This is getting ridiculous...Royals drop ninth straight

Berroa blew it big time today, but at least he struck out swinging on a 3-2 pitch over his head.

Wow, this is getting ugly very quickly. The Royals tonight finally got a surprisingly decent start from Jeremy Affeldt, but their poor defense and anemic offense did them in again for their ninth straight loss. RC is at a loss for words at how poorly the Royals have played for the last week and a half, and it's staggering how incompetent every single aspect of the club looks right now. The starting pitching corps has been atrocious (Scott Elarton excluded), and the bullpen has amazingly been even worse. The entire offense has somehow gone into a slump at the same time, and it seems as though every day brings news of another injury to a key player.

As for tonight's game, Affeldt did pitch well, but he fell victim to a ridiculous error by Angel Berroa on a routine grounder in the fourth inning. Berroa's miscue led to three unearned runs, and that's all Jon Garland and the White Sox needed to bury the Royals yet again. David DeJesus felt another twinge in his hamstring, so he's again day-to-day for the time being. And Andrew Sisco again got banged around for a run in the seventh, pushing his already horrible ERA to a robust 12.71.

The only comfort that RC has right now is that this team cannot possibly be this bad, and that things cannot possibly get any worse. The season is still young, so it's not yet time to pull the panic lever, but that time is rapidly approaching and the Royals need to start winning ballgames right now.

On a positive note (yes, this is RC), Shane Costa has looked really good at the plate through the first two weeks of the season, and Mark Teahen is starting to string together some hits, including his first home run today. No Royal player has yet been suspended by the league for steroids (although steroids at this point might not be a bad idea), and RC's official cable company has decided that it would rather show playoff hockey than baseball games on the Extra Innings Package that RC paid $149 for. This of course is good news, since it means that RC cannot record the games and dwell on them more than once.

Costa: Our mental "savior"

Maybe the best news is that Nats' GM Jim Bowden was arrested in Florida on DUI charges yesterday. It is RC's greatest fear that if our Official Hero is sacked this season (we still hope not), the Royals might replace him with our least favorite GM in baseball. Yesterday's embarrassment helped to calm those fears, at least temporarily.

It's not much to go on, but when the world is crumbling around you, it's important to do what you can to find some positives to think about, wherever they may be.

  • One final note tonight. Those of you who subscribe to RC's Daily Prospect Update have already heard about this week's Draft Update, but we wanted to add a note to today's post to remind folks who haven't yet taken advantage of our free update that the newest edition of our Top 10 collegiate prospects list has been released. Check it out, and let us know what you think.

    At 4/19/2006 10:20 AM, Blogger PghChris said...


    What would it take for you to come to the conclusion that it is time for the Royals to let Baird go and move on to someone else?

    Hey, I really like the guy, and he seems like a good baseball mind. He's a tireless worker who puts his soul into the organization. He seems to have a talent for finding unknown players and turning them into decent players. He's likable and doesn't make excuses.

    That said, at some point he has to win, and under his watch the Royals have not only had without a doubt their worst 5 years in franchise history, but have been unquestionably the worst run organization in baseball.

    Sure, there are others that need to receive some blame too from Glass down through the organization. But ultimately it is Baird who makes the player decisions and thus it's his head that the proverbial axe must fall.

    Like I said, I really like Baird, and I'd love to keep him in the organization in some head scout/assistant GM capacity, but the results simply scream that this guy is in over his head. I wish that weren't the case, but at some point the Royals HAVE to cut ties with this guy, because he has driven this organization into the ground.

    I understand the economics of baseball and the difficulty of putting a winning squad on the field with a below $50 million payroll, but there is absolutely no possible excuse, payroll included, for what the organization, team, and most importantly the fans, have had to go through in the last 5 years.

    Again, it's nothing personal. Like I said, I really do like the guy and really wish that he had been successful here. I think he's a guy that the city could have really come to love. But winning comes first over any personal feelings. And when Baird is let go, I'll hope that when he moves on to his next job, he has all the success in the world.

