Mad Men’s Don Draper said it best: “If you don’t like what is being said, then change the conversation.” The Royals certainly couldn’t like the conversations being had after last night’s 19-1 loss to the Cleveland Indians which included a historically poor pitching performance from off-season acquisition Vince Mazzaro. Thus, they changed the water cooler banter with the ascension of prized pitching prospect Danny Duffy.
That’s not to take anything away from Duffy, who is a stellar prospect with a high MLB ceiling that fans can expect to remain in the Royals rotation for a very, very long time. He’s a “get your jersey now” type of talent. But that doesn’t change the fact that the conversation surrounding the Royals this morning is about the lack of pitching talent in the major leagues. While the Royals hitting sits at or near the top of the American League in several categories, it’s the starting pitching in particular that keeps the Royals out of playoff contention.
But it was not until last night’s 19-run drubbing at the hands of the Indians line-up that enough was literally enough. In the past, fans would say the Royals need pitching help. Now, they were a laughingstock. Whether or not that is valid based on a one-game performance, especially since the Royals are sitting at .500 with their best days ahead, it doesn't matter. Perception is everything. And the perception of last night is that the Royals’ pitching stinks.
So it shouldn’t be a shock that Dayton Moore conducted more pitching oriented transactions last night than a clerk at an Ace Cash Express. Kyle Davies was shelved. Everett Teaford was called up. Vin Mazzaro was demoted. Then came the grand finale — a news story on a level that could supercede the current conversation: the arrival of another one of KC’s super prospects.
Few stories provide the surge of fan adrenaline than than the ascension of a heralded rookie, and the Royals have already enjoyed such conversation just several days ago with Eric Hosmer. Duffy certainly earned his way to the majors at some point this season, but don’t think for a minute that this timing wasn’t specifically timed to stifle the laughter (or sorrow) from last night’s performance. This was Dayton Moore doing his best Donald Draper all the way.