Tag Archive | "Angel Berroa"

Royals Reach Deal With Escobar

Four-Year Guaranteed Contract Also Includes Club Options for 2016 and 2017

SURPRISE, AZ (March 15, 2012) — The Kansas City Royals today announced the club has reached an agreement on a multi-year contract with shortstop Alcides Escobar. The contract includes four guaranteed years through the 2015 season, then club options for each of the following two seasons: 2016 and 2017. Consistent with club policy, financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

The 25-year-old Escobar spent his first season with the Royals in 2011 after being acquired in a six-player trade with the Milwaukee Brewers on December 19, 2010. The defensive standout tied for the Major League lead with 158 games at shortstop while pacing baseball with 459 assists, 745 total chances and 271 putouts. The 6-foot-1, 193-pounder batted .254 with 21 doubles, eight triples, four home runs, 46 RBI and 69 runs scored. In addition, he stole a career-best 26 bases, becoming one of four shortstops in Royals history to steal 20 or more bases in a season (Freddie Patek, U.L. Washington and Angel Berroa). After a slow start, Escobar hit .286 from June 7 through the remainder of the season, including batting .324 in the month of September.

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Kool Aid Drinker’s Manifesto

It’s that time again, for the monthly article devoted to the Kool Aid Drinker. Originally, the Kool Aid Drinker wanted to run down his most boo-able Kansas City Royals at each position, but then I thought that might confuse some people. I have clearly presented the Kool Aid Drinker as an overly positive Royals fan that is predicting big things for the club, so talking about booing Royals doesn’t seem like his style right? Wrong. That bit of foreseen confusion led me to this, the Kool Aid Drinker’s Manifesto:

First and foremost, the Kool Aid Drinker is not just in me. There is a little bit of him in everyone that still considers himself a Royals fan in 2012. Every true fan that believed in Bob Hamelin, Mike MacDougal, and Angel Berroa…amongst others. I cannot imagine you could still be a fan of this team after 20 some years of futility without having a little unreasonable optimism in you.

While it is quite obvious that the Kool Aid Drinker loves his Royals, it should be mentioned that he is not above becoming disenchanted with those who do not live up to his lofty expectation, especially if their effort or desire seems to be lacking in any way. Ricky Blownsavico, Pop Up Perez, and Odalis “grasa pedazo de caca” Perez are just a few players that have felt his wrath. The Kool Aid Drinker is a very vocal fan, in good times and in bad.

As you can probably tell from above, the Kool Aid Drinker loves nicknames. But not Trey Hillman type nicknames. Getzy? Gordo? C’mon. He expects creativity like Country Breakfast, The Pain Killer, and The Dominator. Sometimes the Kool Aid Drinker latches on to main stream nicknames, and others he creates his own. But you will not hear him calling Jonathan Sanchez “Sanchy” any time soon.

The Kool Aid Drinker is fairly old school, especially when it comes to stadium behavior. If there is something exciting going on and you are behind him you are expected to stand; don’t ask him to sit on his hands. While he believes that there is no place for vulgarity in the stadium, he will absolutely heckle an opposing player if given a reason, mercilessly at times. I say fairly old school because he does not hate the amusement park in left field or people that start the wave. If you’re there to cheer on the Royals, we are all on the same side.

The Kool Aid Drinker hates the New York Yankees and the St. Louis Cardinals. He doesn’t care much for their fans either, especially the ones that live in KC. He believes that Yankees fans living in KC are generally bandwagoners who know little about the game. He thinks that the “Greatest Fans in Baseball” are probably the ones still coming out to the K after 26 years of losing baseball, and not some “Nation” of bird watchers that are so absolutely “informed” and “polite,” yet they blindly cheered for one of the most obvious steroid users of our generation without even a hint of remorse. (Mark McGwire, not Albert Pujols.) He also likes to goad these fan bases into ridiculous arguments that even he knows he can’t win with logic, like telling them it is okay that they lost the 43 year old Pujols because he’d rather have Eric Hosmer in 2012 anyway…or that new video evidence clearly shows that Denkinger got it right.

