The relative quiet of this off-season is on the verge of ending with the winter meetings beginning in Nashville on Monday. Many of the rumors that have swirled through the last month or even more will find a resolution and after that we can begin to get a clearer picture of what the 2013 season will look like for many teams. Don’t get me wrong, there will still be plenty of action beyond that, but the winter meetings are probably the most exciting four days of the winter for baseball fans. I just can’t wait to flip on MLB Network and see the desk in the lobby of the hotel and watch all the interviews they do with people they just pick up from standing around the lobby. It’s a fun time for us baseball nerds.
- There’s been some recent rumbling that the Royals have interest in National League Cy Young Award winner, R.A. Dickey. That news was met with a fair amount of skepticism from some people who don’t like¬†something¬†about Dickey whether its his age, the fact that he throws a knuckleball or something else. Personally, I think Dickey would be a fantastic addition to the rotation. To address his age, he’ll be 38 next season, but he also has limited mileage on his arm. Plus, beyond that, throwing the knuckleball provides a lot less stress on the arm than almost any other pitch. And to add a third point that may or may not mean anything, he has no UCL in his right arm, so at least he won’t join the Tommy John brigade. As for the gimmick of the knuckleball, he’s got three consecutive very good seasons and the thing that seals it for me is the fact that he’s limited his walks to a shade over two per nine innings over those three seasons. I wouldn’t give up guys like Myers or Zimmer or probably even Starling, but I think you can get three or four more good years out of Dickey if that’s a possibility for maybe a 5-7 prospect, a 11-14 prospect and someone else.
- The Royals are in kind of an awkward position this winter because they have such a glaring weakness in the starting rotation that they’ve had to focus the majority of their energy and funds on that part of the team. I’m not sure where they would upgrade on either the trade market or free agent market, but combine the need in the rotation with the youth of the lineup and the Royals are kind of stuck in a holding pattern with the offense, an offense that struggled mightily to score runs in 2012. The kicker is that it looks like Dayton Moore is working to build a rotation that can resemble competing for 2013 without jeopardizing any of the future. What may cause a roadblock in that is the possibility that this offense simply isn’t that good and that players are not going to live up to their potential. That could waste what could be an expensive rotation by Royals standards. My guess is the offense comes around, but the possibility does exist that this could happen and it’s sort of an awkward position for the team to be in.
- I knew B.J. Upton would get a bucket load of money from some team, but after seeing his actual contract, I realize that Lorenzo Cain has a chance to be an incredibly valuable player for the Royals moving forward. In less than half the games played in 2012, Cain had more than half of the fWAR accumulated. Now, the fact that Cain played less than half the games could be a problem, but the defense he provides in center could be a difference maker for the Royals if he is able to stay healthy. I feel like that’s a pretty big if because it seems like leg injuries were his problem all season and that’s pretty scary for a guy who relies a lot on speed. But because it’s late November, optimism reigns surpreme and if Cain can stay healthy, he could provide more value than B.J. Upton provides to the Braves for roughly 3% of the cost. Lorenzo Cain could provide ridiculous value to this team based on what center fielders appear to be worth on the open market.
- All the talk about Wil Myers being on the market for a pitcher like Jon Lester and James Shields makes me laugh a little bit. It isn’t because I don’t think a deal like that could be consummated, it’s that you get the opportunity to hear both fan bases discuss the move and the variance in what they think is pretty massive. Using the Jon Lester example, Red Sox fans seem to think the deal would be okay if the Royals simply threw someone else in like an Alcides Escobar. On the other side, Royals fans not only think that’s ridiculous but that the Red Sox would have to add to Jon Lester. The truth of the matter is that Wil Myers as a 0-3 player has potential to be valuable to every team, but has more value to a team like the Royals who are interested in keeping their costs down at every position possible. So on sheer value alone, maybe Wil Myers for Jon Lester works, but for the Royals, it simply doesn’t because they’d be giving up three cost controlled seasons (and really a fourth because the first arbitration year is often not crazy expensive) and then two more at a less reasonable price for two years of a pitcher perceived as declining. It’s just interesting to me.
- I think what all this payroll talk of the last week or so as well as the acquisition of pitching and the frantic search for veterans tells us is that Dayton Moore is on the hot seat. It’s only slightly warm right now, but if the Royals start off slow in 2013, I think both Dayton Moore and Ned Yost are in trouble. I think if you’re reading this, you know that I believe they should both be on the hot seat. The question is how bad to they have to be in order for anything to happen, and my guess is really bad. I don’t think a rough 15-21 start is going to do it, but I do think that say 19-40 would spell the end of the era. It’s an interesting plot point to follow in the first month or two of the season.
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