Every year, except for the World Series champion, baseball fans everywhere say, “Wait ‘til next year!”
Of course, even in spring when hope springs eternal, there’s always someone like my agent I.M. Slick all too willing to douse my hopes before the season has started.
Joe: Things are looking up. Some experts say the Kansas City Royals have one of the best farm systems in Major League Baseball.
Slick: Let me point out that no one cares which teams win in the minor leagues.
Joe: Yes, but at least the Royals have hope on the way.
Slick: Has the water supply in Hillsboro been tainted in some way? Last I checked, the Royals traded their best pitcher, former Cy Young winner Zack Greinke, and maybe their best all-around player, outfielder David DeJesus.
Joe: Yes, but the Royals probably couldn’t have afforded to keep Greinke in another year anyway.
Slick: Even Greinke knew the future was hopeless. Last August he said, “Very rarely do guys come straight into the big leagues and make an impact, especially hitters. So the problem (with the Royals’ prospects) is that it’s not like as soon as they get here that it’s going to be instant (success). Maybe by 2014.”
Joe: At least the Royals still have one of the best relief pitchers and closers in the game with Joakim Soria.
Slick: That’s all well and good, but if you’re always behind, Soria won’t have anything to close.
Joe: Yes, but the Royals have collected an outstanding group of pitching prospects in Mike Montgomery, John Lamb, Dan Duffy, Chris Dwyer, Jake Odorizzi, Jeremy Jeffress and Aaron Crow. And the system has a second tier of pitching prospects beyond the top group.
Slick: Talk is cheap. For all of the talk, let’s see results. And what I’ve seen from Kansas City in the last decade or two is talk.
Joe: Maybe so, but as owner David Glass points out, “It will be different without them (Greinke and DeJesus) and I really like both of those kids and I want both of them to do really, really well with their new teams, but you know what? What we did in the past didn’t work, so change is necessary.”
Slick: I doubt the change will do much good this year. The Royals will be a popular pick for last. In fact, they could easily lose more than 100 games.
Joe: Glass says the Royals will be much better defensively than they’ve been for a while.
Slick: They better be. With their pitching staff, the outfield will get plenty of exercise.
Joe: Glass said he expects to surprise some people. He said, “I think we’ll be better than some people think we’ll be.” Do you suppose he’s referring to you?
Slick: Doesn’t matter what he thinks. The Royals have had seven straight losing seasons, and it will soon be eight.
Joe: All right, I’ll admit that this might be a long year, but if some of those highly-touted players in the minors turn into quality major leaguers, the Royals will be competitive sooner than you think.
Slick: Now there’s a catchy marketing slogan — “Your Kansas City Royals: Competitive Sooner Than You Think.”
Joe: Is that the best you can do?
Slick: How about, “Your Kansas City Royals: The Future is 2014.”
Joe: Do you always like to kick someone when they’re down?
Slick: You’re right. I should look at the bright side for a change.
Slick: Sorry, but my mom always taught me if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.