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Allard's BS-o-Meter

The Royals extended Matt Stairs’ contract through the 2005 season on Wednesday, giving them yet another player – along with Ken Harvey, Reverend Sweeney, and Big Cal Pickering – whose usefulness is limited to the following:

1) Playing an adequate first base
2) Posting an adequate .350ish on-base percentage
3) Hitting for moderate power (assuming the 2000-2002 Sweeney never shows up again)
4) Running like Rosie O’Donnell at the finish of the Boston Marathon

#4 isn’t really a useful skill, but slow guys who hit home runs are cool, so I’m going to list it anyway. Hey, it is my blog. Anyway, Stairs’ extension (which will earn him $1.2 million) seems to be an odd move on the surface with the mass number of first base/designated hitter types the Royals have on their roster. Royals GM Allard Baird
justified the move before Wednesday’s game against the Yankees:
"Matt has been a good addition to this ballclub and has demonstrated leadership in the clubhouse," general manager Allard Baird said. "As we expected, he has been a productive bat against right-handed pitching and has always put the team above himself."
All of which is nice, but in my opinion, it’s also nothing more than a politically correct smokescreen. The Royals care about things like clubhouse leadership, but I’d be willing to bet they value stocking their farm system with young, inexpensive talent more highly. Baird’s proven himself to be one of the slickest executives in the game over the past two seasons, and one of his best tricks is signing a good veteran player for reasonable money, and then flipping that player to a contender in need of a bat for a prospect. If Allard can turn Jason Grimsley and Rudy Seanez into Denny Bautista and Abraham Nunez – both of whom project to be solid part-time players at the very least – then he surely can turn Stairs into something when the Royals are helplessly out of contention again in 2005.

I hope Matt enjoys the rest of his stay in Kansas City, because he might be packing his bags come the end of June. The Royals would be better for it.
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