Tag Archive | "Los Angels"

Royals acquire Angels starter Ervin Santana

Royals General Manager Dayton Moore likes to strike early, and this offseason is no exception. To help bolster the rotation, the Royals acquired right-handed starter Ervin Santana, 29, and $1MM cash from the Los Angeles Angels for minor league reliever Brandon Sisk, 27. The Royals will likely pay Santana $13MM for 2013.

So what are the Royals getting for $13MM? In 2012, Santana had a 5.16 ERA with a 9-13 record over 30 starts and 178.0 innings pitched. He had a 6.7 SO/9, 3.1 BB/9 and a 2.18 SO/BB ratio and gave up 2.0 HR/9. His WAR was -1.6. Of the five Angels starters, Santana had the worst ERA, had the least amount of SO/9, gave up the most home runs in the league at 39, and had the worst WAR among Angels starters.

That doesn’t sound good, but Santana’s ERA was lower than Bruce Chen, Will Smith and Luke Hochevar (I think everyone’s ERA is lower than Hochevar’s. Well, except for Jonathan Sanchez). Only Chen and Hochevar pitched more innings than Santana and only Chen won more games than Santana with 11. Santana had a better SO/9 than the 2012 Royals starters, but worse HR/9. Only Hochevar had a worse WAR at 1.7. In other words, the 2012 Santana is an improvement, but not by much.

What’s the upside? If you average out Santana’s 2008-2011 seasons, his ERA was 3.90, he had a 52-37 record with 202.1 average innings pitched. His average SO/9 was 7.4, BB/9 was 2.7, SO/BB was 2.89 and he gave up an average of 1.1 HR/9 with a 2.4 WAR. Compare that to top free agent Zack Greinke‘s 2012 season with a 3.48 ERA, 212.1 innings pitched, 8.5 SO/9, 2.3 BB/9, 3.70 SO/BB and giving up 0.8 HR/9 and 1.6 WAR. Greinke’s overall numbers are better, but Santana’s numbers are close. If the Royals get the 2008-2011 Santana, he will be a vast improvement to the Royals rotation.

Between the two, Greinke is a much better pitcher. But if you think the Royals are getting Greinke for $13MM a year, you’re dreaming. Santana is a one year, $13MM deal and unless he goes all Jonathan Sanchez on the Royals, they’re getting a league average middle of the rotation innings eater. The Royals hope Santana can bridge the team to 2014, when pitchers like Jake Odorizzi, Danny Duffy and Felipe Paulino are a part of the rotation.

Let’s put it this way: the Royals offseason is better compared to last offseason by getting Ervin Santana and trading Sisk to the Angels, who wasn’t going to be on the Royals 40-man roster anyway. Of course that’s a pretty low bar to clear. But it shows the Royals are serious and Moore says the team isn’t through looking for starting pitching.

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Plenty Of Positives To Take From An Ugly Weekend For The Royals

Despite being swept by the Cleveland Indians while playing in front of their home crowd for the first time in 2012, the Kansas City Royals provided some reasons for optimism.

Photo Courtesy of Minda Haas

After what the box scores would tell fans was an absolutely miserable weekend for Royals fans at the K, the easy thing to do would be to point out all of the things that went wrong (which were many), all of the players that need to be sent packing (one already was, there may be few more), and all of the reasons Royals fans should be concerned for the rest of the season. But now is not the time to be dwelling on Jarrod Dyson’s defense, the Royals’ starting pitching, Mitch Maier’s relief pitching appearance, or the distance of Travis Hafner’s home run on Sunday. Sure, Luke Hochevar had a bad half inning. Though he wasn’t helped by his defense or an accidental check-swing bloop hit to right by Shelley Duncan, he needs to be able to limit the damage and pitch his way out of those situations without giving up 7 runs. Sure, after a decent first showing against the Los Angeles Angels, Jonathan Sanchez was erratic agains the Indians on Saturday, lost control of his pitch count, and couldn’t find the plate, unless it was being met by a Cleveland Indians’ player’s bat. Did fans really expect anything different? If Sanchez goes out and throws a 2-hitter with 11 K’s in his next outing, he will have, in 3 outings, perfectly exemplified both why the Royals wanted to acquire him and why he was available in the first place. That is who he is. Was anyone really surprised when, on Sunday, the imposter who had been running around in the Mendoza jersey revealed his true identity to be none other than Luis Mendoza himself? He of the 7.21 career ERA?

