Saturday, January 23, 2010

After Ankiel, What's Next for KC?

At first there was outrage. Then optimism. Then delusion. Finally, acceptance. Acceptance of the fact that Rick Ankiel will be a Kansas City Royal.

Once again, a move that I am ok with. Ankiel improves our outfield defense. He provides a measure of protection for Billy Butler if his power returns and he is able to stay healthy. His contract is also a very club-friendly deal. His $3.25 million dollar salary is much cheaper than what his agent, Scott Boras was asking for (3 years/$15 million). Included in the deal is a mutual option for 2011 worth $6 million.

Rick Ankiel is not young. He will be 30 when the season starts and 31 when it is over. I'm not sure what the Royals plans are, but I'm sure we are about to see a decent sized roster shakeup.

First off, our outfield is now pretty crowded as Ankiel joins David DeJesus, Scott Podsednik, Brian Anderson, Mitch Maier, Jose Guillen and possibly Josh Fields.

Of that group, Anderson has minor league options left. Maier is out of options and it is possible that Maier will move on after spring training.

So that leaves us with DeJesus, Scotty Pods, Guillen and Ankiel.

I doubt that any of those will accept a role as a 4th OF.

DeJesus has the most trade value out the group, but his production is going to be greatly needed in this lineup. Guillen has little to no trade value as he probably will start the year on the DL. Podsednik has all but been guaranteed a starting spot. Ankiel is too good of a defender to sit on the bench.

I think it is obvious what needs to be done. Jose Guillen needs to be released.

The $12 million dollars is already spent. If you trade Guillen, you will have to eat nearly all of his salary. He is hurt, nobody wants him. You have to designate him for assignment and let him explore his options elsewhere. That leaves you with a quick, defensively sound outfield that is suited for Kauffman Stadium.

Now, if Dayton Moore goes with the not-so-obvious move of trading DeJesus, there are several areas that need improvement on this ballclub. A trade for DeJesus would have to garner a young lefty pitcher and one or two young infield prospects, maybe even a catcher.

If DDJ is traded, this opens up a big competition for the final OF spot between Maier, Anderson and minor leaguers Jordan Parraz (hit .348 in AA and AAA in '09) and David Lough (hit .325 also in AA and AAA in '09).

With either move, it could possibly benefit the Royals. If Guillen is released, I am positive it would benefit the club (see my post below as to why). As for a trade for DeJesus, it would pain me to see him go, but if the return is substantial, then I won't feel too awful about it.

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