Dayton Moore has taken a lot of guff from Royals fans in the past couple of years as a result of his constant exhortations for them to “trust The Process,” which is the term he uses to refer to his plan to rebuild the Royals. The problems with this? “The Process” is rather amorphus, inasmuch as one year it appears that the team is going with youth and the next year they sign a bunch of mediocre free agents. No one really knows what “The Process” is.
But the worst part is no one really knows how long “The Process” is supposed to take. That is, they didn’t until today, when Dayton Moore coughed up a deadline:
“Our goal by 2013, 2014 is to have the majority of our 25-man roster be
homegrown players. That’s what we’re shooting for, that’s
been the long-term plan all along . . . Look what Colorado did, look what Minnesota did, look what the New York
Yankees did. It took the Yankees seven years. They
committed to it in ’89, and finally in ’96 they won with homegrown guys.
I’m not talking about getting to .500, I’m talking about winning the
World Series when I say eight to 10 years.”
Well, I think he’s backdating the Yankees’ rebuilding a bit, as things there really didn’t get going until Gene Michael was hired in 1991 and began to rebuild the team’s player development model and change the team from a free-agent pariah to a free-agent player. If I had to put a date on that I’d say maybe 1992, when Danny Tartabull was signed and Derek Jeter was drafted.
But fine, let’s give Moore his eight or ten years. Royals fans have been waiting this long. What’s several more?
The Royals honored former pitcher Yordano Ventura prior to their first Cactus League game against the Rangers on Saturday. Ventura was killed in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic in late January.
Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre and center fielder Carlos Gomez paid their respects to the pitcher with a floral arrangement that was laid on the mound. Both teams stood along the foul lines during a pregame video tribute that highlighted Ventura’s tenure with Kansas City. Following the game, Gomez spoke to the media about his relationship with Ventura, describing their frequent conversations during the season and commending the pitcher for having “the same passion that I had early in my career” (via WFAA.com’s Levi Weaver).
A plaque dedicated to the 25-year-old was also presented to club manager Ned Yost as a more permanent commemoration of Ventura’s contributions to the sport. Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star reports that the plaque will be mounted in the club’s spring training facilities alongside tributes to members of the Royals’ 2014 and 2015 playoff teams.
The full text of the plaque is below, via MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan:
A brother and a teammate, Yordano Ventura, passed away on the morning of January 22 in his native Dominican Republic, at the age of 25. He signed with the Royals as a 17-year-old, eventually making the big league team in 2013 as a 22-year-old. On most days, he could be found laughing and joking with his baseball family in the clubhouse. However, on days when he pitched, that smile was replaced by a quiet confidence and an intense fire, which he brought to the mound for every start. He had many highlights in his abbreviated career, not the least of which was throwing eight shutout innings in Game #6 of the 2014 World Series to force a Game #7 vs. San Francisco.
Right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound for the Pirates on Opening Day, according to a team announcement on Saturday. It’s a spot that was most recently occupied by former Pirate Francisco Liriano, who made three consecutive Opening Day starts for the club before getting dealt to the Blue Jays last August.
The 26-year-old produced career-worst numbers during his fourth run with the Pirates in 2016, due in large part to bouts of inflammation in his right elbow. He finished the year with a 3.88 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 116 innings before getting shut down in September to avoid further injury to his elbow. When healthy, however, Cole has been lights-out for the Pirates. Prior to his injury-laden campaign last year, he touted a career 3.07 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9 and cumulative 10.2 fWAR from 2013 through 2015.
Cole will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox during Boston’s home opener on Monday, April 3. Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to make the second start of the year, while fellow righty Ivan Nova will cover the Pirates’ home opener against the Braves on April 7. The Pirates’ third and fifth starters have yet to be announced.