Thursday, December 21, 2006

Royals Continue to Pick Up Pitchers

Originally Posted to OTB Sports.

The Royals added veteran set-up man David Riske to their bullpen today.

From the Kansas City Star:

Riske, 30, has made a name for himself as one of the better setup men in baseball. He is 18-14 with a 3.59 ERA in 328 appearances in a seven-year career with Cleveland, Boston, and the White Sox.


Riske appeared in a total of 140 games in 2003 and 2004, and since has seen his strikeout totals diminish. He struck out 76 batters in a combined 116 2/3 innings the last two seasons.

This makes six pitchers General Manager Dayton Moore has signed this off season who will likely make the opening day roster, completely overhauling what was the worst pitching staff in 2006, a season in which the Royals allowed seventy-two more runs than the second-worst team in the majors.

The Royals also signed Zach Day to a minor-league contract. Day fell of a cliff the last two seasons after showing promise early in his career, though part of that may have been due to a shoulder problem.

Day is 28 and missed the last half of 2006 after undergoing surgery to repair a partially torn rotator cuff. He went 2-5 with a 6.75 ERA in eight starts for Washington and Colorado and made $600,000. He is 21-27 with a 4.66 ERA in his career. His 2.25-to-1 ground-ball-to-fly-ball ratio is baseball’s seventh highest since 2002.

Groundball pitchers tend to do well when they have good defenders playing behind them. Mark Grudzielanek may have won the Gold Glove last year, but Angel Berroa did not, so we'll have to wait and see if this proves to be a steal for the Royals.

Of course, if Day's shoulder is healed, then it certainly can't hurt to have another pitcher with actual major-league experience on the team.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Breaking down Sisco for Gload

So, all that stuff I said about Sisco returning to form. Yeah, um, forget about that.

Since it's getting to be old news already, I'll just throw my two cents in here.

First, a look at the pertinent stats:
Andy Sisco
Year Games ERA+
2005 67 139
2006 65 68

Ross Gload
Year Games OPS+
2004 110 115
2006 77 107

Gload put up a 364/416/657 line at AAA in '05.

Oh, and then there's this: Sisco is going to be 24 years old in 2007, whereas our boy Ross will be 31.

So, the Royals trade a young power pitcher with proven upside (albeit with a bit of an attitude problem) for a position player who has proven to be slightly above average playing the field at 1B/OF, where the team is already overloaded.

Not to bead a dead horse, but the Royals already HAD this guy:
Aaron Guiel
Year Games OPS+
2005 33 114
2006 63 102

The general consensus on the web seems to be that GM Dayton Moore is sending a message by shuttling off underachievers like Runelvys and Sisco, and generally I agree with the philosophy. However, Ross Gload, while of comparative value to Sisco from a numbers standpoint, is older and unnecessary.

I'm trying to hold off on judging the off season activity until we get closer to Spring Training, as it looks like Moore has no intentions of slowing down.

For all we know, Reggie Sanders, Emil Brown and Justin Huber will all be on other teams by the time pitchers and catchers report to the desert. However, this trade certainly looks like a bad one to me at the moment.

With Billy Butler, Alex Gordon and Justin Huber all performing well in the minors, I have to believe the focus should be on stockpiling as many live arms as possible, rather than sending them to rival teams.

Friday, December 15, 2006

The Pitching Picture

Wow. Fifty-five mil for Gil?

I don’t know if Big Money Meche is going to lead us to the promised land in this year, or the next, but I do feel like the offense will continue to improve and any, ANY move towards mediocrity by the pitching staff will be a step in the right direction.

Here’s a quick look at where we were and where we might be going.

2006           2007
Player ERA+ Player *ERA+
Hudson 95 Greinke 101
DeLaRosa 93 Ban'ster 101
Elarton 91 Meche 97
O. Perez 86 Hudson 93
Redman 85 O. Perez 86
Elvys 75 DeLaRosa 74

2006          2007
Player ERA+ Player *ERA+
Peralta 110 W’meyer 110
Dessens 108 Peralta 110
Gobble 94 Nelson 93
Burgos 88 Bale 92
Sisco 68 Ray 92

*Please note: The ’07 ERA+ number is simply the player’s 2006 ERA+ divided by their career ERA+. ERA+ is a quick-read stat that compares a pitcher’s ERA to the league average. Above 100 is good, below 100 is bad.

My projection is not grounded in any proven sabermetric theory, just something I could do quickly while whiling away the hours at work.

Of course, the staff is not set in stone, and there will be a variety of other pitchers who grace the mound at Kaufman stadium next year, most notably Octavio Dotel, who sports a career ERA+ of 121 from his pre-injury days.

If someone like Andy Sisco can find his form again, or Rule 5 pickup Joakim Soria can build on his stellar showing in winter ball (I make the bold prediction that he will NOT throw a perfect game for the Royals in 2007), then there really is hope for a shot at winning some of the closer games next year.