Friday, April 01, 2005

A little reference material

The Kansas City Star ran an article this morning on KC's 2005 payroll. I thought I would combine that information with an article on KCRoyals.com from before spring training with regard to when players are free-agency eligible (why actually think when you can just steal). I haven't really done much analysis on this or have anything to add, just thought it might be a useful reference.

Mike Sweeney... $11 million - free agent after 2007 season
Terrence Long... $4.7 million - free agent after 2006
Brian Anderson. $3.25 million - free agent after 2005
Eli Marrero........ $3 million -
Scott Sullivan..... $2.6 million - free agent after 2005, club option for 2006
Jose Lima........... $2.5 million - free agent after 2006
Matt Stairs......... $1.2 million - free agent after 2005
Tony Graffanino $1.1 million - free agent after 2005
Jeremy Affeldt.. $950,000 - free agent after 2007
Angel Berroa...... $500,000 - free agent after 2008, club option for 2009
Alberto Castillo.. $450,000 - free agent after 2005
Chris Truby........ $360,000 - free agent after 2005
Emil Brown......... $355,000 -
Mike MacDougal $352,000 - free agent after 2009
Jaime Cerda....... $341,500 - free agent after 2008
Zack Greinke..... $330,500 - free agent after 2010
Nate Field........... $327,500 - free agent after 2009
R. Hernandez..... $325,000 - free agent after 2008
Calvin Pickering. $323,500 - free agent after 2009
David DeJesus....$320,000 - free agent after 2010
Shawn Camp...... $319,500 - free agent after 2010
Mike Wood......... $319,000 - free agent after 2010
John Buck........... $318,500 - free agent after 2010
Denny Bautista.. $316,000 - free agent after 2010
Ruben Gotay.......$316,000 - free agent after 2010
Andrew Sisco......$316,000 - free agent after 2011
Mark Teahen..... $316,000 - free agent after 2011

Marrero was not part of the team yet when the free agency info was done, but it sticks in my head that he's under contract for 2005 & 2006. Veteran minor league, non-roster invitee, free agents like Emil Brown have the most confusing contractual rules in the western hemisphere, so maybe somebody out there knows when he's eligible. I would guess he's a year to year guy. I will begin caring if he's hitting .300+ at the end of May.

By the way, Ken Harvey is locked up through 2008. Jimmy Gobble and D.J. Carrasco are not eligible until after the 2009 season and I absolutely refuse to look up any information regarding Chris George.

Key numbers for a succesful season

Hey guess what? I am not going to write about Kansas City's vulnerability to left handed pitching today. Besides, spending the better part of three posts on the issue will surely guarantee that the Royals light left Mike Maroth up next Wednesday.

I was thinking what 'key indicators' we would need to achieve for the Royals do have a succesful season. First, one should define 'successful'. In my mind, given we were 58-104 last year, a 13 game improvement would seem to qualify as a success - especially given how young this team is. I am still optimistically hoping for 75 wins, but realistically going 71-91 with a team so obvioulsy building for 2006/2007 would be pretty decent in this ranter's mind.

Okay, that established, what will it take for the Royals to get into the 70's in wins?
  • Mike Sweeney has to play 140 games. I'll leave it at that simple number. As much as I have been (and will be) critical of Sweeney's leadership abilities and iron glove, I am confident that if he is healthy for 140 games he will pile up big offensive (in the good way) numbers. I thought about putting in something about less errors than Angel Berroa, too, but that's just plain mean.
  • David DeJesus had to play 140+ games, too AND have an onbase percentage over .370. Given his injury history, 140 games be as tough as Sweeney doing the same. If we are to have any hope of scoring runs (did yesterday's 3-0 loss give anyone else shivers about how the season might go?), it has to start with David getting on base for Gotay, Sweeney, Pickering.
  • Ah yes, Calvin Pickering, damn that was a good segway. I am not asking for anything like those optimistic statistical projections that got all of us excited this winter. Big Pick needs to show Pena/Baird enough to get 400+ at-bats and then use those to pound 25+ home runs. I don't care about the average or the strikeouts, 25 homers and an OBP over .320 is all I ask (that's not even being greedy).
  • Zack Greinke & Jose Lima each have to toss 180+ innings. If they give us those innings, their numbers will take care of themselves.
  • Runelvys Hernandez & Danny Bautista each have to toss 150+ innings. Same as above, give us innings and let the numbers take care of themselves. Unlike Greinke & Lima, these two are really just setting the table to be solid rotation members in 2006.
  • Angel Berroa needs to commit less than 18 errors. My thoughts on Angel have been documented several times already on this board. He'll hit somewhere over .260 (probably/hopefully higher) with a little pop, but what matters is how he handles himself in the field. I want the Berroa that played shortstop the second half of 2003. Maybe more than any of the above, this may be the critical factor in getting back to respectability.

