Don't Kill The Mellinger

Four from the weekend: Greg Holland, Frank White, Branden Albert and Johnny Manziel

Greg Holland should’ve been announced as an All-Star the first time, instead of waiting to become a replacement pick, but that’s all semantics. He’s here now –

with “a uniform and everything”

– and nobody cares how it happened.

Holland’s success this year is a clear sign of progress for the Royals,

even as they clearly need much more of it

. But no offense to Aaron Crow’s selection two years ago, Holland and Sal Perez are the first two players signed and developed in Dayton Moore’s time as GM to be All-Stars in a every-team-doesn’t-have-to-be-represented world.

That’s an important thing, and it shouldn’t be taken for granted. But right now, the Royals are developing into something like the Chiefs in the last few years – a few legitimate standouts, but not enough capable pros alongside to fill holes.

It doesn’t much matter what Perez and Alex Gordon and Billy Butler and Eric Hosmer do, in other words, when the rest of the lineup is made up of guys the other team’s pitchers can’t wait to face.

There is a metric called OPS+, which takes a player’s OPS and adjusts it to factors like league scoring trends and home ballpark. The number is expressed as a percentage of the league average, where 100 is exactly average, 110 is 10 percent better than league average, 90 is 10 percent worse than league average, and so on.

Generally speaking, anything less than 90 and the player had better be bringing something else to the team. Well, look at these numbers:

Alcides Escobar, 66.

Mike Moustakas, 64.

Elliot Johnson, 46.

Johnny Giavotella, 55.


The deadline for Branden Albert and the Chiefs


reach an agreement is today

, but I haven’t heard anything to believe a deal will get done.

Functionally, this won’t change anything for the Chiefs. Albert signed his franchise tender in March, meaning he’ll make about $9.8 million this season as the – ahem – left tackle.

The change will come after the season, when Albert is an unrestricted free agent unless the Chiefs again make him their franchise player. Doing that would mean paying him more than the $9.8 million he’ll make this season. Consider that Denver’s Ryan Clady is, probably, one of the game’s best three or four left tackles and just signed a contract that guarantees $33 million over the next three years.

That means Albert is a good tackle being paid like a great one in 2013, which means this is an issue the Chiefs will have to deal with after the season.

Lots of reaction about the column on Frank White


his childish Cold War with the Royals

, and I have to tell you guys:

I’m more encouraged that something will get done now than when I wrote it.

The column essentially put both sides on blast, and in the days since it ran what I’ve heard from some in and around the situation is mostly agreement. A year ago, that wasn’t the case. But now, it seems, each side at least understands it has some stock in this.

From my perspective, the keys will be whether Frank can keep the self-serving apologists I referred to in the column from putting too many delusions in his head, and whether the Royals can find the maturity to facilitate a reconciliation – they really should be the ones to make the first move.

I’m hoping, and if the reaction I’ve heard the last few days is any indication, so is an enormous chunk of the Royals’ fan base and Kansas City.

You’ve probably heard by now that Johnny Manziel

– still technically an amateur but probably one of the, what, 20 most famous football players in the country? Fifty? –

left a camp run by the Manning family

with what Manziel’s father called “dehydration.”

Now, Manziel’s fame and the existence of Twitter means he can’t much go anywhere without pictures and reports showing up so we know he was spotted at bars before and after he left the camp. I think we all know what kind of “dehydration” he was working through, and I think most all of us have worked through that same kind of “dehydration” at some point in our lives.

I bring this all up to make one simple point: I love that most of the reaction seems to be of the “hey let’s not make a big deal out of this” variety.

It’s been a long time coming, and maybe this is just a blip on the radar. But I love that a huge portion of us see this as a college kid who apparently had too much to drink, and nothing more. One point that we’ll see more of in the future is that as the NCAA continues to dig its heels into delusion about these just being regular college students, the flip side of that is there should be more understanding and slack when they make regular college student kinds of mistakes.