
RF: Mark Teahen

It's not a bad lineup folks. Some stability at catcher and short would be great, but other than that, we're set for the next few years. Don't forget guys like Billy Butler, Chris Lubanski, Luke Hochevar, etc. coming up too!
Posted by: jayhawker4life

Re: Royals start tomorrow! - 02/28/07 01:37 PM

Anywhere to listen online?
Posted by: stevemize

Re: Royals start tomorrow! - 02/28/07 02:46 PM

I was telling a friend down here that I will be happy as pigs in $hit if we just lose under 90 games this year. If we lose under 90, there's no way we will be the worst team in ML Baseball. I know that's a sad wish, but you work with what you have.
Posted by: kuking123

Re: Royals start tomorrow! - 02/28/07 02:52 PM

Call me a fool. I am. I seriously would rather be a Royals fan than a Cubs fan this year. With the Royals, anything under 90 losses is a bonus. With the Cubs anything under 90 wins will be a disapointment. I look for a Royals bonus and a Cubs disapointment this season. Good Luck Royals!
Posted by: KUColBond

Re: Royals start tomorrow! - 02/28/07 02:56 PM

I can't remember a time when the Royals were good. I remember going to some games with my family, probably in the mid 80's, and they must have been fairly good, but I was too young to really know what was going on. I'd love to have a baseball team to follow and get excited about.
Posted by: kuking123

Re: Royals start tomorrow! - 02/28/07 03:02 PM

I was at the ALCS in 84. Back in Chicago my beloved Cubs were up 2-0 on San Diego and choked away the next 3. Back then it was a best of 5.
Posted by: jaihaux

Re: Royals start tomorrow! - 02/28/07 04:22 PM


I can't remember a time when the Royals were good.

It was a fluke season, but 2003 they were in contention until about the final 10 games.
Posted by: KUColBond

Re: Royals start tomorrow! - 02/28/07 04:41 PM

Yeah, but I can't really call that good. That was half a season where they were really doing well, then everything fell apart. I'm talking about being respectable for a good 3 or 4 year span.
Posted by: jayhawk154

Re: Royals start tomorrow! - 02/28/07 04:45 PM

You think Buck beats out LaRue?

Pitching-wise, it's not as bad as one would think. I forget who, but someone mentioned improving the ERA spot-by-spot in our rotation and the translation in wins. Consider this:

Rotation options -

1 - Meche
2 - Perez
3 - Hudson
4 - Greinke
5 - De La Rosa/Bannister
Others - Soria, Wellemeyer, Brazelton, Duckworth

Bullpen -


It's a nice list...
Posted by: Hawk1990

Re: Royals start tomorrow! - 02/28/07 05:00 PM

That was me with the spot-by-spot ERA comparisons, 154. You're right, all we need is some mediocre pitching to be competitive. For the last three quarters of '06, this team was in the top half in the league in scoring, and that was with a dinged up Teahen and Sweeney, no Shealy for much of that, and no Alex Gordon.

If we can have a still-terrible team ERA of 5.00, that's still an improvement of nearly half a run per game, or 80 runs per season. Throw in the offensive improvements and better health, and it isn't unreasonable to expect this team to have a 100-150 run improvement in their run differential. 70-75 wins is a genuine possibility.
Posted by: jayhawk154

Re: Royals start tomorrow! - 02/28/07 05:03 PM

KC’s Perez is healthy and happy

Royals pitcher, who shaped up in the offseason, credits team for helping rebuild his confidence.

The Kansas City Star

SURPRISE, Ariz. | There’s just a little less this year to the Big O. So he says. Only 10 pounds. It sure seems like a lot more.

Either way, Royals left-hander Odalis Perez sure looks primed to reclaim his status as a dependable starting pitcher as he enters the last season of a three-year contract.

And while looks aren’t everything, it’s a good place to start.

“I just want to be healthy the whole year,” he said. “If I don’t win 10 games, it won’t matter if I pitch 200 innings. That’s what I want, to throw 200 innings. I want to be able to do my job every time I go out there.”

