Tag Archive | "Trades"

“Drew” The Right Thing: Why Stephen Is Best For Cards

The rumor mill around the Cardinals search for an upgrade at shortstop has hit red alert levels of speculation. Yet while the names of nearly every player in the game at the position has crossed the lips of one person or another about what direction the team could go in, the easiest way to solve the problem will require some sacrifice—in the form of a contract to Stephen Drew.


Drew is not the sexiest option on the table; those honors go to Troy Tulowitzki and Elvis Andrus. Likewise, he is not as potent of an offensive threat as Jed Lowrie or Jhonny Peralta, or even the pure fielding genius that Pete Kozma was. Over the past three years, the 30-year old has played for three different teams and never hit over .255 at any stop. What’s more, the 124 games he played in this past season in Boston, while hitting .253 with 13 home runs, 67 RBI and 112 hits were all high marks that he had not touched since 2010.

None of that sounds too great, does it? Not when there are numbers floating around like Tulowitzki’s five years of 24 or more home runs, or Andrus’ 40 steal summer are in the mix. Add in the fact that it is going to cost in the neighborhood of $13 or so million a season for his services (with negotiations overlooked by Scott Boras of all people), and a pursuit of Drew sounds like a full-fledged ride on the Crazy Train.

But stepping back from the surface level of it shows that the investment into Drew is perhaps the safest route of action for the team. For one, the cost of acquiring any of the numerous players that could be explored on the trade market is heart stopping strong. Teams are going to sift through the plethora of cost-controlled, Major League proven, sub-25 year old talent that the Cardinals have built the core of their team around. This is a group that includes Shelby Miller, Matt Adams, Trevor Rosenthal, Kevin Siegrist, Carlos Martinez and Joe Kelly among others at the MLB level (it has been stated that Michael Wacha is not available under any circumstances), and could stretch into inquires around Oscar Tavares and Kolton Wong at the next level. A combination of any of those players is a tough pill to swallow, for any player and dents what allows the Cardinals to consistently compete at the level that they do: having high-talent, low cost returns throughout their middle market salary capabilities.

Despite the notion that he “has” to move some of them, especially considering what seems to be a logjam off starting pitchers; John Mozeliak has repeatedly stated that he is not keen on moving his young arsenal of talent. And there is good reason to see why he feels this way. The rotation is ever evolving and outside of Wainwright, there is no proven year in, year out presences in the mix yet. Basically, the time is now, but the picture is still developing and making a brash move while the incubation stage is not quite finished yet could be a leap of faith off the wrong cliff, even if the return is an elite talent at another spot.

So in the end, how do you remedy this situation, while still bringing in as much improvement at the club’s biggest need position still? Pay the price for Drew. Market value often gets tied to numbers, but it is almost always determined more by being in the right place, at the right age, at the right time. Drew is likely to command in the neighborhood of $52 million over the next four years, and quiet honestly is worth it. Yes, he’ll get more than he is worth, and will therefore become prone to inherit the crown of thorns that Matt Holliday has so expertly won in the court of public opinion over the past four years. But the simple truth of it is every deal can’t be one that the team wins. Meaning that cost for a plus shortstop is not going to be a fair one; it is a high demand position that can name its own price within reason. The good thing is that money isn’t an obstacle for the Cardinals, who cleared over $35 million dollars from its 2012 roster between the departures of Chris Carpenter, Rafael Furcal, Jake Westbrook, Edward Mujica and Carlos Beltran from its ranks.

And speaking of Beltran, it is his original purpose that a Drew acquisition most closely replicates. No, he will not hit 30 home runs or even be guaranteed to make two All-Star Games in as many years as Beltran did. Realistically, the team does not need that from its shortstop. But what he will be able to do is fill a major void in place that has to find an answer at, which is exactly what Beltran was acquired to do in December of 2011 on the heels of the Pujols departure. He came to town with a big dollar figure, and an injury prone reputation, but in return he gave the team everything it needed and erased what was a briefly a gaping hole.

That is what Drew represents, an instant replenishment that does not create a new one via acquiring his presence. Look past the numbers and see the truth; the smartest move does not always have to be the cheapest one, rather it should be the most comprehensively effective one.

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Concluding The WAR On The Trades Of The GMDM Era

In the final piece of this series, we use the WAR data to finish taking a look at the trades that Dayton pulled off in 2010, and try to determine what all of this really means.

August 13, 2010: The Kansas City Royals traded Jose Guillen to the San Francisco Giants for a player to be named later and cash. The San Francisco Giants sent Kevin Pucetas (minors) (October 14, 2010) to the Kansas City Royals to complete the trade.

