Royals Should Continue the Process
Yesterday I laid out the case that the Royals shouldn’t be trading Wil Myers for two years of James Shields, Jon Lester or any other pitcher for that matter because they are too far behind the Tigers at the present moment.
The main reason I don’t want the Royals to trade Myers is because we have little idea where the Royals are actually at in the process. ¬†Fans, front office and ownership got to see 81 games of a good season out of Moose, a full season of struggles by Hos, a spectacular 76 games from Sal Perez and another injury to Lorenzo Cain. ¬†Instead of making a move with their top prospect who they have control of for 6+ seasons why not try to find out what they have in the four guys I mentioned and whatever second baseman they choose.
While KC has plenty of unanswered questions at the major league level they have plenty of questions in terms of arms at the minor league level that could be getting close to major league ready. ¬†The Royals have Jake Odorizzi, Yordano Ventura, John Lamb that have reached AA or higher and could push their way into contributing at this point this year. ¬†On top of that the guys at Baseball America believe Kyle Zimmer has the talent and could push for a September call up. ¬†We have been waiting for a while and saying this previously about prospects but with these guys and a few arms in Duffy, Paulino to help later in the year it seems the better approach is to wait one more season.
Besides if the Royals want to add depth to their rotation there are a few guys they could add via trade or free agency that could help them get to that magic .500 level without trading one of the best young players in the game.
Add through Defense instead of offense.
If the Royals want to improve the pitching they currently have then they could take a more “out of the box” method and add a super defending center fielder. ¬†The kind of guy that can shag fly balls all over the big K, Comerica and Target Field. ¬†After all the Royals play 99 games in division every year at three pretty large parks. ¬†Adding a player like Peter Bourjos or Craig Gentry to the Royals defense in CF while keeping Alex Gordon and Lorenzo Cain in the corners would give the Royals the best outfield in the game.
The amount of runs those three could save the Royals in a given year would be¬†hard to quantify obviously but add Sal Perez behind the plate for a healthy 130 games and Kansas City would likely have the best defense in the game. ¬†The strides we’re hoping to see out of Hos and Moose hopefully make up for the loss of offense in CF and if Bourjos/Gentry struggle too much offensively then GMDM can move Cain over and call Myers up. ¬†Even if they struggle it isn’t¬†like KC¬†hasn’t had to carry¬†a lackluster offensive performer in the outfield in the past¬†(Franceour).
Trade pieces: Very minimal a big league BP piece or young prospect.
Similar trade: ¬†Felix Pie trade to Orioles for Garrett Olson and minor league prospect Hank Williamson
I’m sure some or most of you don’t like that idea but the Royals should take a peak at that even if they do add a pitcher just based on Lorenzo Cain’s injury history.
Moving on to actual pitchers the Royals should add¬†outside of Lester and Shields leads you to an easy¬†#1 selection in RA Dickey of the Mets.¬† The 2012 Cy Young performer may be¬†38 and a¬†knuckleballer¬†but he’s¬†been dominant over the past three seasons tossing on average 205 innings per season with a 2.95 ERA with a 3.1 K/BB ratio.¬† At 38 Dickey is only looking for a 2 year contract from the Mets and while it seems they are probably apt to resign him after¬†locking up David Wright the Royals have¬†plenty of¬†pieces that may interest them.¬† The exciting thing about Dickey is that he shouldn’t run into injury problems as a knuckleball tosser giving the Royals a lock to get 200+ innings out of their ace.¬† The cause of concern¬†in the deal is obviously the lack of unknown future and what type of performance he will put up going forward.
Trade pieces – Royals would have to step up in the move and trade a rather big name to land the Cy Young winner.¬† It is said the Mets are looking for pitching and outfield help, if Odorizzi or Jason Adam combined with Jorge Bonifacio got the deal done and the Dickey was willing to sign for 2 or 3 years then KC would have to do it.
Similar Trade:¬† Cliff Lee to Seattle for Phillipe Aumont (#93), Tyson Gillies and JC Ramirez
After RA Dickey the possibility of landing a 2013 #1 really starts to lessen unless the Royals are willing to part with Myers, Hosmer or Moose.¬† If that is the case then they shouldn’t try to force things and just get better in the rotation by adding a younger starter who could need a change of scenery.¬† A good fit for this would be Mike Leake of the Cincinnati Reds.¬† It was announced with the Jonathan Broxton three-year deal (Ugh) that the Reds are pretty committed to get Aroldis Chapman in the rotation for 2013 and beyond.¬† If that is the case then Leake is somewhat expendable and they could probably use some bullpen help.¬† From all indications the Royals were going to take Leake in the draft the year he was chosen so a deal like this would likely interest GMDM and staff quite a bit while also giving Leake a friendlier home park to pitch in (Hm ERA 4.66 Rd 3.74).¬† This wouldn’t be the answer to the Royals #1 need but it will give them an increase in quality innings.
Trade pieces:¬†A very simple trade the Reds would be looking to strengthen their pen and a Aaron Crow selected in the same draft would fit that need quite nicely.
Similar trade:¬†Travis Wood Reds to Cubs for Sean Marshall Cubs
After Leake the Royals could look try to open up a trade with D-Backs on one of their young pitchers who wouldn’t cost a lot.¬† Pitchers Alex Cobb, Wade Davis, Chris Archer could all add talent to the Royals rotation while not costing Kansas Cityone of¬†their top young players under 25 years old.¬† Another place to look besides Tampa for Dayton would be Gavin Floyd in Chicago who is signed for one year just like RA Dickey.¬† The White Sox scouts are pretty good at identifying talent but a trade like that shouldn’t cost the Royals much more than a B level prospect and another C prospect.
If GMDM can’t make a move in division or struggles with the Saber friendly Friedman then he should look to the lone star state and a team at the start of a total rebuild in Houston.¬† The Astros play in a competitive division and are a few years away from competing so they should be looking to flip a tradeable asset like Bud Norris. ¬†Fellow PTP writer David Lesky has mentioned Norris in the past as a possible option and while I like him I wouldn’t backup the truck for him. ¬†If the Astros are willing to take a middle tier prospect like hometown boy Patrick Leonard combined with a couple smaller pieces would interest me.
Before making any trades the Royals should try to get something done in free agency even if they can only add a starter via a one or two-year deal. ¬†My list breaks down like this:
1. Dan Haren – Injury concerns but easily the most talented player available to the Royals.
2. Edwin Jackson – An innings horse who continually is available to teams on short deals. ¬†Hasn’t lived up to the hype but you can count on a slightly above average ERA combined with 200 innings.
3. Brandon McCarthy – A combo of he and Guthrie would make the best twitter rotation in the league.
4. Francisco Liriano – I’ve always been intrigued by the lefty because of the upside and while I doubt the Royals could harness the talent if he’s the last option it wouldn’t be a bad move to make.
5. Carlos Villanueva or Joakim Soria – Bullpen arms that could be tried as full-time starters and moved to the pen if it didn’t work.
As I mentioned in other articles and twitter I believe that GMDM is getting pressed into a move based on job security. ¬†He told us last year that they want to stick with the process yet is suddenly worried about winning this season. ¬†The Royals could have made a significant splash last free agency season when they had tons of room in the budget and instead of looking for free agents to sign they could be trying to offload Hoch, Chen and Franceour’s contracts for pennies on the dollar. ¬†It was a move that I’m sure the cheap minded owner was behind but now it appears they stepped over a dollar to save a dime and with TV deals coming down the pipe have cost themselves or more manageable marketplace. ¬†Sometimes it just doesn’t pay to be cheap.
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