Heading into the 2014 season, the Pirates had the number one farm system, according to Baseball America. In the last two years, they’ve seen one big prospect make a lasting jump to the majors, and that was Gregory Polanco. And so naturally, there will be people questioning how good the system really was. I’ve already seen some of that this off-season, and you probably have as well.

After the Royals won the World Series, I started thinking back to their top farm system in 2011. More specifically, I thought back to the comments about the Royals heading into the 2014 season. The Pirates were named the top farm system, and the common rebuttal was “Look how that worked for the Royals in 2011.”

Since that point, the Royals have made the World Series twice, and won once. There’s a lot to take away from their success the last two years, but it’s impossible to deny that their top system in 2011 led to these results. Perhaps the biggest lesson we can learn here is that a top farm system doesn’t yield immediate results in the majors, but is more of a long-term thing. To illustrate this, I broke down the 2015 Royals roster to see how they were built, and how many players from that top system in 2011 contributed to the results this year (and last year as well).

In the Majors With Kansas City in 2011

LF – Alex Gordon – Signed 4 year, $37.5 M extension in 2012, with an option for 2016.

RP – Luke Hochevar – Was a struggling starter in 2011, converted to a reliever in 2013, signed to a 2 year, $10 M deal with an option in 2014.

Analysis: The biggest impact here was Gordon, who broke out in 2011, and turned out to be a legit contributor after that, making the extension very valuable. He’s been worth 18.6 fWAR over the previous four years, meaning the Royals paid about $2 M per WAR on his extension.

Prospects in the System in 2011

C – Salvador Perez – 17th

1B – Eric Hosmer – 1st

3B – Mike Moustakas – 3rd

BN – Jarrod Dyson – 20th

BN – Christian Colon – 6th

BN – Paul Orlando – NR

SP – Yordano Ventura – 12th

SP – Danny Duffy – 7th

RP – Greg Holland – NR

RP – Kelvin Herrera – 30th

Analysis: The Royals got a lot of help from that number one ranked system. Moustakas (3.8 fWAR) and Hosmer (3.5 WAR) were their second and third best position players. Dyson (1.8), Perez (1.6), and Orlando (1.0) also finished in the top 10 for position players. The bigger impact was on the pitching side. Ventura (2.7 WAR) was their best starter over the last two seasons. Duffy (1.2) played a big role as a starter for most of 2015, and was the fourth most valuable pitcher. Holland and Herrera helped make up one of the most dominant bullpens in the majors.

Trades

Pre-2015

SS – Alcides Escobar – And…

CF – Lorenzo Cain – …were acquired for Zack Greinke in the 2010-11 off-season, along with Jake Odorizzi and Jeremy Jeffress. This trade happened after BA’s top 30 came out, but before their top 100 and final farm system rankings were published. Odorizzi ended up being one of the nine players KC had in the top 100 that year. Jeffress was the third best prospect in Milwaukee’s system, while Cain and Escobar had exceeded prospect status. So only the pitchers contributed to the farm system rankings.

RP – Wade Davis – Acquired with James Shields for Wil Myers (2nd ranked prospect in 2011), Mike Montgomery (5th ranked prospect in 2011), Patrick Leonard (5th round in 2011), and Odorizzi. The trade was originally referred to as the Shields/Myers trade, but Davis has provided lasting value as one of the best relievers in baseball (and under team control through 2017).

Analysis: I’m going to break up the trade section into two parts here, because these first two deals were huge. The Royals got massive long-term value in the Greinke trade. Cain was their best player, at 6.6 WAR, and Escobar was worth 1.5 WAR this year. Even with Greinke’s Cy Young-contending season this year, I think you’d take Cain and Escobar. They also got Odorizzi, who helped the Wade Davis trade.