    At 4/19/2006 10:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    In my opinion, Berroa needs to not play. What has happened to the 2003 A.L. rookie of the year? Since his break out season, he's been pretty poor. Swinging at crap is his favorite thing to do and his defense is really inconsistent. Secondly, why is Brown still playing? His defense has been less than impressive thus far and his plate discipline has been even worse. Why is Guiel still down in Omaha? Get him up here, I'd much rather see him in left.


    At 4/19/2006 11:18 AM, Anonymous tulsagbrettfan said...

    The reality of a small-market/lower payroll team, hinges on a GM not being afforded mistakes. Those caused by himself, and those out of his control. It sucks, but that is the reality, and top to bottom our beloved royals are FAR from a competitive major league franchise. 2007? 2007 is gonna suck as well, so why not implode the whole thing now? Other teams have had star players that they couldn't keep, but they traded them for players that reload the roster to be competitive. That is Allard's biggest, glaring weakness. This also includes the draft. Gordon? Great potential. Unless he can also pitch, it doesn't matter. The cupboard is bare, and will lead to many more years of futility, with the same regime. Injuries are also part of baseball. Yet, we are in denial that something is awry with our medical staff, and has been for years. It's not just one glaring problem that has led us to such suckitude, but a combination of MANY things. And even if Glass would bump the payroll to $80 million, NO ONE worth a hill of beans, will come here to play.

    At 4/19/2006 12:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I wouldn't even call it slumping, guys like Berroa, Buck, Grudz, Minky, Reggie and Emil are all hitting pretty much exactly what people expected them to hit.

    Costa has been a nice surprise, if he can adjust to not playing everyday the royals may have found their 4th OF of the future (phew!).

    Dessens has looked sharp too.

    What do you make of Teahen? What should the royals do with him this season, short of putting up a .900 OPS he's basicly already lost his job. Even if he hits well (~.750+ OPS) it'd be silly to hold on to him over Gordon. Is he a place keeper? trade bait? try him a couple games at 2b? (joking) I'd love to see what German could do with more ABs, but I suppose that would mean giving up on getting anything out of teahen.

    At 4/19/2006 1:42 PM, Blogger Max said...

    The Royals will hang on to Teahan long after he's proven himself a flop. He was the centerpiece of the Beltran deal, and they don't want to admit that was a flop of a trade. When Gordon gets called up, I imagine he'll play all over the field - LF, RF, some 3B, 1B, DH, like Pujols and Teixeira did.

    At 4/19/2006 5:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Vazquez dominates....10 in a row and counting.......

    At 4/19/2006 6:49 PM, Anonymous Garth said...

    Maybe it's the fact that he's 24 and still learning, but I just don't see how anyone can rate Teahen as a bust yet.

    He's learning to drive to the opposite field, he's an above-average glove, and if he can find his ability to walk again (something that I suspect has more to do with coaching because NOBODY with the Royals is walking), Teahen could indeed be in the top half of third basemen in the MLB. Indeed, top 10 or even 5 if we get lucky and he develops some top-end power, too.

    Of course, that's just reason speaking.

    At 4/19/2006 9:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


    Teahen is an old 24.
    His only real minor league sucess is his 1/2 year at midland.
    Defensive statistics rate him as poor, my eyes rate him as having poor range, although he dives well.
    I can't think of any of the top 10 3b in the majors right now who hadn't put it together by age 24.

    I see Teahen as a guy who, if all breaks right ends up with a couple Joe Randa type years (i.e. league average offensive 3B). I guess thats fine if you're thin at third, or are getting offense from lots of other positions, but when your offense is struggling and you have a legit top 5/10 3B in waiting are you going to spend years waiting for teahen to reach his league average peak??

    At 4/19/2006 11:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Royals problems summed up...

    Teahan--middle infielder's bat, Slugger's glove.

    Brown--CFer's bat, DH's glove.

    Berroa--9 hitter's bat, 5 hitter's glove.

    Mientkiewicz--defensive replacement's glove, Defensive replacement's bat.

    Grudz--8 hitter forced to hit 2nd.

    DeJesus--Lead off hitter's bat, Cleanup hitter's base stealling ability.

    Sweeney--All around player's contract, DH playing ability

    Buck--good enough at catcher if he played for Texas Rangers or similar offense, problem is he playes for the worst offense in baseball.

    Sanders--Number 6 hitter forced to hit cleanup.

    ditto for the pitching staff times two!!