By this point in Jose Guillen‘s tenure with the Royals, they were just looking to get rid of him and unload a portion of his salary.  Guillen was in the last year of his deal, had (obviously) cleared waivers, and it was time for the Royals to get a look at some of the guys who had a chance to be part of their future.  And if they could get something in return, well all the better.  Along came Brian Sabean and the San Francisco Giants, who were in the middle of a pennant race and needed a bat.  Pucetas is a 27 year old career minor leaguer, who is unlikely to ever crack the Big Leagues.  However, this trade has to be considered a huge success for Moore considering their desperation to unload Guillen at the time.  It is telling that in Guillen’s almost 3 years with the Royals, he managed to post a cumulative WAR of -1.0.  That’s what $36 million of David Glass’ money bought the Royals in 2007.  Guillen did little after going to the Giants and was not even included on their playoff roster, which was the year they won the World Series.  I’m not sure if Jose has officially announced his retirement, but it is safe to say he is done.

Guillen: -0.7 WAR with Giants (2 months of 2010)

Pucetas: 0.0 WAR (has yet to reach Majors)

Royals win trade by 0.7 WAR

November 10, 2010: The Kansas City Royals traded David DeJesus to the Oakland Athletics for Justin Marks (minors) and Vin Mazzaro.

Yikes!  While DeJesus had a down year in 2011, he did not come close to falling on his face with the fervor that good ole Vinny Mazzaro did.  Royals fans likely have one memory of Mazzaro from the 2011 season and it is this:

IP     H     R    ER    BB   SO   HR   HBP
2.1   11   14   14     3      2      1        0

That was his line as he appeared in relief against Cleveland on May 16.  At least he didn’t hit anyone.  While Mazzaro did appear for the Royals a few more times before the 2011 season came to an end, it is that game and that game alone that Royals fans remember.  It is still unclear what exactly it was that Moore saw in Mazzaro when making this deal.  He showed very little in 2 seasons with the A’s, and managed to make that look amazing compared to what he did in 2011.  As for Justin Marks, he is a 24 year old pitcher who logged a 3.98 ERA in Wilmington, the Royals’ Single A affiliate last year.  Considering how much of a pitcher’s league the Carolina league is known to be, along with his age, it is unlikely he ever has any meaningful impact on the big league roster.  The Royals were shopping DeJesus at the time, and one would have thought they could have gotten more than they did.  So either the market was much softer for him than first thought, or Billy Beane somehow pulled yet another fast one on the Royals.  I would tend to believe the latter, considering that even after an extremely down 2011 season for DeJesus, the Cubs still decided to invest $10 million in him over 2 years to make him their Opening Day right-fielder.  After consistently putting up WAR’s in the 3’s with the Royals (with a 4.4 in 2005), he regressed to a 0.6 WAR in 2011.  I expect DeJesus to rebound nicely in Chicago.

DeJesus: 0.6 WAR with A’s (2011)

Mazzaro: -0.7 WAR with Royals (2011)

Marks: 0.0 WAR (has not reached majors)

A’s win trade by 1.3 WAR

December 19, 2010: The Kansas City Royals traded Yuniesky Betancourt, Zack Greinke and cash to the Milwaukee Brewers for Jake Odorizzi (minors), Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar and Jeremy Jeffress.

Moreso than any other trade analyzed in this study, time will tell whether this one will work out in the Royals’ favor or not.  And if this trade ends up working out well for the Royals, the impact of it will trump the impact of all of the aforementioned failed trades combined.  But for fun, we will take a look at how it worked out in the 2011 season.

After Zack Greinke‘s 2009 Cy Young campaign, it appeared the Royals had their staff ace that would lead the starting rotation into the youth movement we are watching today.  But in 2010, Greinke was not the same.  At times he would show the stuff that made him so electrifying in 2009, but overall he looked disinterested.  Royals fans were in denial about it at the time, but looking back, it was very clear that with 2 years left on his deal, Zack no longer wanted to be in Kansas City.  So the Royals were faced with a decision: keep an unhappy Zack Greinke around in a clubhouse full of young impressionable players and worry about his negativity rubbing off on them, or trade him.  In hindsight, it is clear that trading Greinke was Moore’s only option.  It is even more clear after reading the following quote from Greinke.  When asked, in Feb. 2011, if he ever asked the Royals for a trade, Zack replied:

“I guess I kind of did right before the Trade Deadline last year because we were trading all our players. … When I signed, I was led to believe we were building around the guys we had, and we were getting rid of all of them,” he said. “So I sort of did then. Then at the end of the year, I sort of did again. And then during the offseason, I sort of did again. And then the media got the one where I think my agent must have said it somehow. … So I guess I sort of did about four times.”

Hence, in December of 2010, the Royals and the Brewers came to agreement on this deal.  Greinke proceeded to go to Milwaukee and pitch (and act) like Greinke.  First, he hurt himself playing basketball during Spring Training and missed the first month of the season.  Then he comes out in May and posts an out of this world K/W ratio while somehow managing to have an ERA hovering around 5.  Eventually though, he settled down and pitched like a Cy Young candidate the rest of the way for the NL Central Division Champion Brewers.  Betancourt, who was a throw-in in the deal after the Royals received Escobar in return, actually had a solid season for the Brewers in 2011. And now, ironically,he will wear a Royals uniform in 2012 albeit as a utility infielder.

