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Archive for Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Woodling: Royals lacking direction

May 13, 2008

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Every month the Kansas City Royals deposit $1 million in Jose Guillen's bank account. At $12 million a year, Guillen is the Royals' highest-paid player.

And what do the Royals have to show so far for their investment in the free-agent outfielder who played for Seattle last season? Three home runs, 17 RBIs and a .207 batting average. Whoopee.

Guillen is just one of 15 millionaires on the Royals' roster. Here's a look at the other 14 in order of recompense, not production:

Gil Meche ($11.4 million) - Gopher-ball blues. Meche has surrendered a team-high eight home runs on the way to a 2-5 record and 6.31 earned-run average. (What does it mean that the Royals two highest-paid players - by far - are former Mariners?)

Mark Grudzielanek ($4.5 million) - Ageless second baseman remains prototypical No. 2 hitter. Wind him up and he'll always hit around .300. Range has declined with age, but he still makes the plays.

Ron Mahay ($4 million) - Journeyman left-handed middle reliever who would be out of baseball if he didn't throw from port side.

Brett Tomko ($3 million) - Well-traveled right-handed starting pitcher who eats innings, but dispenses base hits like M&Ms. As long as a major-league team needs a No. 5 starter, Tomko will have a job.

David DeJesus ($2.5 million) - Would be terrific No. 7 hitter on most teams, but Royals forced to use him in leadoff spot, where he's less effective because extra at-bats wear him down late in season.

Yasuhiko Yabuta ($2.5 million) - Not exactly the second-coming of Dice-K, is he? In 16 innings of relief, this Japanese import has surrendered 24 hits, including four home runs.

Mark Teahen ($2,337,500) - Still looks as good in a suit as anybody on the team. But his stiff left-handed swing yields no power. Worse, he has a maddening inability to drive in runs.

John Bale ($2.2 million) - Stats are roughly comparable to those of Yabuta. But at least Yabuta didn't break a bone in his pitching hand by using a hotel-room door as a punching bag.

John Buck ($2.2 million) - Presumably making the big money now because he led club with 18 home runs last season. Has been remarkably injury-free for a catcher. But you don't want him on your fantasy team.

Miguel Olivo ($2.05 million) - Latest in a long line of Royals' backup catchers. Packs some punch, but doesn't know the strike zone from Afghanistan.

Zack Greinke ($1.4 million) - Has finally developed into the quality starting pitcher the Royals hoped when they made him their first-round draft choice in 2002. Not yet 25, he's currently 4-1 with a 1.80 ERA.

Jimmy Gobble ($1,312,500) - Has retrogressed from a potential starting pitcher to a situational left-hander, and not a particularly effective one.

Ross Gload ($1.3 million) - Just what the Royals need at first base - a .266 hitter with no home runs. A career backup player who starts because Billy Butler can't field and Ryan Shealy (banished to Omaha) can't hit.

Esteban German ($1 million) - Utility man off to a terrible start (.091 batting average). Royals really have no place for him unless two or three starters go on the disabled list.

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