FINALLY, APOSITIVE STEP BY K.C.
The Royals mayend up supplanting the 1962 Mets as the losingest team in the modern era, butthey scored a significant victory last week by hiring Braves assistant generalmanager Dayton Moore as their G.M. Moore, 39, had rebuffed an overture from theRed Sox last winter, knowing that it was only a matter of time before departedG.M. Theo Epstein would return. Moore was also thought to be the heir apparentto John Schuerholz in Atlanta and would have been considered for the Nationals'G.M. job by new team president Stan Kasten, who ran the Braves from 1987through 2003.
Under Schuerholzand special assistant Paul Snyder, Moore learned from the best about playerdevelopment, an area Kansas City badly needs to upgrade. The club does havepremier prospects in third baseman Alex Gordon (above) and outfielder BillyButler, but little else (especially pitching). The major league roster is sodevoid of valuable trading chips that Moore will need most of the five years onhis contract to rebuild the system. He came to the right place in that regard:Every G.M. in Royals history has lasted at least six seasons, including Moore'spredecessor, Allard Baird, whose teams lost 100 games in three of his last fourfull seasons.
No pitcher hasever done so much with so little velocity as Seattle's Jamie Moyer (right).With three more starts Moyer, 43, whose fastball tops out at 85 mph, willbecome the 44th pitcher in history (and only the 12th lefty) to make 500starts. Among those 44, he will have the fewest complete games (29; Tom Glavineis next at 55), fewest shutouts (nine; Bobby Mathews is next with 20) andfewest wins (208; Rick Reuschel is next at 214).
•On May 31 theRangers gleefully threw in $4.5 million to have the Cubs take DH-cornerman PhilNevin (left) in a trade for infielder Jerry Hairston. Nevin hit .204 in 275 atbats with Texas and can't play defense. He had one hit (a homer) in his firstsix at bats for Chicago.
•Has JonathanPapelbon's success as a closer (20 for 20 in save chances through Sunday)changed Boston's thinking about his long-term future as a starter? No. The RedSox still expect Papelbon, 25, to be in their rotation by 2008 and Craig Hansen(2.37 ERA as a starter at Triple A Pawtucket) to be their closer.
•Sure, the BlueJays, only 21/2 games out of first in the AL East at week's end, can hit withany other team, but the jury is out on their middle-infield defense (shortstopAaron Hill, who took over for demoted Russ Adams, and second baseman EdgardoAlfonzo, signed on May 25 after being released by the Angels). Trade optionsinclude shortstops Julio Lugo of the Devil Rays and the Dodgers' Cesar Izturis,who is returning from Tommy John surgery.
by Baseball Prospectus
WHAT HAPPENED TOJON GARLAND? The White Sox righthander was 4--2 at week's end, but he had a6.04 ERA. His strikeout-walk ratio of 2.25 to 1 was close to his 2.45 to 1 of ayear ago, when he went 18--10 with a 3.50 ERA. And though his opponents'batting average on balls hit into play (BABIP) was high (.309), that has moreto do with luck and defense than a pitcher's skill; Garland's BABIP should dropnearer to the team mark of .283, and he will surrender fewer hits and runs inthe process. The trouble is, Garland's no longer keeping the ball down, whichis especially important in a hitter's park such as U.S. Cellular Field. Hisground ball--fly ball ratio had declined from 1.44 to 1 last season to 1.03 to1, and his home run rate had more than doubled. Also, Garland's sinkingfastball was no longer an intimidating out pitch because he had relied on ittoo much. He has to return to the smart situational pitching he employed lastyear, working the entire strike zone and making better use of his changeup andcurve.
> More fromTom Verducci and Baseball Prospectus at SI.com/baseball.
LISA BLUMENFELD/GETTY IMAGES (GORDON)
TED S. WARREN/AP (MOYER)
DILIP VISHWANAT/GETTY IMAGES (NEVIN)