Alas, the Chris Volstad era was over before it even began in Kansas City. Unfortunately, so is the Wil Myers era. The Royals “mortgaged the future” and made a “desperate move” by trading Wil Myers, Jake Odorizzi, Mike Montgomery, and Patrick Leonard—all future Hall of Famers—for some much needed height in 6’4″ James Shields and 6’5″ Wade Davis. The only logical outcome is that Myers, Montgomery, and Odorizzi will finish one, two, and three in AL Rookie of the Year balloting. The Royals, meanwhile, will stumble. Why? Because Losing = 😦 and Winning = :).
For the record, I am ecstatic about the trade because James Shields and I share the same birthday—December 20.
The knee-jerk response to the Royals-Rays trade was that the Rays dominated. I am impressed with the Crystal Balls these people have. You would think they would go into the stock market or something—like Keith Law, for example. I respect Keith Law. I am sure that he is a good employee, friend, husband, father, and cook. And I am sure he has had his share of prognosticating successes. However, Law’s assessment that “this is a heist” for the Rays and that “this looks like the move that brings Dayton Moore’s tenure in Kansas City…to an end” should be taken with a grain of salt. I used the stock market line for a reason. In March of 2008, Law was asked “Will the Dow dip under 10,000 at any point this year?” He said, “No, and I think we’ll see a rally in November no matter who wins.” Well, the Dow’s lowest level of 2008 came just after the election on November 21 when it hit 7449.38. Right before that, Law was asked whether Gavin Floyd would win 10-15 games. Law said “No,” Floyd should “get a good chiropractor” because he would be watching too many balls fly out of U.S. Cellular Field. Well, Gavin Floyd won 17 games in 2008.
Whatever, right? There is nothing else to talk about.
The Royals used to be good. Then they were bad. And they have stayed bad. Many people want to point to the fact that the Royals have not been in the playoffs since 1985. But they were really a contending team until the strike of 1994—the first year of the three division system. Incidentally, if the Royals had stayed in the American League West, they would have been in first place by 12 games when the strike hit. As it stood, the Royals had the fourth best record in the American League when the season ended in 1994. Then they became mediocre. Then they became abysmal. Royals fans feel bad about that. An explosion of baseball information and analysis then honed Royals fans’ ability to prognosticate doom.
Hardly anyone has prognosticated doom better than Rob and Rany on the Royals. Even before Moneyball, internet savvy Royals fans could turn to Rob Neyer and Rany Jayazerli for periodic, entertaining, sabermetric-infused doses of “the Royals do not know what they are doing.” Then Joe Posnanski got in on the act in the pages of the Kansas City Star. Soon, we learned that the Royals were not just a bad baseball team. They were a bad organization. They were putrid.
And it is not that the critcism was unwarranted. It is just that the culture changed after Dayton Moore took over, but the popular narrative did not. Sam Mellinger writes that Royals fans have been trained to hate the trade of Wil Myers. I think he is implying that “training” is due to the ineptitude of the Royals as an organization. However, I think that Rob Neyer, Rany Jayazerli, and Joe Posnanski are the most culpable of training Royals fans to hate this trade and almost anything the Royals do at the Major League level, in general.
Rob Neyer: “This is the worst trade in MLB history.”
Rany Jayazerli: “This sucks.”
Joe Posnanski: “I despise the Royals’ trade of late Sunday night. Despise. Deplore. Deride. Disapprove. If there were a Royals Tradebook Page, I would click the “dislike” button at least 10,000 times.”
Seriously?! These reactions were warranted? Have your feelings been hurt that badly? Neyer was a Royals fan who gave up on the team a long time ago and bashes the Royals when he can. Jayazerli, despite his continued ostensible appearance as a “Royals fan” has nothing but disapproval for virtually everything the Royals do at the Major League level. Posnanski drew many parallels between the Royals and his childhood Cleveland Indians. He drew close to Zack Greinke. And then the Royals traded Greinke and I do not know that Poz has had a good thing to say about the Royals since. And, yeah, you can point to what he wrote in SI, but I got the distinct impression his tongue was firmly planted in his cheek when he was envisioning life as a Royals fan in the future. I have come to despise anything any of them have to write about the Royals.
I give David Glass, Dayton Moore and the rest of the Royals staff credit for getting the franchise back to—at least what I would term—a respectable level. Of course, despite a highly regarded farm system, they have not won at the Major League level. Therefore, basically everyone–taking their cues from Keith Law, Rob Neyer, Rany Jayazerli, Joe Posnanski, and all the other Interweb writers–is smarter than the Royals front office because winning at the Major League level is like winning at fantasy baseball. Crafting the “I am smarter than Dayton Moore” argument is easy: You cite a player’s age or his FIP or his ISO or his +/- or his WAR or his OPS against right-handed pitching or whatever else aids the argument, you cite the Royals wins and losses, and, bingo, you are smarter than Dayton Moore and every other member of the Royals front office.
For the record, I do not think that winning at the Major League level is like winning at fantasy baseball. And I know for a fact that I, alone, am not smarter than the Royals front office. I think it comes down to emotions and how people feel about winning and losing. The Rays have some winning seasons under their belt so we feel good about them and imbue them with intelligence. The Royals do not have winning seasons under their belt. So we feel bad about them and imbue them with a lack of intelligence. Losing = dumb. Winning = smart. The Royals are obviously stupid for not realizing that.