Buy Or Sell

Is it too early to start thinking about the trade deadline?  That used to be an easier question to answer.  The new playoff format implemented by the league last year complicates this issue somewhat.  Sure, maybe if you’re the Miami Marlins you’ve been thinking about the trade deadline since early May, but for other teams it’s not that simple.  This is the case for the Kansas City Royals.

DaytonMoore

Whether you like the new playoff format or not, it’s here to stay for at least the foreseeable future and complicates the General Manager’s job for at least half the teams in both leagues.  Currently the Royals sit three games under 500 and five and a half games out of first place.  Their record is 30-33.  Certainly not the end of the world, especially with close to a hundred games left in the season.

In the wild card standings, the Royals are six games back.  Three of the teams in front of them in the wild card race are in the Eastern division and one each in the West and Central.  Again, not necessarily the end of the world or the end of the season.  Compare this record with a team like the Astros who are currently twenty one games below 500 and the Royals chances at the playoffs seem absolutely brilliant by comparison.  But ohh my, what a difference a week makes.

Coming into the beginning of the week, the Royals had a six game winning streak; this brings their winning percentage up to .476 from an abysmal .418.  Add to this an eight game losing streak from the second place Cleveland Indians and all of a sudden you have a division race, not to mention that their latest victory was off of the central division leading Tigers.  The Royals took two from the Tigers to win that series, their only loss was to Max Scherzer.  Scherzer has lost how many games this year?  Oh right, zero.

Wednesday, the Tigers sent 2011 Cy Young and MVP winner Justin Verlander to the mound and he shut the Royals out for seven innings holding on to a two run lead.  But in the 9th, Lorenzo Cain connected off of Jose Valverde for a two run homer that tied the game.  The Royals would go on to win the game and the series in the 10th inning when Eric Hosmer singled in the final run.

It would seem that bullpen troubles aren’t unique to Kansas City.  Detroit’s pen currently has a record of 4-12 proving that they aren’t invincible.  The Royals have a 3-2 record against the Tigers with their only other loss to them coming back in April off of, whom else, Max Scherzer.  These two teams will play thirteen more times before the season is over and the Tigers can’t send Verlander and Scherzer to the mound for all one hundred and seventeen of those innings.

This was a huge series for the Royals.  Not only does it keep them within striking distance in the division, it provides a giant mental boost.  Winning the Tigers series sends the message that the Royals can beat the supposed best team in baseball, whereas a sweep by the Tigers would have put them far enough back in the standings that Dayton Moore would probably start getting his resume ready and his replacement would be trying to figure out how to sell off some of the key pieces of this team.

It isn’t exactly certain what a selling season for the Royals would even look like.  Would they trade off the pitching they just acquired at a cost of their own best prospects or would they get rid of their young talent that they have locked up during their most cost effective years?  Neither sound like good options and something tells me they didn’t keep their receipt for Wil Myers.

The Royals have ten games against division rivals this month.  If they can keep their winning streak going into July they will start to look like a buying team.  Shoring up the bullpen would go a long way towards making a playoff run but buying players this year may be problematic as well.  The once well stocked Royals farm system was thinned out quite a bit to get them where they are now (30-33).  However, if it works and the Royals make the playoffs, Dayton Moore will look like a genius.  If they don’t, well, at least they aren’t the Astros.

Author: Christian Hill

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3 Comments

  1. The statement, “It would seem that bullpen troubles aren’t unique to Kansas City,” implies that Kansas City has bullpen troubles. However, they’ve had one of the best bullpens in baseball since the beginning of 2012. I find your take on this somewhat confusing.

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    • Hey Colin, sorry for the confusion. Not trying to qualify the Royals Bullpen against any one team or across any specific amount of time with that sentence. There have been a few games this year where the Royals have lost close games by giving up runs in the late innings. That’s always frustrating and all I meant by that statement.

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  2. I am a Rays fan. I have been following the Royals very closely since the big trade of Big Game James this offseason. First off, score some runs for that poor bastard! 2-6, 1st in innings pitched and 6th in ERA. You got your ace, so do something to help him Dayton. Secondly, sorry Wade sucks, and Elliot can’t hit a non Ray’s pitcher (9 RBI total, 5 against us. 2 HR this year. 2 off Hellickson).

    2 easy upgrades seem to be right field and a platoon partner for Moose (Tejada doesn’t count. Also, Moose has no business being anywhere other than AAA right now). The Rays will be calling up Wil soon, leaving them 3 options on whom to DFA (I assume we keep Fuld as def replacemnt for K Johnson and he is the only other CF): Luke Scott, Sean Rodriguez, and Brian Roberts. This presents good options for the Royals. Luke Scott provides at minimum the platoon split with (should also be DFA’d) Francoeur, or possibly his outright replacement. I think he has a little outfield left in him, and on a 1 year, 3 mil contract, should be plenty affordable to any team. Sean Rod destroys LHP, and has played 6 positions, including third. Roberts is the best available right handed 3rd baseman thatt is likely to be DFA’d.

    Just a thought. Not expecting much in return for any of the above. Here’s where it gets interesting! Matt Joyce. He is getting expensive. He has 2 years of arbitration left, and if the Rays find themselves 10 games out of it, it doesn’t appear we have the pitching to get back in it this year. If Joyce gets moved to make room for Wil this year, and Hak Ju Lee or Tim beckham next year (either would play second, and Zobrist to OF), the Royals definately have a need. He would instantly become the 2nd best hitter the Royals have.

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