The Royals have taken the next step to fix their pitching issues. It's a good move, but is it enough?
I really like Sweeney and especially his comment; “ I wasn’t very good and could have used the help “. This shows a level of accountability and honesty that this organization hasn’t had in a long while.
Mazel Tov on the new baby!
Congrats David! I like the pitching hire. I’m hearing management has been HEAVILY involved in the hiring aspect. What’s funny is I love everything they have done so far. Don’t love the roster management moves I don’t think they have been involved in. I’d rather not have the owner heavily involved but I like what they’ve done so far. Slippery slope I feel like.
Hey, David, congratulations to you and the Mrs. on bringing forth Miss Nora. Blessings and good health to all.
First, congratulations on the baby!
I’m not as inclined to sign new player, because I think it would be interesting to see what a new coach/approach would do with more or less the same guys. It really would answer the question of how bad Eldred & Co. were. But I’m not interested in doing this just as an experiment. The organization has been pitcher-heavy in the draft for years, getting arms with good pedigrees. It seems they do have talent, and I want to be convinced a seemingly good draft pick can’t make it, even with better coaching, before going outside for significant help.
I think that’s a very fair reason to not want to go out and supplement. If they aren’t planning to win in 2023 anyway, why not truly see what they need to do for 2024 after having better instruction? I totally get that.
My only argument is the innings need to come from somewhere. You feel good about Singer giving 175 innings probably, but who else? Lynch maybe. His career high is 138.2 from last year. Heasley got to 143.1. Bubic topped out at 149.1 back in 2019. I think there’s a world where they can go get some innings AND still determine what they have. And I think they may very well need those innings just to get through a season.
David, congratulations on the birth of your daughter!
Not only do trades happen at the winter meetings, but the initial feelers that eventually lead to trades happen there as well. With that in mind, it would be nice to have a pitching coach who could say definitively which pitchers he wanted to keep, which ones he wouldn't mind getting rid of, and which ones he would like to acquire. I certainly hope they hired Brian Sweeney in time for all of that. At a minimum, BEFORE the meetings begin he needs to be thoroughly familiar with all of the pitchers in the Royals organization, and not just the guys on the 40-man roster.
Of course, it's possible that they "unofficially" hired him two or three or even four weeks ago and for some reason waited to make the announcement. That strikes me as unlikely but I'll admit it could have happened that way.
Great article David and congratulations to you and your wife on the new baby.
For the first time in a long time, I'm encouraged by moves the Royals are making - I see Sweeney as a young guy who struggled as a pitcher himself and traveled all over to learn more about the art and science of pitching. The Athletic profile on Sweeney from a couple of years ago by Zack Meisel is a great read and insight into his background and history.
I feel like we've turned a corner from an old school, think they know it all culture (Dayton, Matheny, Eldred) to guys who are lifelong learners and have a genuine curiosity about the game and are open to new ideas. That has to be a good thing for the Royals and the young talent that we possess but haven't been able to maximize.
Expanding upon my earlier comment…I continue to be mystified by the unfounded assertion that Greinke would automatically be a great pitching coach. I see "Ted Williams syndrome" as much more likely.
Williams failed as a hitting coach and a manager because he couldn't understand how others were unable to do what came so easily and naturally to him. I have no trouble picturing the same thing happening with Greinke. Williams was a unicorn, an utterly unique talent. In his own way so is Zack. The stage has been set for more Ted Williams syndrome.
Even Babe Ruth's managerial "career" was disastrous. The more unique and uber-talented a player is, the less likely it is that he'll be able to understand or help players who only have "normal" levels of ability by MLB standards.
Over the years Greinke has developed an amazingly huge arsenal of pitches. Sometimes it looks as if he's out there on the mound conducting physics experiments involving a baseball. Does anybody really think there are (or will be) other pitchers in the Royals organization who are both able and willing to do the same….successfully? Nobody else in MLB has been able to do it Zack's way for at least 20 years now.
Managers who have had success recently (Kevin Cash, Terry Francona, Joe Maddon and even Ned Yost) were fringe MLB ballplayers at best, and thus better equipped to understand and help players who were struggling i.e., those who weren't uber-talented as Greinke is (meaning the vast majority of MLB players.) Maddon never advanced beyond A ball. Cash had a career MLB batting average of .183. Yost was slightly better at .212. Francona had a career OPS+ of just 81.
Yes, Dusty Baker was more than a fringe ballplayer but he was hardly the equivalent of Greinke, let alone Ted Williams. I'll also point out that it took him 3 full decades to finally win a World Series as a manager. The law of averages finally worked in his favor.
I'm fairly optimistic about Brian Sweeney because he had to fight and scratch and claw for every minute he's spent in pro baseball. I prefer that resume to those of Randy Johnson and Pedro and Schilling and Verlander and Kershaw. And Zack Greinke.
It's journeyman pitcher Mike Maddux (who pitched for 10 different teams), not his HOF brother Greg, who turned out to be a pretty damn good pitching coach. See the "coaching career" section at https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mike_Maddux
By contrast, Greg Maddux's coaching career consisted of a short stint as a "volunteer assistant" at UNLV. He's occupied various front office positions ever since. Yet it was Greg, not Mike, who had the HOF pitching career. Greinke has a lot more in common with Greg Maddux rather than Mike.
….and another thing: how often during last year's telecasts did we see or hear about the young starters gathered around Zack as he dispensed his pearls of wisdom?
Even with Brady Singer starting to look like a legit MLB pitcher, the overall numbers among the pitchers - especially the starters, with whom Zack had most of his conversations - were abysmal. Whether you look at BB:K ratio or ERA or ERA+ or WHIP or BB/9IP or OPS allowed, all of those numbers tell the same story and it is horrifying.
Perhaps those pearls of wisdom from Zack aren't quite as valuable as some folks seem to imagine. They certainly produced very little in terms of tangible, measurable results.
Love the pitching decisions finally. Sounds like they did very good! Now to the important part, where’s the baby pictures? 😃
Congratulations to you and your wife on the arrival of Nora.
Congratulations David, and your wife on the birth of Nora!!!! Nothing better than a little girl as you buddy. Glad the coaching staff is beginning to fill out.
Congratulations Lesky family and welcome to the world, Nora Lesky!!!
Congrats on the birth of your daughter David. They are pure enjoyment.......until they get their license and start driving. Then it's worry city. Enjoy!!!!!!!!