    We just don't have the Horses and David Glass may never make the type of financial commitments and give his GM enough freedom to make the type of trades needed to improve.

    Let's face it folks. We MIGHT be able to compete in 2008........Problem is Cleveland, Minnesota, and probably Detroit will STILL be deeper and more experienced with their youth movements!

    Thanks for the space to Rant. It's tough to be a Loyal Royal fan.

    At 4/20/2006 1:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I know... it's worth pointing out that right now -- and for the next few years -- CLE, MIN, and DET have a better collection of young talent than the "perennally rebuilding" Royals! And CHI has the pitching locked up to be in the top-2 for the next 3 years as well.

    Baird's 6 years have just flat not worked out. It's time to move on and ride another horse.

    At 4/20/2006 3:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    As a Royals fan I want to first thank you for your great site.

    However, I would also like to repeat a question asked earlier by pghchris: What would it take for you to decide that Allard Baird has failed? A 20+ game losing streak, another 100 loss season, several more 100 loss seasons, or someting else?

    It just really pains me to see the Royals universally regarded as the laughingstock of professional sports. I will always be a Royals fan, but we have now descended beyond the depths of patheticism and I feel there must be some accountability. It would also be nice to have some reason to hope for the future other than pure optimism.


    At 4/20/2006 4:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I have said many times, and will stand by my statement(even though I catch flak). The Royals will never see the playoffs, no matter the GM, manager, trainer, whatever, until the GLASS is shattered and a new owner buys the team.
    He continues to run this franchise like he did Wal-Mart.
    Does Buddy Bell lead the happy happy joy joy meetings before the game like they do at Wal-Mart?
    Glass is an ass, and needs to go. Lets see a new ownership group that is committed to winning, beginning with building a strong foundation(farm system) and making the team a viable free agent landing spot.

    At 4/20/2006 4:24 PM, Blogger Dave said...

    "However, I would also like to repeat a question asked earlier by pghchris: What would it take for you to decide that Allard Baird has failed?"

    The quick answer to that question is that I think Baird will have failed when I can look at the organization as a whole and determine that the Royals have no hope of becoming a competitive ballclub in the future with the talent presently in the system. And beyond that, I'll think Baird has failed when I can no longer see the logic behind the moves he makes on the ML roster.

    Some people, or probably even most people, are currently at that point. But I'm not, even if there are a few things that occasionally puzzle me (like Mays' contract). I still really like what the roster projects to be as early as next season (Gordon, Huber, Butler, Howell), and I still want Baird to be around as his rebuilding effort begins to bear fruit at the Major League level.

    If 2006 continues to be the disaster that it's been for the first two weeks, I know that's not likely to happen. I'll understand the decision to let Baird go, even if I don't necessarily agree with it. I never expected the Royals to compete this year (my best-case scenario was 76 wins, a 20-game improvement), and I refuse to believe that the team is nearly as bad as it's played thus far. 76 wins at this point seems very unlikely, but I'm not ready to dump the season just yet.

    It's no secret that I'm fond of Baird, and beyond that, I've never been big on demanding anyone's firing. Folks sometimes forget the people who work in sports are also human beings with families, and the vitriol spewed toward them because fans simply don't like the way their team is being run is often ridiculous and pathetic. I'm just as passionate a fan as anyone else, but it's difficult for me to summon that kind of anger and hostility on the basis of what is essentially a kid's game. And I think seeing other peoples' hateful rhetoric often puts me in even more of a defense mode

    I appreciate thoughtful criticism such as yours, however, and I completely understand where you're coming from. And honestly, I do think that you'll probably ultimately get your way, because if this continues through June, I'd be (pleasantly) shocked if Baird didn't just resign.

    And one final note. I do get tired of hearing that Baird has "driven this franchise into the ground." It's almost as though people have completely forgotten the late '90s, which I wish I could do. This franchise was buried in the ground before Baird took the reins in 2000, and he got ABSOLUTELY NO HELP from the falsely-ranked "talent" in the minor leagues at the time. Essentially he's had to build this organization from scratch, and while it's taken longer than most people prefer (admittedly thanks it part to the poor Damon and Dye trades), I do think there's a very solid core of talent on the way. If that core ultimately fails, THAT will be the time when I argue that Baird should go.