The Kool Aid Drinker is not thrilled with bandwagon fans, but he welcomes them all the same. There’s plenty of Kool Aid for everyone, especially in 2012. Unless, of course, they are in the above mentioned categories and just trying to hedge their bets. In fact, the Kool Aid Drinker wants to take this moment to invite anyone who reads this to jump on board right now. I’m not ready to make my final projections, but you can see what I think about the first half of the year here. It’s going to be an amazing ride in 2012, with youth developing into greatness and the eyes of the world on Kansas City in both July and hopefully October. It is “our time” Kansas City–for winning, for championships, for Kool Aid.

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Going To WAR On The Trades Of The GMDM Era- Part 2: 2007

Last week, we took a look at the deals pulled off in Dayton Moore’s first 6 months with the Kansas City Royals.  Now, we take a look at his first full year with the organization.

This week, we continue our examination of Kansas City Royals’ General Manager Dayton Moore’s deals.   In 2006, the Royals had little in their system at that time that any other organization really wanted, and they got little in return for what they dealt away.  While according to our WAR statistic, Dayton came out a bit on the short side of those deals, the trades in 2006 had little impact on the present.  What will the trades made in 2007 tell us?  Let’s take a look…

January 10, 2007: The Cincinnati Reds traded Russ Haltiwanger (minors) to the Kansas City Royals for Jeff Keppinger.
We me mentioned in last week’s column, with regard to the 2006 trade FOR Jeff Keppinger, that it was unlikely most Royals fans even remembered his tenure with the Royals.  That is because he did little during that tenure worth remembering.  However, it was immediately after the Royals shipped him off to Cincinnati,  that Keppinger began making himself a somewhat useful Second Baseman.  And as you could probably guess, Russ Haltiwanger never played a single game with the Royals, or any other MLB franchise for that matter.

Keppinger: 1.1 WAR with Reds (07-08)

Haltiwanger: 0.0 WAR (never played for Royals)

Reds win trade by 1.1 WAR

March 23, 2007: The Atlanta Braves traded Tony Pena to the Kansas City Royals for Erik Cordier (minors).
Who would have thought that it took Dayton almost an entire year before he made his first deal with his favorite organization to exchange players with, the Atlanta Braves.  This was a time when the Royals were absolutely desperate for a shortstop.  While previous shortstop and 2003 American League Rookie of the Year, Angel Berroa was still on the roster, it had become abundantly clear that a change was needed.  Pena had a reputation as a good defensive shortstop that couldn’t hit a lick.  He pretty much lived up to that reputation.  Cordier was a 2nd round pick of the Royals in 2004 and pitched for the Braves AAA affiliate last year as a 25 year old.  He has gone through Tommy John surgery and has some limited upside still as a major league pitcher.

Cordier: 0.0 WAR with Braves (has not yet reached majors but still only 25 and in Braves system)

Pena: -2.5 WAR with Royals (2007-2009)

Braves win trade by 2.5 WAR

March 27, 2007: The Kansas City Royals traded Max St. Pierre to the Milwaukee Brewers for Ben Hendrickson.
Not much worth discussing here.  Neither player ever played for the team they were traded to.  Hendrickson is out of baseball and St. Pierre is currently in the Tigers’ organization.


June 14, 2007: The Kansas City Royals traded Graham Koonce to the Atlanta Braves for Bill McCarthy (minors).
Here we go again.  Trade #2 with the Braves for Dayton was pretty forgettable for both organizations.  Koonce never played for the Braves, and McCarthy never played for the Royals.  Both players are now out of baseball.


July 13, 2007: The Detroit Tigers traded Roman Colon to the Kansas City Royals for Daniel Christensen (minors).
Colon certainly didn’t light it up with the Royals, but at least he pitched.  Christensen never pitched for the Tigers and is now out of baseball.

Christensen: 0.0 (never pitched for Tigers)

Colon: 0.1 with Royals (2009-2010)

Royals win trade by 0.1 WAR

July 31, 2007: The Kansas City Royals traded Octavio Dotel to the Atlanta Braves for Kyle Davies.
And here is trade #3 of the Dayton Moore era with the Braves.  This is one that most Royals fans undoubtedly remember.  Dotel was having a nice year for the Royals as their closer, but they were going nowhere and going into free agency.  The Braves needed bullpen help, the Royals needed young pitching.  Did Davies suck more often than not during his time with the Royals?  Absolutely.  Could the Royals have gotten more for Dotel?  Perhaps.  But this is the type of trade that you make in this situation, particularly if the GM has history with the player he is trading for, which Moore did with Davies.  It is also worth noting that Dotel became injured almost immediately after this trade and was done for the year.