A message to Royals fans: let’s take a deep breath, back away from the ledge, and focus on the things that went well over the weekend, of which there were several:

1. The Royals did not quit in any of the 3 games. Some might consider putting Maier in as a relief pitcher on Sunday as a sign of quitting, but when the bullpen has been exhausted the way it was all weekend, and with no day off on Monday, that was about survival and living to fight another day. The Royals gave up 7 runs in the first game, and lost 8-3 with the final Indians’ run being scored on a Home Run in the 9th inning. Watching the game, you had the feeling they might have a big inning in them that could get them back in the game. They threatened several times, but couldn’t make it happen. Imagine what the final score would have been had the 2005 Royals gotten down 7-0 in the top of the first…ok, never mind. The next night, the Royals fought back from a 9-2 deficit to tie the game at 9-9, before losing 11-9 in extra innings. That speaks for itself. And on Sunday, even with the game getting out of hand, the Royals still managed to put up 7 runs.

2. Mike Moustakas appears to have grown up quickly. Despite ending the weekend with his batting average sitting at just .257, Moustakas is hitting the ball extremely hard, playing amazing defense, and does not seem to resemble the awestruck rookie he appeared to be much of last season.

3. Billy Butler is still Billy Butler. With 8 RBI’s in the first 9 games of the season, Butler is on a torrid run-producing pace. He appears poised for a true breakout season. It is hard to believe he is still only 25 years old (for 2 more days-Happy early birthday, Country Breakfast!). Butler is certainly the most underrated hitter on this team.

4. The Royals have something in Everett Teaford. What his role might be in the future will be determined, but the performance he put up in 4 innings of relief on Friday (1 Hit, 2 Walks, 3 SO, 0 Runs) was impressive.

5. Kelvin Herrera is flat out nasty. Though the radar gun at Kauffman is less than trustworthy, it had him clocked as high as 102 over the weekend. He gave up the home run on Friday night to the first batter he faced, but after that, he was un-hittable.

So settle down, Royals fans. This may not be the last weekend we see like this. There will be more bumps in the road. And though it may be time to hit the reset button on your expectations, just enjoy watching what is still the most exciting collection of young talent in all of baseball.

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Going To WAR On The Trades Of The GMDM Era- Part 5: 2010

On we go, with our analysis of the trades of the Dayton Moore era as General Manager of the Kansas City Royals.  When combined together, the results up until 2010 have not been altogether flattering.  As was mentioned in the previous piece, as we get closer in years to the present day, the data becomes less reliable as many of the players involved in these trades are still in the minor leagues so there are no statistics with which to come up with their WAR.  Due to the number of trades made in the 2010 year, this year will be split into 2 columns with the next and final piece also including the conclusion to this evaluation.  So without any further ado, the GMDM trades of 2010:

May 1, 2010: The Kansas City Royals traded Carlos Rosa to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Rey Navarro (minors).

In 2 forgettable seasons with the Royals, Rosa compiled a 0.3 WAR, which is right around replacement level.  He was clearly expendable, and was out of baseball after the 2010 season.  Navarro spent last season in Double A Northwest Arkansas, and at best, projects out to be a slick-fielding utility infielder who can’t hit.  He will likely spend 2012 in Triple A Omaha.  So while Arizona technically wins this trade on WAR, the Royals have a chance to come out on top still.

Rosa: 0.1 WAR with Diamondbacks (2010)

Navarro: 0.0 WAR (has yet to appear for Royals)

Diamondbacks win trade by 0.1 WAR

July 22, 2010: The Kansas City Royals traded Alberto Callaspo to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for Will Smith (minors) and Sean O’Sullivan.