The Shields/Davis trade doesn’t have the same long-term value, although it definitely helped them contend the last two years, and Davis was huge in the playoffs (along with all season, for that matter). Myers hasn’t yet broken out the way everyone thought he would, and was later flipped by Tampa Bay in a three team trade that got them Steven Souza (1.5 WAR in 2015). So the Royals aren’t really missing Myers. As for the other players, Odorizzi has been one of the best starters for the Rays the last two years, worth 2.9 WAR in 2015. That’s more value than Davis, and while I don’t think the Royals would complain, you might wonder if they’d rather have Odorizzi over Davis for the long-term. Combined, this deal doesn’t look as lopsided as it did two years ago, although that’s largely because Myers hasn’t broken out yet, and the Royals went to the World Series two straight seasons and won it all this year. The last part largely changes the view of any move.

2015

BN – Drew Butera – Acquired in May 2015 for Ryan Jackson, who was a waiver claim in 2014.

BN – Ben Zobrist – Acquired at the 2015 deadline for Sean Manaea (34th overall pick in 2013) and Aaron Brooks (9th round in 2011, made it to the majors in 2014-15 as a RP).

SP – Johnny Cueto – Acquired at the 2015 deadline for Brandon Finnegan (17th overall pick in 2014), John Lamb (4th ranked prospect in 2011), and Cody Reed (2nd round pick in 2013).

Analysis: The Royals spent at the deadline, getting Ben Zobrist and Johnny Cueto for a pair of first round picks and several other talented players. Cueto didn’t play a huge role down the stretch, and had a few rough playoff outings. However, he came up big when it counted, with 8 IP, 2 ER in game five against Houston, and one run in nine innings in game two of the World Series. Zobrist had better results during the season, and his .880 OPS in the playoffs was huge.

In Cueto’s case, the Royals largely paid for those two starts, and possibly wouldn’t have moved on without the game five start against the Astros. This isn’t something that you can always bank on (Example: David Price didn’t yield the same results for Toronto), but when it does work out, it makes you forget about the players you gave up. It’s also a big risk, as we saw again with Toronto, where Alex Anthopolous was reportedly criticized by Mark Shapiro after the season for his short-term moves at the deadline that drained the farm system.

Free Agent Signings

SP – Jeremy Guthrie – 2013 (3 years, $25 M + Option)

2B – Omar Infante – 2014 (4 years, $30.25 M + Option)

RF – Alex Rios – 2015 (1 year, $11 M + Option)

DH – Kendrys Morales – 2015 (2 years, $17 M + Option)

SP – Edinson Volquez – 2015 (2 years, $20 M + Option)

SP – Chris Young – 2015 (1 year, $675,000 + up to 4.325 M in performance bonuses)

RP – Ryan Madson – 2015 (1 year, minor league deal, $850,000 in the majors with up to $150,000 in performance bonuses)

RP – Fraklin Morales – 2015 (1 year, minor league deal, $1.85 M in majors with up to $850,000 in performance bonuses)

RP – Kris Medlen – 2015 (2 years, $8.5 M + Option and up to $4 M in performance bonuses in 2015)

Analysis: The pre-2015 signings didn’t have the best value, although that’s not surprising since non-contending teams don’t often have the best access to free agents. The Royals didn’t make any big splash in 2015, and instead went for a lot of smaller value moves. The additions of Rios, Kendrys Morales, and Volquez looked like the Royals were potentially overpaying in each case before the season. That was true with Rios, who was worth 0.2 WAR. However, Morales was a huge value, with a 2.1 WAR, and Volquez showed that his turnaround in 2014 wasn’t a fluke, posting a 2.6 WAR. So while the Royals committed $37 M for those two players, they got 4.7 WAR in one season, or about $27 M worth at $6 M per WAR. And they’ve got two more years of control of each player. Rios didn’t work, but Morales and Volquez worked out in a big way.

The smaller value moves yielded some nice results on the pitching side. Young and Madson were each worth 0.9 WAR. Medlen was worth 0.5 WAR and Morales was worth 0.4 WAR. I don’t know how much they paid in all of the performance bonuses, but even at the max salaries, getting 2.7 WAR from these four players for a maximum of $14.7 M in 2015 (not counting the 6.5 M owed to Medlen after the 2015 season) is a good deal. Medlen is the worst value of this group, but the overall approach worked out.

