Beat writer Dick Kaegal’s mailbag column on the KCRoyals.com website is nothing more than a forum for Kaegal to attempt to put a positive spin on what is going on with the Royals. So, in the interest of not glossing over what the Royals are doing, Rounding Third and Heading Home presents honest answers to the recent mailbag questions.
Why is there so much negative talk about Kansas City acquiring Mike Jacobs? The move makes sense. Fine, Jacobs’ on-base percentage is low, but against right-handers (where KC’s record was below-average) his numbers are not terrible (.315 OBP with 25 homers). Where are you going to find that type of production for $3 million? — Steven A., Toms River, N.J.
Steven, even the harshest critics of the trade admit that Jacobs will add homerun power to the Royals lineup. But homeruns alone do not win games. In your email you mention the Royals poor performance against right-handed pitching. In 2008 the Royals .260 average was 13 out of 14 American League teams. But as poor as the Royals were against right-handed pitching in 2008 Jacobs was worse. He hit .257 against righties. You also mention Jacobs .315 OBP against right-handers as “not terrible.” You are wrong Steven, a .315 OBP is terrible. In 2008 the Oakland A’s had an OBP of .318 which was last in the American League.
With the White Sox considering trading Jermaine Dye, do you see the Royals making a trade for him? — Anthony, Kansas City
To be honest, Anthony, I have no idea why Kaegal devoted space to your question. Former GM Allard Baird made one of the worst trades in baseball history when he traded Jermaine Dye for Neifi Perez. But that is water under the bridge and Jermaine Dye is not coming back to the Royals.
With Zack Greinke and Gil Meche at the top of the rotation, who will the Nos. 3, 4 and 5 guys be? — Ryan V., Lee’s Summit, Mo.
Bad news Ryan, the back end of the Royals pitching rotation is horrible. Greinke and Meche give the Royals a respectable 1-2 punch at the top of the rotation. But after Greinke and Meche it becomes scary for Kansas City. It is now obvious Brian Bannister’s 2007 season was a fluke. The Royals are courting disaster by continuing to believe Bannister has a chance to be even a serviceable Major League pitcher. Davies had some bright spots in 2008 but I don’t have a lot of faith he is ever going to be a starting pitcher to be counted on. Luke Hochevar is still young and and has shown enough positives that I believe he could still develop into a Major League pitcher. As things stand now the Royals should pencil him into the #3 spot in 2009 rotation. But if the Royals are going to improve in 2009 they are going to have to find replacements for Bannister and Davies.
Despite his excellent hitting numbers this past year, everything I’m reading says Alberto Callaspo has no chance at being an everyday player. What’s your take on his future? — Drew E., Albany, N.Y.
Drew, I am concerned about what I am reading about Callaspo’s role with the Royals in 2009. Alberto Callaspo is exactly the type of player the Royals should be playing everyday. He is not a superstar hitter or a Gold Glove infielder but he is solid in all areas of the game. Callaspo is young and inexpensive and it would be to the Royals advantage to use the 2009 season to see if he could be their everyday second baseman. But Dayton Moore seems intent on finding a veteran middle infielder for 2009. Doesn’t make any sense for Moore to do that with a guy like Callaspo already in the organization. But Moore did trade for Mike Jacobs even though Ryan Shealy and Kila Ka’aihue were already part of the Royals organization so I’m not holding out much hope Callaspo will be anymore than a utility player for the Royals in 2009.