Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Royals, Dayton Moore Trying to Improve

It seems like it was a month ago, an article was published on the Royals' website stating that a roster overhaul was "unlikely". Now, a month later, all signs are pointing to a complete stripping down of this roster. Arguably the face of the franchise, Mark Teahen, was traded to Chicago for a couple of league average, cheap, and somewhat unproven infielders in Chris Getz and Josh Fields (I'll break this down later). And now this week, rumors have surfaced that much offensively improved 2B Alberto Callaspo has been reportedly shopped around by the Royals, allegedly to the Dodgers for 28 year old minor league catcher, A.J. Ellis. Ellis is an OBP machine. He obviously would assess the need for a team that ranked in the bowels of the league in that category. But it would be a negative move for the Royals. Callaspo is under team control for the next several years, still cheap and seems to have kicked his off the field issues. Hopefully if this trade is made, A.J. Ellis is not the only piece involved in this trade. The Royals can use some bullpen and outfield help. 

The fact of the matter is that the Royals cannot afford to hold on to players who contributed to the mess that was the Royals last year. Offensive stats aside, Alberto Callaspo contributed to this team's struggles last year. He is an enigma. His body type is not suited for the 2nd base position. He seems to have trouble timing dives and leaping stabs for looping liners or hard hit grounders. He is good for a spectacular play every now and then, but that is almost a given for every major leaguer.


Outside of Billy Butler, Zack Greinke and Joakim Soria, this team should be making every effort to flip this roster and place pieces around these three core players that give this team the best chance to get back on the wagon. I used to include Alex Gordon on this list of "untouchables" but my faith in him is waning. Alex showed some promise in the last week of the season, but the promise needs to turn into production. This will be his fourth major league season. The injury issues have bugged me. Maybe he is similar to Billy Butler that he needs some time. The Royals have time. It is obvious that they are going to use 2010 as a stepping stone to 2011, which is a MUST win year for the Royals or Dayton & Co. could be out of a job and Glass & Co. could be out of fans. Is Alex Gordon deserving of one more year to prove that he belongs on this roster? Absolutely. Should the Royals shop him around to see if they can improve this roster by acquiring some "one-year-away" prospects in exchange for him? Absolutely. If Alex Gordon breaks out this year, it only increases his value, whether on this franchise or on the trade market. If Alex Gordon gets hurt again this year or only performs at a league average level, it only hurts his value. Dayton Moore is in a tough spot. Holding on to Alex Gordon and seeing if he finally turns the corner seems to be the right decision. That is unless a blockbuster deal is put on the table. If Gordon plays well this year, you can trade him at the deadline, you can hold on to him, you can sign him long term, etc.


As far as Fields and Getz go, I like the trade (then again, I liked the Mike Jacobs trade). This trade is different from others because it is dumping salary and gaining players who are both five years away from free agency. Let's face facts: Mark Teahen was a league average player who was getting expensive (the Royals probably would have paid him $5 million this year). Chris Getz and Josh Fields are both players who still have upside, whereas Teahen had already peaked. Getz was the White Sox sixth ranked prospect in 2008 and Fields is a former first round draft pick who is a natural athlete,  hit 23 home runs in just 100 games for the Southsiders in 2007, and sports a solid .286 career average against left handed pitchers. Not to mention his career OBP is 73 points above his batting average, many experts say that a good OBP is 75 points above the batting average. That being said, could Josh Fields be Kansas City's version of Carlos Pena or Jack Cust? Lets hope so, but my brain is telling me that Getz is going to be the most productive and contributing player out of this trade. My gut is telling me that Fields is a guy who needed a new start and can succeed here.

Lets hope my gut is right.