The Kansas City Royals are going for it in 2017. Dayton Moore and the Royals are making one more charge up the playoff hill. They are looking at the group of core players who have done so much for the city and saying to them we are going to ride your horses one more time.
For all the critics with the future over the next five years on their minds, the organization’s new approach probably has their heads exploding. This group of players deserve another run at the World Series with the way they have bounced back from a disastrous start.
The only people believing in the team were Dayton Moore and Ned Yost. This is probably the greatest asset that these men have displayed throughout the past 6-plus years. Players in any sport love for coaches and general managers to have their backs. These two gentlemen do this as well as anyone in professional sports. People in all parts of our society seem to have forgotten the meaning of the words patience and belief. Guys will play their tails off if they think the people in charge of the team will go to the wall for them. That is true leadership.
There is no guarantee for tomorrow. In August, if a baseball team is in first place or is less than six or seven games out of first and one of the top three teams in line for a wild card berth, they should roll the dice and go for it.
The worst thing to stay with a coach or general manager is to look back on their career and say, “We should have made some changes so things could have been different.” It took 30 years for a once proud organization to get back to the mountaintop. The old saying “no guts, no glory” rings true for the Kansas City Royals in 2017.
The deal with the San Diego Padres for two relievers and a starting pitcher in exchange for young players may not make sense to some. The Royals’ philosophy to have a top-notch bullpen has changed baseball. Many teams have now decided to position themselves with a similar philosophy.
The move that took everyone by surprise was the trade for Melky Cabrera, a great bat in the lineup. He is a proven offensive player who was made to hit second in the lineup. His switch-hitting ability helps Yost put out a great lineup every game, whether a left- or right-handed opposing pitcher is starting the game. They are now able to have Jorge Bonifacio DH against left-handed pitching and Brandon Moss DH against right-handed pitching. Against tough left-handers Melky can play left field and give Alex Gordon a rest.
Some people think that Melky should play a lot in left for Gordon, who has been struggling all year. I think that would be a big mistake. Gordon will win another Gold Glove in left field this year. Even though he is struggling, he has five game-winning hits. Gordon is a grinder and quiet leader in the club house.
The main formula for the Royals is to have a first-class bullpen and one of the top defenses in baseball. If Cabrera and Bonifacio are not great outfielders, then that could hurt the team overall. Great teams are made up of players who understand their team role for the greater good of the team.
For the Royals to make another legitimate run for the championship this year, the No. 1, 2 and 3 starters must be consistent six- to seven-inning pitchers in 90 percent of their starts. Danny Duffy, Jason Vargas and Ian Kennedy have dealt on a regular basis.
Cleveland is going to be tough to catch and pass in the standings. They are talented and experienced in the playoff process. They do, however, respect the Royals. This group of Kansas City Royals has been there before and know what it takes to win it all. This group of Cleveland players are outstanding but they still have not be able to win the ring.
The wild card race is shaping up as a three-way race between Tampa Bay, Seattle and Minnesota. Texas is laying in the weeds as a dark horse.
If the Royals make it into the playoffs, I do not know that many teams would want to play a team with so many players with playoff experience. Baseball is a great game that opens the door for any team to get hot and make a deep run.
In football and basketball, the most talented team moves. That is the exact reason that this time of year becomes so exciting for all baseball fans who follow a team with a shot.
• People need to relax about Tamba Hali’s Twitter rant. It is much better to have a guy who loves to play instead of a guy who only worries about his paycheck.
• The Chiefs trade for inside linebacker Kevin Pierre Louis was an outstanding move. D.J. Alexander was a great special teams player, but he was not a good backup inside linebacker on defense. He had trouble with the running game. He also struggled against the pick plays in the middle of the field in the passing game.
• My quote of the week comes from tennis great Bjorn Borg: “If you’re a good, experienced player, you know what to do. If you’re in trouble, you know how to change. One hundred percent of my game is instinct. I never stop and think I’m going to hit a ball crosscourt or down the line. I just do it.”
– Tim Crone, a William Chrisman High School graduate, is a former activities director and coach for Blue Springs High School and is a host of a weekly radio show, “Off the Wall with Tim Crone,” on KCWJ (1030 AM) 6 p.m. every Monday. He writes a weekly column for The Examiner. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.