On behalf of all of Kansas City, Royals fans home and abroad, I’d like to offer our sincerest apologies for your treatment in Kansas City.
No, I’m not talking about the boo-birds you may be hearing, or the cries for you to be benched. I’m referring to how poorly our General Manager and Manager have treated you.
Here’s the thing. You’re a good ball player, as is ANYONE that makes the big leagues. Throughout your 7-year career, you’ve proven to be a useful player, when used correctly, due to your versatility and ability to swipe some bags.
What you probably didn’t know is that our GM has a long history hanging players out to dry. Trust us, we’ve sat through the Tony Pena Jr. years. We’ve sat through the Yuniesky Betancourt years (Mind you, he acquired Betancourt via trade, then finally traded him away, only to re-sign him in free agency). We’ve sat through the roller-coaster years of Alcides Escobar. We’ve sat through the likes of Omar Infante, Chris Getz, Jeff Francoeur, Brandon Moss, and now two inexplicable stints of Lucas Duda. Not to mention sitting through years of Alex Gordon when he was statistically one of the worst players in the big leagues.
All of the above could maybe have been serviceable if used appropriately, but instead, they were daily fixtures and black holes in every day lineups.
Had you been armed with this knowledge, you might have been more skeptical when Dayton Moore was standing outside your door as soon as you became a free agent. Your unemployment lasted five days before Moore inked you to a contract. A 1 year/$3.5 million contract…after the worst year of your career. Mind you, this was a free agency period that, by and large, dragged on forever without much action. Yet, there was Moore, eager, to obtain your services.
Did you find it odd that Ned Yost said you’d get every day playing time? We did. Not because of you, but because we believed the infield was set (Dozier, Mondesi, Merrified, O’Hearn), and we had such a glutton of outfielders (Gordon, Hamilton, Soler, Phillips, Bonifacio, Starling, Gore) that we jettisoned Brian Goodwin off to LA so he could challenge Mike Trout for best baseball player in the universe.
Making this declaration even more curious is the fact that you had logged 500 at-bats in a season just once, and that was in 2015.
In 2014 and 2016, you proved to be very effective versus left-handed pitching. So, when your signing came about, I think most believed you’d fill that scrappy utility role with a slight lean on at-bats versus left-handed pitching. That is until we remembered that scrappy utility-types are kryptonite to our GM and manager.
Anyway, please understand the boos and jeers you hear are because of the sins of your GM and manager, and are a culmination of frustrations from us fans that have watched players be misused or miscast for our beloved Royals over the years.
Yes, this is the same brass that went to back-to-back World Series, and even brought home the championship. As those days fade farther into our rear-view mirrors, and as the sun reflects off all the empty seats at Kauffman Stadium, it is fair to wonder if the game of baseball has passed by our organizational leaders who struggle with the simplest components of roster construction.
Hang in there, Pal. Moore likes to make changes after the 40 game mark, so your role may be altered very soon. And even if nothing changes, the plus side is there will be nobody in the ball park to notice, and you probably can’t hear me screaming from my living room.
Photo Credits: Jonathan Daniel – Getty Images