Dotel: -0.1 WAR with Braves (2007)

Davies: 0.9 WAR with Royals (2007-2011)

Royals win trade by 1.0 WAR

December 14, 2007: The Kansas City Royals traded Billy Buckner to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Alberto Callaspo.
Some may remember this trade being criticized at the time it was made.  In December of 2007, Buckner was a 24 year old 2nd round pick who had just tasted his first big league action with the Royals that season. During that still sad time in Royals history, Royals fans were tricked into thinking that fringe prospects like Buckner were actually top prospects that should be worth far more than some career .220 hitting utility infielder with legal issues.  Well, chalk one up for Dayton on this one.  Callaspo came into his own with the Royals and has proven himself as a very reliable almost everyday player in the major leagues.

Buckner: -1.7 WAR with Diamondbacks (2008-2010)

Callaspo: 4.3 WAR with Royals (2008-midway through 2010)

Royals win trade by 6.0 WAR

So how did Dayton do in 2007?  Overall, he ended up winning his deals by 3.5 WAR, mainly on the strength of the Callaspo trade.   At this point in his tenure, Moore was just trying to find some under-appreciated players from organizations that could fill a role for the Royals.  And in Callaspo and arguably Davies, he was able to do this without giving up much in return.  And for those counting,  counting, 3 of the 7 trades made in 2007 were with the Atlanta Braves.

Next week, we continue with our analysis as we move on to 2008.

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The Good, Bad & Ugly In Royals Clutch Hitting History

I consider win probability added (WPA) to be the ultimate “story” stat—it tells you exactly who the heroes and goats were. Sabermetricians have pretty well disproved the myth of consistently clutch players; players are generally who they are regardless of the situation. Due to random variation, some players are going to have extremely clutch or un-clutch seeming games and seasons when they do or do not come through in crucial situations. I think of RBI in much the same why I think about WPA. RBI numbers do not tell us a great deal about a player’s individual talent, but they do tell the story of who knocked in the runs when guys were getting on base ahead of them. But WPA paints a more exact picture of how players performed in all of the contexts presented to them.

Here is a full explanation of WPA. Here is my short version: the sum of the change in a team’s chance of winning before and after each plate appearance. (It can be applied to pitchers as well, but for this post, I will only focus on hitters.) Keep in mind that for hitters it is a purely offensive number; defense does not enter into it.

I have parted ways with two American dollars for the pleasure of diving into the best and worst WPA performances in Royals history via the Baseball-Reference.com Play Index Tool. The most gob smacking find is Neifi Perez’s horrific 2002 WPA. Royals fans know the shortstop received in exchange for Jermaine Dye was an abomination, but they may not know his -6.8 WPA that year is the worst in at least the last 60 MLB seasons, and possibly of all time. (WPA is not available prior to 1950 on Baseball-Reference.) No other season in the last 60 even comes close. Perez’s plate appearances in 2002 decreased the Royals chances of winning by 682%, or close to seven games worth.

Worst MLB WPA single seasons, 1950-2010:

1 Neifi Perez -6.819 585 2002 KCR 145 554 131 3 37 .236 .260 .303 .564
2 Sam Dente -5.181 654 1950 WSH 155 603 144 2 59 .239 .286 .299 .585
3 George Wright -5.053 393 1985 TEX 109 363 69 2 18 .190 .241 .242 .483
4 Gary Disarcina -5.051 583 1997 ANA 154 549 135 4 47 .246 .271 .326 .597
5 Ronny Cedeno -4.570 572 2006 CHC 151 534 131 6 41 .245 .271 .339 .610

Neifi actually had a pretty good opening day in 2002. He went 3-for-5, moved some runners over with a single, knocked in a run with a triple, and scored two runs himself. His .047 WPA was good for second best on the Royals lineup that day. However, a sign of things to come occurred on the last play of the game: Neifi was up in the bottom of the ninth, Royals down 6-8, two on and two out. The Royals clung to a 10% win expectancy, but Neifi popped out and the game was over. On April 24th, he was the Royals WPA hero with a 3-for-4, three RBI game. But the good days were a rare exception in this season from hell.