As for what the Royals received in return, so much is tied up in the future.  But in just last year, it became clear that Escobar is something extremely special with the glove.  While he wasn’t useless with the bat, he is still a light hitter.  If this part of his game can continue to come around, you have yourself an elite ballplayer.  Cain came up for a quick audition at the end of the year and did fine.  The Royals clearly believe he is ready to take over as the everyday centerfielder, as they have traded away Melky Cabrera to the Giants to make room for an everyday role for Lorenzo.  Jeffress began the season on the big league roster, and while he displayed a very live arm and the ability to strike batters out, he struggled badly with his control and was sent down for the majority of the rest of the season.  It remainst to be seen what his role might be in 2012, but it is likely he begins the season in Omaha.  And after all of that, we have not even discussed the player who was stated to be the biggest grab in this trade for the Royals, 21 year-old righthander Jake Odorizzi.  Odorizzi spent last season split between Single A Wimington and Double A Northwest Arkansas.  He figures to begin this season either in Northwest Arkansas or Omaha, with a chance at a September callup to Kansas City.  So while the Royals clearly gave up a bit of production in the short term in this trade, the long term looks extremely bright.

Greinke: 1.7 WAR with Brewers (2011)

Betancourt: 0.7 WAR with Brewers (2011)

Escobar: 2.0 WAR with Royals (2011)

Cain: 0.1 WAR with Royals (23 September 2011 plate appearances)

Jeremy Jeffress: 0.0 WAR with Royals (2011)

Jake Odorizzi: 0.0 WAR (has not reached majors)

Brewers win trade by 0.3 WAR

So…what does all of this mean?

Strictly looking at WAR, Dayton Moore has clearly come out on the short end of the trades that he made in the years of 2006-2010.  Overall, these trades negatively impacted the Royals performance of the Royals through the 2011 season.  However, having reviewed all of these trades, it is very difficult to find one anywhere that set the fanchise back in the long term.  There are no atrocities such as Johnny Damon for Roberto Hernandez, Jermaine Dye for Neifi Perez, or Carlos Beltran for John Buck and Mark Teahen.  Granted, there weren’t any Damons, Dyes, or Beltrans on the roster when Moore took over.  But the point is that it is clear there was a strategy.  Until the Greinke trade, there is a very conservative theme to the trades that Moore has made.  And it is this Greinke trade that will be the biggest indicator as to whether Moore will be able trade effectively when he needs to.  When Dayton took over the job in June 2006, he stated this his primary mission was to rebuild the farm system so as to get to a point where the majority of the big league roster is homegrown talent.  It has taken awhile, but the Royals are now just about there.  Moore should be applauded for not taking his eye off of the ball.  The Royals are almost there.  “The Process” is almost complete.

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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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The Royals Give Stand Pat A Chance To Play In 2012

Kansas City Royals fans are long suffering. No Royals playoff appearances since 1985, their last winning season in 2003 and three consecutive 100 loss seasons from 2004-2006 can wear down a fan, no matter how faithful.

But the 2012 season has promise mixed with cautious optimism. With 12 rookies debuting in 2011 and only being nine games out of second place in the American League Central, the Royals hope to improve on their 71-91 2011 season.

For the past few years, the Royals and General Manager Dayton Moore said the team should start to contend in 2012, telling fans to trust “The Process.” When the team’s slogan for this season is “Our Time,” it appears the Royals believe 2012 is the year they might contend.

But do the Royals really believe they will contend this year? If you go by their off-season free agent signings and trades, one could say “maybe.” If the Royals thought they had a chance to win the AL Central, you might think the team would make a big splash in the free agent market or make a trade, especially for starting pitching. Instead, the Royals traded for a back of the rotation pitcher in Jonathan Sanchez, signed relievers Jonathan Broxton and Jose Mijares and some infielder named Yuni. It was more of a drop than a splash.

The Royals have a solid lineup and bullpen, but having a front of the rotation starter would give the team an opportunity to win more games. But it will likely take 90 or more victories to win the AL Central, which means the Royals would have to win at least 20 more games than last season. By itself, adding an Edwin Jackson, Roy Oswalt or trading for a front of the rotation starter will not win the team 20 or more games.

A lot will have to go right if the Royals have any chance of winning the AL Central. And some 2003 season kind of luck would help too. The team is better, especially compared to Royals teams from the last several years. But if fans are honest with themselves, the Royals are not as good as baseball powers like the Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, Tampa Bay Rays, Detroit Tigers, Anaheim Angels and the Texas Rangers. At least not yet.

The Royals have many exciting, young players who have the ability to win ballgames. Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas are well known, but players like pitchers Felipe Paulino, Greg Holland and catcher Salvador Perez had a good 2011 and could improve in 2012. Outfielder Lorenzo Cain and infielders Johnny Giavotella and Alicdes Escobar have a chance to contribute this season. Let’s not forget Royals “veterans” Alex Gordon, Jeff Francoeur, Billy Butler, Luke Hochevar, Bruce Chen and Joakim Soria. And prospects like pitchers Mike Montgomery, Chris Dwyer and Jake Odorizzi have a chance to make their 2012 Major League debuts. And except for Chen, every player mentioned is under 30 years old.

