The Getting Blanked consultancy service is an underused section of this baseball blog. In addition to writing our thoughts and opinions on a daily basis, for a significant fee we will also offer advice to specific teams in order to optimize their performance.
Unfortunately, business for this side of the operation has been surprisingly slow, and so we’ve decided to offer the Kansas City Royals our expertise on a pro bono basis, in the hope that their resulting success in the AL Central will inspire other teams to contact us.
Why the Kansas City Royals, you ask. Well, with the recent revelation that Royals manager Ned Yost is encouraging Billy Butler to attempt more stolen bases this season, despite only swiping a single bag in three years, it’s obvious that the team is open to improvement in the areas where it has yet to find success. A client willing to give the green light on steal attempts to a 6’1″ 240 lbs first baseman is exactly what we’re looking for.
As such, here is our advice:
1. Increase Jeff Francis’ toughness.
The Canadian left handed starting pitcher missed time at the start and end of the last season do to separate injury issues involving shoulder surgery and a sore left bicep. With increased toughness, Francis could pitch 200 innings this season. Problem solved.
2. Jason Kendall needs to be more youthful.
At the age of 36, the Royals catcher is beginning to get a little long in the tooth to continue competing at the Major League level. His next birthday is on June 26th, and if he could turn 27 instead of 37, it could add up to ten years to his career. Problem solved.
3. Joakim Soria should close for all nine innings of games.
The Royals closer appeared in 66 games last season, but pitched only 65.2 innings. As the best pitcher on the team, the Royals would find more success if they allowed Soria to close out the entire game. Instead of 65.2 innings over the season, Soria would pitch roughly 594 innings, not accounting for rain outs and extra inning games. Taking a look at his K/9 from last season, this would translate into just over 642 strikeouts on the year, more than any other closer in the history of the game. Problem solved.
4. Melky Cabrera must get better.
After recording the worst wins above replacement among all position players last season, the center fielder needs to improve both his fielding and batting. He can do this by playing better defense and putting up better numbers at the plate. A better Cabrera would translate into more success for the Royals. Problem solved.
5. Match Jeff Francoeur’s reputation among baseball commentators with his ability.
Despite a reputation for clutch hitting and grittiness, the Georgia native’s numbers when his team is behind or with two outs and runners in scoring position are both far below his career average, which isn’t impressive to begin with. What the Royals need to do is get him to play better in the clutch and overall. Better production when it counts will mean more wins for Kansas City. Problem solved.