Tag Archive | "Navarro"

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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Yuni? That’s Your Answer? You Must Be Joking!

I never thought I would be one of those writers with a cause célèbre, a single issue that I address frequently and passionately. But it would appear I have finally found my hot button issue.

I’ve bemoaned in two different articles recently the Royals’ handling of their need for a backup infielder – a “utility infielder,” if you will.

The collective scream of “No!” that you heard around Kansas City yesterday was fans reacting to the announcement that the Royals had signed Yuniesky Betancourt as a backup infielder. And I am back at the computer, this time not to address what the Royals should do. This time I have to address what it is they have done, which is more baffling than any decision to date.

If on no other basis that PR, this signing stinks. Betancourt’s inclusion in the Zack Greinke trade was seen by Royals fans as a case of addition by subtraction. Betancourt is probably the most reviled player in recent KC history. Fans celebrated every move Alcides Escobar made if for no other reason than that he is not Yuniesky Betancourt.

I have been railing about the Royals’ mishandling of Mike Aviles and Yamaico Navarro and their need for someone who can capably back up Escobar at shortstop as well as Mike Moustakas at third and whoever the Royals deem their starting second baseman.

Conventional wisdom says you need someone who isn’t necessarily sent out to win games, but who won’t lose games. Utility infielders usually are steady, not flashy, dependable, not streaky.

If that is the case, then Yuni is not your guy. Sure he has some pop, and can occasionally make an impressive play. But this is a guy who catches (or doesn’t catch) pop flies one-handed off to the side of his body. He fails with runners in scoring position. He covers very little ground.

That is, he covers very little ground at short. The Royals admit that Betancourt has only played nine games in his career at second base. As far as I know, he’s NEVER played third.

So the Royals problem really still isn’t fixed. You can’t blame the Royals for not having made a decision between Johnny Giavotella and Chris Getz. So they’ll probably carry both on the roster. So second is backed up already.

But who fills in for Moustakas? A guy who sucks at his natural position of shortstop and has never played third? Who shows lack of discipline and poor work habits? Whose physical skills are rapidly deteriorating?

I just don’t get it. And I don’t think I’m alone among Royals fans. Bringing back a guy who was unpopular is one thing. But bringing back an unpopular guy to play a role for which he’s poorly suited seems much worse.

I usually have on my powder-blue colored glasses for roster moves, but I don’t for this one. To me it’s just plain stupid.

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Moves By Royals Not Exactly Utilitiarian

When I was a kid, there was always a player or two on the Royals team that seemed like dead weight (see Jerry Terrell, Rance Mulliniks, Greg Pryor…) He couldn’t hit very well, and he wasn’t good enough to hold a starting position. Yet every few days or so he was in the lineup, filling in for one of my favorite players.

Aviles

It was explained to me that every team had to have one of these guys – they were called “utility infielders,” and even though you didn’t like seeing them in the lineup, they were necessary. When infielders were injured or needed a rest, you needed a versatile, dependable guy who could play any infield position as a replacement.

I never liked those guys, but I accepted that they were necessary.

So last summer I thought the Royals had a potential utility infielder in Mike Aviles. With Johnny Giavotella, Alcides Escobar and Mike Moustakas looming, Aviles seemed destined for the bench. But Aviles is not just a Punch and Judy hitter. The Royals weren’t exactly surrendering at-bats when he was in the lineup. He played second, short and third, all about equally well (not exactly a ringing endorsement).

So I got angry when the Royals left Aviles in the minors for an extended period last year, leaving themselves vulnerable with no good middle-infield fill-in. I wrote an article stating just this when the Royals recalled Aviles in late July.

But then KC shipped out Aviles in exchange for what looked to be another utility infielder – Yamaico Navarro. Ok, I thought, maybe the Royals are trying to upgrade at this all-important position. They are going after the very best utility man they can find.

So what did they do then? They demoted Navarro, going instead with Chris Getz as their backup infielder late in the season.

I was angry once again. Why were the Royals going against that sage advice I’d heard as a kid? Every team must have a light-hitting, boring backup infielder on their roster!

Still Navarro was just a phone call and a quick drive from Omaha away. Perhaps with some work during the off-season, Navarro would become just what the team needed.

So what did the Royals do last week? They traded Navarro. They did get a versatile infielder in the trade – one who’s never played baseball on the mainland. Diego Goris is 21 and still hasn’t played anywhere but the Dominican Summer League.

So what are the Royals thinking here?

Getz has played a little short and a little third in his career, so perhaps the Royals see him as their utility infielder. I doubt it.

Or perhaps they anticipate Christian Colon to assume the utility role down the road. But that’s probably at least a year away, and Colon is no great shakes just yet.

Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star reported last week that the Royals are actually surveying the landscape for veteran utility infielders. The list included Edgar Renteria (35 years old), Mark DeRosa (36), Carlos Guillen (36), and Orlando Cabrera (37). That just confirms that the Royals recognize the need to fill the role of utility infielder.

But those guys strike me as old and expensive.

As for me, I wish we’d just kept Mike Aviles.