It appears the Royals looked at their Major League roster, their prospects in the Minors and the free agent class this off-season and decided they couldn’t make big moves without mortgaging the future or significantly raising payroll. With the weak free agent starting pitching class this off-season and what prospects some teams had to give up to get the players they wanted, one could argue there was little reason for the Royals to sign a free agent pitcher or give up top prospects for starting pitching. Especially when the Royals have so many good young players of their own. And the only way they can get better is to play.

The 2012 season will be one of the most important seasons in the Royals 43 year history. This year will decide if the Royals are for real and compete in the future or a mirage like the Royals teams of the last 10-15 years. The Glass family, Dayton Moore and Manager Ned Yost will place their faith in a “player” called Stand Pat. If he’s good, the Royals could have a bright future. If he’s not, the Royals could be spending more time in the baseball wilderness and Royals fans will have to suffer a little longer.

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Going To WAR On The Trades Of The GMDM Era- Part 4: 2009

In part 4 of this multi-part series, we take a look at the trades of the Dayton Moore administration that were made in 2009 for the Kansas City Royals.

Click the years to see the previous articles:


As we move on to 2009 and beyond, it is important to note that the data begins to become a little less reliable.  The reason being that there are fewer years on which to judge a player.  If the Royals traded an established major leaguer for a good prospect that has yet to break into the major leagues, based on the formula we use, the Royals may not get any credit for the trade.  But overall, it should even out both ways, especially when we combine the WAR scores for all of the years at the end.

As was illustrated in last week’s column, 2008 was a bad year for Dayton in terms of trades.  Injuries were to blame for part of this, as was plain bad luck.  Even so, by 21st century Royals standards, 2008 was not that bad of a season.  For one, they didn’t finish in last place.  Finishing 75-87, it was the Royals best season since the fluky “smoke and mirrors” 2003 season.  With Zack Greinke ready to take the leap into superstardom and an elite closer in Soria, there was some positive momentum going into 2009.  On top of this, right after the 2008 season, the Royals dealt for speedy centerfielder, Coco Crisp, and slugging 1B Mike Jacobs.  There was definitely an attitude amongst Royals people that they would have an opportunity to compete for the division in 2009.  So let’s see how Dayton fared in his trades in that year…

April 1, 2009: The Kansas City Royals traded Ross Gload and cash to the Florida Marlins for a player to be named later. The Florida Marlins sent Eric Basurto (minors) (May 13, 2009) to the Kansas City Royals to complete the trade.

A journeyman bench player, Gload spent 2 pretty meaningless years with the Royals, so seeing him get dealt was neither a blow nor a surprise.  One might have thought the Royals could have gotten more than a 40th round pick in Eric Basurto, but apparently not.  Basurto, to his credit, is still playing baseball in the Royals organization and spent last season in Double A Northwest Arkansas.  He likely has little to no upside, so this trade was pretty meaningless.

Gload: 1.3 WAR with Marlins (2009)

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

Marlins win trade by 1.3 WAR

July 10, 2009: The Kansas City Royals traded Derrick Saito (minors) and Dan Cortes to the Seattle Mariners for Yuniesky Betancourt.

The critics came out of the woodwork for this one.  At the time, the Royals needed a shortstop in a bad way.  After Mike Aviles was injured early in the season, they were left with a combination of Willie Bloomquist and Tony Pena Jr.   Many would make the argument that by making this trade the Royals worsened their shortstop situation.  And the numbers would support that.  Not only was Betancourt carrying a relatively hefty contract, but he absolutely positively sucked.  In 2009, he was far worse than replacement level. Rumor has it Seattle fans were laughing when the Royals traded for Betancourt.  In his defense though, he was much better in 2010 than in 2009, even leading the team in home runs that year.

Saito: 0.0 WAR (never appeared for Mariners and appears to be out of baseball)

Cortes: -0.1 WAR with Mariners (2010-2011)

Betancourt: 0.0 WAR with Royals (1/2 of 2009 and 2010)

Royals win trade by 0.1 WAR

September 3, 2009: The Texas Rangers traded Tim Smith (minors) and Manny Pina to the Kansas City Royals for Danny Gutierrez (minors).

This is one of those trades that cannot be fairly judged using the WAR statistic.  The Rangers have absolutely nothing to show for this trade, while the Royals have likely their backup catcher of the future in Pina, along with Smith who is still in the organization.  But the advantage is only 0.1 WAR so the impact is minimal for the purpose of this study.  Despite what the #’s below say, this trade was a big win for Dayton and company.

Gutierrez: 0.0 WAR (never appeared for Rangers and appears to be out of baseball)

Smith: 0.0 WAR (has yet to appear for Royals-played last season in Double A Northwest Arkansas)

Pina: -0.1 WAR with Royals (2011)

Rangers win trade by 0.1 WAR

November 6, 2009: The Chicago White Sox traded Josh Fields and Chris Getz to the Kansas City Royals for Mark Teahen.

