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Baseball Told the Right WayIn-depth Baseball analysis on various topics regarding the sport we all love!
Please adjust you're expectations.
Take a look at this quote from Kansas City Royals' GM Allan Baird, courtesy of BP's this week in quotes:
"I'm at fault...I made poor signings. I put this team together. I thought we were doing the right things. I thought we had a chance to win. But we have not, and it's my responsibility. Everybody underachieved. If three or four guys struggle, well, you overcome that. But when it's everybody--starting pitching, bullpen, offense, defense--well, what do you do.........If you want a headline, that's it: 'Everybody underachieved.'Was anybody from that organization paying attention last year? The 2003 Royals were one of the most over-achieving teams this side of the 2002 Anaheim Angels. They allowed more runs then they scored and still managed to have a winning record. That in itself should send off giant warning flares.
The funny thing is, the Royals really haven't underachieved this year at all. It's just that nobody has overachieved. Ken Harvey and Joe Randa have had good years, and Zack Greinke has pitched pretty well since being called up. Other than that, however, there hasn't been much sunshine in Kansas City.
As for underachieving, what, Angel Berroa? The sophomore slump hit Berroa pretty hard, but consider that his minor league numbers of .271/.318/.440 don't really suggest that his .287/.338/.451 rookie of the year campaign was for real. I'll grant that both Aaron Guiel and Darrel May were disappointments, but if you are pinning the hopes of your team on role players like that you are in trouble.
Seriously, how good did Baird really expect this team to be? He replaced a decent year of Raul Ibanez with Juan Gonzalez. Thats reasonable to expect in terms of production, but Juan-gone hasn't been healthy since the late 80's. If you are planning on counting on Gonzalez for more than 200 ABs you ought to get you're head checked. Other than Gonzalez, Baird's "big" signings were Matt Stairs, Tony Graffanino, Dennys Reyes, and the 39-year old Fossil Santiago. To an already mediocre team, this doesn't exactly look like calling in the reinforcements.
Overall, the Royals have hit worse, .262/.325/.401 in 2004 compared to .274/.336/.427 in 2003. I'm going to attribute most of that difference to moving the fences out 10 feet in Kauffman Stadium, so overall the offense has been about the same, and its been about as good as can be expected from this group of players. The pitching, on the other hand, hasn't benefitted from the fences being moved out (or they have, but they've just been that much worse). 5.13 ERA in 2004 vs. 5.06 in 2003, but its not like they had a good staff to work with; they were counting on Darrel May and Brian Anderson to be aces.
Really, Baird must have expected some more career years, or at least some of the young guys to further develop into players they aren't. Its too bad it didn't happen because the Royals could have been a pretty good story. Comments like these from Baird offer further proof that the Royals organization just really doesn't get it.