If that sounds modest, it is nonetheless ambitious, considering Perez, 29, has thrown 200 or more innings just once in a big-league career that began in 1998 with a late-season summons to Atlanta.

Know this: Perez is undeniably upbeat as he contemplates the coming season. His spot in the rotation is assured, right behind staff leader Gil Meche, and that’s good enough — at this point — after the misery he endured early last season with the Dodgers.

“I learned from that,” Perez said. “That no matter what they do to you, don’t you ever stop appreciating what you have. You just keep working hard.”

That didn’t happen last year after two rough starts a few weeks into the season knocked him out of the rotation. Perez found himself in the bullpen for the first time in his career and didn’t adapt well.

Irregular work and a suspect attitude torpedoed his conditioning. The net result saw Perez’s ERA bloat to 6.83 — more than 2 1/2 runs above his career average — before a July 25 trade brought him to the Royals with two minor-league pitchers in exchange for reliever Elmer Dessens.

Even now, just mentioning the LA experience is enough to ignite a rant.

“Of course I wish I handled it differently,” Perez said. “But I need to know the reason why things like that happen. Tell me the truth to my face.

“If they say, ‘Listen, you are not doing the job. We’re going to put you in the bullpen to see if you can get your confidence back.’ I’d have no problem with that. But if I’m pitching well enough to stay in the rotation, I don’t see why I should have to go to the bullpen. Why?”

With that, he runs out of steam.

“Things happen,” he said, calm again, “and I’m very happy to be here in Kansas City. I’ve been able to rebuild my confidence. One of my goals this winter in the Dominican (Republic) was to work out at least five or six days a week.”

The difference is such that Perez now looks like the little brother of the guy the Royals had last season.

“I think it’s just going to make him more athletic,” pitching coach Bob McClure said. “He’s already pretty athletic anyway. But losing the weight is going to enhance that.”

If so, that amounts to a bonus since manager Buddy Bell contends he’ll be satisfied if Perez can just duplicate the effectiveness he showed last season in the closing weeks.

“I thought it took him some time to get his feet underneath him once he came over,” Bell said. “When he did, I thought he gave us a chance to win almost every time he went out there.”

Perez produced five “quality starts” in his final 10 outings, but most scouts still saw a pitcher on the slide. His fastball lacked the zip it displayed earlier in his career. So he threw more cut fastballs, trading movement for velocity.

But the drop in speed stripped some effectiveness from what remained a superb change-up. The question, of course, is whether Perez can reverse the decline.

“I think about that a lot,” general manager Dayton Moore admitted. “I think this is a defining season for Odalis. He worked hard in the offseason. He looks like he did when he broke in with Atlanta.

“We’ve just got to see.”

The Royals hold a club option next year on Perez for $9 million with a $1.5 million buyout. The market for starting pitching is such that an effective season by Perez could make that option a reasonable short-term investment.

He acknowledges a financial motivation to his offseason training regimen — but only to a point.

“Most of the time,” Perez said, “when a guy is in the last year of his contract, for whatever reason, he always seems to have a good year. Always.

“I have no idea why — because even if this wasn’t the last year of my contract, I’d want to be able to go out there and do my job. Whenever I go out there, I always want to pitch well.”
Posted by: KUColBond

Re: Royals start tomorrow! - 02/28/07 05:03 PM

It looks like our run production could be up a little bit from last year too. Small improvements can make a big difference.
Posted by: jaihaux

Re: Royals start tomorrow! - 03/01/07 12:25 PM


You think Buck beats out LaRue?

I think so. Buck has been starter by default, and he has potential, so this should give him the inspiration he needs.
Posted by: jayhawk154

Re: Royals start tomorrow! - 03/01/07 02:36 PM

Right on cue....

Buck, LaRue battle to start as Royals catcher
The Kansas City Star
SURPRISE, Ariz. | The call came last November and provided John Buck with a pre-Thanksgiving jolt.