This one is interesting.  When it was first made, it looked kind of good.  Teahen’s production had begun to tail off signifcantly in Kansas City.  Many believed that it was because he had gotten himself so mentally screwed up by the constant changing of positions.  This may have been true.  So the White Sox acquired him and signed him to a multi-year deal to make him their everyday 3rd baseman.  The Royals were picking up their new everyday 2nd baseman in the speedy Chris Getz, and Josh Fields, a 3b/OF who had hit 23 HR as a rookie in 100 games in 2007.  Fields quickly did nothing in KC, and Getz proved himself to be nothing more than a steady defensive 2B with some speed and no power.  And when I say no power, I mean NO power.  In 2 years with the Royals, Getz has a total of 18 extra base hits.  His 3 home runs in 2009 with the White Sox is starting to look VERY suspicious.  Teahen  picked up right where he left off with the Royals, and eventually continued to regress.  He was eventually sent off to Toronto in the middle of last year, and is currently without a team.  So this trade, which at the time was a very important one for the Royals, turned out to be pretty meaningless for both teams involved.

Teahen: -1.2 WAR with White Sox (2010 and 1/2 of 2011)

Fields: -0.1 WAR with Royals (2010)

Getz: 0.6 WAR with Royals (2010-2011)

Royals win trade by 0.7 WAR

Based on the study, the Royals lost by 0.6 WAR on 2009 trades.  The good news though, is they gave up very little.  Perhaps Dayton was scared off by what happened in 2008, or perhaps he learned from it.  One might argue that they missed an opportunity to get more for Teahen, but at least they weren’t burned by it.  They added Pina, who while maybe not a huge part of the future, is a part of the future nonetheless.  Getz is still with the ballclub, though his role for this coming season is in question.  Next week, we take a look at Dayton’s 2010 trades.

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Going To WAR On The Trades Of The GMDM Era- Part 3: 2008

After analyzing the trades made by the Dayton Moore regime with the Kansas City Royals in 2006 and 2007, we now take a look at the deals made in 2008.

As we mentioned in the first column of this series, there are three phases to “The Process”, as Dayton Moore likes to refer to the Royals journey toward building a championship-caliber team.  The Royals have completed Phase One (rebuilding the farm system), and are nearing completion of phase two (transitioning of the farm system talent to the major league roster).  Assuming that Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Salvador Perez, etc continue to live up to expectations, there are still going to be a few holes to fill.  And while some of this may be able to be done via free agency, most will have to be done via trades.  Dayton must shrewdly determine which young talent he is going to keep, and who the potential trade chips might be.  So as we approach this final phase in “The Process”, we take a look at the success (or lack thereof) Royals trades past, so as to be able to better predict the the success of Royals trades of the future.  We use the WAR (wins above replacement) statistic to determine who came out on the winning end of each trade.  In 2006 and 2007, it was clear that Dayton was more or less cleaning house of talent he felt was not part of the Royals future, exchanging for similar type players in other organizations hoping to find a diamond in the rough. The early part of 2008 was more of this, but after a promising end to the 2008 season, Dayton got a bit more aggressive as soon as the post-season hit:

March 19, 2008: The Cincinnati Reds traded Brad Salmon to the Kansas City Royals for a player to be named later. The Kansas City Royals sent Henry Arias (minors) (June 13, 2008) to the Cincinnati Reds to complete the trade.

Neither of these players played for either team they were traded to and both appear to be out of baseball.


March 26, 2008: The Colorado Rockies traded Ramon Ramirez to the Kansas City Royals for a player to be named later. The Kansas City Royals sent Jorge De La Rosa (April 30, 2008) to the Colorado Rockies to complete the trade.

This one is interesting.  De La Rosa was inconsistent at best with the Royals, if not consistently maddening.  For those that remember “Ram Ram”, he was lights out for the Royals in 2008 coming out of the bullpen.  With Joakim Soria settled in as the closer and a recently rehabilitated Zach Greinke setting up, the Royals had one of the most dominating back ends of the bullpen we have seen in some time.  The forgotten man in the back end of that bullpen is Ramon Ramirez.  For Royals fans that may not recall, take a look at the line he posted in 2008:

Innings Pitched: 71.2

SO: 70

ERA: 2.64

WHIP: 1.228

Ramirez left the Royals after the 2008 season, but he has continued to pitch at this level in each of his 2 stops with the Red Sox and the Giants after leaving the Royals after the 2008 season.  As for De La Rosa, he also came into his own after this trade was made, becoming a very reliable starter, thus earning himself a 3 year deal worth roughly $30 million with the Rockies after the 2010 season.  Even with the season Ramirez had in 2008, most Royals fans would probably have liked to see De La Rosa experience his success in a Royals uniform rather than a Rockies uniform.  In fact, he would probably be the ace of the Royals staff if that were the case.

