Twitter Tuesday is a new weekly feature to Pine Tar Press, in which I’ll review all things #Royals through the eyes of Twitter.Â Snark and sarcasm are welcomed and valued just as much as baseball insight.Â Keep them clean, and keep them coming.
This will hopefully be the last dead week for Twitter Tuesday.Â There just wasn’t a lot to talk aboutÂ this week.Â Luis Mendoza tossed a gem for team Mexico in the Carribean Series.Â Othewise, I’ll tackle people’s random thoughts as Spring Training fever has a strangle-hold on Royals fans.Â Technically pitchers and catchers reported this week, but I refuse to write about PFP (pitcher’s fielding practice) and who has shown up ‘in the best shape of their lives’.
Beware of the Hair
As a result, Luis Mendoza was named MVP of the Carribean Series.Â Does this mean anything?Â Maybe it does, maybe it doesn’t.Â Overall, Mendoza tossed 13 1/3 scoreless innings in his two starts.Â Its not like he did this against St. Margaret’s Orphanage, so I see this is as nothing but a positive for Mendoza, and perhapsÂ an early leg up on the competition for the #5 spot in the Royals rotation.
I could certainly see Mendoza getting a bullpen job in the end, but he was considerably better than Luke Hochevar and Bruce Chen last year.Â If the Royals get an early indication that one of Chen or Hochevar isn’t going to win the #5 job, I can see one ofÂ them getting traded during Spring Training.Â Unfortunately, I think we all have the feeling that it is Hochevar’s job to lose.Â That’s a shame.Â Â A couple things to maybe tilt the odds in Mendoza’s favor is if Chen goes on to pitch for team China in the WBC, and if Hochevar continues to be the mental train-wreck he’s already proven to be.
Hey, no doubt that bullpen is nice, but unless someone other than James Shields can get the game to the pen in an effective manner, then it wouldn’t matter if the Royals had Dan QuisenberryÂ and Jeff Montgomery anchoring the pen.Â The Royals focused their attention on bolstering the rotation, and standing pat with their strong bullpen.Â In order to make that playoff push, the revamped rotation is the key.Â Not to beat a dead horse, but that is going to entail Shields not beginning to decline, Ervin Santana returning to 2011 form, Jeremy Guthrie pitching like he did last year in KC (and nothing like he did in Colorado), and Wade Davis proving he figured something out last year.Â That is a lot to go right.Â To top it off, the Royals can ill-afford injuries just about everywhere on the diamond.Â That’s a tall order for team who seems to pass elbow injuries around like this year’s flu bug.
I’d say that is a very accurate assessment.Â The Royals have no way of survivingÂ long-termÂ injuries to Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Billy Butler, Alex Gordon, Alcides Escobar, or Salvador Perez–and that’s just the position players.Â The lack of depth is a very scary problem for the Royals this year.Â The injury caveat is a two-way street though.Â The Detroit Tigers have several portly bodies, and you would think that would catch up with them at some point.Â Further, losing Justin Verlander to injury would certainly go a long way toward leveling the playing field.Â That’s not the way I’d like to see it happen.Â Also, we can’t focus too much attention on the Tigers as the White Sox and Cleveland Indians have a considerable amount of talent as well.
Ok, I think you’re missing the point.Â In the past, Royals fans have had to watch their players become stars, only to be traded to avoid paying them.Â Dayton Moore has done nothing short of establishing a commitment to keeping our talented players.Â Billy Butler and Alex Gordon are two great examples of this.Â You could also look at Alcides Escobar and Salvador Perez signing very team-friendly contracts to illlustrate how the Royals brass is finally showing a commitment to not only their players, but their fans.
Does this leave anyone else scratching their head?Â I can’t guarantee much in this life, but I guarantee the Royals didn’t trade for Wade Davis with the closer’s role in mind.Â He’s here to beÂ starter, and is going to be given every opportunity to maintain that starter’s status.Â To take this a step further, if Wade Davis is the Royals closer at ANY time this season, the Royals will assuredly be staring down the barrell of another dismal season.Â I’m not saying he couldn’t do it, but that’s not what he’s here for, and there would also be several guys that would get the nod as closer before Davis.
Where to begin?Â I haven’t seen anyone suggest that the Royals have overhauled their entire team.Â The only truly significant changes have been the rotation overhaul.Â I would suggest focusing more on the Cincinnati Reds.Â No Chris Carpenter, no Lance Berkman, several rapidly aging veterans…I don’t know, but that doesn’t sound like a recipe for whooping anyone’s ass.
Ah, the dreaded “surprise” label.Â It is good to see the Royals getting some love in the national media, but the ‘surprise’ label is such a cop out.Â What Plesac is essentially saying is that if the Royals do well this season, he nailed it.Â If not, no one says a word because it would have been a “surprise” for them to do well.Â But hey, I’ll take the “surprise” label over being picked to finish last, or getting saddled with the “rebuilding” label.
This reads like a punch to the gut.Â Problem being that I actually kind of like Ned Yost, but when assinine things like this are said, it is tough for me to take him seriously.Â Luke Hochevar has never won more than 11 games, and shows all the signs of being a pitcher who can’t get out of his own way.Â Stuff be damned, Hochevar’s problems are mental.Â But hey, if Hochevar somehow pulls off this feat from the fifth spot in the rotation, then Ned is probably the AL Manager of the Year, and the Royals are in the playoffs.
Looking forward to your Spring Training tweets.
Until next time, tweeps.