We kept the Jeff Francoeur talk to a minimum, at least.
As of today, the Royals sit at 20-17. The Royals trials and tribulations as an organization have been well-documented. Should the Royals stay in contention for the whole year, will the fans view this season as a success and vindication of the plan in KC?
It all depends on which fans. The Facebook fans, who live from one game to the next, will be elated the team is at or near .500. The town is starving for winning baseball.
With other fans, it all depends on how Wil Myers, the main piece of James Shields trade, performs this season (and for the next 6 years). The Royals have a huge black hole of production in right field which he could fill nicely. Instead of trading for Shields, they could have spent $9M on another free agent pitcher and kept Myers.
Alternatively, if the plan fails, will any heads roll in the front office or among the coaching staff?
Heads may definitely roll, but I think 2014 is the real make or break season for Dayton and his hand picked staff. I don't even think the team needs to play .500 or better baseball for him to keep his job, just a decent improvement.
Salvador Perez is one of the best young catchers in the AL. That said, George Kottaras is a pretty capable backup, but he only has 18 PA so far this season. You'll forgive me if, being an A's fan, I'm thinking there is platoon opportunity here. Why hasn't Kottaras gotten more playing time, all things considered?
Ned Yost is an idiot when it comes to platoons and off time. Or he could just hate Perez's knees. Or Kottaras pissed in Ned's coffee.
This off-season, the A's pretty much pushed all the chips into the center, trading away guys like Brad Peacock, Chris Carter, Max Stassi, and A.J. Cole to bring reinforcements for the current team. That leaves us with Sonny Gray, Michael Choice, and Dan Straily as guys who could impact the team this year or next. After the Wil Myers trade, and Danny Duffy et al surgeries, who is left in the Royals system who could impact this team within a year or so?
Really no hitter sticks out. The Royals have another sucking void at 2B and the minor options of Johnny Giavotella and Christian Colon have been uninspiring.
On the pitching front a few options exist. Louis Coleman and Donny Joseph are good relievers who could be arms in almost in other bullpen in the league. For starters, a couple of young arms are possibly available. Left-handed, 23-year-old Will Smith has already made one spot start. Yordano Ventura is the pitcher people are most excited to see. He has quickly moved up the prospect list during spring training.
Jeff Zimmerman writes for Royals Review, as well as FanGraphs and BaseballHeatmaps. Visit Royals Review to read about the Royals.