At the time this trade was made, the consensus was that the Royals sold high on Callaspo and made out well.  O’Sullivan was pegged as a solid, young back of the rotation starter, and Smith was a lower level minor leaguer with a little more upside.  A year and half later, the consensus is that O’Sullivan isn’t very good, Smith is still a few years away, and Callaspo has continued to be an effective player for the Angels, sporting a stellar .366 OBP and 4.5 WAR (near all-star level) in 2011.  However, at the time he was traded, the Royals needed to find a way to get Wilson Betemit in the lineup, and knew they had Mike Moustakas coming up soon, so Callaspo needed to be dealt while his stock was high.  While O’Sullivan has shown some flashes, he has been more bad than good.  He is however, still just 24 years old so it is possible he could turn the corner and become a useful major league pitcher.  Smith is just 22 and pitched at Northwest Arkansas in 2011.  He will likely make the jump to Omaha in 2012.  He is not currently on the 40-man roster, but is slated to be a non-roster invitee to spring training.  Just going by the numbers and the productivity that each team has received at the major league level up to this point, this trade qualifies as the single biggest fleecing of the Dayton Moore era…and not the kind of fleecing you want to see if you’re a Royals fan.

Callaspo: 5.0 WAR with Angels (1/2 of 2010 and 2011)

Smith: 0.0 WAR (has yet to appear for Royals)

O’Sullivan: -2.0 WAR with Royals (1/2 of 2010 and 2011)

Angels win trade by 7.0 WAR

July 28, 2010: The Kansas City Royals traded Scott Podsednik to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Elisaul Pimentel (minors) and Lucas May.

When Moore signed Podsednik as a free agent prior to the 2010 season, the best case scenario would have been for Pods to play at a high level for half a season, allowing the Royals to flip him at the deadline for some useful pieces for the long-term.  And that is exactly what happened.  Podsednik, at the age of 34, was in the midst of putting up statistically the second best season of his lengthy career with a line of .310/.353/.400.  Moore then predicatbly found a taker for him at the deadline in the Dodgers.  In return the Royals received Pitcher Elisaul Pimentaul and Catcher Lucas May.  Pimentel spent 2011 at Double A Northwest Arkansas and has yet to establish himself as anything more than organizational depth.  May appeared with the Royals in 2010 for an uninspiring 39 plate appearances, before being dealt in 2011 to the Arizona Diamondbacks.  Podsednik did little for the Dodgers after this trade, but judging off of WAR, the Royals once again came out on the short end.

Podsednik: 0.0 WAR with Dodgers (1/2 of 2010)

Pimentel: 0.0 WAR (has yet to appear for Royals)

May: -0.6 WAR with Royals (1/2 of 2010)

Dodgers win trade by 0.6 WAR

July 31, 2010: The Kansas City Royals traded Rick Ankiel and Kyle Farnsworth to the Atlanta Braves for Gregor Blanco, Jesse Chavez and Tim Collins.

What was said above about best case scenario for Podsednik, can also be applied to the signing of Rick Ankiel.  However, it ends there as Ankiel was far from effective in his half-season with the Royals.  In fact, at times it seemed he might be attempting his best Juan Gonzalez impersonation with all of the time he spent on the DL.  It was a miracle the Royals were able to unload him on anyone.  Farnsworth was brutal in 2009, his first year with the Royals.  However, in 2010, he bounced back in a big way making himself a very attractive chip at the trade deadline.   Of the 3 players the Royals received in exchange for these 2, Tim Collins is the only one still with the Royals and will be battling for a spot on the 2012 opening day roster pitching out of the bullpen.  With him being the only player in the entire trade still on the roster of the team they were traded to, this trade could get even better for the Royals as time goes on.