I could probably go on and on and detail what we need every player to do. I probably will at some point. However, if the 8 players listed above can simply achieve what we discussed, the Royals could, and probably will, reach 71 wins.

Seventy-one wins in 2005, eighty-four wins in 2006....hmmm, 90 wins in 2007. Those are numbers this Royal fan could live with.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Andy Sisco and the 12 man staff

Allard Baird, via KCRoyals.com, provided this quote the other day with regard to Andy Sisco:

"Right now, Sisco deserves to make the ballclub. If he was coming in here as a non-roster invitee, he would have made the club," Baird said.

Although one might dispute if Sisco would have really made the club if he was simply a non-roster invitee (see Byron Embry), I was very impressed with Sisco's spring performances. He was without question worth the price of having to carry him on the 25 man roster all season.

There is the catch: 'carry him'. Are we really going to have to carry Andy Sisco or will he be a working, valuable member of the bullpen? I believe the latter. We are talking about a 6'10" lefthander who has struck out 365 hitters in 331 minor league innings. Admittedly, they are all A ball and lower innings, but that same success translated into spring training success, which I believe is a decent indication that Sisco can survive in the big show.

He is not our closer, or our primary setup guy, but I believe he is definitely good enough to be the six guy in a six man bullpen. Before I go any further, I am not sure exactly who the odd man out is in a six man equation. Kevin at Kevin's Royal Blog would tell you Bautista needs a year in AAA and Wood takes the 5 spot in the rotation: voila, a six man bullpen. I would probably advocate sending Nate Field down to get to six in the pen.

Why six relievers instead of seven? Anyone that has read my last two posts probably already knows where I am heading. We need someone, anyone, who might be able to hit left-handers. Whether this is a waiver pick up or Ken Harvey, I don't know, but anyway you stack up our lineup - even assuming that the young guys, Emil Brown included, produce, we still need a right-handed stick. You need somebody to DH for goddsake (Sweeney's in the lineup, Marrero's in left, Brown's in right, Stairs can't hit lefties, Long can't hit lefties, Pickering probably can't hit lefties, who is your DH?).

For all his weaknesses, Ken Harvey can hit lefties. His three year compilation against left-handing pitching looks like this:
Batting Avg: .306 - Onbase Pct: .347 - Slugging: .489 - OPS: .836

Okay, not light-the-world-on-fire fantastic (sorry, watched Queer Eye for the Straight Guy last night), but still pretty good. Especially in comparision to the track history against southpaws of the rest of the roster.

I just don't believe in a 12 man pitching staff, certainly not in the A.L. Whether it is Harvey or someone else, or simply another bat/position player to give you flexibility off the bench, I firmly advocate getting down to 11 pitchers (trading Brian Anderson would accomplish this, wish, wish, wish).

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Left/Right Clarification

I just thought I would add a quick post to my previous rant on what I perceive to be a weakness versus left handed pitching. Here are rough numbers on the lineups, where possible I have used the previous three year composites, Pickering, Gotay, DeJesus and Buck are obviously just from a small sample of stats. Emil Brown and Mark Teahen are minor league career overall composites, but it gives us a starting point anyway.

versus Left Handers.....................versus Right Handers
DeJesus - 224/283/245/528..... DeJesus - 309/388/790/848
Gotay - 250/333/325/658........ Gotay - 277/308/393/701
Sweeney - 285/354/469/823... Sweeney - 317/398/530/928
Pickering - 214/250/310/560.. Pickering - 263/378/600/978
Brown - 295/365/452/817........ Stairs - 278/369/512/881
Berroa - 287/329/463/792....... Berroa - 266/319/395/714
Marrero - 314/384/502/886.... Long - 257/313/407/720
Buck - 222/243/403/646.......... Buck - 241/294/434/728
Teahen - 287/368/411/779....... Teahen - 287/368/411/779

The bottom line on facing lefties appears to me, as I stated earlier today, that we need our young players to up their numbers or we will be extremely vulnerable to the southpaw.

