Thursday, June 3, 2010

Quick Thoughts on Umpires

Well this has been an interesting last 24 hours. We had Joyce-Gate in Detroit last night. And today, the Mike Estabrook circus set up shop at the K.

I'll start with Jim Joyce. At first, I was outraged. How dare an umpire take away a perfect game? The third perfect game in ONE MONTH? What a joke. Then I remembered. This man is a person. He has a family. He probably had dreams about a moment like this. Well, his moment came and it is now going to be one of the most infamous moments in Major League history. I disagree with the call. 99% of America disagrees with it. But the thing that has stood out the most in this whole ordeal is the professionalism of Armando Galarraga and personal responsibility of Jim Joyce that was on display in the last 24 hours. The fact that Jim Joyce was man enough to admit his mistake AND man enough to apologize to Galarraga and Jim Leyland just minutes after Leyland was filling Joyce's face with Marlboro breath, is a testament to the kind of human being that Jim Joyce is. Which is more than enough to make up for his blown call.

Now onto a more cowardly and ridiculous topic. Earlier today, let's just say that home plate umpire Mike Estabrook was having a little trouble discerning the strike zone. Fed up with seeing his Cy Young winning pitcher getting squeezed, catcher Jason Kendall decided to say something about it. Estabrook then fee-fi-fo-fummed in front of Kendall and made a scene in front of the plate. Well that didn't sit too well with Ned Yost, who stormed out of the dugout with fervor and rage that had escaped his predecessor. Yost gave it to Estabrook. Hard. It was like the shower scene from American History X, except with words. And Mr. Estabrook deserved it. There's a reason why players get paid more than umpires. Because people go to watch the players, not umpires. Call strikes, keep track of the outs and don't try to be a part of the game.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Royals Trade Deadline Special: Episode 1

Over the next couple of months, as trade talks start firing up, I'm going to profile 3-4 Royals at a time to estimate the value of what the Royals could get in return for several different players. Next to their name and position I will provide their salary info for the current 2010 season and for the 2011 season. Here we go...

I'll start off with the list of usual suspects, I'll leave the hard hitting, newsworthy stuff for later.

David DeJesus, RF, 2010 salary: $4.7 million, 2011: $6 million club option with $500k buyout- His name has been in the trade stew for the last three seasons. His value is lower than it has been, as he is 30 years old now. But that is really the only thing that sets DeJesus back. He does a lot of things well. Great fielder, above average bat, great with runners in scoring position. He is a bad baserunner though. He would fit in nicely with a National League team looking to add a legitimate Major League outfielder who can play all three outfield positions for a very fair price. I can see the Padres, if they are still in the heat of the NL West or Wild Card races, and maybe even Athletics come calling for DDJ. The Royals shouldn't ask the world for DeJesus, but perhaps a young, upper minors catcher and a low-level C+ pitching prospect should do the trick.
Trade Likelihood: Possible
Trade Value: Above Average

Kyle Farnsworth, RHP, 2010 salary: $4.5 million, 2011: $5.25MM club option with a $500K buyout- He's having a pretty darn good season right now. The majority of his $4.5 million salary would be paid to him by the time the Trade Deadline rolls around, so the salary really isn't the issue. The issue here is that Farnsworth has been run out of nearly every single city in Major League Baseball. The usual buyers at the deadline (Yankees, Tigers, Cubs, etc.) are all teams that Farnsworth has played for. Someone will have to be desperate enough to take him on. But a simple glance at his numbers and you see that he has been effective for the Royals this year. Potential suitors for him could be the Blue Jays, Angels, Giants and Reds, as all are having awful trouble with their bullpens. The club option for 2011 is a bit of a concern, it would have to be a team who is willing to use him as a rent-a-player. The good news is that teams are ALWAYS looking to add bullpen arms around the Trade Deadline. The return on Farnsworth won't be great, but the benefit in this is that it allows the Royals to call up a young pitcher to the bigs (Crow, Hardy, Coleman, etc.) and shed some payroll. My bet is on the Giants, as they seem to be willing to take on extra payroll if necessary.
Trade Likelihood: Very Likely
Trade Value: Average

Willie Bloomquist, UTIL, 2010 salary: $1.7 million, 2011: Unsigned- St. Willie isn't an all star. He doesn't set the world on fire. But he plays nearly every damn position on the field except for catcher. Teams usually are looking for utility players around the trade deadline. Bloomquist also provides his speed for any potential suitor. Look at what Dave Roberts did for the Red Sox in 2004. If it weren't for him stealing that base in game 4, the Red Sox probably would have lost the game. Willie will provide a decent glove at every position off the bench in the late innings. He can come in and run for slow players in the late innings. He can even convince the team's 35 year old catcher to be his teammate in the two-man bobsled team at the 2018 Winter Olympics! He is extremely affordable and versatile. Provides little to nothing at the plate, but Bloomers' value is off the bench, something that every team can use at any time of the year. He could really go anywhere. The return will be minimal, but it would allow the Royals to take a look at a player like Irving Falu or perhaps open up a roster spot for Mike Moustakas. And that is the most I will ever write about Willie Bloomquist.
Trade Likelihood: 50/50
Trade Value: Below Average

Rick Ankiel, CF, 2010 salary: $2.75 million, 2011: $6 million mutual option with $500k buyout- He's hurt now. That is the issue. It would be a high risk move for the team that would bring him in. He is supposedly about to start a rehab assignment. There are a plethora of reasons the Royals should trade him. He has a big hole in his swing. He strikes out a lot. He blocks Mitch Maier. He blocks Alex Gordon. But he does have redeeming qualities. He hits homers. He has a cannon for an arm. He is a decent fielder. If someone is interested in taking him on, then the Royals should absolutely unload him. He doesn't fit in with the "youth" movement that the Royals are allegedly taking. If he can be traded, then the value for him may be pretty decent. A Double-A or Triple-A shortstop should be sought. Once again, the Padres need outfield help.
Trade Likelihood: Doubtful
Trade Value: Average