What the Royals lost in the David DeJesus trade – and they lost plenty, including the support of many fans – they nearly made up this week with the signing of outfielders Jeff Francoeur and Melky Cabrera.
That’s saying a lot, especially since these two particular outfielders may rank at the top of the Most Disappointing Players list.
Cabrera and Francoeur were both high-expectations players for their original organizations (Cabrera with the Yankees, Francoeur with the Braves). Francoeur played one or two good seasons in Atlanta, but then he spiraled to oblivion; Cabrera never lived up to his potential.
So the Royals got ‘em cheap.
Or at least cheap in baseball terms: Francoeur for $2.5 million, Cabrera for exactly half that amount.
For $3.75 million – or a little more than half the price of David DeJesus would have been in 2011 – the Royals filled two spots in their starting lineup. From that perspective, the deal’s not that bad.
The downside, for me personally, is that Jarrod Dyson, a player I was really impressed with last year in limited call-up duty, will be relegated to the bench or, more likely, back to the minors.
You can go ahead and pencil in the starting outfield for Opening Day: Alex Gordon in left, Melky in center and Frenchy in right. Mitch Maier and Gregor Blanco project to be the backups.
(The only big question now is, who bats leadoff? Dyson would have been the clear choice, but now my money is on second baseman Chris Getz.)
Another downside to this trade is a hypothetical: if we could get two mediocre-but-potential-packed outfielders for $3.75 million, could they have gotten one good outfielder for that much?
Let’s put that aside, though, because we’ll never know.
What we do know is Melky Cabrera and Jeff Francoeur will perform at least as well as Mitch Maier and Gregor Blanco (I’m not lumping Dyson in with these two). Also, defensively, Francoeur is one of the best in the game. And the price is a bargain.
The best case scenario is these two relatively young outfielders help the Royals improve and become cornerstones of the offense and defense.
The worst case scenario is the Royals wasted nearly four million bucks, and signed two players who will effectively block legitimate prospects from the Major Leagues.
Let’s hope the Francoeur and Cabrera signings fall closer to the best case than the worst case.
Matt Kelsey is a Royals writer and the content editor for I-70 Baseball. He can be reached at email@example.com.