Building a World Series Team

As I mentioned above, winning a World Series can change your perspective on a lot of moves. The Royals didn’t do everything perfect. Some of their moves led to results, but at a potential high cost in the long-term. Those moves don’t always work out, and while they helped lead to a World Series for the Royals, similar moves have also led to teams heading towards a rebuild and GMs getting fired or forced out shortly after the failed moves.

The Royals also benefitted from a lot of value moves following their first World Series trip. They didn’t make a big splash last off-season, but instead went after a few mid-level free agents, and several value guys.

The main focus here, though, is that 2011 farm system. It didn’t lead to success in 2011 or 2012. It led to 86 wins and no playoffs in 2013, and then played a big role in the last two seasons. That big role wasn’t just from the guys who stuck around, but also from the guys who were traded away to get immediate help. The Royals aren’t finished getting help from that 2011 system either, and that system provided a base that allowed them to trade away future prospects like Finnegan and Manaea.

I don’t want to say that this means the Pirates (BA’s number one system in 2014) will see their system lead to a World Series in 2018. It doesn’t work that way. But the Pirates are almost in a similar situation as the Royals. They had a top farm system heading into 2014, and two seasons later we’re already hearing about how the farm system has disappointed, mostly because they didn’t have anyone come up in 2015. And it doesn’t work that way either.

Next year the Pirates will see a huge boost from their system, with five of their top ten prospects projected to reach the majors. They’ll probably also see some guys traded away for immediate help, which is something they’ve done in each of the last three seasons. They’ll also see improvements from young players who didn’t break out right away like Gregory Polanco, just like the Royals did with Moustakas and Hosmer.

As I’ve written already this off-season, they’ve got a strong system that will keep their window of contention open for a long time. That top system in 2014 didn’t just disappear, and we’ve yet to scratch the surface of the full impact of that group. The 2016 season will see the biggest MLB invasion from that 2014 group, but even then it will just be in the beginning stages. If there’s one thing we can learn from the Royals, it’s that having a top farm system can lead to long-term results, and shouldn’t be dismissed after a lack of huge results from the system in the short-term.

**An editor’s note: I’ve mentioned many times that I suffer from chronic migraines/tension headaches, typically getting about four per week. I’ve been down since Thursday night with a really bad one, which led to a shortage of content the last five days. I woke up at 3:30 this morning, and the pain in my neck and my headache were finally gone. Hopefully they don’t return, and it figures that this happened right after I booked a doctor’s appointment (which has never led to answers my entire life). I probably don’t need to explain all of this to you, but I felt like you should know the reason why there has been a lack of content lately (although there has still been content, thanks to John Dreker). I’m just glad this is hopefully gone before my AFL trip later this week.

**2015-2016 Off Season Primer. All of the important dates to know for this off-season, along with some key Pirates for each date.

**Reese McGuire and Austin Meadows Selected For AFL Fall-Stars Game. Not a big surprise here, as they’re the best prospects representing the Pirates this year, and two of the best prospects in baseball.

**AFL: Tyler Eppler and Cody Dickson See Action in Glendale Loss. Today’s AFL action, broken down by John Dreker.

**Winter Leagues: Heredia Picks Up First Save, Ramirez Dropped From Roster. John’s breakdown of the winter league results over the weekend.

**Andrew McCutchen Wins Roberto Clemente Award. From the weekend, it’s great to see McCutchen win this award, for obvious Pirates-related reasons.

**2015 Right Field Recap: Is Gregory Polanco Primed For a Breakout in 2016? My breakdown of right field in 2015. My early preview of the 2016 minor league outfields was delayed, and will come out later today.

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69 COMMENTS

  1. Tim,
    Two of my four step kids also suffer from the same types of migraines. Please, let me know if anything works. They are on Topamax right now and it doesn’t help much. We have the same experience with Dr’s as you, not much help.Hope you feel better.

  2. If you haven’t read Joe Posnanski’s piece on NBC Sportsworld about the Royals, it’s a worthwhile use of time. Dayton Moore claims their secret to success does not lie in superior intellect, nor superior talent, but in having players who care more than the competition.

    In the article he references the fact they set several Mlb postseason records including most wins coming from behind in 7th inning or later. Now I think you can chalk this up to having a roster full of refuse to lose players, or you can say it’s a classic example of cluster luck. Either way, Royals had a plan of attack going back for many seasons and they stuck to their game plan and saw the fruits of their labor result in a championship.

