It is human nature to worry and maybe even to agonize, at least when it comes to baseball. Not too long ago, Dayton Moore had considerable heartburn over losing Philip Humber. That was, of course, in the days before the Royals would ever conceive of trading five pitching prospects for half-seasons of Ben Zobrist and Johnny Cueto.
You don’t have to troll very far through comments sections or Twitter to run across the latest news on Brandon Finnegan or John Lamb or some other former Royals player or prospect who did something noteworthy for some other team. That’s okay; it is interesting to keep tabs on those guys. Interesting, but no longer maddening – unless you just are out looking for reasons to be unhappy.
The Royals, you may have heard, are coming off three straight winning seasons, two straight World Series’ appearances and a World Championship. It all makes the idea of Jeremy Jeffress having become the Brewers’ closer interesting, but not worthy of hand-wringing. Kansas City, once a roster full of cast-offs characterized as having many players ‘who would not be major league players anywhere else’ are now casting off major league players and not even worrying about it.
Kansas City is 6-2 and assured themselves a road split with Houston, a team I consider one of the best five in the American League. Let’s just enjoy life and have a little fun, shall we?
In addition to the aforementioned Jeffress, let’s take a look at what other former Royals are doing well in new environments:
- Will Smith, before he mangled himself performing the always dangerous task of removing shoes, was poised to be a key member of the Milwaukee pitching staff.
- We are not going to talk about the likes of Carlos Beltran, who left on his on accord, or Melky Cabrera who was barely here to begin with, and Jose Bautista, who left long ago and turned into a great hitter and tremendous jerk after doing so, but we can certainly mention that Franklin Morales was let go without a thought and hooked on with another contender in Toronto.
- Jake Odorizzi is entrenched in the Tampa rotation. Sure, it would be nice to have him around, but it is nicer to have Wade Davis.
- Mike Aviles was banished before the Royals were frankly very good, but he has fashioned a nice little career kicking around as a utility guy. I have a Mike Aviles jersey, I miss him on occasion, but it has been years since I said ‘wish we still had Aviles.’
- Old pal, Johnny Giavotella is kind of turned into the second baseman we thought he might be for the Angels. I am not an Omar Infante fan, but I don’t lose sleep over Gio being gone – not anymore, anyway.
- Oakland is loaded with former Royals. Anyone still want Billy Butler instead of Kendrys Morales? Coco Crisp is there, as is Danny Valencia and Liam Hendriks. How about last year’s keep bullpen addition Ryan Madson? He has notched two saves for the A’s, and I’ll bet you have yet to miss having him coming out of the Royals’ pen in the sixth inning.
- Seattle has former top prospect Mike Montgomery as well as Joel Peralta. The latter has had a really nice career that basically got started in Kansas City – can you believe he is 40 this year?
- How many theoretical trades was Clint Robinson involved in over the years? He is now a fixture on the big league bench for the Washington Nationals.
- The Reds? Brandon Finnegan and Tim Melville are in their rotation. Blake Wood and not-good-enough-to-make-team-this-spring Ross Ohlendorf are in their bullpen.
- Jonathan Broxton is still wearing big pants and doing so for St. Louis these days.
- Gregor Blanco was part of the team that beat the Royals two years ago and I am not sure anyone has lost sleep over him not wearing powder blue.
- Louis Coleman could not keep a regular job in the Kansas City pen, put has made four appearances already for the Dodgers. J.P. Howell and Joe Blanton are hanging around LA as well.
- I won’t lie, there have been a few occasions where it would have been nice to still have Jorge de la Rosa, but it is hard to say the Royals missed any great opportunities by not having him on the team.
- Sure, Zack Greinke has been great – well, not this year – for three different teams since being traded, but the Royals got two regular position players as part of the deal. They also have some hardware that Zack does not.
- Wil Myers is now in San Diego and has never gotten back to the form that netted him Rookie of the Year. Again, Wade Davis. Of course, James Shields is there, too and the Royals frankly got two winning seasons and a World Series appearance out of his time in KC. And again, Wade Davis.
All in all, that is a ten minute scamper through the current major league rosters. We didn’t touch on Frenchy or Andres Blanco. The above does not count Sean Manaea, John Lamb or Cody Reed. David DeJesus, Aaron Crow….we did not dive in deep, but is there anything above that you truly, truly agonize over these days?
Times have indeed changed. I wish Louis Coleman and Jeremy Jeffress well. I hope Giavotella plays second base everyday for the next ten years. Good for Tim Melville, and I always have a soft spot for Brandon Finnegan. Angst, though? Nope.