For What it's Worth: Pre-season watch lists, Royals and the injury bug

Published On: Jul 10 2014 10:37:39 PM CDT
Bruce Haertl: For What It's Worth...


There is no bigger fan of Blake Bell, but am I the only one that raised an eyebrow when the Bishop Carroll product was part of the John Mackey Award watch list put out for this season.  The award goes to the nation's top tight end each year; the problem is that Bell has never played a down of tight end at Oklahoma.  He didn't even take a snap there in OU's spring game, which he missed with an injury.  Don't get me wrong, Bell is a great athlete and will be just fine with the position switch from quarterback---but already on a national watch list?

Ready for prime time?

I know the Royals haven't exactly been in a position to disappoint us much over the years, but they have a penchant for making up for lost time.  Earlier this year when they moved out into first place it was as if thought was suddenly radioactive.  They came off a great road trip only to get blown out at home in front of their second largest crowd of the season and the slide has been on since then.

There is no series in baseball this weekend as big as the Tigers and Royals, so, of course Kansas City gets blown out at home in the opener with the eyes of baseball squarely on them.  What's worse is they didn't even look like they belonged.  The Tigers take out any drama with a three run first, later they put up an eight spot on their way to a five and a half game lead in the American League Central.

Sure, there are three games left in this series and it's not like the Royals didn't take three of four in Detroit less than a month ago, but you hope that's not their high water mark.  Since winning ten in a row (the last three of that streak coming in Detroit) KC has only gone 8-12 and has lost 7 games of ground to the Tigers.  In addition, they've lost pitcher Jason Vargas for at least one start after an appendectomy and Alex Gordon will miss at least five games with a wrist injury.  Ugh.

The Royals are a contending team in Major League Baseball, one of about 14 or so that still have decent hope, but amongst those teams they have the thinnest margin for error.  An injury in their starting pitching or with a key guy in the lineup really compromises them because they don't have the quality depth that other teams do.  It would be nice to be within four and a half games of Detroit at the break, as, after this weekend, they only have six games the rest of the way against the Tigers.

Injury bug---

The Yankees and the Cardinals have both lost, arguably, their most important players.  Masahiro Tanaka looks like he'll be gone for six weeks with elbow issues.  His rate of return over the last three weeks has really slumped amidst concerns that he's simply not used to the work load.  In Major League Baseball pitchers throw every five days, it's closer to a full week in Japan, with fewer games.

By the way, four-fifths of the Yankees starting rotation are on the disabled list now.  For right now, that means that the Yankees are getting no return on $50M of their payroll.