    The Pirates would be foolish to deviate from their plan at this stage. No way to say for sure if it’ll pay off in a title, but Nutting, Coonelly, Huntington and company need to give it a fair and full shot to succeed as Royals brass clearly did.

  3. “An editor’s note: I’ve mentioned many times that I suffer from chronic migraines/tension headaches, typically getting about four per week.”

    This is the first time I’ve read this. It makes your work here more impressive than it already appears. Doing brain work is no fun at all when one’s head feels as though it were in a vice.

    Thanks.

  4. What the Pirates should learn from teams like the Royals, Cubs, Astros, and Mets is that they should trust their own prospects more and challenge them more with their promotions. If the kid has talent and skills, but not completely a finished product, he can still be far superior to a veteran who either is limited skills wise or is well past his prime.
    We have kids like Diaz, Glasnow, Bell, Kingham, Taillon, Broxton, and Hanson – all should, once a couple of them get healthy after TJS, get legitimate shots at starting in Pittsburgh in the Spring 2016. Our team would be faster, more athletic, and better defensively in the infield and behind the plate.
    But, if they stubbornly stick to their past MO, they will keep guys like Stewart, Morse, Morton, etc. around and will not promote any of the above unless they absolutely have to due to injury. The Pirates are wasting some of their upper level prospects.

      • But it might be worth asking if Diaz could replace Cervelli and Cervelli become an attractive trade-piece. I dont know that the bat would play up the way Cervelli’s bat did this year. Then again, Cervelli is extremely inexpensive for his production and might not bring a significant enough return after only one full season.

  5. Good luck with your migraine problem Tim. My oldest daughter has also has had a very similar ongoing problem which was eventually linked to a thyroid issue. It isn’t gone yet but but the treatment for the thyroid has lessened the migraine episodes somewhat.

  6. I think what the Royals showed was that you can spend some prospects and add pieces to a great core and see success with it. The Pirates are in a position where they can afford to sacrifice a prospect or two, even of the top 10 to get a player who is already MLB successful. I think it’s about the type of player you get…I loved the pickup of Zobrist and he tore it up in the playoffs. The big picture is that the Royals won the WS…nothing else matters. They used their core to get there but it was the performance of some of their pickups that ultimately put the series away….Cueto over Houston and Cueto again going 9 against the Mets…and Zobrist’s huge playoff contributions (almost a .900 OPS if I’m correct).

    I wouldn’t mind seeing the Pirates pick up Kelly Johnson (or even Zobrist) for the bench next year.

    • The Pirates Happ pickup was just as good a move, if not better, than the Royals getting Cueto or even Zobrist. Plus, I would love for you to tell us just how many wins you think the Pirates might have had if they hadn’t of been ” giving games away ” ? You do realize all teams lose a number of games that you consider given away ? And they also win a number of games that very same way.

      • Happ was a good addition. I have no clue what that has to do with the premise that the Royals demonstrate that it is acceptable to give up some pieces to add some quality major leaguers.

        • I agree, and I think the bigger lesson has to do with those “good enough to make the playoffs” and “just have to be lucky” narratives everyone seems to love.

          The Royals were unquestionably good enough to make the playoffs – even win their own Division – without Cueto and Zobrist. They were also unquestionably lucky, as they very likely don’t even get out of the ALDS if Carlos Correa doesn’t make that error in Game 4.

          But I think what also has to be said is that *without* Cueto throwing that gem in Game 5, would they have been able to capitalize on the luck the benefited from in the previous game?

          There’s obviously no definitive answer, but it doesn’t take any stretch of the imagination to believe that Johnny Cueto gave them considerably better chances than a guy who didn’t even make the playoff rotation. If your goal is to advance as far in the playoffs as possible, you should be doing everything you can to give your team the best chances to benefit from any luck you receive. Not just making them good enough to make the playoffs before throwing up your hands and pretending it’s all a crap shoot from there.

  7. All you can do is build the best team/farm system possible and then, once you get to the playoffs, hope the breaks go your way.