The Quandry verus Left handed pitching

With the 25 man roster set (and thank you Royals for doing so early - no doubt in response to my urgings to do so) we can now really look at how the early season might shake down. A read a quote about Calvin Pickering being in the DH/Cleanup spot against right handed pitching, which got me to thinking what are we going to do against left handed pitching?

Let's take a look at some numbers, from established or semi-established players in the Royals' lineup. These are three year composites for the most part of batting average/on-base pct/slugging pct/OPS:

Marrero vs. LHP: 314/384/502/886
Marrero vs. RHP: 259/312/442/754
Well, no problem there as Eli is ticketed to platoon with Terrance Long in left. He is obviously a very capable right-handed bat versus left-handed pitchers.

Long vs. LHP: 242/278/355/633
Long vs. RHP: 257/313/407/720
Okay, well, ummm, Terrance doesn't really appear to have hit anyone the last three years. His numbers are better against righties, against whom he is slated to be in the lineup. Anyway, we'll talk about this another time. For now, however, we know that Terrance Long is not an answer versus the southpaws.

Stairs vs. LHP: 209/299/360/659
Stairs vs. RHP: 278/369/512/881
No one, not even my nine year old daughter, is suprised by these numbers. The Canadian has always hit righties and never hit lefties. His at-bats always have and always will come against the right handers. Again, not a big deal, as we have him slotted into that spot in rightfield.

DeJesus vs. LHP: 224/283/245/528
DeJesus vs. RHP: 309/388/460/848
Obviously, David's numbers are only for last year and probably are not a good enough sample to base anything on (I'm too lazy at the moment to dig up the minor league splits). However, at least for 2004, he was dramatically better against right handers and all of his power came against them.

Sweeney vs. LHP: 285/354/469/823
Sweeney vs. RHP: 317/398/530/928
These are kind of interesting numbers as I would have expected them to be the opposite. Certainly Sweeney is not inept against either pitcher, but for the last three years he has been dominant facing the right hander and average versus the left hander.

Berroa vs. LHP: 287/329/463/792
Berroa vs. RHP: 266/319/395/714
As you can see, Angel IS someone who hits lefties better and with more power. Although the improvement is not dramatic.

Buck vs. LHP: 222/243/403/646
Buck vs. RHP: 241/294/434/728
Like DeJesus, probably not even at-bats to really make a analysis of, but once more considerably better versus right handers. Given the small sample size and the marginal improvement in numbers left vs. right, not really much to contemplate at this point. Besides, like Berroa and DeJesus, Buck is playing every day irregardless.

Now, Pickering does not have near the at-bats to really analyze, but just in case you care:
Pickering vs. LHP: 214/250/310/560
Pickering vs. RHP: 263/378/600/978
That's a major leap upward in production and my guess is that's a split that probably won't change much no matter how many at-bats you throw his way.

So, to start the season, I feel pretty good against right handed starters. DeJesus, Sweeney, Pickering, Stairs, and Buck all hit them well, or least better than lefties. Berroa hangs in against them, as does Terrance Long. Throw in Teahen, batting from the left side, and Gotay, who is a switch hitter, and you have to feel good about scoring runs.

When facing lefties, however, you begin to wonder. One would assume Teahen might struggle, or at least decline against the southpaws. You swap Marrero for Long, which is big plus and Berroa improves. Sweeney is still good (althought considerably less production than vs. righties) and let's at least assume Gotay is still good. Now the trouble starts. DeJesus declines, Buck declines, and we have Emil Brown in right - which does not exactly get me all hyped up (I hope I'm wrong by the way and he turns into Raul Ibanez, but I'm skeptical). Who is the designated hitter versus lefties? Stairs has spent a career proving he can't hit lefties, Long is worse than against righties (where he was not very good to start with), Pickering does not appear to be much of a threat and that leaves us with Tony Graffanino and Alberto Castillo.

Your hope right now, is that Gotay, Teahen and Brown can hit lefties. That DeJesus and Buck improved in that regard and a healthy Sweeney mashes them as does righties. So, all we're asking is that two rookies, a journeyman minor leauger, two 2nd year players and an oft-injured former superstar all come together at once...shouldn't be a problem.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Well that didn't take long

I was not listening, but discussion boards have lit up with regard to news out of 810 WHB and the 25 man roster for the Royals. The Daily Lancer just posted a nice summary of the roster so I won't steal from him just right now.

