Chris Volstad and What He Means for the Royals Reviewed by Momizat on . When I first heard news that the Royals had claimed Chris Volstad off waivers from the Cubs I didn't love the move, but I liked the idea of going to get a guy w When I first heard news that the Royals had claimed Chris Volstad off waivers from the Cubs I didn't love the move, but I liked the idea of going to get a guy w Rating:
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Chris Volstad and What He Means for the Royals

Chris Volstad and What He Means for the Royals

When I first heard news that the Royals had claimed Chris Volstad off waivers from the Cubs I didn’t love the move, but I liked the idea of going to get a guy who could provide some minor league depth. He’s a little more expensive than I was talking about a few weeks back when I mentioned the Royals needed to go after reclamation projects, but put aside the money and Volstad fits that mold pretty well. He was a top 100 prospect three years in a row from 2006-2008 and when he got to the big leagues as a 21 year-old with the Marlins in 2008, he put up solid numbers. The big issue is that the peripherals have never been there for him as he doesn’t strike out enough batters and he walks too many considering how few batters he strikes out. He’s also become extremely hittable as his career has progressed. But still, Dave Eiland saw something in Jeremy Guthrie, maybe he sees something here. It’s worth the risk.

And then the signing got even better when a lot of people started thinking about what Volstad could mean for the future of Luke Hochevar. See, by claiming Volstad off waivers, the Royals are responsible for his arbitration case which means he’ll likely cost around $3 million. That’s why I think they paid too much for a guy who almost assuredly would have been non-tendered in a few weeks. The only reason I can think for claiming him is that they see something in him and wanted to be able to have control of him rather than have to bid against other teams for his services. The idea that this current organization can evaluate pitching well enough to be able to fix a pitcher is something that I will leave without comment for now. Anyway, the point here is that a team on a budget like the Royals probably can’t afford to pay two guys like Volstad and Hochevar and Volstad is the less expensive option, so my thought (and many others) was that this might spell the end of the Luke Hochevar era.

Of course it wasn’t long until the thought of a Hochevar-less future was washed away with comments by Dayton Moore in a story about the move and what it signals for the rest of the winter. The first bombshell in the Bob Dutton article came early.

We know who we are and how we have to build this team,” general manager Dayton Moore said, “and how we have to build our rotation. We’re going to be as aggressive as we can, but we know who we are and how we need to do it.

This sounds an awful lot like the song and dance we’ve heard in previous offseasons about the Royals lacking the funds to be able to compete with the big boys and all that mumbo jumbo. I’d almost look at that and just shake my head with a smile if there hadn’t been plenty of obvious plants in the media about the Royals intentions to make some sort of splash in free agency. Of course, David Glass has publicly stated the Royals would spend, Dayton Moore has confirmed it and now we get this nugget. The second bombshell is probably what I’m most annoyed with and that’s when Dayton Moore mentioned what type of starter the Royals might look at in free agency.

While Moore didn’t rule out an offseason push to sign an impact free-agent pitcher, he said it “won’t be a long-term answer for us” in part because the club anticipates plentiful in-house options by the start of the 2014 season.

I guess if you look really deeply into what the Royals have said in recent weeks, the possibility of a trade still hasn’t been ruled out. And that’s something I mentioned in Friday Notes on Friday. Still, the idea that the Royals are not going to go after free agent pitching because they don’t want to block in-house options for 2014 sounds an awful lot like the reasons the Royals gave last offseason for not going out to acquire pitching. He didn’t want to block the wave of pitching prospects in 2012, which included names like Mike Montgomery, Jake Odorizzi, Chris Dwyer and others. Even if you count Will Smith among the group of young pitchers the Royals didn’t want to block (and if you do that’s stretching it), their top prospects of pitching had 18 starts in 2012. No blocking there.
The comments Dayton Moore has made are disheartening because of what we were expecting coming into the 2012/2013 offseason. I’m not at all upset about claiming an underachieving/bad pitcher in Chris Volstad at this point because we’re not even past October, so it’s hard to assume that this is it to boost the rotation. For me, it’s the comments that were made and the thought process that it represents. I can’t remember a season under Dayton Moore, save for 2009, where the organization was building for that season. This is Dayton Moore’s seventh offseason at the helm of the franchise, and I don’t think it’s too much to ask to be done hearing about a season in the future. It started off as Mission 2012 and then you started to hear reports with people saying they heard privately that the team is really looking to 2013 and now the free agent plan is looking toward 2014 with the hope that young pitchers develop, something that hasn’t happened yet under this regime.
Something has to change. The status quo simply isn’t working. The stat that the only team in professional sports in the last 20 years to not make the postseason being the Royals is not solely the fault of Dayton Moore or even David Glass (though Glass has presided over the team during that stretch in some capacity). It falls on Herk Robinson, Allard Baird, the players and everybody on the roster. Right now, though, I truly believe Dayton Moore and his flawed thought process are playing a role in extending that playoff drought to the point that it’s gotten to. To be clear, it isn’t just Moore. It’s his development staff and everything involved with that as well. There’s no need to call names or anything immature like that. He simply has to do a better job. There’s a lot of time left before the Royals pack up that truck and head to Surprise and even more before the first pitch of the 2013 season is thrown, so I have no choice but to wait and see what happens. This offseason isn’t off to a stellar start, though. For the sake of the fanbase, let’s just hope something is up Dayton’s sleeve because he needs to start turning around that 467-610 record and fast.
Follow me on Twitter @DBLesky

About The Author

I never had a chance. I was born into a family who loved baseball and the Royals, so I accordingly love baseball and the Royals. I just so happen to love to write also, which makes writing about the Royals for this site something that makes me happy each and every day. When I first started blogging, a fairly well known baseball writer told me to only do it until I'm unhappy doing it, but I don't see that coming any time soon.

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