It seems to me that the Royals must take advantage of the one advantage they have — time. How do they do that? Well, the big thing is to know is that while, sure, you want to win, the goal must be bigger than that. You are building a team to win down the road. Everything — and I mean EVERYTHING — must be pointed in that direction. Every break you take, every move you make, every smile you fake, every bond you break should have 2011 and 2012 and 2013 in consideration. And with time, you can do things. If you have some young and reasonably talented players, you can give them give them opportunities to learn and grow at the Major League level. If you have prospects you are not quite sure about — you can FIND OUT what they have inside.
- A non-competing team's real asset is time, and the freedom to allow players to develop
- Winning is important, in that it breeds a culture of success, but development is bigger than winning
- A non-competetive year is about the players who are already here learning and growing, and properly evaluating the players who aren't here by playing them to see what they have
But Yost has a history of playing young guys. And the other day, late in the game, with the Royals up, he showed his strength as a manager. He basically left Luke Hochevar in the game to lose. Hochevar had been pitching really well, and the Royals led 4-1 going into the seventh. He had only thrown 76 pitches. And he was facing a Chicago White Sox team that cannot hit. And then, it all kind of fell apart for him. A line drive single … a ground ball single … a 7-pitch walk … a hard line drive single … a ground ball single … a bloop single … and the White Sox took the lead. The White Sox eventually won the game.
The Star’s Bob Dutton asked Yost to explain what he was thinking, and this is what Yost said: “I told (Luke), ‘Look in those those types of situations, I’m going to let you pitch yourself out of trouble. You need to learn how.”
I love this. I don’t love it because I think it will work … like with Kila, I have no idea if it will work. But this is exactly what I think the Royals should be doing. Developing players who actually matter in the future. Challenging them. Sticking with them.