You know who I like a lot? Rany Jazayerli. I’ve met him a couple of times and he’s a great dude. I’ve been reading his stuff forever, both at Baseball Prospectus and at his own outlets. Some of my favorite stuff of his, however, came back in the day when he and Rob Neyer used to do a back and forth called “Rob and Rany on the Royals” over at Rob’s personal website.
Rob, by then, had grown pretty cranky about his Royals. Rany, on the other hand, always seemed to look on the bright side. He still does that better than most team-specific bloggers, even though he never ceases to be realistic. His criticism, while often sharp, is never spiteful or dismissive. He wants the Royals to be good and thinks they can be one day.
Which is why his latest missive is so … jarring:
Nearly six years after Dayton Moore was hired, in a year when the Royals were themselves so certain that they were going to take a step forward that they boldly unveiled the “OUR TIME” motto, the team has dumped a steaming pile of crap on the curb. Ten straight losses, and even worse, nine of them have come at home. The Royals have the worst record in baseball. Playoff dreams have been extinguished, and it’s still April.
And I’ll confess: I’m this close to losing it.
Royals: if you’ve lost Rany Jazayerli, you’ve lost everyone. This is just … horrible. And Rany explains why. In total it makes for a pretty good case for the firing of Ned Yost. Or else it would if the front office doesn’t seem to be right on board with Yost’s strategies.
But maybe it’s not all bad. Sports Illustrated has them seventh in their Power Rankings. And no, I’m not making that up.
Sure, there’s a major caveat here: those rankings are based on WAR and what may happen in the future, not on what has gone on so far. That said, any ranking system that has the Kansas City Royals 7th at this point probably needs to think hard about what its mission in life truly is and whether it’s actually carrying it out.
The Astros avoided arbitration with pitcher Mike Fiers, agreeing on a $3.45 million salary for the 2017 season, per Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle. The right-hander was in his first of three years of arbitration eligibility.
Fiers, 31, made 30 starts and one relief appearance for the Astros in 2016. He finished the year with a 4.48 ERA and a 134/42 K/BB ratio in 168 2/3 innings.
Fiers had a much better showing in 2015 as well as in limited action in 2014, so the Astros are hoping he rediscovers that effectiveness going forward. He’ll slot into the back of the starting rotation.
There is little if any controversy to be had about the caps this year’s inductees will wear on their Hall of Fame plaques, but in case there was any doubt at all, it was put to rest this afternoon at the Hall of Fame press conference: Tim Raines will wear a Montreal Expos cap and Ivan Rodriguez will wear a Rangers cap. Jeff Bagwell, of course, never played for a team other than the Houston Astros at the big league level.
Though Raines had some good seasons with the Chicago White Sox and though he helped provide a nice kick start to the Yankees dynasty in the mid-1990s, his best seasons, by far, took place while he was an Expo. It’s also the case that the bulk of his Hall of Fame push came from Expos fans. He was particularly boosted by Jonah Keri, who recently wrote a book detailing the history of the Expos. So, yeah, that’s easy.
Rodriguez played 13 of his 21 years with the Texas Rangers, including his MVP 1999 season. He did have some notable years elsewhere, particularly in Detroit where he remains a fan favorite, but it was always going to be the Rangers for him, one would think. Maybe a slight, slight chance that he’d do the blank cap thing, Greg Maddux-style, but smart money was on the Rangers.
With Bagwell, the only question is which Astros cap he’ll wear. There are a couple of applicable ones: the brick red star, which he wore to the World Series in 2005. There’s also the shooting star cap he wore during his best seasons and which Craig Biggio’s plaque displays. He was around for the classic “H” over the star look, but he was just a kid then, so I doubt he’d wear it.
Anyway, sorry to the Marlins fans who wished that Raines and Pudge would wear the fishy-F.