The highlights:
Pickering wins the battle with Ken Harvey - with Big Ken headed to Omaha.
Emil Brown wins the OF battle - Guiel goes to AAA, apparently can become a FA on June 1.
Cerda and Wood fill the final 2 bullpen slots with Snyder off to AAA, will work in relief there.

The questions:
Will Abraham Nunez and Dennis Tankersley sneak through waivers and end up in Omaha? Do we care? You hate to give away power arms, but Tankersley has shown nothing and is apparently a bit of a headcase (with Lima, Greinke, Runelvys and MacDougal on the staff, exactly how much 'personality' does one team need).

Why Snyder as a reliever in Omaha? Can you build arm strength quicker in relief than starting every 5th day under a limited pitch count? If the answer is yes, and I'm not Guy Hansen so I don't really know, then I am all for it. I would hate to think we are giving up on Snyder as a starter down the road. Of course, the Royals may also be thinking (and not without some merit) that they will need Kyle in relief this year (i.e. Cerda/MacDougal/Field erupting into flames). After Snyder, the next relief candidate is probably Byron Embry - a personal favorite of mine, but not exactly Octavio Dotel waiting to happen, either.

Assuming the information is correct on Aaron Guiel (i.e. Royal property until June 1) that pretty much gives you the time frame for Emil Brown to prove he can play. You can probably rely on Guiel to give you 265-270 with 10-15 homers, so the Royals appear to be willing to see if Brown can give them more (doubtful, but I don't fault the logic).

Finally, what will Ken 'Fatboy' Harvey do in Omaha, besides DH. I can't imagine that he'll play much first as we are trying to train Huber for that position. Although in the CFOS world, Huber would be learning right field. Anyway, Harvey could go down and pout, but contrary to some opinion, I don't think he's that type of person - not over an entire season anyway. He should look at this as a way to develop, at minimum, some gap power and plate discipline. If George Brett is done working with Teahen, maybe this should be his next project. I have no doubt that given time Harvey will consistently hit .280+ at any level, what we need (and this isn't rocket surgery to figure out) is for Fatboy to hit 40 doubles and 15-20 homers per year. He also needs to up the on-base percentage about .370. All those things in combination would make for a decent platoon type player. This will be a good character test, if nothing else. Plus having Harv in Omaha gives KC some flexibility if it decides to move Sweeney in the mid-season. They could do so, and still not have to rush Huber to the show

Besides the Daily Lancer, I encourage everyone to check out Rob and Rany on the Royals, too. They have the projected lineup with their PECOTA rankings......whatever happened to Bill Pecota anyway?

Another Tuesday Another Roster Guess

Time is running short for those hopefuls vying for the final spots on the Royal roster. Probably no later than Thursday night we will know who the lucky 25 are and all this speculation will be over...and the real fun will begin.

CATCHER: John Buck and Alberto Castillo - Expect Buck's season to mirror his spring: hot streaks and cold streaks. Castillo is a nice backup and allows Paul Phillips another year of steady ABs in Omaha.

FIRST BASE/DES HITTER: I'm going out on a limb and saying Mike Sweeney makes the club (okay, just joking). He's had a good spring at the plate and although I personally have no great love for Sweeney, he can rake it if he stays healthy. I have a hard time believing that the Royals want to play Sweeney consistently at first base. First, he's just a plain bad fielder and second, KC needs his bat too much to risk an injury in the field. IF that's really the mindset, then Ken Harvey gets the second spot despite not really doing much of anything to earn it. Rumors are swirling that Baird has given an indication that he's sending Harvey down, but there seems to be some controversy on this point. Pickering has not put up good numbers this spring, but has received compliments for his plate discipline. Like Rob Neyer, I'd keep them both and platoon, but that opens an entire seperate can 'o worms. For now, our guess is Harvey, who will have to prove he deserves it with a good April. Look for Matt Stairs to get a liberal dose of DH activity against righties if Harv stays with the team.

SECOND BASE: Ruben Gotay, Ruben Gotay, Ruben Gotay....get used to it, he's going to be here for a while. Several weeks ago, when previewing second base, I speculated on the limited ceiling of Tony Graffanino and his complete lack of a track record over 300 At-Bats. Now, thankfully, we don't have to worry about it. It will be interesting to see if Gotay bats second when the live ammunition is flying (as he has most of the spring).

SHORTSTOP: Angel Berroa has had a terrific spring, but he always has terrific springs. As mentioned before, I'd put him low in the order, tell him to field his position and relax at the plate. I'm afraid the Royals will put him in the two-hole. Wherever he bats, I'll be watching his defense more than his offense.

