(from "Someday Baby," Modern Times)
The Royals have added Scott Podsednik to the team, giving him a one-year contract for $1.75 million, plus a club option for 2011. I'd like to offer you some trenchant analysis of this signing and how it will make the Royals better, but I can't work up the enthusiasm. And besides, I think we all (unless Dayton Moore is reading this) know it probably won't make the Royals better.
Sure, there's a chance Podsednik could make the Royals better in 2010. If he were to duplicate his .353 OBP from 2009, he would likely be among the team leaders in that category. That number would have ranked third on the Royals last season, behind Billy Butler and Alberto Callaspo. Combined, Royals center fielders (I'm assuming the Royals will play Podsednik in center and not left field) put up a .319 OBP last season; Podsednik's career number is .340. So from that perspective, yes, he probably will be an upgrade from 2009.
See, there's nothing wrong with this signing from that standpoint. On the other hand, I don't think you'll find many people, even optimistic Royals fans, who expect the team to contend for a division title this year. With that in mind, would there really be any harm in letting Mitch Maier play a full season to see what the Royals have there? Maier is younger and cheaper than Podsednik. While he wasn't great last year, he wasn't horrible. Why not see if he might be part of the long-term solution?
Look, the Royals are just marking time until this season is over and the ridiculously bloated contracts of Jose Guillen and Kyle Farnsworth come off the books and give the team some payroll flexibility. Furthermore, they're really just waiting until prospects like Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer are ready to make an impact at the major league level. I think most Royals fans understand that and are willing to wait a couple more years for the team to really be on the cusp of something good (we've waited 25 years, what's a couple more?). Scott Podsednik is a decent player and has had a solid career. But he'll turn 34 during spring training. He's not going to be here when the Royals' long-term plan reaches fruition (assuming, of course, it does reach some sort of fruition). Why not give someone who might be here when that happens a chance to play?
Instead, the Royals have made yet another move that looks OK in the short term but probably blocks a younger player from playing full-time. It's a move that doesn't make much sense to me. But that sort of move is quickly becoming a Dayton Moore specialty, and I think it's the sort of move the Royals need to stop making if they are ever truly going to change their losing ways.