    At 4/20/2006 11:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    well put,

    I've gone from being a Baird supporter(apologist?) to a critic, and I think you're absolutly right that the current state of the team is far more than just Allard's doing, firing Baird isn;t going to magicly turn this team around, it'll take a lot more than that.

    What I'd like to add is that sometimes we get tunnel vision by looking just at our team and it's system. And even being extremly optimistc about the Royal's prospects, I still don't see a great team. If everything breaks right, and of course with prospects it never does, I see a team with two-to-thee elite offensive players, a handfull more league averge guys, some big holes, and no starting pitching whatsoever. There are plenty of teams out there just like this who don;t even sniff the playoffs.

    At 4/21/2006 11:38 AM, Blogger PghChris said...

    I wholeheartedly agree that there are many other people that deserve some blame besides Baird. And I agree that the organization was in bad shape when he took over. But it's undeniable that the organization has been even worse the last 5 years, at least the product on the field, which coincides with when Baird took over. If the statement that Baird has driven this organization was too strong, my apologies. Again, I don't mean to publically denigrate the guy. But as the GM, he is the one in the driver's seat, and while the organization wasn't great when he took over, there's no doubt that at least the product on the field has been even worse during his tenure.

    I do think Baird has done some solid things with the organization. If you look at our drafts under Herk, they were horrendous. I think Baird has stabilized our draft somewhat, though it has helped that we're certainly drafting higher than we were under Herk. But the depth in our minors is still below average. We have some good hitters coming up, all of which Baird should be given credit for, but still the biggest critcism I have of Baird and this organization is an inability to develop pitching.

    Howell is a solid prospect, but I don't see him as better than a #3 starter in the mlb, and Cota still in my opinion is best case a back end guy. After that, the pitching is really sparse. Grienke, Hernandez, Gobble, Affeldt, etc, they just haven't panned out at the mlb level, though hopefully there's still time for some of them.

    Look, I do really like the guy, and thus I don't like hanging him out to dry like some folks. I don't like sitting here ripping and ranting on the him, but at the same time I think the fact that in year six we have seen little appreciable improvement in the organization gives me serious concerns about his ability as a GM and thus gives me no problem in asking for a change.

    Again, there's no doubt that Baird is a very good baseball mind and a baseball guy. I love the passion and dedication he puts into his work and the tireless work ethic that he maintains. His no nonsense, no BS approach is quite refreshing. I just don't think his best position in baseball is at the GM, for multiple reasons that I won't go into for the purposes of time. But I have little doubt that Baird would not remain jobless for a very long time. While whether he gets another GM job I think is questionable at best, there's no doubt the guy has a very long career in baseball.

    That said, I really haven't taken a look at who might be available out there, and I'm not crazy about changes in the middle of the season for a couple of reasons. First, I think current GM's are much more reluctant to make a move in the middle of a season than they would be in the offseason. And typically the guys that are sitting around without a job in the middle of the season, well, there's usually a reason they're sitting around without a job. If the Royals do dismiss Baird in the middle of the season, I would rather see them go with an interim person and make a final decision at the end of the year when they have a better pool to choose from.

    But assuming the Royals can't get this turned around and Baird does get let go, I think it's a critical hire. In my opinion the GM is the most important position within an organization for the success of a ballclub, and I will watch very intently as to who they pick. The Royals can't afford to be cheap. This is one position that in my opinion the Royals should be willing to pay top dollar for. Of course, the lack of faith I have in Glass at this point to make a baseball decision and not a financial/business decision makes me very skeptical that will happen.

    At 4/21/2006 11:49 AM, Blogger PghChris said...

    PS--Just want to clarify, I'm not doubting the future contributions of Grienke, Hernandez, Bautista, etc, only that there are at least definite question marks that relate to their futures (mental, weight, injury, etc), which just frustrates me that we can't seem to figure out how to get a young guy up through the minors to the major league level without some sort of signficant issue either curtailing or slowing down their development and their ability to be a competent major league pitcher.

    At 4/21/2006 2:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    With 210 losses in two years and this start I don't see how he can keep his job. Fair?. no but what other choice is there. He had time to build a winning team and has failed.


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