Home > Uncategorized > Random Royals Rumblings (and some Super Bowl)

Random Royals Rumblings (and some Super Bowl)

So another Super Bowl has come and gone, and it was a pretty good game. I’ve heard some people mentioning that it was an all-time great one, but I’d have to disagree with that. Any time it takes a two minute drill to make the score 21-10 at halftime, you’re not looking at an all-time great game. Maybe the second half could be classified that way, but not the entire game. I know this is a Royals blog, but I am going to spend a bit of time talking about the Super Bowl because I’m assuming that most of my readers are sports fans in general. If you’re not interested in reading about, just skip ahead a couple of paragraphs. I’ll give you an indicator.

I thought Ben Roethlisberger looked beyond awful in the first half until his last drive. That made the Steelers second half that much more impressive. They were able to neutralize the Green Bay pass rush and give Big Ben way more time than he had in the first half. Without whatever adjustment they made, it would have been a 41-13 romp probably. That’s what Super Bowl teams do, though. They’re there for a reason. The story of the game was clearly Aaron Rodgers. Some have said that he finally got the monkey off his back, which is a crock of you-know-what. He’d lost one playoff game prior to this year. And his offense put up 45 points in that game. I’d hardly classify it as his fault that they lost. People who claim that he couldn’t win a playoff game prior to this season are the same people who voted for Bartolo Colon for the 2005 Cy Young Award.

All in all, though, it was a really enjoyable game to watch. A lot of people were way down on the halftime show. I thought it was fine. I’ve heard that the Black Eyed Peas put on a much better show than what we witnessed, but I’m not a huge fan of them anyway. Christina Aguilera missed some words on the National Anthem, so that’s always fun. The story that I want talked about more is how people arrived at the stadium and didn’t have seats. Seriously? It’s not like they sprung the news that the Super Bowl was going to be in Dallas in mid-January. I’d have been a lot more livid than some of the people I saw interviewed. Of course, they probably didn’t show the interview of the people cursing and threatening others with machetes.

**BACK TO BASEBALL**

So now the football season is finally complete. It’s time to shift our focus entirely to baseball, if you haven’t already. For the Royals, we are now one week away from pitchers and catchers reporting. Have I mentioned that “pitchers and catchers report” are four of the greatest words in the English language? I’m sure I have, but it can never be said enough. If you’re planning on going to Spring Training this year, I highly recommend it. It is an absolute blast. If you haven’t planned your trip yet, I’d either go down to Surprise early in the spring or if you go a little later, make it a point to get out to the complex earlier in the morning to watch the minor leaguers. As we all know by now, that’s where the action is this year in the Royals organization. Regardless, getting down there is an amazing time. I’ll be skipping it this year, but I’ll be down there next year.

I’m pretty pleased that the Royals were able to again avoid the arbitration process. From what I understand, it is something that can really damage a relationship between the player and the team and that’s just not something that you want done. Eventually, there comes a time when the organization no longer holds all the cards. Some of the things said in arbitration hearings are things that just cannot be forgotten by a player or an agent. I don’t know anything for sure obviously, but I would assume there are times that a player did not re-sign with his team when he reached free agency because of hurt feelings from arbitration hearing. Once you get into these hearings, the goal of the team is to get the arbiter to decide that the salary they have submitted is what the player should be paid rather than what the player submitted. To do this, the team points out the player’s weaknesses and shortcomings in front of that player. Sometimes it gets nasty. I’m just glad the Royals do a better job than most in terms of reaching deals with their players to avoid the ugliness.

The types of players who I would have no problem going through the process with are guys like Kyle Davies who may need a kick in the pants and also are unlikely to be re-signed when free agency rolls around. Worst case scenario for someone like Davies is that he becomes unmotivated and the Royals have to release him and eat what is a relatively small amount of money for a baseball team. Best case scenario, he finally gets it in gear and becomes the pitcher that he is every few starts. And if he’s mad at the Royals and doesn’t re-sign, well they’re probably not going to miss him too terribly much anyway. He’s Kyle Davies. It’s the Billy Butlers and Joakim Sorias of the world that you don’t want to go through arbitration with, and the Royals have done a good job locking them up and avoiding the issues.

That leads me to my next point, which is the Royals payroll. It looks like it’s going to sit at around $40 million this year. It might go up a bit with a superfluous veteran signing, but it’ll be in that range all season. People around baseball are going to gripe. Not those in the know, but those like the Steinbrenners. You’ve read it before, but I just want to reiterate here what other places have mentioned. Don’t join the group mad at the Royals for having a low payroll. This is a good thing. It’s a very good thing. There is no need to be spending money now when the players on the roster are probably far more capable than anything else available. Had we known the Royals were going to be able to shed Gil Meche’s contract, I would have been a huge advocate for making a free agent splash with one of the top tier guys. I mentioned Jayson Werth earlier in the off-season, but I didn’t expect him to sign for what he did. Carl Crawford would have been outstanding for this team, but at the time he signed, the money just wasn’t there.

The point is that this low payroll bodes extremely well for the Royals future. They are finally completely buying into the youth movement. As I’ve seen said on Royals Authority, the process is finally in full swing. Please, though, don’t take the low payroll to believe that the Royals are cheap. They’re not anymore. They are consistently among the top spenders in the draft in spite of not being anywhere near the top in terms of high round draft picks. They go over slot on a regular basis to get the very best talent. It’s why the two prospects who might end up being better than the rest are a third rounder (Wil Myers) and a fifth rounder (John Lamb). They’re active internationally and are really becoming a model organization as far as player development. Obviously that fact hinges on the prospects actually make the transition from prospects to big leaguers, but things look good so far.

The other thing about the Royals is that people still have a mindset that they don’t lock up their young players, but that is simply not true. Now, they haven’t had the stable of talent that they did in the late 90s/early 2000s, but since Beltran left in 2004, I can’t remember trading away a single player solely for salary reasons. You might be able to argue that David DeJesus was a salary dump, but I think that was as much that Dayton Moore didn’t see a spot for him in the future and wanted to get something more than draft pick compensation. As I’ve mentioned before, Zack Greinke wasn’t traded because he made too much money. He was traded because he wanted out. The Royals would have happily paid $27 million over the next two seasons for his services had he been willing to be a part of the organization, but he made no bones about his desire to get out. So he’s now out. The Royals now are locking up their key pieces. It started with the old regime actually when they gave Angel Berroa a contract. While that didn’t work out in hindsight, it was a huge step for the organization. David DeJesus received a long-term deal. Then Greinke did. Then Soria did. Now Butler is the latest Royal to sign a contract keeping him in Royal blue beyond his arbitration years. Put simply, these aren’t the old Royals. I’m not sure if they’ll win, but I am sure that they’re not going to let talent get away like they used to.

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