    The best teams rarely win it all. As long as we keep making the playoffs, hopefully, eventually we will go all the way. But then, I think about the Braves….one WS title in 13 years of winning a division.

    • I understand what you’re saying, but I also think (and maybe this is part of what you mean) that you need to look objectively at where you’re at and realize that (for the Pirates) the road is much harder to get to the WS. We will have to contend with the Cubs and Cards again in division and then, likely, again in the playoffs either as a WC or in a divisional matchup. I think that the Pirates need to look at that and realize that they can’t keep giving games away with poor defense and with 4th and 5th starters who are almost automatic losses.

      I am also of the opinion that we need to push our prospects harder. There really are no sure-things and not many, if any really, come up and are complete packages/players. Let them get to the Show and fail some…bc sooner or later they’re going to anyways.

      • “…with 4th and 5th starters who are almost automatic losses.”

        Your point would be better received without massive embellishment. Morton and Locke very clearly were not “almost automatic losses”, but that also doesn’t mean they couldn’t be improved upon.

        As for the prospect thing, I can’t think of a single logical reason the Pirates would want to waste years of minimum salary service time on instruction at the big league level rather than doing it in the minors. Yes, almost all prospects need additional refinement in the Major Leagues but doing more than that only serves to get said player to free agency faster.

        If you’re talking about promoting limited upside guys like Jordy Mercer instead of signing the Clint Barmes of the world then sure, I’d agree. But getting Gregory Polanco or Josh Bell to the bigs while they still have obvious work to do does not help the team at all.

        • As for the “automatic losses” statement here will be my response:

          -Locke: 3-6 5.10 ERA post All-Star
          -Morton: 3-7 5.26 ERA post All-Star

          Honestly, yes, down the stretch last year (and previous years as well) these two were basically guaranteed losses. So some hyperbole? Sure…but these are some disastrously bad numbers even for 4th and 5th starters.

          • But see, making blanket statements based on picking out a players worst stretches of performance is so transparently flawed that you’re not going to convince anyone.

          • Pretty clear cherry picking. I could do the same and exclude Morton’s last 3 starts and suddenly his post ASB stats look fine.

            Morton had a handful of truly awful games that made his overall stats look very ugly. Those count, but its misleading to then go “so almost always a loss”. Its not true based on the teams win percentage during his starts, and its not really a fair representation of his start to start performance. He was not all that different from his usual self, with about 4 blow up games thrown in.

            If they were, honestly, automatic losses that makes the teams winning record in their starts really odd. Unless we then go “well, we won in spite of them”.

            • May be cherry-picking when it comes to Morton…but here are the 2nd half numbers for Locke over the last three years:

              2013= 2-5 6.12 ERA

              2014= 5-5 4.66 ERA

              2015= 3-6 5.10 ERA

              Me thinks there is a trend there. I do admit to hyperbole and cherry-picking (and forgive me for the fact that I let my irrational fandom out…but I just really cannot stand Locke, or Morton for that matter), but tell me do you really want to see another stretch with Morton and Locke at the back of your rotation?

              Steamer does have Locke at a 1.7 WAR next year and Charlie Morton at a 1.1 WAR (only project him for 93 innings).

              • So you’re going to discount what the did over the first half of the season to further your argument? If that’s the case you remember Cutch’s slump at the beginning of this year? Ya we should definitely upgrade over that guy…

                The bottom line is they are #4 and #5 starters, and Locke has a very affordable salary. Could they be upgraded? Sure. Is it worth the costs in prospects or FA money? Absolutely not when Taillon and Glasnow should be up in June, which coincidentally is when those two start struggling.

  8. The biggest thing I took away from that article was the Royals traded a good starting pitcher for prospects and the prospects turned out to be great. I am not saying this to be a yinzer, but the buccos can do the same thing if Cole, Cutch or Polanco are out of our price range. We can get the best prospect(s) and have continued success. Also the buccos have to get the pay roll up to 160 mil

        • Well, yes. That’s what happens when the game sees an enormous influx of money, as it has over the past decade.

          I don’t know where this $160m number comes from in itself, but you should absolutely be expecting payroll to climb with revenue.

