Royals camp report: Likes, dislikes
The Royals went out and found much-needed pitching, but with a team that has lost for as long as this one has, there will always be skepticism.
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- What I like, and don't like, about the Royals:
Things I like
• The Royals said they would go out and get pitching. They said they'd go out and get multiple pitchers, and that they'd go out and get top-of-the-rotation pitchers. James Shields might have been the perfect guy to add to a team that thinks it's ready to win, and Wade Davis and Ervin Santana were reasonable guys to take a chance on. Bruce Chen and Luke Hochevar started the first two games of the 2012 season for the Royals. This spring, they're contenders for the final spot in the rotation.
• Even rival general managers rave about how good Salvador Perez is, and about how good his makeup is. Catchers are hard to find, but the Royals have a good one. The Royals missed Perez badly when he was hurt last spring and couldn't return until late June. A full season from Perez would automatically make them better in 2013.
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• It's great that Billy Butler is still here, and it'll be greater if the Royals can win while he's still here. Butler deserves the love that Royals fans showed him during the All-Star Game last July (even if Robinson Cano didn't deserve all the boos). "I've always been a Royal," Butler said. "The only reason I wouldn't be a Royal is if the organization doesn't want me anymore."
Things I don't like
• The spring optimism is more than welcome, but there's always going to be skepticism about an organization that hasn't really competed for a playoff spot since the mid-1980s. For all the talk (and all the good additions), the Royals still need to prove to themselves and their fans that they really can change things here.
• The Royals believe in their lineup, which is largely unchanged from last year. I believe they're going to be right ... but I wonder, because these guys finished only 20th in the majors (and 12th in the 14-team American League) in runs scored in 2012. It wasn't just bad pitching that caused this team to lose 90 games.
• General manager Dayton Moore is a big supporter of manager Ned Yost. Moore thinks Yost's experience with the Brewers when they were becoming winners will be beneficial. I'm not nearly as convinced about that, or that Yost is the manager who will eventually win in Kansas City.
• Moore likes to talk about the commitment the Royals have made in signing many of their young players to long-term contracts, but it's still not clear how committed owner David Glass will. If the Royals need more help, can they count on Glass to come through with more money to pay for it?