General manager Dayton Moore was on the line with a heads-up: He wanted Buck to know the Royals had just obtained catcher Jason LaRue from Cincinnati before word leaked out through the media.

“Dayton called me and said they were going to give me some competition,” Buck recalled. “I was surprised (by the trade), but that’s baseball at the major-league level. There’s got to be competition, and that’s only going to make the team better.”

The Buck/LaRue battle might be the most compelling competition in camp as the Royals prepare for their Cactus League opener today against the Los Angeles Angels in Tempe, Ariz. Even teammates are looking for indications of who might have the day-to-day edge.

The latest: Buck will catch the spring’s first game, but LaRue is on tap for Friday, when Gil Meche, the new staff ace, starts against the Rangers. Read into that what you will.

“I want to see a little bit of arrogance and a lot of confidence,” manager Buddy Bell advises the competitors. “A lot of tempo. A lot of energy. And I want to see them swing the bat. There’s a lot involved.”

Buck, 26, has been the starter since he arrived from Houston as part of the June 24, 2004, megadeal that made outfielder Carlos Beltran a former Royal. Buck owns a .242 average with 35 homers and 127 RBIs in 303 games in that span.

That isn’t good enough, the Royals decided, when paired with his defensive inconsistencies. So enter LaRue, who became expendable in Cincinnati after failing to regain his starting job last season once he returned from knee surgery.

The Royals acquired LaRue on Nov. 20 after the Reds agreed to pay $2.7 million of his $5.2 million salary for the coming season — and all of a $250,000 trade bonus.

“If a Jason LaRue is available and we think Jason LaRue helps our catching situation,” Moore said, “we’re going to do it. Based on how players perform, we react to that. And we react to how we project players to perform.”

In short, the Royals wanted a viable alternative to Buck.

“You’re going to see two totally different guys,” Bell predicted, “and I hope this kid pushes John to the point where he (blossoms). If they make it that hard on us to pick a No. 1 guy, that’s fine. I just don’t see that happening.

“I see one or the other being the No. 1.”

Buck and LaRue each expect to be that guy.

“Absolutely,” LaRue said. “I’ve been around for a while, and I know what I bring to the game. I know I’m not at the tail end of my career where I feel like I’m a backup. So, absolutely, I expect to be the starter. That’s my goal.”

Buck: “I don’t know if there’s a right way or a wrong way to look at it. But in my mind, I’ve approached it like I’m the starting catcher. Because I feel the pitchers deserve that. They shouldn’t have to suffer because there’s a competition at the catching position.”

LaRue, who turns 33 this month, never found a comfort zone last season after undergoing surgery March 27 to repair torn cartilage in his right knee. He returned just 22 days later but batted only .194 in 72 games.

“I ended up coming back too early,” he said. “I felt like I could do it, but with the amount of wear and tear that catching takes on your knees … I just didn’t expect it to be that difficult.”

LaRue, 5 feet 11 and 205 pounds, batted .245 in averaging 115 games during 2001-05 as the Reds’ regular catcher while gaining a solid reputation for his game-management skills. Former teammates characterize him as occasionally abrasive but relentlessly tenacious.

“I’m not here to compare myself to anyone else,” he said. “I’m going to go out and play the game the way I know how to play it. Lay it all on the line. All of the decisions that are out of my control, are out of my control.”

Buck, at 6-3 and 220, still appears to have the greater upside and has shown flashes in the past of developing into the catcher the Royals envision. His career average is actually a few ticks higher than LaRue’s with similar power numbers.

“I think it’s a great tandem,” Moore said. “We’ve got two guys who can just go out and compete. Ultimately, Buddy will make a decision on what’s best for our team on any given night.”

An improved Buck would seem to offer greater long-term benefits over LaRue. Buck won’t be eligible for free agency until after the 2010 season, while LaRue can hit the market after this season.

“I just remind myself before I go out there every day,” Buck said, “to do everything I can do to get better. If I do that, things will take care of themselves. If I’m good enough to be the starting catcher, then everyone else will see it, too.”