De La Rosa: 5.6 WAR with Rockies (2008-2011)

Ramirez: 2.1 WAR with Royals (2008-traded after ’08 season to Red Sox for Coco Crisp)

Rockies win trade by 3.5 WAR

  June 6, 2008: The Los Angeles Dodgers traded Juan Rivera (minors) and cash to the Kansas City Royals for Angel Berroa.

Who is Juan Rivera?  A 24 year old Dominican who never made it past high A ball with the Royals before falling out of baseball following the 2010 season.  That doesn’t matter though.  Because the bottom line is the Royals found someone dumb enough to take Angel Berroa off their hands.  So even if the WAR doesn’t say so, this has to be considered a win for the Royals.

Berroa: 0.0 WAR with Dodgers (2008)

Rivera: 0.0 WAR (never played for Royals)


August 9, 2008: The Kansas City Royals traded Horacio Ramirez to the Chicago White Sox for Paulo Orlando (minors).

Paulo Orlando is a 26 year old who played in Triple A Omaha in the Royals organization in 2011.  He is likely just organizational depth and unlikely to ever contribute at the major league level.  Most will remember that Horacio Ramirez was not gone from the Royals for very long.  He was dealt in August of ’08, and back in a Royals uniform by Opening Day 2009.

Ramirez: -0.3 WAR with White Sox (last 2 months of 2008)

Orlando: 0.0 WAR (has yet to appear in a game with the Royals)

Royals win trade by 0.3 WAR

October 31, 2008: The Florida Marlins traded Mike Jacobs to the Kansas City Royals for Leo Nunez.

There are many Royals fans who will blast Dayton for this trade.  And if you only look at how it turned out for the Royals, then one cannot argue that this was not a terrible trade.  However, as referenced before, the Royals had a dominant bullpen in 2008.  Nunez was a part of this bullpen.  Coming off a 2008 season in which Nunez put up a 2.98 ERA as a 26 year old, they dealt him to Florida for Jacobs, who was coming off a 2008 season that saw him hit 32 home runs with 93 RBI.  Most Royals fans also know it has been a long time since the team has a had a guy hit 32 or more home runs in a season.  So Dayton dealt from a position of strength (bullpen) for power, which the Royals desperately needed at that point.  Needless to say, it didn’t work out.  Nunez is a solid closer for the Marlins, while Jacobs played one horrbile season for the Royals and is now out of baseball.

Nunez: 2.1 WAR with Marlins (2009-2011)

Jacobs: -0.9 WAR with Royals (2009)

Marlins win trade by 3.0 WAR

November 19, 2008: The Boston Red Sox traded Coco Crisp to the Kansas City Royals for Ramon Ramirez.

This was an exciting trade at the time.  The Royals needed a CF badly.  Again, Dayton decided to deal from a position of strength by shipping Ramirez off to Boston in exchange for Crisp.  Coco Crisp was definitely the type of player the Royals needed to add.  He was a true lead-off hitter who could get on base at a high clip, and an excellent defensive CF.  The only problems?  Crisp had shown throughout his career to be extremely injury-prone, and the Royals had now lost 3 of their top 4 relief pitchers from the 2008 season.  Nunez had gone to the Marlins, Ramirez to Boston, and Zach Greinke back to the starting rotation.  Dayton thought the additions of Kyle Farnsworth and Juan Cruz would be enough to piece together another respectable bullpen in 2009.  So what happened?  Crisp played in just 49 games, batted .228, got hurt, and was done for the year.  And oh yeah…the bullpen sucked.  Meanwhile, Ramirez went on to replicate his 2008 performance in 2009 with the Red Sox.

Ramirez: 1.9 WAR with Red Sox (2009 and most of 2010)

Crisp: 0.9 WAR with Royals (2009)

Red Sox win trade by 1.0 WAR

So as you can see, Dayton did not make out so well with trades in 2008.  In aggregate, he came out on the short end by 6.2 WAR.  It is easy to understand Moore’s thought process with some of these deals, but the results were not good.

Next week, we take a look at 2009 and we’ll see if Dayton was able to make up a horrendous year of trades in 2008.

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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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Going To WAR On The Trades Of The GMDM Era- Part 1: 2006

By most accounts, “The Process”, as Kansas City Royals General Manager Dayton Moore has often referred to his vision for the Royals, can be broken down into 3 phases. Phase One would be the rebuilding of the farm system. There is no denying that phase is complete. The second phase is transitioning the talent in the farm system to the Big League roster. Most would agree that this phase is mostly complete as well. The third and final phase to “The Process”, would be to identify the missing pieces and fill those gaps via free agency and trade. The Royals are just beginning to enter this phase now. Since Dayton Moore took over his post as Royals GM in June 2006, the trades that he has pulled off have drawn mixed reviews. So as he and his staff embark on Phase Three of “The Process”, it is important that we review the history of the Royals trades in the Dayton Moore era, so as to help predict the success of the recent and future trades that will be made by this regime.