Ankiel: 0.3 WAR with Braves (1/2 of 2010)

Farnsworth: -0.3 WAR with Braves (1/2 of 2010)

Blanco: 0.4 WAR with Royals (1/2 of 2010)

Chavez: -1.0 WAR with Royals (1/2 of 2010 and 2011)

Collins: 1.1 WAR with Royals (2011)

Royals win trade by 0.5 WAR

Please come back next week for the conclusion of this evaluation.  So far, it is not looking good for Dayton…

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Royals Steal Angels Lunch Money

I must admit I’m thoroughly surprised. Not at the early struggles in Saint Louis, but more so the early struggles of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Their lack of production and will to succeed has led to a winning start in Kansas City and gave the Royals their short-lived time in the sun. Don’t get too over your heads Royals faithful, this success will not last.

I was in attendance during Saturday’s game at Kauffman Stadium and let me tell you, the Royals are still a poor team. They still have no clue what actual role they play. They don’t know what they are capable of. They must be shocked that they are 3-1. But I understand their early success. They should thank the Angels for their lack of competitiveness. Talk about a ball club that has all the talent in the world to whip the Royals, but simply doesn’t have heart to produce a solidified win. Yes, they have aged in the past couple of years, but they had the advantage over the Royals in each of the first four games. Better pitchers, better hitters, and better coaching- all of that combined with way more experience. It was simply a team that wanted it against a team that didn’t. The Angels are better than the Royals. But the Royals wanted it more and the Angels just wanted to go home. The Angels bullpen is showing signs they might be the weakest in the league. If Chris Getz and a no name back up catcher are single handedly winning ball games against you, something is missing. I think it’s a lack of heart. Was it the fan base that gave the Royals the much-needed boost? No.

On opening day Kauffman Stadium was filled to the brim. The Royals lost. In game two the stadium was half full. The Royals won. On Saturday, one-third full- mark another win in the books. On Sunday, barely anyone, Royals win!

There are bright spots from any win in Major League Baseball. For the Royals, it’s easy to figure. The Royals are getting production from every player they DIDN’T expect to get production from. Getz especially, but with Treanor coming through in clutch situations and solid relief pitching, we can say that the Royals are thus far playing on a more “complete” level than we anticipated.

Kyle Davies looked inconsistent at times, but his first appearance was appealing. He gave up a fair amount of hits, but got himself out of some sticky situations. Aaron Crow is on fire and reminds me of McDougal in 2003, loaded with tons of confidence and firepower. Whether those attributes remain steady is all a matter of time.

I love how Yost is giving Kila Ka’aihue the nod at first base. I think it’s a great move for the ball cub to let Billy Butler solely focus on driving in every run he possibly can. It nice to see the Royals do something that I actually agree with.

The Royals are squeaking their way to victory so far and it’s encouraging to see the underdog finish in the win column three straight games. Two of them in walk off fashion. The Angels shouldn’t be too stunned. I think this series gave them just what the doctor ordered and provided them with the perfect indication that they are facing serious problems. With the Orioles controlling the AL East, the Royals clutching up in the first series, and the Rangers dominating the West, the American League (so far) is looking unpredictable in the fullest degree.

I know we are only one series down, but teams like Baltimore, Kansas City, and Texas who are off to a fast start, all have tremendous futures by rumor. It’s nice to see Boston shell out a monsoon of dollar signs, only to find themselves in a 0-3 hole to start 2011. But unfortunately we aren’t talking about a 16 game NFL schedule here. This is baseball and there are 159 games left to play out. Such a decent start in Kansas City is already ticking away, as most expect the team to run out of breath sooner or later. Boston will be fine, New York will be fine, and those Angels (aside from a horrendous bullpen performance) will most likely be fine too. It’s baseball. Money talks. You spend it and you usually reap some type of long-term reward. You don’t spend it, you usually got what you paid for.

Who wouldn’t love to see the Royals take this small run all the way into October? It’s what any good man would want. Witnessing a battered and beaten franchise, command a league while at the same time being the underdog in nearly every game they play. It’s the American Cinderella fairy tale. I just don’t believe the Royals have all the pieces in the right place to make it happen during the course of an entire season. The Angels have problems. The Royals took advantage of those problems. The Royals have problems of their own and most teams they play won’t be as dreary and dumbfounded as the Angels were. The Royals won’t win many series with the way they played this weekend. Better performance is needed to come out on top.

Best of luck, but I can’t see it.

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