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Is 58 Wins Good Enough?
Sure, why not. If you're the Kansas City Royals, anything is good enough.
Every once in awhile (okay, a lot) I like to browse through the team pages over at MLB.com. I like to check up on some minor moves I missed, the AAA Rule 5 draft, or maybe the progress of Will Ohman in the Mexican Leagues. You know, the usual.
I come across some interesting stories, and then, for some teams, I laugh. Like the Royals. Go to the Royals team page, check up on the flurry of moves Allard Baird has made.
Or listen to the crickets chirping. Nothing. No news for a bad, bad, bad Royals team, that won 58 games in 2004 and has so far done nothing. They haven't signed anybody, haven't lost anybody, and have no obvious help from within on the way, other than maybe 3B Mark Teahen, who looks to be a good bet to be about as good as the departed Joe Randa.
Their rotation is awful. Four of their five starting pitchers had an ERA over 5.00 last season. And they add nobody.
Their offense was afwul in 2004, only three teams were worse, and their big addition is Eli Marrero.
Wait, their only addition was Marrero, and they wont have a half-season of Carlos Beltran keeping them respectable. If Mike Sweeney is hurt again. I mean WHEN Mike Sweeney is hurt again, they might not have a single player on the team with an OPS above .800. And they add Eli Marrero.
The only hope for the Royals is their young players. They have quite a few, and I expect quite a few to get better. Zack Greinke, Mike Wood, and Jimmy Gobble could all be decent, Greinke could be great. I really like Jeremy Afeldt, but I think the Royals should concentrate on teaching him a third pitch, and not banish him to the bullpen. David DeJesus will get better, Angel Berroa couldn't possibly be worse, and its possible Mark Teahen, Ruben Gotay, and/or John Buck could contribute in '05.
This team will improve, if only by regressing back to 65 wins, but this isnt a club that even has the pieces to put up a fluky .500 season. They wont be a better team in 2005. They may win more games (its suprisingly difficult to lose 104 games), but the Royals are awful. I have no idea why an organization this awful would be sitting on their hands watching other teams get better.
At least do something. Make a trade, make it look like you're working. On a construction site, when you have no work to do, you're supposed to pick up a broom and sweep. You may not actually be sweeping up any dirt, but if the super walks by it looks like you're doing SOMETHING. Allard Baird isn't even doing that. He's sitting on his ass staring at the clouds, while other teams at least put up some semblance of improving.
The Royals payroll sits at $47M, about where it was last year. I don't expect that to rise, so I wouldn't expect much more activity. If I had to expect something, I would expect the Royals to be the worst team in baseball next season.