A few notes as I wrap up a short week in our home.
Wade Davis Trade
Wow, it was almost exactly four years ago that the Royals traded Wil Myers and others to Tampa for James Shields and Wade Davis, a trade I HATED. I guess everything worked out ok, didn’t it?
It hurt a little when the Royals couldn’t re-sign Ben Zobrist or Johnny Cueto last year. But those were expected losses. Same with Kendrys Morales this year. But trading Wade Davis to the Cubs yesterday, and willingly parting with one of the most important elements of the 2014–15 teams? It seemed like a sure thing to happen, but it still hurts a lot more, both because Wade will be pitching for another team next year, and because the official dismantling of the current Royals roster has begun.
That said, Wade was on the DL twice last year, and would be a free agent after this season. This was probably the best time to move him. I think the combination of those DL stints, and the Royals desire to get MLB-ready talent back, cut into his value a lot. Just look at what the Cubs sent to New York last July for three months of Aroldis Chapman. Shouldn’t the Royals have gotten at least as much talent back for a full year of Wader? Well, only if they were willing to accept prospects. And they weren’t.
Jorge Soler is widely viewed as a disappointment so far in his young career. But he’s still awfully young. Maybe the simple change of scenery will unlock his immense potential. Maybe Dale Sveum and Rusty Kuntz can do their magic and tap into all that was projected that he has yet to show. I think he arrives in Kansas City with a ton of pressure, though.
Four years of control of Soler – a power hitting outfielder/DH – for one year of Davis makes sense in a lot of ways. I’m not convinced it was the best trade Dayton Moore could have made. But I don’t think it’s a disaster, either. More than anything, it hurts the heart.
Of course, the other factor in the Royals favor is that Kelvin Herrera is ready to be the next great Royals closer. And the Royals have enough bullpen depth to fill in as they slide everyone back an inning. Joaquim Soria to figure his shit out, though.
Tons of Wade Davis memories. Obviously pitching the bottom of the 12th of game five of the 2015 World Series is at the top. The picture of him with both arms raised in the air will hang in the Royals Hall of Fame forever.
But I think my most vivid memory of Wade will be his role in the epic 120 minutes or so that ended the 2015 ALCS. With bad weather approaching, the Royals leading 3–1, and the heart of the Toronto lineup due to bat in the top of the 8th, Ned Yost chose to go to Ryan Madson instead of Wade Davis. An infield hit and home run tied the game. Davis came into the game three batters too late, just as the rain began coming down. A 45-minute delay allowed Royals fans to stew before the bottom of the 8th brought one of the greatest moments in franchise history. But the game wasn’t over. Davis put two on with one out and the top of the Jays order coming up in the 9th. I remember hoping the Royals could get out of the inning just giving up one run, but fearful a base hit would score two. A friendly strike zone helped Davis strike out Ben Revere, and then after a masterful setup pitch, Davis got Josh Donaldson to hit a sharp grounder to Mike Moustakas at third that ended the game and the series.
The Wade Davis Experience was the Twitter description for the typical Davis outing. He always found a way to make it interesting, but he also almost always got those final outs. He will be greatly missed, and another reason for Royals fans to pull for the Cubs.
OK, so I’m really enjoying this KU team. They’re blowing the doors off people, which just isn’t something Bill Self teams always do in December. I’m enjoying it because I know, as good as their guards have been playing, there are going to be nights when the shots don’t fall. And with KU’s anemic inside game, things will get dicey. The game against Davidson next week and then a trip to UNLV before Christmas should tell a lot about this team.
West Virginia and Baylor both appear to be legit. So the run to Big 12 title #13 in a row may not be as easy as a lot of experts thought a month ago.
When KU beat the crap out of UMKC Tuesday night, it was the 600th win of Bill Self’s career. Which is pretty cool. Especially given how consistently excellent he’s been at KU. You can almost expect 30 wins from the Jayhawks each year, which is crazy. Yeah, the March results could be better. But there’s, arguably, no better regular season coach in the game than Self.
I’ll write more about the Jayhawks down the road.
Still not feeling it as much as in the past. I’ve spent more time listening to my large playlist of favorite songs of the year, hoping to get it whittled down to a round number soon, than Christmas music. Don’t get me wrong, I still probably listen to more holiday tunes than the average person. I’m just not listening to them constantly as I have in the past.
No real changes in the girls. M acts like everything Christmas-related is a chore. C keeps updating her wish list, looks for Elfie mostly as competition to L, but doesn’t watch many Christmas shows. And L is still trying to make up for her sisters’ lack of enthusiasm. It was her week to pick a dessert to make together, so we made our first ever gingerbread men. They turned out pretty good for a first effort. I think we just missed on getting the flavor perfect, but the consistency was just fine. Even M has enjoyed decorating them each night after dinner.
I’m hoping my spirit level gets a little boost this weekend. S and I are driving up to Chicago for a conference. We’ll drop the kids and school tomorrow and head straight up. Hopefully she won’t miss too much of the morning session. We’re staying right in the heart of downtown, so I’ll have plenty of cool things that are a short walk away. The forecast looks bleak for the entire weekend, so I’ll have to pop in and out of stores and attractions to stay warm rather than take long, uninterrupted walks. I’m hoping it’s not too cold so my camera doesn’t have any issues operating. And we’re hoping the weather isn’t too nasty on Sunday when we drive back. But I figure downtown Chicago is going to be super Christmasy, so that might just be the little shove I need to get fully into the spirit of the season.