Other Fish

No, this isn’t a post about the Marlins.

Fans of the Kansas City Royals, it’s time to move on. It is one thing for your GM to routinely make shockingly bad decisions and then tell you to “trust the process”. But when ownership becomes even more haphazard about handing out stupid contracts, then it’s time to find a new drug. The glory days are long gone and aren’t coming back. The only joy Royals’ fans now have is being able to watch Zack Greinke take the mound every fifth day. It’s time to end this unhealthy relationship and move on. There are plenty of good suitors out there, and face it, you deserve better than this.

I’m not going to suggest that Royal fans jump on the Yankees or Red Sox bandwagon, or any large market team for that matter. Nor will I be discourteous enough to suggest that Royal fans look across the state. Here are just a few smaller market teams I’d submit for your consideration —

Tampa Bay Rays

General Manager Andrew Friedman has taken a perennial basement dweller and made them into a fit contender, while adhering to a strict budget. In other words, Friedman has been everything Royals fans hoped Dayton Moore would be. Unlike the Royals, the Rays draft extremely well; their farm system depth is enviable. Also unlike the Royals: the Rays are adept at developing their own players. *Cough* Alex Gordon… Friedman and his crew evaluate players correctly and are second to none and when it comes to finding freely available talent and making it work. Friedman is the anti-Dayton. There’s still plenty of room on this bandwagon.

Texas Rangers

The Rangers were expected to contend in 2010, not this year. They have a solid nucleus of young talent in Ian Kinsler, Elvis Andrus, Derek Holland, Neftali Feliz and Julio Borbon. The Rangers have also got the most out of an inexperienced pitching staff by complimenting them with one of the finest defenses in the league. The Rangers should continue to improve from within, as they boast one of the better farm systems in baseball even after graduating many of their system’s best talents this year. GM Jon Daniels has had his share of biffs when it comes to making trades (Adrian Gonzalez, anyone?), but he’s also had some major coups, like take for instance the Teixeira deal.

Seattle Mariners

Yes, I know it would be a bitter pill to swallow, rooting for the team that dumped Yuniesky Betancourt on you, but it is moves like that should encourage you to pull for the Mariners. They show they know how to properly evaluate their own players and dump bad contracts from the previous regime. (See also: Washburn, Jarrod) Mariner fans can feel your pain after having to deal with years of Bill Bavasi. As one of big contributors to the homegrown talent in the Brewers organization, Jack Zduriencik has an eye for talent. He’s also been a master at acquiring undervalued talent and spinning them into gold, as demonstrated in picking up players like Franklin Gutierrez, David Aardsma or Russell Branyan either via trade or free agency. Looking at some of his other under-the-radar moves, it’s obvious that he values defense. With his dealings, in just one year the Mariners went from a 37% winning percentage to a team above .500. He has Tom Tango on his payroll, and if you needed a couple of other reasons to hop on the Seattle bandwagon, there’s Ichiro and Felix Hernandez.

There are plenty of other fish in the sea, Royals fans. Why stay?

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Erik Manning is the founder of Future Redbirds and covers the Cardinals for Heater Magazine. You can get more of his analysis and rantings in bite-sized bits by following him on twitter.