Senior Writer

Royals camp report: Likes and dislikes


SURPRISE, Ariz. -- What I like and don't like about the Royals:


  The kids. It's real this time. It's got to be. The Royals have good players coming. It's hard not to be impressed by Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer, Wil Myers and the others.

  The attitudes. By all accounts, the Royals kids have great makeup in addition to great talent. It shows in the way they deal with questions about when they should be in the big leagues. "I haven't questioned the way [general manager Dayton Moore] has been developing us one bit," Hosmer said. "He's really taken care of us." And manager Ned Yost said, "I've never been called 'Sir' so many times."

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  The confidence. The Royals haven't been in the playoffs since 1985 (three years before Moustakas was born), but he thinks of this as a winning organization. Why? Every Royals minor-league team he has played on has won, and two of them won championships. "We're a proud organization," he said.

  The closer. Let's not forget that the 2011 Royals will have at least one above-average major leaguer. Our Eye on Baseball guys named Joakim Soria as the second-best closer in the game (behind San Francisco's Brian Wilson), based on what they'll do over the next three years. Fortunately, Soria is just 26 years old (27 in May), and under control through 2014, so he could still be here when/if the Royals get good.


  The present. I don't blame the Royals for trading Zack Greinke, but no Greinke makes the 2011 Royals a lot tougher to watch. They'll tell you that almost everyone on the opening day roster will have a chance to be here long-term, but they'll also tell you that basically no one besides Soria and maybe Billy Butler is even close to being guaranteed of having a Royal future.

  The past. It's ugly. The Royals lost 95 games last year, and by their standards that wasn't even a bad year. They've averaged 97 losses over the last seven years. You can understand why Greinke got tired of it and asked out.

  The Frank White saga. I'm sure there are two sides to the story, but I'm not sure I care what they are. The fact is that the Royals have had just two players legendary enough to get their numbers retired -- White and George Brett (along with ex-manager Dick Howser). They couldn't allow things to get to the point where White resigns from his full-time job with the organization, as he did in January. The relationship isn't totally broken -- White worked the Royals fantasy camp, was in uniform early in spring training and will work on Royals telecasts -- but this franchise doesn't have enough icons that it can afford to alienate one of them.


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