THIRD BASE: I'm going to say Mark Teahen because I don't think even Allard Baird can stand to wait to bring him up - even if that does make more financial/long-term sense. They have batted him very low in the order most of spring, but I like him in the six spot. If they do decide to keep the 'clock' from starting on Teahen, look for McEwing to hold down this location until Teahen comes up. I think it is going to be Teahen, though, maybe for public relations as much as anything else.

UTILITY: If healthy, this is Tony Graffanino's spot. When we first acquired Graf before last season, I read a quote from someone in the White Sox organization basically saying if you use him in a back-up role he'll be great for you, but he can't hold up as an every day player. I agree completely. He's better than Hocking or McEwing or Desi Freaking Relaford. He kind of raised a stink about his situation a few days ago, but guys like Tony are team players when push comes to shove.

OUTFIELD: Not much question about the first four (hasn't been since January) - DeJesus, Marrero, Long and Stairs. DeJesus has had an uneven spring, but assuming he can avoid the nagging little injuries, I feel pretty good about him matching his number for last year. Marrero and Long are apparently ticketed for a platoon in left - I won't be suprised if one is in left and one in right full time by mid-season. I kind of think the club is overenamored with Stairs. I would much rather he got about 250 at-bats in right, left and dh as opposed to the 400 the Royals keep talking about. Although, I like his personality - as I have said before and will say again - the Royals are TOO NICE.
Okay, that was an entire paragraph not dealing with the main issue: who is the 5th outfielder. First, let me ask, do we need five outfielders when a Harvey/Pickering platoon might better serve the club? Looks like the potential of Abraham Nunez will never be unlocked (gasp) and Aaron Guiel is Aaron Guiel. I am pretty sure the club is going with Emil Brown at this spot and by all accounts may give him steady duty in right. I expect Brown's leash will be about the same length as Ken Harvey's. A bad April will bring Aaron Guiel up (assuming he accepts the assignment) or Matt Diaz or maybe someone not even in the organization yet (Michael Restovich maybe?).

STARTERS: By all accounts Denny Bautista locked up the number 5 spot yesterday. Kevin's Royal Blog had a nice analysis a few weeks ago on Bautista, advocating giving him a year in AAA, that made some sense. However, the fan in my wants him up here now and is delighted. Lima, Hernandez and Greinke (three guys that modify the Royals team personality in the right direction) are locks and Brian Anderson is too. I'll be absolutely dumbfounded if Anderson is with this team by the end of July. With Wood, Gobble and Snyder all waiting in the wings, it is foolish not to move him for someone, anyone, a really good box of steaks - whatever.

BULLPEN: Affeldt will close (I'm not sure he's mean enough). MacDougal will set-up (I'm not sure he's mentally tough enough to overcome his first 3-0 count). Camp and Field will be in middle relief (they won't set the world on fire, but they're solid). Sisco is a Rule V lock (I'm not sure we shouldn't give him more work than we will). After being on rocky ground recently, Cerda had a good outing yesterday that I am thinking probably secured his spot. Mike Wood also appears to have won the 'swing' role in the pen. If Anderson is moved, Wood is the heir apparent to that rotation spot, making room for Kyle Snyder.
The question apparently comes down to Cerda vs. Snyder from what I've heard and conventional wisdom is leaning towards Cerda. By the way if Harvey & Brown are on short leashes, can you imagine how short they are for Camp, Field, Cerda, MacDougal and Wood?

Okay, we'll see how much of a savant I am by Thursday. How many of you are taking Monday afternoon off to watch opening day?

Monday, March 28, 2005

The Constant Whine

In my quest for all knowledge Royal, I frequently run across the Constant Whiner, the Steady Bemoaner, the Bitter Royal Fan...whatever name you want to give them. We have all heard them on call-in shows, read them on discussion boards, probably talked to them in a bar or the office. At times the BRF, is even a newswriter or talk show host.

For every fan who is excited about Mark Teahen at third, they are sure to elicit the 'too bad we're just going to develop him for the Yankees' comment from somewhere in the World of Bitter (where, I'm told, the sky is always red with a bitter black sun). For every rave about Zack Greinke, we get the 'the Royals will never spend/get/receive/make enough money to keep him past 2009' whine.

I wonder, do these people even like baseball? Or are they lost souls, worse yet soccer fans? Great line on the Jim Rome show today with regard to Rome's young sons: "They will be figure skaters before I let them become soccer players." But I digress...