          • I think the first paragraph is spot on. $100M today isn’t what $100M was in the game even a couple of years ago because of National TV deals and local TV deals and the ever expanding contracts.The goal posts should move. The Pirates are capable of being higher in the payroll pecking order…not just to spend, obviously, but because they have players who are worth it and should still be able to make impactful moves to better the team.

            • I think we all are still wondering where you pulled 160 from. What evidence do ya have that they could afford to spend 160?

              I can understand people thinking we could push it more and spend around 110-120. But i dont see anything that shows a rational reason this team can afford 160.

              • Record attendance 2.5 mil fans, #3 in TV viewers in all of baseball. The $ is there, the buccos just have to spend it and spend it wisely!!!

                • Without going too far down the rabbit hole, thats really flawed and almost useless information without others factors. Like ticket price, TV contract, etc. It can take those neat numbers and make fans realize how we arent able to spend like a top 5 payroll team in baseball.

                  Shockingly, we likely cant spend with the Angels. Nor do any of us know any relevant details without seeing the actual books.

                  • I’m not an expert on baseball salaries. But assuming the buccos keep Walker, Mark M, Cerville, Watson, Huges and Mercer that would put the pay roll roughly at 90 mil(ish). Yes I left Pedro off bc he should be in the AL. If we sign Happ and another starter around price range like Mike Leake that’s about another 20 mil. Need some bullpen and bench players call that another 10, so payroll from that math is around 120 mil(ish). Then do the buccos go after a Chris Davis or Jordan Zimmerman. They can’t start the season w Locke and Morton. Also have to think about extending Polanco or Cole

                    • Yes, in MLB the Show you do that if you take salary cap off.

                      The point isnt “where do we have holes we need to fill”. Its that as a business, there is almost no way PGH could run its salary to 140+ million and be operating soundly.

                      They cant start a season with Locke or Morton, but they did win 98 with them. Can they be upgraded? Yes. Are they so terrible you cant win with them? Not by a longshot.

                      And mostly, why do people like Mike Leake as an option? You’ll end up spending 10-15 million a year for a slightly better version of Locke. A ton of his value comes from throwing a ton of innings while being a perennial near 4 FIP and xFIP guy. Paying Mike Leake 12 million over 3-4 years makes little sense to me. He’s overvalued.

                • There’s a biiiiig difference between $300m and not having – or spending – enough to keep your starting second baseman, closer, and third starter.

                  People like you were saying money wasn’t relevant when the Pirates were a $70m ball club. Take $35m off of last year’s team and tell me how they’d have done.

        • Not limited when the buccos had the 3rd best TV ratings in all of MLB and the TV deal is up next year. The buccos will get a lot of money from Root.

        • It’s only as limited as the owner wants it to be. If they want to win the division and seriously contend for a WS 100-120 mil won’t cut it. I also think the cards spent around 160 last year.

          • With a million more people filling their seats, at a higher average ticket rate, and with a much larger current TV deal.

      • 160, would allow them to keep the current bullpen, Walker for another year, and sign Happ and guy like Leake. Dump Pedro and get an upgrade there maybe Davis. Also 160 would be a little above the average team salaries.

        I am in the minority of fans that think we should sign Chris Davis, and make a medium level trade and move Josh Bell and get an impact pitcher. If we want to win the division the buccos can have Locke and Morton in the rotation.

        • I dont know man. Chris Davis can strike out any where, but take him out of playing 120 games in AL East parks, I dont think he’s putting up those kinds of numbers.

          • Then again he’d be playing a lot of games in PNC Park, Great American, and in Miller Park…those are some pretty friendly parks, especially for lefties.

            • Chris Davis has done 2 things Pedro hasn’t 45+ HR 100 RBIs and doesn’t have 20 errors. To compete w Chic and STL we need a real big lefty bat behind Cutch and in front of Marte

                • There is a difference between competing or chasing the Cards. Then being the class of the division. Trust me when this front office and the players have done is great. Baseball is back in PGH, my point is they need to spend more and not just a little bit more. To keep this team together and add fee key pieces to make a serious run at the WS!!!

              • I think you would pay for 50 HRs and get 30-35.

