To John Sherman, Dayton Moore, JJ Piccolo, Scott Sharp, Jin Wong, and whomever else it may concern:
Last night was the most fun that your fanbase has had watching a baseball game since we bid farewell to our World Championship core at the end of the 2017 season. I can remember like it was yesterday watching Eric Hosmer hitting an opposite-field home run versus Robbie Ray in his first at-bat of the game. I will never, EVER forget watching Alcides Escobar, Lorenzo Cain, Mike Moustakas, and Eric Hosmer walk off the field at Kauffman Stadium together for the final time.
It was an otherwise completely meaningless game. There was no chance for that team to continue on to the playoffs with a win, and yet I found myself sitting on the edge of my seat waiting for the next cool thing to happen as we said goodbye to some of our heroes. That moment, for absolutely zero baseball reason, was one of my favorite moments in the history of Kansas City sports. Not because of the game that was being played on the field, but because of the nostalgia that an era of my life had ended. It would be a new group of players that brought us the next memories of October baseball in Kansas City, and that was more than okay with hundreds of thousands of people who watched that game that day.
It took a while, but that next group arrived last night. Some of them admittedly stayed home, but a new wave of Royals baseball walked onto the field in Toronto and left us with a memory that we will hopefully be able to circle back to as the beginning of an incredible October run in a couple years. The same way that hundreds of thousands of Royals fans were able to think back to Salvador Perez picking two runners off base in Tampa Bay, or Eric Hosmer working a walk in his first plate appearance at Kauffman Stadium, or Yordano Ventura lighting up radar guns during Spring Training in Arizona, we hope we’ll one day look back at Nate Eaton’s home run last night and go, “Man, that’s where it all started. Can you believe it took that debacle for it to all begin? What a crazy time.”
With one swing of the bat last night, a former 21st round pick encapsulated what Royals fans have been begging you for for the last year and some change: LET THE KIDS PLAY. In one game last night, a team of rookies that Las Vegas deemed as the biggest underdog of the entire Major League Baseball season rolled into Toronto and beat the Blue Jays, a team that is currently occupying a Wild Card spot. In one game, rookies accounted for seven of the nine innings the team pitched and half of the team’s hits, including both of its home runs. It was rookies who carried the team to its best win of the season, and it was rookies that had Royals fans excited about a team that is now 17 games below .500 and in the midst of a seventh straight non-playoff season.
It is for this reason that Whit Merrifield and company cannot be allowed to return to this clubhouse after the All-Star Break. I have loved watching Whit play baseball in a Royals uniform. His games played streak was a legitimate testament to a work ethic that allowed him to not only stay on the field for 500+ consecutive games, but to perform at an All-Star level for many of them as well. However, the comments that Merrifield made after the team’s victory over Detroit on Wednesday afternoon are so beyond inexcusable that allowing him to don a Royals uniform again would be a disgrace to everyone else in that clubhouse.
The fans of your ball club do not spend their hard-earned money to watch their favorite players whenever they feel like showing up. It’s one thing to miss games over something that you can control. Things like that happen. To admit that you would be willing to put your differences aside for someone else’s team, but not your own, is an entirely other thing. Whit Merrifield slapped everyone in your front office across the face on Wednesday afternoon. He slapped his teammates in the face. He slapped the fans in the face, and no amount of apologizing can make up for that wrong. Allowing Whit Merrifield to remain in that clubhouse, where he is seen as a leader, would be the ultimate disservice to a young group of players that are ready to make this team their own.
Aside from the comments that Whit Merrifield made, these rookies are talented, they’re hungry, and they’re ready to take over. This is no longer Whit Merrifield’s team. The voice of, “Well, I’ll comply when I feel like it,” can not be the loudest voice in the room. You need leaders who are willing to do whatever it takes for the team and their teammates and you have an entire locker room full of them in Toronto right now. Let them be the leaders. Let them be the loudest voices in your organization. Anyone that isn’t bought in can go. No one in Kansas City will hold it against you if you trade Whit Merrifield, and anyone else that isn’t 100% bought in, later today. Let them go if they want to go. Kansas City is ready to embrace a winning team again, and there are pretty clearly people in that clubhouse who do not prioritize winning and this organization.
Above all else, last night was an absolute joy to watch. Getting to see Nick Pratto and Nate Eaton, two players who have been in this system for half a decade or more, make their major league debuts was magical. I cannot wait to see if Maikel Garcia, Michael Massey, Freddy Fermin, and others make their debuts this weekend as well. It is so easy to see how hungry these kids are and how bad they want to be here. Reward them for their loyalty. Reward them for their performances in the minor leagues and their willingness to prioritize the team and winning. Reward your fanbase for years of patience as you rebuilt your big league club with the goal of getting back to October. Whit Merrifield, Andrew Benintendi, and Michael A. Taylor won’t be here the next time this team is ready to make the playoffs, but Michael Massey will be. Nick Pratto will be. Maikel Garcia will be. The fans will be. Let the kids play.
