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Since We Last Met: Kansas City Royals

White Sox vs the team the White Sox desperately want to be ...

Kansas City Royals Sluggerrr Minimalist Mascot Art print.
| S. Preston Art

Next up on the docket of five straight series against the atrocious American League Central: the 42-96 Kansas City Royals.

Ah, the Royals. The City of Kansas. Live Stock. Barbecue. Rex Hudler. Pedro Grifol. The ghosts of Ned Yost*. All of the most annoying things.

(*Ned Yost is alive and well to the best of my knowledge, but what would a tongue-in-cheek preview piece be without a little wordplay self-amusement?)

Oh, Kansas City. The one team White Sox fans can reliably expect to be worse than our own team. They are, as a matter of fact, the team with the worst record in baseball entering play today. Yet, they are the franchise whom those running the White Sox organization most desperately want to embody and emulate, for reasons I don’t even understand and cannot explain. Why a bad organization would want to be like an even worse organization is beyond my comprehension. Yet, here we are importing former Kansas City stalwarts left and right, as if they are they model franchise and the epitome of modern baseball success. My concept of time after Covid lockdowns is still fairly nebulous and amorphous, but 2015 was in fact eight years ago, yes? And the Royals have been adrift in perpetual rebuild mode since?

This is where the South Side baseball team looks as the exemplar of baseball excellence?


The White Sox odd obsession with all things Kansas City is a strange phenomenon to say the least. Sox fans’ elation at finally being free of the stale management stylings of the Ken Williams and Rick Hahn partnership was indeed short lived as White Sox unofficial mouthpiece Bob Nightengale started floating the idea of Chris Getz and Dayton Moore as the likely replacements shortly after news of the firing of the dysfunctional dynamic duo beamed across the Twitterverse.

Getz, who played for and spent a few brief moments working for the Royals before being hired back and serving in multiple roles in the White Sox front office, was officially being named senior vice president and general manager just last week. Getz, the human embodiment of a privileged white man failing upward, lauded Grifol throughout the introductory press conference and confirmed the first-year manager would return in 2024. All that remains before the Pale Hose can officially call themselves the Chicago Royals is to rope in fellow disreputable Kansas City castoff and Getz father figure Moore. And lest I give any readers dyspepsia or put that undesirable and unnerving energy out into the ether, please Chris, please don’t hire Moore in any capacity. I beg you.

To dig even deeper into the bizarre K.C. connection, there was the White Sox rumored interest in trading for Salvador Pérez at the August 1 trade deadline.

The 33-year-old All-Star catcher only has three years and $47.5 million left on the contract extension he signed just last season. The wisdom of acquiring such a player while still saddled with the corpse of Yasmani Grandal was and is certainly questionable. But I have no doubt that former GM Rick Hahn would have pulled the trigger had K.C. obliged, prospect capital be damned.

Then we get to longtime former Royal coach and current White Sox manager Grifol. While the less said about his job performance in his first season as a big-league manager the better, as he seemed to be the driving force behind the Salvy interest. Of course we all fondly remember Pedro’s over-reliance on former Royal Hanser Alberto during spring training and the early months of 2023. And his bizarre insistence upon playing washed up veterans to chase meaningless wins in a lost season instead of giving young players valuable reps in a big league atmosphere. Perhaps there are reasons why Grifol toiled for years without serious consideration for a managing gig, and his former org passed him over for an outside hire. Most Sox fans would probably like to leave Pedro behind when the team charter lifts off of the tarmac at MCI later this week, or at least slap enough postage on his smug, inept face and mark Return to Sender. But rest assured, Sox fans, Pedro has the backing of Getz and looks to be the new GM’s right-hand man going forward. So we all have that to look forward.


If there were any organization one should never want to emulate, it would be those Kansas City Royals. The Royals were the American League champions in 2014 and won the World Series in 2015, yes, and flags fly forever, but everything preceding and after those two magical outlier seasons where everything broke right is not a blueprint winning organizations should want to model themselves after.

What Have the Royals Been Up To?

The Royals currently sit at 42-96, one half-game in front of the hapless Oakland Athletics in the race to the bottom of the standings. A dismal and miserable season by all accounts. ZIPs projected a 73-89 record, and PECOTA projected 64-98. Quite the disparity between the two. I guess that’s why they play the games. Kansas City has woefully underperformed their expected win/loss record of 49-89. They are right there with the Oakland A’s as one of the worst teams in the last 50 years, and 11 1⁄2 games behind our White Sox for worst team in the worst division. Though don’t be overly surprised if the Royals manage to close that gap — they are playing the White Sox after all.

These 2023 Royals are having a season most would like to forget. Starting the year 1-6 after the first week and dropping 10 straight and 13 of 14 will do that to you. They opened May with an 11-7 loss to the Orioles and proceeded to lose three of four to fall to 8-26. But nothing soothes what ails you like playing the Chicago White Sox, as K.C. picked up their first series win on the young season by taking three of four from the Pale Hose at Kauffman Stadium.

The statistical similarities between the rebuilding Royals and the crashed-and-burning, pretend-contending White Sox are many. Both teams are bottom-five in OPS+, bottom-two in OBP, bottom-four in run differential, bottom-six in runs scored, and bottom-eight in slugging.

On the pitching side, K.C. is second only to Oakland at the bottom in ERA+, and both the White Sox and Royals are in the bottom-10 in WHIP and FIP. Both have negative WAR for starting and relief pitching. There are reasons why these two teams reside at the very bottom of baseball’s worst division.

What Are the Pitching Matchups? How Do We Match Up?

With only a month left in the 2023 season, what more can be said about two bad teams facing off after Labor Day weekend? The pitching is bad. The hitting is bad. The coaching? Also bad. though I would trade Grifol for first year K.C. manager Matt Quatraro in an instant, and I know next to nothing about how he has performed with a roster as devoid of talent as our own, or anything about how he approaches managing the game on and off the field. Pedro’s managerial ineptitude is at a level that I would take almost anyone else not named Tony La Russa over him at this point.

Monday, September 4
Jesse Scholtens vs Cole Ragans

Tuesday, September 5
Dylan Cease vs Brady Singer

Wednesday, September 6
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