                That’s why I’m interested what Pedro does with 500-600 ABs in the right AL ballpark.

                • The Pedro fanboy in me wants to see what he’d do with whatever magic dust Toronto sprinkles on their hitters.

                  • I have a feeling Pedro is gonna get on a Teixeira diet, get in some phenomenal shape, and with a new uniform, drive some people nuts in Western PA.

                    The talents there. He just reeks of “change of scenery blowup guy”.

                    • Let’s not get too carried away here… 😉

                      But yeah, he’s not that far from being a .250/.330 guy with 40 HR. Get him to hit the ball in the air and those numbers will come easily. If only it were that simple, I know I know.

                • 35 HRs and less than 10 errors would be a great improvement. Pedro may improve when he doesn’t have to worry about fielding.

  9. I am anticipating the moves that NH and co make and I wonder what our overall reaction will be when they’re made. You have to think the KC crowd was booing the signing of Kendry last year and he was huge for them.
    You had to think they were outraged when they traded Grienke… and Cain has been unbelieveable…. the moves were full of risk and doubt. What kind of moves is NH debating, and how does he see the roster after these three years?

    Is it a major shuffle, is it a light makeover,…. I have to say going in I’d prefer to see some agressive movement to remake a few positions… which I’ve discussed recently. I believe this year is very important and will be significant in the overall view of his stewardship.

  10. This might be home team bias, but I find the guys the Royals developed to be a bunch of shallow jocks with no awareness of a world outside Kauffman. Hosmer leads the way. I’ve said it before elsewhere, but Hosmer seems like the kind of guy who would still think it’s funny in his 30s to do a wedgie on the fat, slow kid. I just don’t like them as people. I’m disappointed the Mets didn’t wipe the floor with them.

    As far as the article goes, I’d been intrigued with adding Morales as a RH 1b/bench option last offseason, even at the steep price. And in hindsight, he probably would’ve looked like a gold glover in comparison to Pedro. More to the point, given Pedro is probably gone along with 17.7% of the Pirates power, what is it that the Royals/Sveum are teaching that makes these guys so difficult to K. That, I believe, is the takeaway. Not who they are, but what they’ve been taught regarding strike zone discipline and covering the plate.

    • Not a single Royal regular has shown a marked decrease in strikeouts at any point in their Major League career. This is exactly who they are as players.

      FWIW, I think it’s just plain silly to argue that Dayton Moore has had this specific strategy in mind dating all the way back to 2011. He hasn’t. But this is the type of club that started coming together for them, and he supplemented it with complementary players.

      • Cain certainly has (22.9% K/AB in 14 vs. 17.7% in 15) and to a lesser extent Moustakas and Escobar. Although when looking at the roster, it’s really Perez, Escobar, Moustakas and Infante that primarily contributed to the league-leading fewest Ks as the others were all >17% Ks.

        Other than Perez, Hosmer and Escobar, all of the regulars started their careers striking out at a greater than 20% clip. So whether it’s Sveum or something else, a few of them did get better over the past four years (Gordon is going the other way).

    • Sveum has always preached the same hitting philosophie : be aggressive but selective, short compact swing quick through the zone. John Whener could explain it very well as he thinks much the same way.

  11. Hopefully your doctor can relieve this chronic problem. It is very difficult dealing with chronic pain symptoms. Wish you well.

    • Tim…I am not saying this is the answer, but my chronic headaches went away when I started doing neck stretching exercises. Apparently, they were muscular in origin, mostly caused by stress.

      Have you tried physical therapy? I finally talked my wife (and a friend) into doing them and both had their headaches go away.

      • I do a series of stretches several times a day. Also have a foam roller that I use, and a massage chair. I’ve tried a chiropractor and massages, which both provide temporary relief, but nothing long lasting.

        I’ve had this pretty much all of my life, and have had every type of test for it, with no reason given and no solution that I’ve found. Usually the only answers doctors give me are “here is stronger medicine that will knock you out when you get a bad one.”

        • In the exact same boat as you, although I’ve also gotten a third diagnosis to add to the migraines/tension headache terms – “Cluster headaches”. They all feel like sh!! to me.

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