|2007 Postmortem: Kansas City Royals||| Print |||Send|
Written by Daniel Paulling (Contact & Archive) on December 27, 2007
Regular Season Finish: 69-93, fifth in AL Central, 27.0 GBOffensive Leaders
AVG: Mark Grudzielanek, .302
HR: John Buck, 18
RBI: Emil Brown, 62
Runs: David DeJesus, 101
SB: Alex Gordon, 14
Wins: Brian Bannister, 12
ERA: Gil Meche, 3.67
Strikeouts: Gil Meche, 156
IP: Gil Meche, 216.0
Saves: Joakin Soria, 17
Best Move of the Season: The Kansas City Royals were royally trounced in the media for their signing of starting pitcher Gil Meche to a five-year, $55 million contract. Paying $11 million a year for a pitcher whose career ERA was clear over 4.00 seemed ridiculous at the time. That move shows that there are some brains in Kansas City’s front office. Meche threw 216 innings with a 3.67 ERA. Those are very good numbers for a team desperate for pitching.
Worst Move of the Season: Not cutting their losses with Odalis Perez sooner. Once the centerpiece of the Braves’ trade for Gary Sheffield, Perez put together one of the worse seasons in major league baseball last year: 8-11, 5.57 ERA, less than 5 1/3 innings per start. The Royals wisely declined their 2008 option on him, and he is a free agent. They should have outright released him earlier in the year.
Key Player: Gil Meche once again. The right handed starter came over from the Seattle Mariners and pitched like a good number two on a contending team. It’s a shame that he had so few wins -- 9 -- but that was more of an indication of how bad the Royals were, not any wrongdoing on the behalf of Meche.
Up and Coming Player: Alex Gordon’s nickname should be “The Franchise.” He is really the only Royal worth seeing, and he has that type of middle-of-the-order bat. Gordon, drafted out of the University of Nebraska, hit only .247/.314/.411 with an OPS+ of only 87. However, that is going to turn around quickly; Gordon is just too good and will be a do-it-all type of player.
What Went Right: When a team loses 93 games, it takes the ultimate optimist to find some positives. However, let’s give it a whirl. The Royals found a number two pitcher in Meche and a number three starter in Brian Bannister, who they acquired from the New York Mets. They also brought potential ace Zach Greinke back from depression and have Luke Hochevar close to making an impact at the highest level.
Furthermore, Gordon had a decent year at the young age of 23, and that is definitely something to carry forward. Add in Mark Teahan’s continued good hitting, Esteban German’s solid year, and Billy Butler showing he can be a legitimate force in the lineup, and the Royals have something building.
What Went Wrong: When a team loses 93 games, it takes a realist to determine what went wrong. There was not enough pitching outside of Meche and Bannister, especially when guys like Perez, Jorge De La Rosa, and Kyle Davies were being given the ball. On offense, they continually gave outs away with the likes of catcher John Buck, shortstop Tony Pena Jr., and outfielder Emil Brown.
Offseason Preview: The Royals signed outfielder Jose Guillen to a three year, $36 million contract. It is surprising that the Royals gave him this much, since there were not many other teams bidding against them because of the rumors of Guillen abusing HGH. (Bud Selig suspended Guillen for 15 days, but the player’s union has since filed a grievance.) Guillen led all free agents in RBIs and has the potential to keep putting up solid seasons for the length of this contract.
What they need to do from here on out is establish what their pitching rotation is going to be. Is Greinke capable of handling a spot in the rotation? Is Hochevar ready for the majors? Can Davies and De La Rose not repeat last year’s atrocious numbers? Can Meche and Bannister approach last season’s success? Those questions must be keeping general manager Dayton Moore and manager Trey Hillman up late at night.