Monday, April 20, 2009

Can we ever trust him again?

At some point, Kyle Farnsworth's ERA will dip below 10.00. This I trust. The next batter he retires without allowing a run will drop his ERA from 18.90 to 17.18. One more and it's at 15.75. A couple scoreless outings after that it'll stand at 9.00. It's not impossible to imagine this scenario playing out. In fact, I'd give it eight or nine days if I were a betting man.

However, the question was, is, and will be for the foreseeable future whether we -- the fans, the manager, the man who decided to pay him upwards of $4 million this year, his teammates -- will ever trust him to do his job. Allow me to put it this way: how many scoreless innings must Farnsworth string together for our first reaction upon hearing his name to not be, "Suck on a goat's balls you gutless shiteating piss of a fraud!" or, simply, $&%#!?

This is a serious inquiry.

I ask not for myself but for an increasingly aggrieved fan base. They are angry, and they are angry. And I can only imagine no one feels the brunt of Farnsworth's failures more heavily and personally than Dayton Moore, and on this topic I can provide no words of solace. You will remember that of this offseason's acquisitions -- all those many words volleyed back and forth about Mike Jacobs (it seemed like the baseball universe was focused on that trade), all the analysis of Coco Crisp, those many jokes cracked at Horacio Ramirez and Willie Bloomquist -- the only one I did not openly defend was the Farnsworth signing, dismissing criticism against him with, "I'm willing to see how this plays out... to find the positive, hope for the best." Well, how long before we say there is no positive? Has that time already passed?

Among the victims of Farnsy's collapses -- other than the Royals' win-loss record -- has been manager Trey Hillman. His reputation would be called collateral damage in another context. Royal Report Card titles a post, "Hillman's Gotta Go..", and he doesn't mean shopping. The Royal Treatment is less subtle: "FIRE TREY HILLMAN NOW!" Ah, the things people will say when still mad as spit over a blown lead. Undying Royalty is one of the few who have kept perspective. In any case, even Sam Mellinger of the KC Star seems to be baffled by Hillman's latest string of game decisions. This is not a good sign.

I tried defending Hillman after the Opening Day debacle to a friend by saying he'll learn from his mistakes and improve. I believe I used the phrase "he's still young," which prompted my friend to reply -- rightly -- that managers are not prospects. "They're either idiots or they're not," he said. "You, my friend, have an idiot for a manager." I'm not ready to go that far -- look, it's a tough job; you're dealing with 25 different personalities, 25 needs, and you're required to find some balance, conjure some nonexistent formula that'll keep everyone happy and the "chemistry" good. Put another way, you play the hand you're dealt, and it so happens that Hillman has Farnsworth (and let's throw Ron Mahay into this discussion while we're at it) in his clubhouse, a guy he sees every day. I'm not going to call for his head. But I do think it's getting damn near time for some lesson-learning.

POSTSCRIPT: Via Royals Review, an *interesting* interview with Joakim Soria. This shows, incidentally, why I was initially slightly uncomfortable when I heard his nickname was The Mexicutioner. As long as he's okay with it though...

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