The Great Giveaway: Royals Past Attempts to Trade for Pitching Net Nada

Jonathan Sanchez recently gave up five runs before he could record an out. I didn’t think anyone could pitch that poorly.

But the next night, Ryan Verdugo did Sanchez one better (or worse) by surrendering six runs in just 1 2/3 innings.

The most horrifying fact of all is that both pitchers were acquired by trading Melky Cabrera to the Giants. That fact doesn’t need to be belabored, as every Royals fan is well aware of it.

So while Cabrera makes a run at an MVP award, the Royals go once again in search of starting pitching.

Dayton Moore needs no one to tell him that he must move to acquire pitching. He knows it. In fact he’s known it, and has been trying to do just that, for about three years now.

Prior to 2010, Moore made a few questionable moves to acquire position players, even trading away a few promising pitchers. But for the past three years, it’s been all about pitching, and he’s made several attempts to trade position players to get pitchers.

But while the Cabrera-for-Sanchez deal is horrifying in its result, the other attempts by Moore to trade for pitching have been nearly as disappointing. Consider the following other former Royals who were dealt for pitching since 2009:

Wilson Betemit: currently hitting .259 for Baltimore with 10 homers and 32 RBIs.

Betemit was traded for two minor leaguers, one a pitcher – Antonio Cruz, who has pitched a total of 18 games at A ball in the Royals’ organization.

Alberto Callaspo: hit .288 with 6 homers and 46 RBIs last season as the Angels’ starting third baseman. He’s still starting, with a little better power numbers this year.

Callaspo netted the Royals Will Smith and Sean O’Sullivan. The Royals have utilized Smith to save their mangled big league staff, but they gave up on O’Sullivan. They dealt him to Toronto for cash. Perhaps he needed the change of scenery. He’s been great for the Blue Jays’ Triple A club thus far.

David DeJesus: started most of the season for the A’s last year, batting .240 with 10 homers and 46 RBIs. This year he’s started full time for the Cubs.

DeJesus brought in a potential starter in Vin Mazzaro. But Mazzaro has suffered some beatings of historic proportions and isn’t trusted much at the big league level. The trade also brought Justin Marks, an average starter at Double A.

Kila Ka’aihue: has split the season between Oakland and the A’s Triple A club. His big league production has been marginal.

The trade of Ka’aihue netted a 25-year-old minor leaguer named Ethan Hollingsworth. He’s set no worlds on fire to date.

Mike Aviles: batted well at the end of 2011 for the Red Sox and continues to succeed as Boston’s starting shortstop. He’s hitting .263 with 10 homers and 47 RBIs.

Aviles supposedly brought the Royals a utility infielder – Yamaico Navarro. Aviles should have been kept in that role with the Royals. Navarro hasn’t done anything yet. The trade did bring the Royals a pitcher in Kendal Volz, who has been solid at the Single A and Double A levels.

Scott Podsednik: has played little, bouncing around with several teams.

The Royals got pitcher Elisaul Pimentel and catcher Lucas May. The Royals gave up on May, and Pimentel is 23 and still laboring along in the minors

Rick Ankiel: chipping in for the first place Washington Nationals.

Perhaps the only good move was when the Royals got Tim Collins as part of a package deal for Ankiel and Kyle Farnsworth.

So Moore can’t be accused of not trying. But for seven big league position players of varying quality, the Royals have gained Tim Collins and some spare parts and minor leaguers. The return has been nothing short of disastrous.

The Royals have tried trading average position players – players who they deemed easily replaceable – and hoped to acquire quality pitchers.

But it appears the exchange rate for a quality pitcher is much higher than expected.

What the Royals have proved is that you must actually trade excellent position players to get passable starters.

They will need to think long and hard about as they attempt to improve their rotation for next year. Do they have the stomach to trade Eric Hosmer, or Wil Myers or some other potential star in hopes of finally acquiring quality starters.

Unfortunately, that may be just what it will take.

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