...I had nothing before
(from "Mississippi," Love and Theft)
Trade deadline came and went, and the Royals chose to stand pat. I must confess I have mixed emotions. On one hand, the main trade chips the Royals had to offer are valuable contributors (of course, since they probably wouldn't be trade chips otherwise). But it would have been nice if there had been some resolution to the organizational logjams at first base (Gload, Butler, Shealy, Stodolka, and Kaaihue) or in the middle infield (Pena, Aviles, Grudzielanek, Callaspo). And let's face it: the Royals still need improvement. A 50-59 record is not where you want to be at the beginning of August.
It would have been especially nice to trade Mr. True Grit, Ross Gload. The Royals have stubbornly started him at first for 43 straight games now. Gload seems like a good guy, and he certainly has some value. But his value is more as a spare part, a reserve 1B/OF who can be a good pinch-hitter. This is essentially how the White Sox used him in 2005, and he did help them win a World Series. The problem with the Royals using Gload everyday is twofold: he is blocking the development of a first baseman for the future, and he just does not have enough offense to play first base in the American League.
Billy Butler is 22 and is apparently a full-time DH. The average age of the other 13 DHs in the AL is 33.9. Also, Billy is hitting .274/.361/.384 as a 1B this year (in only 21 games) and .244/.295/.363 as a DH. It would be nice if the Royals showed even a little curiosity as to whether Billy can play first.
Ryan Shealy has thrown a .286/.371./488 line on the board for Omaha this season. He will also turn 29 this month. It would be nice to find out if he can play like he did in 2006, or if he really is as bad as he looked last year. And this is the time to do it. There are two months left and the Royals are only playing to stay out of last. Why put this decision off until next year?
AL first basemen this year have put up a .263/.345/.428 line with 192 HRs and 783 RBI this year. Gload's numbers? .262/.313/.333 with 2 homers and 25 RBI. In a sense, the Royals are taking a knife to a gun fight every single night they run Gload out there. There is no way his defense is good enough to offset that poor offense. First base is a premium offensive position; Gload is not a premium offensive player. It is entirely possible that Butler and Shealy aren't either, but the odds are that they are much closer than True Grit.
Almost any deal that got Gload off the roster would have been a good move for the Royals. Failing that, the Royals need to get him to the bench and find out what they have in Butler and Shealy.