We will use the WAR (Wins Above Replacement) statistic to determine the positive or negative impact of each trade. For those unfamiliar with this statistic, it is defined as: A single number that presents the number of wins the player added to the team above what a replacement player (think AAA or AAAA) would add. In fairness, we will only take into consideration the production that each player the Royals traded FOR had with the Royals, and each player the Royals traded had with the team they traded that player to. So while this study does have some flaws, it will provide a pretty good snapshot as to how Dayton has fared in the trade department.

In the first of this multi-part column, we examine the trades that took place in 2006:

June 20, 2006: The Tampa Bay Devil Rays traded Fernando Cortez and Joey Gathright to the Kansas City Royals for J.P. Howell.

Before Dayton even had time to pick out the furniture in his new office, he decided to go shopping for a=n athletic, speedy center-fielder. Enter Joey Gathright and somebody named Fernando Cortez, and exit J.P. Howell.

Howell: 3.2 WAR since Trade with Rays(06-11)

Gathright: 0.9 WAR with Royals(06-08)

Cortez: 0.1 WAR with Royals (2007)

Rays win trade by 2.2 WAR

July 19, 2006: The New York Mets traded Jeff Keppinger to the Kansas City Royals for Ruben Gotay.

Keppinger has been a useful starting major leaguer for a number of years, and it is easy to forget that he was even a Royal. And there surely have been plenty of times since July 19,2006 that Royals fans would have much rather seen him patrolling 2nd base rather than whoever they had out there. Unfortunately, for the 3 months he was a Royal, he did prety much nothing

Gotay: 0.2 WAR with Mets (2007)

Keppinger: -0.1 WAR with Royals (2006)

Mets win trade by 0.3 WAR

July 24, 2006: The Kansas City Royals traded Mike MacDougal to the Chicago White Sox for Tyler Lumsden (minors) and Dan Cortes.

Mac the 9th didn’t really do much after leaving the Royals. But at least he actually played for the team that traded for him, unlike the 2 gentlemen the Royals got in return.

MacDougal: 0.4 WAR with White Sox (2006-2009)

Lumsden: 0.0 WAR (never made majors)

Cortes: 0.0 WAR (never made majors with Royals before being shipped to Mariners for Yuniesky Betancourt)

White Sox win trade by 0.4 WAR

July 25, 2006: The Los Angeles Dodgers traded Blake Johnson (minors), Julio Pimentel (minors), Odalis Perez and cash to the Kansas City Royals for Elmer Dessens.

Dessens had been a mediocre at best reliever for the Royals for the first part of 2006, so the fact that they were able to flip him prior to the deadline for a serviceable former all-star starting pitcher like Perez, makes this the first decent trade of the DMGM era.

Dessens: 0.1 WAR with Dodgers (2006)

Johnson: 0.0 WAR (never made majors)

Pimentel: 0.0 WAR (never made majors)

Perez: 1.0 WAR with Royals (2006-2007)

Royals win trade by 0.9 WAR

July 25, 2006: The Kansas City Royals traded Tony Graffanino to the Milwaukee Brewers for Jorge De La Rosa.

This is an interesting one. Because if you consider what De La Rosa has been able, when healthy, to do since leaving the Royals then this one without question swings in the Royals favor. However, during De La Rosa’s tenure wiht the Royals, he was one of the most frustrating to watch and at times ineffective pitchers to wear a Royals uniform.

Graffanino: 1.9 WAR with Brewers (2006-2007)

De La Rosa: 0.8 WAR with Royals (2006-2007)

Brewers win trade by 1.1 WAR

July 31, 2006: The Kansas City Royals traded Matt Stairs to the Texas Rangers for Jose Diaz.

This turned out to be pretty equal trade in terms of Suck for Suck.

Stairs: -0.3 WAR with Rangers (88 plate appearances in 2006 before being shipped off to Detroit for the remainder of the season)

Diaz: -0.2 WAR with Royals (6.2 innings in 2006)

Royals win trade by 0.1 WAR

July 31, 2006: The Colorado Rockies traded Scott Dohmann and Ryan Shealy to the Kansas City Royals for Jeremy Affeldt and Denny Bautista.

Royals fans should remember this one quite well. Affeldt was a maddening pitcher for the Royals. I will never be able to hear about a pitcher having blisters on his throwing hand again without thinking of Jeremy Affeldt. Affeldt has since put it together to become a very effective left-handed reliever, but it didn’t happen with the Rockies. Bautista was supposed to have this “electric stuff” that he just needed to harness. Well, it never happened with the Royals, or anywhere else for that matter. And in Shealy, the word was that the Royals had finally found their 1B of the future and could begin taking the pressure off of Mike Sweeney. And…who is Scott Dohmann again? Whoops…

Affeldt: -0.3 with Rockies (2006-2007)

Bautista: -1.1 with Rockies (2006-2007)

Shealy: 0.2 WAR with Royals (2006-2008)

Dohmann: -0.6 WAR with Royals (2006)

In aggregate, both teams essentially added less than replacement talent with this trade,but in this study, the Royals came out on top.