Neifi hurting the team again...assumedly

Our Neifi came to the plate 585 times that season. Crucial moments of games seemed to find him. Alas, he was rarely up to the task. After only five percent of his plate appearances did he leave his team in a better position to win. Five percent! I do not even understand how that is possible when he got on base 26% of the time, but there it is. He had a few especially disastrous games, but he achieved the historic low more by being consistently bad day in and day out. With runners in scoring position, his already dreadful offensive skills tumbled even lower to the tune of .221/.246/.270. The Worst Season A Royals Player Ever Had may have hit its nadir when Perez refused to enter a game:

Perez…created a major clubhouse incident by refusing to enter a Sept. 9 game against the Chicago White Sox as a defensive replacement for rookie Angel Berroa. Perez later said his refusal was a joke that was misinterpreted, but his action caused a rift with several teammates. Many privately called for his immediate dismissal from the club.–Bob Dutton, November 19, 2002 Kansas City Star

Neifi makes Angel Berroa look like a golden god. Here are the Royals worst WPA single seasons:


1 Neifi Perez -6.819 585 2002 KCR 145 131 3 37 .236 .260 .303 .564
2 Angel Berroa -3.448 503 2006 KCR 132 111 9 54 .234 .259 .333 .592
3 Angel Salazar -3.437 332 1987 KCR 116 65 2 21 .205 .219 .246 .465
4 Greg Gagne -2.923 581 1993 KCR 159 151 10 57 .280 .319 .406 .724
5 Tony Pena -2.902 536 2007 KCR 152 136 2 47 .267 .284 .356 .640
6 Jason Kendall -2.832 490 2010 KCR 118 111 0 37 .256 .318 .297 .615
7 Cookie Rojas -2.828 409 1970 KCR 98 100 2 28 .260 .296 .326 .622
8 John Buck -2.818 430 2005 KCR 118 97 12 47 .242 .287 .389 .676
9 David Howard -2.805 485 1996 KCR 143 92 4 48 .219 .291 .305 .595
10 Jermaine Dye -2.756 283 1997 KCR 75 62 7 22 .236 .284 .369 .653

Jason Kendall sighting! Kind of ironic that Jermaine Dye makes the list.

Here is a happier list, the Royals best WPA single seasons:

1 George Brett 6.154 515 1980 KCR 117 175 24 118 .390 .454 .664 1.118
2 George Brett 6.048 701 1979 KCR 154 212 23 107 .329 .376 .563 .939
3 George Brett 5.498 665 1985 KCR 155 184 30 112 .335 .436 .585 1.022
4 George Brett 5.108 705 1976 KCR 159 215 7 67 .333 .377 .462 .839
5 Mike Sweeney 4.762 545 2002 KCR 126 160 24 86 .340 .417 .563 .979
6 Darrell Porter 4.684 679 1979 KCR 157 155 20 112 .291 .421 .484 .905
7 John Mayberry 4.618 683 1975 KCR 156 161 34 106 .291 .416 .547 .963
8 Amos Otis 4.569 567 1978 KCR 141 145 22 96 .298 .380 .525 .905
9 Johnny Damon 4.552 741 2000 KCR 159 214 16 88 .327 .382 .495 .877
10 George Brett 4.045 681 1988 KCR 157 180 24 103 .306 .389 .509 .898
George increased the team’s WPA in 40% of his plate appearances in 1980. With runners in scoring position, he upped his line to .469/.542/.815. He of course dominates the Royals all-time list as well:


1 George Brett 52.107 11624 1973 1993 2707 3154 317 1596 .305 .369 .487 .857
2 Amos Otis 27.275 7969 1970 1983 1891 1977 193 992 .280 .347 .433 .780
3 Mike Sweeney 15.970 5278 1995 2007 1282 1398 197 837 .299 .369 .492 .861
4 Hal McRae 15.666 7361 1973 1987 1837 1924 169 1012 .293 .356 .458 .814
5 John Mayberry 13.528 3752 1972 1977 897 816 143 552 .261 .374 .448 .822
6 Danny Tartabull 10.832 2684 1987 1991 657 674 124 425 .290 .376 .518 .894
7 Carlos Beltran 9.043 3512 1998 2004 795 899 123 516 .287 .352 .483 .835
8 Darrell Porter 8.194 2262 1977 1980 555 514 61 301 .271 .375 .435 .809
9 Paul Schaal 5.541 2340 1969 1974 606 525 32 198 .263 .360 .368 .728
10 Kevin Seitzer 5.110 3163 1986 1991 741 809 33 265 .294 .380 .394 .774


At the other end of the spectrum is another team hall-of-famer. Frank White reached a positive WPA in just two of his 18 seasons. Good thing he had that golden glove.


Royals worst career totals:


1 Frank White -16.325 8467 1973 1990 2324 2006 160 886 .255 .293 .383 .675
2 David Howard -9.272 1586 1991 1997 547 320 8 130 .229 .289 .302 .591
3 Cookie Rojas -8.135 3354 1970 1977 880 824 25 332 .268 .314 .346 .660
4 Neifi Perez -8.045 805 2001 2002 194 179 4 49 .238 .265 .303 .568
5 Freddie Patek -7.601 4867 1971 1979 1245 1036 28 382 .241 .309 .321 .630
6 Angel Berroa -7.287 2496 2001 2007 627 606 45 235 .263 .305 .384 .689
7 Brent Mayne -7.187 2200 1990 2003 664 483 20 205 .244 .305 .322 .627
8 John Buck -7.104 2116 2004 2009 584 450 70 259 .235 .298 .407 .705
9 Greg Gagne -7.092 1472 1993 1995 386 358 23 157 .266 .317 .392 .708
10 Onix Concepcion -5.841 1130 1980 1985 389 248 3 80 .238 .277 .293 .570

Bringing things to the present, here is how 2011 Royals hitters are shaping up this season:


Jeff Francoeur 151 1.0
Wilson Betemit 112 0.5
Matt Treanor 80 0.3
Melky Cabrera 161 0.2
Jarrod Dyson 26 0.2
Alex Gordon 155 0.2
Billy Butler 150 0.1
Chris Getz 132 0.1
Mitch Maier 16 0.1
Eric Hosmer 22 -0.0
Kila Ka’aihue 96 -0.0
Brayan Pena 62 -0.3
Mike Aviles 108 -0.4
Alcides Escobar 142 -2.1
Team Total 1413 -0.3

Escobar is bringing up the rear in all of the majors, and is on pace to enter some seriously unpleasant territory. At his current pace, if he equaled Perez’s 585 plate appearances, he would end up with -8.7 WPA. Ruh-roh.

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Juntos Podemos! The Unforgettable Opening Day of 2004

April 5, 2004: The stadium is positively electric. Fans chant, whoop and holler as they exit the stadium like it’s college football game day. High fives for everyone who passes by.

The spiraling ramps bubble with the kind of glee found on Bourbon Street. The cause for such elation?

Snatching victory from the jaws of defeat, the Royals just won their opening day game on two dramatic home runs in the bottom of the ninth. After trailing 7 to 3 going to bat for the last time, Mendy Lopez tied the game with a three-run blast. And then with movie-quality drama, Carlos Beltran launched a two-run homer to finish it off.

The Royals are going to be contenders once again.

After all, we came oh so close to making the playoffs last year. And we’re a lot better this year than last year. We’ve got Juan Gonzales to rake home runs and a veteran catcher in Benito Santiago to shepherd our up-and-coming pitching staff. We’ve got the Rookie-of-the-Year at shortstop in Angel Berroa, plus Mike Sweeney, Ken Harvey, Joe Randa… this is a team that’s built to make a playoff run.

Well… that didn’t quite turn out as planned.

But that was an opening day to remember.

I’ve taken in quite a few opening day games. There’s nothing like it, as far as the Royals are concerned. The team is still mathematically in contention, and for one afternoon, the stadium is packed with people.

In talking to the people actually in the stadium on opening day, however, you learn that most of them aren’t exactly there because they’re enthusiastic about the team. They are there because they got free tickets from work, or because it’s a tradition to come out one time a year, drink beer and enjoy the spring afternoon away from the office, or because they just like to be where the action is.

