Interview with: Jeff of Royally Speaking
1. If you could change one thing about the Royals 08 season what would it be ?
I would have made Mike Aviles the starting shortstop on May 1st instead of June 6th. TPJ hit .156/.175/.208 in April and it was clear to everyone not named Hillman or Moore that last season was a fluke. Because its a team game Aviles isn't solely responsible for the 51-50 record they had in games he started but he did play a major role in it. After his batting average dropped under .290 in early July we started hearing that the league had figured him out but over his last 73 games he hit .343/.372/.489, it definitely would have been nicer if he could have played 132 games instead of 102.
2. Overall how would you say the Royals did in 08' was it a step forward, a step back, or just another year gone by without making it to the playoffs ?
Even though they were 6 wins better than 2007 I really didn't see much improvement. The offense scored fewer runs and the pitching was just a tad worse compared to last season. The two faces of the franchise, Gordon & Butler, didn't take the big step like most people thought they would (myself included). Some bad things happened (12 game losing streak, Guillen distractions) and some good things happened (interleague dominance, September) but at seasons end they finished 1 game out of last place so I really don't believe they took a step forward or a step back.
3. What improvents do the Royals need to make what improvements would you make ?
Given that nobody ran away with the Central division I'd say that the Royals aren't that far away from being contenders, which makes the "trade Greinke" talk that much crazier. They need a legitimate #3 starter and a power bat such as Burrell or Dunn. And then if Butler, Gordon, & Guillen hit to their potential this team will make a playoff push. And personally I'd like to see KC overpay for Dunn rather than going the cheaper less productive route.
4. So if KC signs Dunn wouldn't one have to worry about Dunn's production going down at Kauffman stadium ?
Well that would be a concern I suppose given that he played in a homer friendly stadium in Cincinnati. However looking at his home/road splits it's not as bad as one would think. His road numbers for his career adjusted to 162 games comes out at 36 home runs a season. It's not the 40+ he put up for Cincy but I bet he would go for 30-40 jacks a year while putting up a .375+ OBP in KC. I can live with that. Sure he's gonna strike out alot but he'll also walk alot (and where somebody may a see a base clogger I see a base runner). The walks may be the reason he doesn't come here as DM hasn't so far placed an emphasis on going after high OBP guys. I think Adam Dunn in KC would work.
5. Will Balboni's HR record be broke in the next 5 years ?
Not by anybody on the current roster. So I guess it depends on what free agents they sign or how quickly Moustakas develops.
6. New coaches Gibbons (Bench Coach) and Seitzer (Hitting Coach) what's your take, like the hirings or not ?
I like that they hired a former manager as bench coach and a former Royal as hitting coach. We really won't know til next season if they were the right hires. (Thats called answering a question without really answering.)
7. What is your take on the in game entertainment at the K ? i.e. You like the Garth Brooks, kiss cam or you'd prefer just plain baseball ?
I find the Garth Brooks song to be kind of cheesy but I don't have a problem with it. The kiss cam is actually entertaining, especially when they show a couple players on the opposing team.
8. How do you plan on continuing the growth of Royally Speaking ?
Thats a good question because so far the blog has exceeded my expectations as far as hits and reader feedback are concerned. For the last couple of months I haven't been able to spend much time on it due to work and family obligations so one thing I'd like to do is add a co-contributer - someone to post an article or two a week. I'd like to focus a little more on the farm teams, I didn't get into that much this season, and if my cc is tuned in to the those teams then that would kill two birds with one stone. I'm planning to post something soon on my blog but I can let your readers have first crack. If anyone is interested in joining Royally Speaking then shoot me an email at jeff@royallyspeaking and I will get back with you.
9. Cool thanks for giving us the first crack, next question will Brian Bannister ever have another year in his career like 2007 ?
For the Royals? It seems unlikely but I should also add that I don't think he will ever have a year like 2008 either. Now if he ends up back in the NL then he can probably duplicate 2007 often.
Final question how was the 2008 baseball season in General not just Kc but the whole MLB year ?
It was a fun year, four divisions were decided by three games or less and the NL wild card was decided on the seasons final day. We saw playoff newcomers in the Rays (I suggest KC change their name to the Roys, maybe thats all they need) & Brewers (more or less, its been 26 years) and watched as both New York teams and their bloated payrolls missed the post season. I think the playoffs have been interesting and as long as Boston doesn't win the World Series (sorry Minda) it will have been a great season. I am definitely looking forward to 2009.
Thanks to Jeff of Royally Speaking he has a great site be sure and check it out