by John Viril—
The Kansas City Royals finally bit the bullet and moved struggling started Wade Davis to the bullpen. Davis and reliever Louis Coleman were optioned to Omaha on Wednesday, while Danny Duffy and Luke Hochevar were recalled to Kansas City. Duffy will finally take Davis’ place in the rotation.
It’s about time.
Wade Davis has been nothing short of awful as a starter this season. He has a 5.67 ERA in 125.1 IP, which is the 5th worst mark for any starting pitcher in MLB. Manager Ned Yost and GM Dayton Moore should have made this move at least a month ago, when Duffy showed he had his velocity back in AAA after Tommy John surgery in 2012. Today, Duffy pitched 7 shutout innings in a 8-1 victory over the Twins.
This is not the first time that the Royals front office has hurt the ballclub by its reluctance to accept the obvious. They have made many unpleasant choices this year, from deciding to eat the final year of Jeff Francoeur’s contract, turning hot prospect Mike Moustakas into a platoon player, pulling Luis Mendoza from the rotation in favor of the hot Bruce Chen, and finally deciding to give the second base job to Miguel Tejada.
While the club made the correct decision in all of these instances, they delayed far too long. Francoeur lasted more than a month on the roster after it was clear he wasn’t helping the team before Dayton Moore finally cut him loose on June 30. Miguel Tejada did not officially win the 2nd base job until August 5, after Elliot Johnson, Johnny Giavotella and Chris Getz combined to post an OPS less than .600.
Tejada’s tenure at second lasted less than a week when the team was forced to put Tejada on the DL August 11 after suffering an injury. Tejada’s season ended when MLB imposed a 105-game suspension for PED use. The front office’s stubborn refusal to recognize that Tejada was the only guy on the roster that could provide a semblance of offense at 2B cost the team hundreds of ineffective at bats.
Similarly, Mike Moustakas began to thrive only after the club started protecting him against left-handers. Moose has hit an excellent .314/.368/.490 in the second half, after a horrendous start to the season. While we hope that Moose can learn to handle left-handers, allowing them to beat him into the ground earlier in the season could not have helped his confidence.
When you wonder why the Royals are 7 games behind in the wild card race and 8.5 behind Detroit in the Central, remember management’s season-long reluctance to accept the obvious.
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