Not many folks in the stands really care about the Royals success or failure. But on that day in 2004, we were all believers. When I say it was like a college football atmosphere, I mean it. We were passionate, hanging on every pitch.

Of all the games I’ve seen in Kaufman, I’d say that was possibly the most exciting one.

Funny as it sounds now, we really did have high hopes for that team. We’d finished the 2003 season still believing like Tony Pena even after faltering down the stretch to finish at 83-79. It was the most exciting season in about a decade. Why couldn’t we improve upon it?

“Juntos Podemos!” was the battle cry for 2004. Unfortunately, it would seem Gonzales and Santiago didn’t understand that in English that means “Together we can!” They weren’t a part of anything but the disabled list for most of the year.

Berroa wasn’t terrible… yet. But he was well on his way. Three of our best hitters – Sweeney, Randa and Harvey – all finished with the exact same batting average: .287. They each battled injuries, as did just about everyone else.

The losses started mounting immediately following the opening day thriller.

With a record of 28-41, the plug was pulled on this team on June 24. After getting blasted 12-3 by Detroit, the Royals shipped off their best player, Carlos Beltran, for prospects that would prove to be the building blocks for the terrible teams of the rest of the decade.

That team won just 58 and lost 104. There have been some awful teams in KC since then, but possibly none as bad as that one. And certainly none as disappointing.

But for that one glorious afternoon, the exit ramps rocked with chants of “Let’s go Royals” and it was great to be a fan on opening day.

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Breakdown Of The Greinke Haul

Zach Greinke is gone. It’s time to get over it and move on. The harsh realities of life forced Dayton Moore to seek the best deal the market would bear for Kansas City’s one and only star. And now the only thing left to do is evaluate what the Royals received in return.

The superstar-for-prospects trades of the past haven’t worked out too well in the past for the Royals. Look back at the trades of Beltran in 2004 (which brought Mike Wood, Mark Teahen and John Buck) and Damon in 2001 (which netted Roberto Hernandez, Angel Berroa and A.J. Hinch). Because of the high profile of these trades, the Royals had no choice but to give these six players every opportunity to succeed. But what they got was years of mediocre performance which finally came to an end when the Royals finally purged Buck and Teahen a year ago.

Hope springs eternal, however, and the pieces added in the Greinke trade make sense, at least on paper. The Royals farm system features a couple of prime corner position players, but it’s been void of up-the middle prospects for years. They’ve tried desperately to add shortstops and centerfielders through trades and free agency, but that strategy has produced mostly one-hit wonders (Berroa) and washouts (Neifi Perez, Coco Crisp, Rick Ankiel, etc.)

So Moore insisted on getting young, major-league ready, up-the-middle players with several years left under the control of their current franchise in return for Greinke. He landed two highly touted players that fit that description in shortstop Alcides Escobar and centerfielder Lorenzo Cain.

Alcides Escobar

There wasn’t one “centerpiece” to the Greinke trade, but a big-league-ready shortstop was probably the non-negotiable element that had to be included. Escobar was Baseball America’s #1 rated shortstop going into the 2010 season when he was handed the starting job in Milwaukee.

Infatuation with Escobar waned during the last season when he struggled at the plate, hitting .235 with a .288 OBP. But Royals fans hope those struggles were merely growing pains at the expense of the Brewers. After all, he’d hit over .300 in the minors in both 2007 and 2008, and .298 in 2009, before getting into 38 games with Milwaukee in 2009, where he recorded a .304 average.

Escobar’s arm is reportedly one of the best in the league and he has the speed to be a threat on the base paths. He swiped 42 bases in his last minor league stop. If his bat can catch his other skills, he could finally vanquish the Yuninefi Berroacourt monster that has plagued the Royals for a decade.

At best, the Royals have fixed the shortstop problem for the long term. At the least, they have upgraded from a shortstop who will be 29 next season to one who will be just 24 and who is under the Royals’ control through the 2015 season.