Royals win trade by 1.0 WAR

December 6, 2006: The New York Mets traded Brian Bannister to the Kansas City Royals for Ambiorix Burgos.

For awhile, this trade was the crown jewel trade of the Dayton Moore era. Bannister immediately arrived in Kansas City and settled in as a steady starting pitcher and finishing 3rd in the Rookie of the Year balloting, while Burgos soon encountered legal issues in his native Dominican Republic and never played again.

Burgos: 0.1 WAR with Mets (2007)

Bannister: 2.8 WAR with Royals (2007-2010)

Royals win trade by 2.7 WAR

December 16, 2006: The Kansas City Royals traded Andy Sisco to the Chicago White Sox for Ross Gload.

It is hard to imagine why Kenny Williams was so interested in taking all of the ineffective relievers off of the Royals’ hands. This should have been a good trade. And for one year it was. But when “Gloady” as Buddy Bell liked to call him, is getting 418 plate appearances in a season and starting 95 games at 1st Base, that says a lot more about your team than it does about a steady utility player like Ross Gload.

Sisco: -0.3 WAR with White Sox (2007)

Gload: -1.4 WAR with Royals (2007-2008)

White Sox win trade by 1.3 WAR

So what does this tell us? Other than the fact that the Royals did quite a bit of exchanging of “junk” with other teams in 2006, Dayton Moore came out slightly on the short end of his trades in by -0.6 WAR, based on this study. The big ones were the J.P. Howell trade, which he lost, and the Brian Bannister trade, which he won.

Next week, we analyze the trades made in 2007…

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The Leadoff Spot

Barring any trades, the Kansas City Royals’ position players are set for next year. Here’s what that will look like:

Catcher-Salvador Perez
1st Base-Eric Hosmer
2nd Base-Johnny Giavotella
3rd Base-Mike Moustakas
Shortstop-Alcides Escobar
Left Field-Alex Gordon
Center Field-Lorenzo Cain
Right Field-Jeff Francoeur
Designated Hitter-Billy Butler

No surprises here.

The major things that are yet to be determined are the batting order and rotation.

Perhaps the biggest question for the batting order is: Do the Royals want to keep Alex Gordon in the leadoff spot or try someone new?

It would be really difficult for Ned Yost to move Alex Gordon out of the leadoff spot. Last year, Gordon showed that he has the type of power (23 HR’s, 45 Doubles, 87 RBI’s, .502 OPS) to be an everyday 3 or 4 hitter. However, the Royalshave enough power in the middle of the lineup already with Butler, Hosmer, Francoeur, Moustakas, and even Perez. What Kansas City lacks is a guy other than Gordon who can consistently get on base and make something happen from the top spot in the lineup.

Giavotella, Cain, and possibly even Escobar seem like the only other candidates to take over Gordon’s spot. Giavotella and Escobar’s On Base Percentages (.273 and .290, respectively) aren’t quite good enough to legitimately make a case for them, and neither have established themselves as legitimate, top of the lineup hitters. Cain, on the other hand, was a 3-6 hole hitter in Omaha last year and showed improvement in the power department. His skills (yet to be seen for a full MLB season) seem to translate more into a number 2 or 6 type hitter.

Unless someone breaks out in Spring Training, Gordon should undoubtedly stay put in the leadoff spot. The trio listed above will make for an interesting competition for who should be the number 2 hitter.

Next week, we’ll look at the rotation’s endless possibilities.

Royals Tweet of the Week

Winter meetings started today!! Ready for some Baseball again!! #Royals #2012playoffrun
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Thank You Sir, May I Have Another?

For a self proclaimed non-movie watcher I seem to be making a lot of movie references for these Royals columns. I go to a movie theater about once a year, if that. Despite it’s popularity I do not subscribe to Netflix. If there is not a sporting event on television…I don’t watch television. But to be honest, when I heard about the Melky Cabrera for Jonathon Sanchez trade the phrase Thank you sir, may I have another from the cult classic, Animal House was the first thing that popped into my mind. I guess that says a lot about my mentality.

As others have pointed out this trade is not without it’s risks. What trade isn’t? What I do know is that Dayton Moore took a player in an area where the Royals did not have a need, in exchange for a player where the Royals did have need. Melky’s 2011 production will be missed. But no one is sure that production would make a 2012 appearance anyway. On the surface it’s a good trade. The Royals rotation is improved, and a door is opened for prospect Lorenzo Cain.

Dayton Moore’s track record of trades at the major league level has been suspect. Despite that, as a Royals fan I want to see more of this. I discussed such a trade here during the season. Make no mistake, for the Royals to get a pitcher capable of anchoring a playoff caliber staff they will have to part with some prized prospects. Either that, or sign a big name free agent. That is not likely, nor is this the year to do it.

I would not expect anything major to happen until MLB decides on their new Collective Bargaining Agreement. But it would be nice if the Royals front office made a move that made the offseason go by really, really, really slow. Thank you sir, may I have another. Another good trade, not another offseason. In the mean time I recomend and a spontaneous road trip.

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