In 2015, the Kansas City Royals were the toast of the baseball world by winning the World Series in dominating fashion, taking out the New York Mets in five games.
In 2018, the Royals are simply toast.
In three years the Royals truly have gone from the penthouse to the outhouse. After their most recent punchless loss, 4-1 to the Texas Rangers on Tuesday, the Royals are now a putrid 22-51, but thanks to the moribund Baltimore Orioles they don’t have the worst record in baseball. And, yes, the Royals defeated the Orioles in the 2014 postseason on their way to the World Series. How the mighty have fallen.
The team is being dismantled brick-by-brick. On Monday, the Royals traded star closer Kelvin Herrera to the Washington Nationals for three prospects. Any day now, third baseman Mike Moustakas will be sent packing, hopefully for another package of prospects, some of whom may be on the fast track to the majors.
The buzzards are picking at the carcass. I’m sure the Royals would love to unload Alex Gordon and Ian Kennedy as well, but their bloated salaries make that almost impossible. Owner David Glass would have to pick up much of the tab and we all know he’s not going to do that.
I think Jason Hammel might be a good pickup. He’s pitched well at times, even if his record doesn’t indicate that. He might bring back a prospect or two.
So the teardown is almost complete. Salvador Perez will still be around because he’s the most popular Royal and All-Star catchers don’t grow on trees. Yet, he’s as much to blame for the team’s hideous 2-15 June as anybody as he just can’t help himself on low, outside pitches that he continually chases, resulting in weak grounders on the infield. He’s hitting into doubleplays at an alarming rate, killing rally after rally.
Danny Duffy is the alleged ace of the pitching staff, but he can’t seem to find himself. Duffy is 3-7, Hammel is 2-7 and Kennedy is 1-7 and they’re considered the front end of the rotation. Yikes.
Just look at the team now and look at where it was in 2015.
• First base — Eric Hosmer was an All-Star and monster run producer. Hunter Dozier is now at first since Lucas Duda has gone MIA with a foot injury that has kept him out a month. Dozier has 7 RBIs in 111 at-bats, which translates to about 35 if he played every day.
• Second base — Ben Zobrist was brought in at the trade deadline at 2015 and was a star. Now it’s Whit Merrifield, who is one of the few Royals having a decent year at .293 with 15 stolen bases.
• Shortstop — Alcides Escobar is still there. He is about the worst offensive player in baseball as he bats close to .200 and never walks. But he plays every day and still fields, but it’s like an automatic out in the lineup.
• Third base — Moustakas will be on the move any day now. He’s having a very good year, especially in the RBI department. The new third baseman, when the deal is made, will be supbar compared to Moose.
• Catcher — Perez is still around, but if he makes the All-Star team this year it’s only on reputation. It’s almost painful to watch his lack of plate discipline as he’s trying to hit every ball out of the park.
• Outfield — The 2015 outfield was Alex Gordon, Lorenzo Cain and Alex Rios, backed by Jarrod Dyson. The outfield now is a mishmash of Gordon, Abraham Almonte, Jorge Soler (out 6 weeks with an injury), Paulo Orlando and somebody named Rosell Herrera. Gordon in no way resembles the player of three years ago as he looks disinterested. Cain was the team’s heart and soul. Rios wasn’t productive, but Dyson was a nice change of pace. The outfield the Royals have now is baseball’s worst.
• Pitchers — The late Yordano Ventura, Johnny Cueto, Duffy, Edinson Volquez and Chris Young were asked to only go 6 innings. Then you had Ryan Madson, Luke Hochevar, Kelvin Herrera and Wade Davis to lock things down. The rotation now is Duffy, Kennedy, Hammel, Jakob Junis and Brad Keller. The bullpen is the worst in baseball as “H-D-H” is only a memory. With the bullpen of 2015, the current Royals probably would have at least 10 to 15 more wins as they have allowed a lot of leads to get away.
• Manager — Ned Yost has seen the Royals through the best of times and worst of times. I know this can’t be easy for him, but Yost is a pro’s pro. He keeps his chin up and keeps moving forward, though I wouldn’t be surprised at his age and with what he’s accomplished that he’ll turn it over to somebody else after this year as a new voice may need to be heard.