What do the Royals do with Ventura?

By Steve Sell
June 08, 2016

Wow, where do we start?

There’s a lot of rubble to sift through from Tuesday’s conflagration of a Royals game that could have long-term ramifications.

The sub-plot was the Royals lost their sixth straight game, their fifth where the bats were filled with holes. In their last 45 innings they have scored four — count ‘em – four runs.

Meanwhile, their pitchers are giving out home runs like Christmas candy.

The main storyline, however, was the latest meltdown of immature pitcher Yordano Ventura, who set off a firestorm by hitting Baltimore star Manny Machado after the two had exchanged words and machismo the prior at-bat.

Machado had flied out to left field after Ventura had pitched tightly inside to him. Machado didn’t ever run toward first base on his fly ball, instead yelling at Ventura as he walked up the line.

The next time up, Ventura lit the radar gun at 99 mph., and the pitch hit the Oriole All-Star in the back. Ventura claimed after the game he was trying to pitch inside and that it got away, but anybody who watched the game has to believe Ventura had cruel intentions.

This is hardly the first time Ventura has ignited hard feelings as he went through this three times last year before finally getting his head screwed on.

Apparently his screw has come loose again.

A published report today indicated the Royals are now in trade talks as they apparently have grown weary of Ventura’s antics. You would think with the harmony the team has enjoyed the last three years that Kansas City would be the one place he could succeed, but you could tell in last night’s postgame it’s starting to affect everyone on the club.

This was a combustible situation. The book is out on Ventura that you can get under his skin and in his head. In his defense, Machado is no choir boy and has had his share of ill-will with players. This was all about one’s manhood being challenged and the throw-down was on.

Ventura, amazingly, said after the game he didn’t think it warranted a suspension. Considering his history and no signs of it stopping, he’s going to get 5 to 7 games. League officials have to start hitting him where it hurts and that’s the pocket book. Take away a man’s ability to provide for himself and his family and he’ll straighten up in a hurry.

With all their starting pitching problems, the Royals can ill afford to be without him, even though he’s been ineffective recently. However, he does have the talent to put up a lot of zeroes every time he takes the mound and that’s why he gets chance after chance.

The Royals are still 30-28 and smack in the middle of the American League race. But this could splinter the team as some players could want him gone and others believe he needs another chance. There’s a strong Latin influence on the club and those players can relate to him in his native language. Look for Salvador Perez to be immense in the coming days to help him.

Ned Yost’s quiet, but firm, leadership is going to be tested. Everyone knows he’s a players’ manager, but this is a hot-button issue. At some point he and Royals management are going to decide they just can’t do it anymore and send him to a team for a fresh start.

And that would be a shame.


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