The Royals don’t know what they have in Jeff Bianchi, a 2nd rounder in 2005 who has hit solidly but just can’t stay healthy. If he’s healthy, Bianchi will most likely start the season at Double A. Meanwhile, many are guessing Christian Colon, the 4th pick in the 2010 draft who played shortstop at Wilmington last season is a better fit at second base and will now shift over there. Many are already penciling in a double play combo of Escobar and Colon for the future.

Lorenzo Cain

Reportedly the Atlanta Braves coveted Cain but couldn’t swing a deal to get him. So the story goes that Braves scout Jim Fregosi told Moore “If you trade Greinke, get Cain.”

If that story is true, what is it about Cain that scouts love?

First off, Cain is an athlete. He’s tall, strong and fast. The Royals hope he can develop into a top-flight defender in centerfield, another position where the team hasn’t found a consistent fit. They tried handing the position to an injury-prone veteran the past couple of years – first Crisp, then Ankiel. They hope the 24-year-old who played 43 games in Milwaukee can solidify the position.

Cain shot up rapidly last season, partly due to trades and injuries. He hit .324 with 21 stolen bases at Double A Huntsville, then hit .299 with 5 steals in a short stopover in Nashville. Once in Milwaukee, Cain continued to hit, going .306 with a .348 OBP in 147 at bats.

The addition of Cain affects the way the rest of the outfield shapes up. One would assume that the Royals plan to make Cain their every day centerfielder. Before the Greinke trade, did they plan for Melky Cabrera to have that role? Will Melky now platoon with left-fielder Gordon? Or will they rotate Cain, Melky and Gordon with rightfielder Jeff Francouer?

Having options is a good thing for manager Ned Yost, but it might not be a good thing for Gordon. Gordon was not a Dayton Moore draft pick and may be running out of chances. The addition of Cain would also not bode well for reserve outfielder Mitch Maier and certainly not for Gregor Blanco. Blanco has shown some potential, but he’s mainly been in the mix because he’s a speedy slap-hitting type. Now the Royals have more options in center, so Blanco’s opportunity may have been short lived.

The acquisition of Cain is also not helpful to minor leaguers Jarrod Dyson, David Lough and Derrick Robinson, each of whom has been considered a prospect, but is about the same age as Cain.

The two major-league- ready position players were the essentials to get the Royals to consider the trade. But adding top-flight pitching prospects is what made the deal worth doing.

Jeremy Jeffress

The Royals gained a major talent when 23-year-old Jeffress was included in the Greinke trade. Although he was a starter throughout most of his minor-league career, Jeffress appears perfectly suited for the role of table-setter for Joakim Soria. He showed he was more than capable his rookie season, notching 8 strikeouts and a 2.70 ERA in 10 innings of relief in 2010.

But let’s cut to the chase. Jeffress has tested positive for marijuana three times. Is that the type of guy who can hold it together when major-league money and major-league pressures come with the job? Is that the type of guy the Royals need in the clubhouse as they bring up their prized crop of prospects? Moore must either be naïve, or he must be certain Jeffress has his personal life under control.

If Jeffress can live up to his potential, his potential is scary. He can push 100 miles per hour and reportedly has an effective curve – which is why the Brewers made him the 16th pick in the 2006 draft.

The effect of Jeffress on the franchise will depend upon him. If he has his act together he could be a dominant reliever. If he can’t, the Royals are used to muddling through the later innings, so expect more of the same.

Jake Odorizzi

Still a couple of years removed from the big leagues, Odorizzi was hardly a throw-in for Greinke. A supplemental first-rounder in 2008 and the top pitching prospect in the Brewers’ system, the right hander immediately becomes perhaps the Royals’ top righty in their entire farm system.

Odorizzi is just 20 and will most likely start the season at Northwest Arkansas. But with very few right handers to compete with, he’ll be a top commodity. His addition takes some of the pressure off Aaron Crow to live up to his first-round billing.

As we’ve seen before, if any team can screw up prospects, it’s the Royals. These types of trades are intended to reel in several quality pieces in exchange for one superstar. But how many of these four will the Royals have to hit on for the trade to have been worth it? Is one quality starter out of the bunch a good value? Do all four have to pan out?

This trade can’t be sufficiently judged for years. The Royals are giving Moore time to build the team from the bottom up. But if Moore someday is deemed a failure, it may be based more on the results of this trade than anything else he does.

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