I’ll be honest, folks, I haven’t been able to get enough of MLB TV. I love the instructional demonstrations the analysts provide, and when nothing but Rock of Love Bus or whatever barely heard of National Lampoon’s movie on Comedy Central is playing, nothing beats some good ‘ole fashioned baseball television. Unfortunately, something has bothered me quite a bit recently: the cast and crew seemingly have it in their heads that the Kansas City Royals are vastly improved and have a shot at competing for the division next season.
The analysts have been praising Dayton Moore’s offseason moves, stating that Mike Jacobs and his 32 HR, Kyle Farnsworth and his blazing fastball, and Coco Crisp will all help turn the team around. Jacobs was replacement level last season after steadily declining in value since 2005. Farnsworth is not a bullpen savior and no explanation on my part should be needed to back that up. And Crisp, while he may be a nice player, is not going to turn any team around. This is before even discussing the additions of Horacio Ramirez and Willie Bloomquist.
The show ‘Hot Stove’ even had a discussion last night pertaining to whether or not the 2009 Royals can be the 2008 Rays. Seriously? Their reasoning dealt with both being small market teams with plenty of young talent. I can unequivocally say that the 2009 Royals will not be the 2008 Rays. The 2008 Rays were a well-oiled machine with incredible defense, great starting pitching, and a solid, interchangeable bullpen. The 2009 Royals have little in their bullpen outside of Joakim Soria, are going to be dependent on another solid season from Gil Meche and a breakout campaign from Zack Greinke to make even their 1-2 pitchers effective, and despite a solid defensive output last season, are well behind the Rays in that category.
The interviewer talking to Dayton Moore and Trey Hillman asked both if they watched the Rays, another small market team, and thought, “why not us?” Both said yes, but the major difference is that the Rays farm system was constructed in much better fashion. And, their GM, in a short amount of time, has shown a knack for acquiring the right veterans and role players. Dayton Moore has not.
Royals fans, I am not writing this to bash your team or drown your hopes. It just really bugs me when analysts who get paid a heck of a lot more than I do, who simultaneously receive a ton of national recognition, mistake acquiring new players with acquiring good players. Dayton Moore has been very active this offseason but he realistically has not done anything to seriously improve his team.
Colleague Matthew Carruth said it best: The 2009 Royals may actually be the Rays… the 1998-2007 Rays.