The Royals managed to give up nineteen runs against the Tigers last night, with most of the horror coming from Jimmy Gobble, he of the 11.31 ERA.
It's ridiculous that he gets chance after chance after chance this season simply because he's left-handed.
A friend of mine suggested he should be killed. That seems much too harsh.
How about he drug him, dump him off in Sudan, and frame him for stealing?
No left hand? No problem.
Seriously, Jimmy Gobble's reign of terror must end.
When Tony Pena, Jr. of all people pitches a 1-2-3 ninth inning and strikes out Pudge Rodriguez, it proves that Jimmy Gobble shouldn't be a pitcher on any major league roster.
Of course, that doesn't mean that Pena should be either.
Some people *cough*joeposnanski*cough* are suggesting that Pena be converted. I don't think he should be. At least, not by the Royals.
Sure, he has suddenly blown us away by showing some potential, but it's at a position that would require extensive re-training. I think the fact that this is Tony Pena, Jr. is what is giving fans hard-ons. He's useless otherwise, so fans are excited about turning him into something useful. And I don't disagree that if you swap Gobble and him in the pen, that Pena couldn't manage an 11.31 ERA.
But really, if you want to make that sort of switch, it needs to happen in the minors, and Pena is out of options. I suppose they are probably going to leave him on the roster all season anyway, despite his .152 average, so maybe in the offseason they could give him a crash course in pitching at the major league level, and maybe have him do some more mop up this year, and maybe you've got a chance that he turns out to be a decent reliever in a year or two, and maybe all that hard work and unwillingness to release him was suddenly worth it, and maybe you've got one of the best stories in all of baseball when it's all said and done.
But that's a lot of maybes.
Here is a probably:
Probably, you can very easily sign an already-trained reliever to pitch better than Jimmy Gobble and a converted shortstop combined, and only for a couple million.
Hence, all of that work to convert the guy probably isn't worth it. Not for a reliever. What would be the point? If you're gonna take pity on a guy that sucks and give him every chance in the world, why didn't you try that with Angel Berroa or Scott Pose or any other bottom feeder? Why not train Jimmy Gobble to be a shortstop while we're at it?
It's a hair-brained scheme, something that shouldn't work in real life. So the guy has more raw talent in his arm than in his bat. So what? It sounds like he screwed up and picked the wrong position. It sounds like maybe Tony Pena, Sr. (a catcher of all things) would have been perfect in guiding his son in becoming a good pitcher. But I don't want the Royals to put the time and money and effort into such a change when it would be done out of sheer stubborness to make something out of him, when it would be done just to be a good story, when it would be done just to have another disposable relief pitcher.
If he wants to try that, he should do it on his own, or for another team.
But this is the Royals, and there isn't much reason otherwise to watch them or care about what is going on over the next couple of months, so despite my protests, I see this happening. Not because of the reasons I just mentioned, but because the Royals could sell it as a TV series.
That's right. Pena, Jr.'s switch won't be compelling enough on its own, but combined with several Tony's being converted, ABC might have something.
Watch Shortstop Tony Pena, Jr. become Relief Pitcher Tony Pena, Jr!
Watch Professional Skateboarder Tony Hawk become Professional Skeet Shooter Tony Hawk!
Watch sports journalist Tony Kornheiser become fashion journalist Tony Kornheiser!
Watch Tony Orlando become Dawn!
Watch Tony! Toni! Tone! become Tone! Toni! Tony!
And, of course...
Watch Tony Danza become employed!
I smell a hit.
It would be Pena's first one in quite a while.
Go Royals! You're The Best!