"Pitcher Luke Hochevar was pleased with the one-year, $4,560,000 contract that he agreed to with the Royals on Friday."
No kidding. He just fleeced us. How does someone perform THAT horribly and warrant a 30% raise?!
The Royals have had an unusual off-season; one of their most active in years. Seeing them actually make high-impact moves has sent Royals Nation into a bit of a frenzy. What makes it particularly strange is these moves have made all of us simultaneously a bit nervous, angry, and excited.
Adding a top of the rotation starter was an absolute priority this off-season. Certainly acquiring James Shields accomplished this goal. Trouble is the cost, (top prospect in baseball under team control for 6 years), may prove too much. Especially when we factor in having Frenchy and his .665 OPS patrolling RF for another year. We can use any measure we want:
Statistical fanatic? Francoeur's WAR was -2.7 last year while Shields' WAR was 2.2. In theory, Shileds replaces our worst starter from 2012, a combination of Will Smith and Jonathan Sanchez (combined for 38 starts) who combined gave us a -1.4 WAR. This gives us a 3.6 improvement. If we had kept Wil and handed him RF we would have picked up 2.7 wins if he were simply replacement level.
Are you into "Old School" numbers and hate confangled modern statistics like "WAR"? How about this? Frenchy batted 5th for half of the season until he was mercifully moved down to 7th and had 49 RBIs in 603 plate appearances! He hit .235. We could have had ANY other Right Fielder in the game and probably got more production. By the way, when he moved down to 7th he hit an awesome .196 - ugly in any language.
But THE trade wasn't our only off-season maneuver. We also gave Jeremy Guthrie a Brinks Truck worth of cash for 3 years based on 3 months of good pitching. We handed our resident 36 Year Old innings eater $4.5 Million for one more year. We gave Getz another year too. We've invited a slew of "hasbeens" (Tejada) and "neverwases" (Brandon Wood) to camp in hopes of striking lightning.
And if you read a lot of articles from "experts" and comments from fans, the moves have been met with mostly negative opinions (me included) always with the caveat of "but at least Moore is doing something" or "Moore's job is clearly on the line." And despite all of this, I feel better about the Royals going into 2013 than I have in years. I hope Shields is an Ace. I expect Hosmer to bounce back (go look at Ron Santo and Rod Carew at the same age and see how similar they look to Hos). I love our offense. Our bullpen is still strong. Perhaps Frenchy can return to 2011 form again! Maybe, just maybe one or more of our hurt, young pitchers can come back and dazzle us! Maybe we can sneak into the playoffs as a Wild Card where anything can happen! Hope, after all, springs eternal.
But then there goes Moore again, testing our collective optimism by giving Luke a raise. To create a winning culture, you need accountability, yet we seem to love rewarding failure. Not that Greinke would have returned, but if we simply let Chen and Hoch go, traded Frenchy away, and took the money we saved on letting Soria go, we could have afforded Zack. But alas, we have to endure one more year of Hoch. We're KC fans and we're pulling for him, but geesh, there's only so much we can take!
Gil Meche went 6-15 in his last two seasons with us and retired rather than continue to take the Royals' money. Perhaps he should give Luke a call.