14 thoughts on “An Open Letter to the Kansas City Royals Front Office”
I appreciate your hard work and follow your reports as I’ve spent most of my career as a basketball scouting for as many as 380+ 4 yr colleges and universities prior to retiring a couple yrs ago. I live in Surprise during the fall, winter & spring and watch the fall league and watch the Royals minor leaguers during spring training so I agree with most of your evals but not all. I’ve made some poor decisions in my life but have been forgiven and will give Whit some mercy as I believe he’s played with a chip on his shoulder because I feel the Royals gave him very little respect even though he tore up AAA. Dayton should have traded him when his value was the highest but didn’t as Whit had signed an under value contract IMO. I coached for 22 yrs and don’t believe you beat up on people when they screw up as people have shown me mercy. Simply my opinion and don’t expect everyone to agree with me.
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Well said Jerry. I agree with your view 100%.
Alex, I liked the part of the letter about wanting to let these kids play. I am also very excited to see the 2023 lineup with Eaton, Massey, Pratto joining the core of Salvy, BWJ, Vinnie, MLM, and Olivares. Where I disagree is with your comments on Merrifield. I no longer live in KC so I dont know what the local pulse is saying about the situation, but his comments IMO were fine. I disagree with him that he should consider taking the shot if he has already decided it wasn’t in his best interest to do so. But he said, “That’s the only reason that I would think about getting it at this point, is to go to Canada. That might change down the road. Something happens and I happen to get on a team that has a chance to go play in Canada in the postseason, maybe that changes.”
This sounds to me that he would consider getting the shot to play in Canada in postseason games only. He isn’t saying this Royals team is not worth it, he is saying this isn’t the postseason. I think at least as fans, Whit has earned our mercy on this matter. All of the 10 players have. I believe we can all agree that the shot has been controversial for most Americans whether they got it or not. So as Americans, we need to respect each others decisions as that is exactly what America stands for – we have differences in many ways but I can’t tell you what to do and you can’t tell me what to do; we respect each other’s freedoms to do what is best for themselves and their families.
Great read and I could not agree with this more! It’s time!!!
Let’s keep politics out of baseball. I believe in the front office and I believe they are doing their best. This game is difficult to play and predict how players are going to play. Let’s enjoy the game regardless of who’s playing. Go Royals!
One of the best posts I have ever read. I agree 100 percent.
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I agree with everything except for Whit. He has been a leader for years. Plays everywhere and all the time. Now, when he doesn’t want to get a shot that doesn’t stop infection or spreading the virus is supposed to, for a team that hasn’t done anything for 5 years, and is honest about it, you want to run him out of town? Everyone has there line, alot of peoples is controlling what goes in your body and when. Forcing someone to take a shot to play 4 games is stupid, petty, and hypocritical. You didn’t need to know for the last 2 years. He didn’t miss a game. Toronto had to leave there country to play last year. Why didn’t they shut the team down? Why don’t they require teams flying from LA to NY to get it? This is a lazy excuse to force your opinions on a group of people who made a choice that you don’t like. Grow up.
I appreciate you taking the time to respond, but I feel like there’s no way you read the article if this is what you took away from it. I’ve consistently said that my issue with Whit were his comments after Wednesday’s game. I have never made one point about his vaccination status.
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Alex. Being unvaccinated is the whole point of being part of the community, Being willing to potentially kill a teammates family member who is immunocompromised and cannot get vaccinated is the point. No one should be so selfish. I am a physician and we in healthcare are tired of those refusing vaccinating killing the extra 400K Americans…pathetic players on KC
I was initially angered by Whit’s remarks, but have since circled around to a calmer feeling. He has contributed a lot to underachieving teams in KC, so I will give him some slack. The thing I have a problem with is having 26 and 27 year old minor leaguers who have to have this type of situation to make an appearance. What do the Royals think is the productive career span is of an individual? Let’s pull the trigger and get rid of the logjam and play the kids!!
Alex, you said it ALL. Bravo for your excellent knowledge and writing!!!
It exactly the sentiment or feelings of the entire fan base. Yes it would be nice to see the kids play. However, you’re simply pissed because they made decisions for themselves and families because they’re grown men but yet you want to force them to do something that they’re not comfortable with doing. That, to me, sounds an awful lot like Nazi Germany or Cold War Russia. No thanks. Still love my Royals though.
Couldn’t agree more. You play for the name on the “FRONT” of the uniform not the back. Great read.
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Leave Whit alone. He is the most underpaid overachiever in baseball. He can still win games with his bat and glove like he showed Monday against the Chisox. Even slightly better than mediocre guys are special in the big leagues. I see no sizable leap in production in anyone of our prospects in replacing Whit. Remember he plays different positions when asked. If left alone in one defensive spot he is probably an all star.
I say let him play out the string here. You always feel you have a shot with him at bat