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Winter Chaos

This past week Major League Baseball’s Winter meetings took place in Dallas. Aside from baseball’s offseason actually ending, the Winter Meetings are my favorite part of the offseason. The rumors, rumors of rumors, and whispers of what happened at the hotel make Twitter an interesting baseball read for a short week in December.

What is that critter in this logo?

As a Royals fan the Winter Meetings kind of went like a high school dance. There were rumors of the Royals discussing a trade with Oakland for Gio Gonzales. Sure that trade would have cost the Royals Wil Myers and probably another prospect that we all love. However, Gio Gonzales is a good pitcher and only one year closer to Free Agency than Eric Hosmer. Not sure what Oakland wanted but I’m disappointed the Royals did not do that deal. Like a High School dance and you end up dancing with a girl, and you’re feeling pretty good about yourself. Then you realize said dance partner is dancing with everyone else at the dance too. Same thing happened with Gio Gonzales. The Athletics were shopping him to anyone that would listen. As soon as the Gio Gonzales talks diminished for the Royals the James Shields talks cranked up. Or at least they were rumored to have heated up. Either way, it was clear that Dayton Moore was checking for prospect market prices on an ace pitcher. I have no doubt Wil Myers was brought up in every negotiation.

At the end of the meetings the Royals only made a minor deal in trading Yamaico Navarro to the Pittsburgh Pirates for infielder Diego Goris and a guy with an awesome baseball name…Brooks Pounders, RHP. Pounders’ name created more buzz than the actual trade, and neither of these players are expected to play above AA in 2012. There are 70 days till spring training so there is time for the Royals to make a major deal. However, it looks like the Royals are content to move forward with their current roster. When you look at the other trades and free agent signings that occurred this week, reality seems kind of underwhelming after the rumors that were flying around. Maybe that’s the price of stability. But it would have been nice to land an ace pitcher capable of making Albert Pujols look silly on Opening Day.

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Naturally Speaking: Future Cloudy For Playoff-Bound Colon

Christian Colon left college with glowing accolades and a reputation as a good-character, team-first player. But he’s struggled at the plate from day one, and is having a hard time living up to the expectations that come with being the fourth player chosen in the draft.

Christian Colon

Colon is laboring along in his second season with the Royals, providing solid but unspectacular play at shortstop for the Northwest Arkansas Naturals. But his future at that position is tenuous.

Ever since the 2010 draft, it has been rumored that Colon just didn’t have the physical tools to stay at shortstop. His short, stocky build may not allow him to field the position. But to this point, Colon isn’t anticipating a move.

“I’ve been playing some second, but it’s been pretty much “You’re our shortstop.” They just put me at second to get some reps in case something happens. But I feel comfortable at second base.”

Some speculate the best Colon can become is a solid-hitting utility player, backing up starters at second, short and third. According to Colon, he’s played a little at third in the past, but never in the professional ranks.

So what do the Royals have in Colon?

Alcides Escobar’s defense leaves Colon in the dust. And with Escobar under contract for the next several seasons, that position appears to be locked up. Chris Getz and Johnny Giavotella are performing adequately in KC, so there doesn’t seem to be an opening at second.

There is always a need for a versatile backup, but the Royals added Yamaico Navarro seemingly for that purpose. Plus Getz is now playing some short. So there is hardly a gaping hole for Colon to fill.

Colon will most certainly advance to Triple-A Omaha next season, but from there his future looks uncertain.

When the Royals made Colon the fourth choice in the draft, were they fooled by his play against lesser competition? Were they too enamored with his character? Or was the problem that there just wasn’t anyone better available?

The fifth player chosen, pitcher Drew Pomeranz looks like a future starter for the Rockies after being dealt for Ubaldo Jimenez. The results are still not in for pitchers Barret Loux and Matt Harvey, taken sixth and seventh. But the 13th pick, Chris Sale, has already pitched excellently in the White Sox bullpen.

Though they had a glaring need for catching prospects, the Royals took Colon over Yasmani Grandal, a backstop who has been solid at several levels in the Reds’ system.

One other player worth comparing to Colon is Cardinals farmhand Zach Cox. The two players are almost exactly the same age, and both came from high-level collegiate programs. Also competing in the Double-A Texas League this season, the 25th pick Cox is hitting .290 with 10 homers in about 100 fewer at-bats.

So it appears that, other than Sale, no other draftee has outshone Colon to this point. Maybe the key is to be patient and not heap unrealistic expectations on him just yet. Colon, himself, is trying to keep things in perspective.

Definitely I have expectations on me, probably a lot more than the other guys who go out there. I try not to think about it.”

Try as he might, however, Colon can’t ignore the pressure that comes with being a high draft pick.

“It gets to me sometimes. But I’m just doing what I can.”

Like the consummate team player that he is, Colon chooses to focus on the team, which recently clinched first place in the North Division of the Texas League and is now in the playoffs.

“That’s the important thing. You know, we barely missed winning the first half, and now we’re right here in the drivers seat.”

Colon recognizes the challenges ahead – tougher pitching, a possible position change, stiff competition for playing time, and high expectations. But he’s focused on only what’s within his control.

“The Royals have a plan for me, so I’m just doing what I can, trying to get better every day and see what they do with me. I’m just focused on getting better each day.”

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