On Thursday morning, Rex Hudler did a radio interview on the Gaskins and Stevens show in Lincoln, NE. Hudler talked about many different things from yoga to Mike Moustakas during the course of the interview and the insights he provided help show what the Royals could be thinking. There are some disappointing things and some potentially exciting things he said. The link to the invterview is here.
The first real gem comes about six and a half minutes into the interview. Hudler is asked about the Royals lack of offensive production to which he responds “You know what? Who cares how many runs they score? In this business, it’s all about W’s, and if you get a W, that’s all that matters. They don’t care how you do it.”
This is pretty worrisome. Obviously, winning is the main objective of a major league team, but in order to win, a team has got to score runs. The Royals pitching will likely not continue to perform at such a high level over the rest of the season, so the offense does have to come around. While it may not matter how they are winning as long as they are winning, their current lack of offensive production means that these winning ways will not continue unless the offense gets back on track. Thursday’s blowout of Tampa was a good start to this.
At the same time, Hudler acknowledged that the Royals were going to need more power in their lineup. He even said that Moore might go outside the Royals organization to obtain this power, saying “You can’t win in the AL without power, so Dayton Moore is going to have to add a couple of bats.”
Another thing that Hudler talked about was the mental approach to the game. Anyone who listens to Hudler broadcast a game knows that he’ll talk about the mental side of the game a lot. However, this talk on the mental side of baseball bears repeating because there’s plenty of good information here that we haven’t heard about from Royals brass. For one, Hudler is an advocate of sending Moustakas down to Omaha. This is around the 12:45 mark of the podcast. Hudler says that Moose is treading water (obviously) and that if Moose doesn’t improve his body language, he’ll be in Omaha soon. Many Royals fans have been calling for Moustakas to be demoted in order to figure things out, but this is the first hint from someone close to the organization that a move may be coming. With the way Miguel Tejada has defied age and logic to be a productive big league player at 37, the Royals can afford to send Moustakas down to the minors in order to regain his swing.
There was one more notable thing that Hudler said during his interview. He was talking about how the Royals’ young players are still learning how to cope with failure and talked about how it’s OK to be beaten by a guy who is one of the best baseball players in the world. Then he unleashed this quote. “Even just being a pro player in the minors, you’re still really good, but you have to persevere and you have to wait your turn because it’s highly political and you’ve got to wait your turn and those who don’t want to wait don’t ever get the prize.” This is an absolutely mind boggling thing to hear from someone close to the organization. Granted, just because Rex Hudler says it, doesn’t mean that this is the Royals organizational philosophy, but to base who plays on anything other than who the best players are is ridiculous. Maybe I’m misinterpreting the quote, but it sure seems like the implication here is that the Royals don’t like to give unproven players much of a chance. The unfortunate thing is, there is evidence to support this.
Does anyone remember how Kila Ka’aihue was a minor league monster in 2008, so the Royals went out and traded for Mike Jacobs? Sure, Ka’aihue never amounted to much in the majors, but he was the only legitimate first baseman in their system, excluding the just drafted Eric Hosmer. The Royals have had a second base hole for years so they took a player in Johnny Giavotella who had torn up Omaha in back to back years and gave him sporadic playing time behind a player in Chris Getz who had done nothing to warrent a starting job in the big leagues. Now they’re trying Gio at third base because they have two holes in the infield, but stubbornly refuse to use him to plug the hole where his natural position is. Hunter Dozier, the Royals first round draft pick this year, will likely move to second base where his range and power will hopefully make him a good player. Unfortunately, the Royals may have been able to select some higher upside talent in Austin Meadows had they just seen what they had in Gio. He was widely considered a failure despite putting up a similar batting line as Getz.
Royals fans know that some of Kansas City’s organizational philosophies can be absolutely maddening. This insistence on not allowing players to prove themselves while simultaneously using this lack of experience on the players parts to justify their actions is completely ridiculous. Whatever the case, if the Royals offense can turn itself around and return to just the levels that these players have previously shown, the lack of offense will no longer be a problem and the troubling decisions of the organization can at least be covered over with the makeup of a winning Royals team.