When your favorite team recently lost nine in a row and scored two runs or less in eight of the nine losses, you start to appreciate the little things. You know, things like a win or two. The Royals haven’t really struggled for wins over the last few seasons, so it’s easy to forget how enjoyable it is when they do pick a couple up. The team is in sort of unenviable spot because their terrible start has made a playoff run a statistical improbability that even this team, known for comebacks, will struggle to overcome. But at the same time, this is a team that wants to stay together as long as possible before free agency chips away at its core.
- That brings us to the month of May. I think you can make a reasonable argument that May is the most important month this team has had, in regards to the future, of this organization in nearly a decade. They’ve obviously had far more important months overall, but the Royals performance as a team this month will determine so much. They play 30 total games this month. They entered it at a grotesque 7-16. If they win 22 of 30, let’s say, they’ll be 29-24 and nobody’s talking about selling. If they win 12 of 30, let’s say, they’ll be 19-34 and nobody is talking about anything but selling. The middle, though, is what’s sort of scary. If the Royals finish May at 18-12 and are 25-28, does anybody believe the Royals begin to pull the trigger on trading off their pending free agents? I just can’t imagine it. The worst thing this team can do in May is be sort of good but not great. If they’re going to start to win some games, they need to win a lot of games. And if they’re not going to win a crazy number of games, the best thing for the franchise is probably for them to struggle to make the decision for them. That doesn’t mean I don’t root for wins every night, but sometimes it’s best when the choices are made easy.
- The Royals really can’t hit lefties and if you believe there’s something to play for still, that’s going to be a problem. The Royals are hitting .184/.255/.267 against lefties and .202/.262/.289 against left-handed starters. They’ve scored just 18 runs in eight games started by southpaws, and even that number is a little inflated because they scored seven in that one game started by Dallas Keuchel when they went crazy after Keuchel left the game. I don’t know the answer to fix it. I do know that adding Jorge Soler back to the roster can’t hurt, though he hasn’t necessarily been especially great against left-handed pitchers in his career. One big issue is that Cheslor Cuthbert is supposed to be the platoon partner for Brandon Moss, but he just hasn’t hit at all this season. I think the vast majority of that problem is that he doesn’t really know how to not play regularly, but that’s an issue. Again, the way they’ve started means it probably doesn’t really matter, but it’s difficult to watch when a lefty is on the mound. It will just get worse as they get into games with the Indians and their lefty relievers, and the Tigers with their lefty starters.
- Speaking of Soler, we’ve been wondering for awhile how it is he makes his way back to the roster. I keep suggesting Travis Wood goes out with an “injury” to clear a spot, but maybe Ian Kennedy is the one who will create the opening. We’ll see if he needs a DL stint, but I could see the Royals stretching out Mike Minor or even Chris Young for a couple starts while Kennedy recovers from his hamstring issue. That creates the initial roster spot for Soler and might allow the Royals to delay the decision on Bonifacio for a couple weeks or however long it is that Kennedy finds himself on the disabled list (if he does). They could look in another direction if Kennedy has to go on the DL and bring up a starter from Triple-A. In that event, the Royals have some options as the Omaha rotation has done some nice things, but Jake Junis seems to be the likely choice given his status on the 40-man roster. I guess maybe we should wait to really discuss this until we get news on Kennedy, but it sure beats talking about why this offense is so terrible.
- Keith Law was on Sports Radio 810 the other day and predicted the contract Eric Hosmer signs as a free agent would be for two years and $20 million. That’s a ridiculous statement. You can argue all you want about whether or not Hosmer is worth a mega deal, but I don’t see a scenario where he signs that contract. A big reason why he wouldn’t is that I can’t imagine Hosmer would sign for two years. In my mind, it’s either a deal for four-plus years or it’s a one year deal. His career numbers don’t indicate that he’s a superstar, but he’s seen that way around baseball (to fans), and he’s going to be marketed that way by Scott Boras. To me, the guy to look at is Adrian Beltre. He spent a few seasons in Seattle that were largely underwhelming. He ended up signing a one-year deal with the Red Sox to establish value and then signed a long deal with the Rangers and he’s still there today. I just don’t buy Hosmer signing for only two years. Plus, the odds are that he ends the season with respectable numbers and some team sees his postseason experience and other big game work and probably gives him too big of a deal. I hope it’s not the Royals. He has been hitting the ball better of late. His ISO is still under .100, but he’s at least been driving the ball a little better. At least it seems that way. He’s notoriously streaky. Maybe he’s about to get hot and get his season numbers back to his typical levels.