Well, you know what, I've never heard Billy Beane whine about the inequities of baseball - and Oakland has just got done retooling for the third time in ten years. You don't hear Minnesota fans bemoaning their payroll size in comparision to Chicago - not to mention New York. They have managed to pick and choose who to keep and who to cut loose without collapsing into 100 loss seasons. This is the landscape of the sport, something I give credit to Allard Baird for not using that as an excuse. So, when I'm excited about the Royals' young nucleus and it's potential, I don't need to hear a gloom and doomer toll the bell "that most of them won't be here five years from now" - SO WHAT?! Who are we going to get for them?

Frankly, Baird and the Royals have not been inept at making moves when they had to. Beltran for Teahen, Wood and Buck, while it hurt (Beltran remains the only player I have ever seen make a diving catch and not mess up his uniform - the guy was just plain-ass awesome) is looking like a very, very good deal. Certainly it's a lot better than Bret Saberhagen for Kevin McReynolds, Gregg Jeffries and Keith Miller - yikes, I just got a shiver. Johnny Damon for Roberto Hernandez and Angel Berroa was not a bad deal either. Jermaine Dye for Nefii Perez..ah, er, well...okay nobody's perfect. By the way, since leaving the Royals, Dye has not posted an OPS over .800.

Probably the worst mistake in recent history was one of NOT trading a popular player on the verge of free agency (no, not Mike Sweeney). That was the Paul Byrd fiasco in which it appears to me that public sentiment kept the organization from moving Byrd for Marcus Giles or Orlando Hudson. The Royals (like the Twins, Indians, A's, etc.) have rightfully been scared to death over the prospect of losing someone for nothing, and have done a decent, if not great job of doing so when they had to.

My point of this whole piece is simply this: On March 28, 2005, when I'm excited (or ripping) a player, the team or the future, I no longer need BRF from the Valley of No Chance telling me how it all doesn't matter. I think it does matter, I love to talk about the Royals past, present and future. And I for one, do not believe that just because the future means moving some beloved players out in their prime for financial reasons makes it any less interesting or any less promising.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Chasing Upside

Every organization does it, that is 'Chase Upside': the art of unlocking potential in a player that another club could not. Early in their history, the Royals were absolutely golden in their pursuit of upside. Amos Otis, John Mayberry, Hal McRae, Larry Gura and Fred Patek were all players who contributed little to their old teams, but turned into stars with KC. Even back then, however, their were failures in the chase: Wayne Simpson for one.

More recently, the Royals unearthed the potential in Raul Ibanez and Tom Goodwin (alright, they can't all be Amos Otis), but for every Ibanez and Goodwin came a Ruben Mateo and Patrick Lennon. Organizations like Kansas City has to take chances and find quality players where others may not be looking and to their credit, KC has seldom given up any real value in its chasing of upside.

The key to a successful chase, however, may be how much time you invest in the chase. That brings us to Abraham Nunez, the player KC desperately wants to be their rightfielder. The problem however, is that Nunez has really never done anything for an extended period of time to make a rational person believe the 'five tool' billing he received 7 years ago (not long after Dee Brown and Ruben Mateo were both assigned five tool status). Take out a 212 at-bat stint in Rookie Ball (305/384/423/807) and a 213 at-bat stretch in AAA two years ago (311/398/547/945), Nunez has done NOTHING. By comparison, Raul Ibanez sported a career average of 295 in the minors with an 838 OPS. Minor league stats never guarantee major league success or failure, but they are an indicator. The fact was that when Ibanez was in AAA, he was simply one of the best players (not to be confused with the best prospects) there and when finally given a chance with the Royals became a solid, if unspectacular, regular.

My point simply put, is that Ibanez earned the chance to prove himself. He had a historical basis in his minor league career to make one think it was not a waste of time to give him 400 at-bats. Matt Diaz and Cal Pickering, for all their faults, have compiled much better resumes than Nunez. Although those two probably won't get an immediate shot this year (maybe by June when Sweeney is hurt, Harvey's hitting .250 with 2 home runs and Emil Brown has, well, returned to being Emil Brown) they may well get their chance. Abraham Nunez had 221 at-bats last season to show us something other than he looked good in a uniform and impressive in batting practice. His chance is over - and by the way he's 27 - while we may not have a good alternative in right field, let's start a new chase and let this one fade into the sunset.