- Winter Preview----Kansas City Royals:
You'd think that the Royals would be a boring subject, but I do so love watching train wrecks----especially ones that are not my own. And those days are over for me anyway. I've been awakened. Four lightning strikes are on the way from me within the next eight months. I'm a man of my word.
What they need: Two starting pitchers; bullpen help; a center fielder; a power bat for right field/DH.
Free agents: LHP Bruce Chen; CF Coco Crisp; C Miguel Olivo; RHP Jamey Wright; RHP Juan Cruz
Chen's a journeyman who's bounced from team-to-team for his whole career. He could be back with the Royals.
Crisp was hurt and didn't hit for the Royals. Trading for him was one of a multitude of stupid things that GM Dayton Moore did in the past year. Someone will pick Crisp up since center fielders are hard to find and he can still play the position defensively; nor will he be as bad as he was at the plate as he was for the Royals. He won't be back.
Olivo has a shotgun arm, is good with the pitchers and has pop. He'll get a better offer elsewhere.
Wright was miscast as a set-up man in the Royals haggard bullpen, but he has use as a low-cost reliever for a team like the Marlins or Rays who find such pitchers and get production out of them.
Cruz didn't have a good year for the Royals, but he's got a great arm and someone will give him a decent contract for a better team.
Players available via trade: RHP Roman Colon; OF David DeJesus; RHP Kyle Farnsworth; OF Jose Guillen; DH/1B Mike Jacobs; RHP Gil Meche; RHP Robinson Tejeda
Colon has a good arm, but he's arbitration-eligible, is a non-tender candidate and could bring back a minor leaguer in a trade.
DeJesus is a valuable commodity; he's no star, but he can hit with some pop; run a bit; and play center field. He's also signed to a reasonable contract through 2011 ($5.2 million guaranteed with a very reasonable $6 million option for 2011). They could get a pretty good package of decent minor leaguers for DeJesus.
You want Kyle Farnsworth? He's yours.
Guillen has some attractiveness because he's only signed through next year even though he's getting $12 million. They'd have to take a similarly expensive contract back for him, but I think he'll get moved to a team hungry for offense like the Giants. He does have power.
You want Jacobs? He's yours. Arbitration-eligible and horrible for the Royals (.228 Avg; .297 OBP; 19 homers; 132 strikeouts), Jacobs was acquired from the Marlins in a deal for Leo Nunez that was one of last winter's dumbest. It was right up there with Moore signing Kyle Farnsworth and trading for Crisp. The Royals GM is consistent in his idiocy.
Meche's signing was criticized when it was made, but he was an innings-eating horse in his first two years with the Royals; his record in those two seasons of 23-24 was no indicator of how well he pitched. He was hurt in 2009 and he's expensive ($24 million guaranteed through 2011), but he could be had for nothing and if he's healthy, and might be a great stealth pickup for someone.
At age 27, Tejeda came into his own and pitched up to his abilities. I always liked his stuff. His strikeout numbers (87 in 73 innings) are fantastic, but he's due a big raise in arbitration and the Royals are playing with fire if they expect him to repeat that performance. I have no idea what Moore's going to do, but I'd explore trade options for Tejeda.
Non-tender candidates: INF Wilson Betemit; RHP Roman Colon; 1B/DH Mike Jacobs; INF Tony Pena Jr.; C Brayan Pena
If the Royals go to arbitration with Betemit, Moore should be fired immediately and they should sue so they don't have to pay him off.
Colon and Jacobs were discussed earlier; I doubt that Moore will non-tender Jacobs, but it would be the right move if he can't trade him.
Tony Pena Jr is apparently being made into a pitcher, so he's not going anywhere.
Brayan Pena can catch and play the corner infield positions; I wouldn't dump him.
Players to pursue:
Via free agency: LHP Doug Davis (Diamondbacks); RHP Rich Harden (Cubs); OF Jermaine Dye (White Sox); RHP Jason Marquis (Rockies); 1B/3B Aubrey Huff (Orioles); RHP Kiko Calero (Marlins); 1B Nick Johnson (Marlins); RHP Kelvim Escobar (Angels); DH Vladimir Guerrero (Angels); RHP Jon Garland (Dodgers); DH Jim Thome (Dodgers); CF Mike Cameron (Brewers); RHP Carl Pavano (Twins); 1B/DH Carlos Delgado (Mets); OF/1B Xavier Nady (Yankees); RHP Justin Duchscherer (Athletics); RHP Brett Myers (Phillies); OF Randy Winn (Giants); 3B/1B/DH Hank Blalock (Rangers); LHP Erik Bedard (Mariners); RHP Ben Sheets
There's a market for some of the cheaper, mutually advantageous signings like Harden, Pavano; Bedard and Sheets. Once everything shakes out and teams fill their holes, one or two could fall to the Royals.
The veteran bats like Guerrero, Dye and Thome could be in a similar situation. Dye played for the Royals before. Delgado will get a good offer on an incentive-laden deal from someone, so he's not going to Kansas City.
Cameron would be perfect for the Royals.
Via trade: OF Melky Cabrera (Yankees); RHP Brandon League (Blue Jays); OF/DH Luke Scott (Orioles); RHP Edwin Jackson (Tigers); SS Brandon Wood (Angels); OF Nelson Cruz (Rangers); RHP Brandon Morrow (Mariners); RHP Chris Young (Padres)
I literally have no idea what Moore's going to do. After the display of overt dunderheadedness in the past twelve months, his bizarre building of the Royals has made them into a total mess whose only saving grace is that they have Zack Greinke and a couple of young pitchers with talent like Luke Hochevar, Kyle Davies and an under-appreciated closer in Joakim Soria. Their offense is a mishmash. Above are a few suggestions which he'll likely ignore to his own detriment.
- The longer it goes, the worse it's gonna be:
What was the point of Mark McGwire taking the job as Cardinals hitting coach if he's going to steadfastly refuse to meet the press?
What's the holdup?
And the longer he goes without standing up and answering any and all questions truthfully, the worse it's going to be for him and the Cardinals.
Did they not realize that this was going to be an issue when they decided to make the hire? Or did they just make the move to placate manager Tony La Russa to keep him in the fold and decide to worry about the consequences later?
It's becoming increasingly clear that even when McGwire does stand up for the press conference, he's going to continue to produce an embarrassingly cringeworthy display of non-answers, avoidance and awkward facial tics befitting a liar who's uncomfortable with what he's done.
I hate to break it to Mark, but we already know what he did. If he didn't want to come out of seclusion and 'fess up, then why take the job as hitting coach? More importantly, why aren't the Cardinals front office people saying enough's enough for a new employee and telling him he's holding a no-holds barred press conference and answering the questions or they're going to look for another hitting coach? Who's running things over there?
- White Sox sign Andruw Jones:
Jones is a cheap flier and replacement for DeWayne Wise as a defensively solid center fielder. He's fallen off the planet in his production, but he's cheap ($500,000 base with a chance for another $500,000 in incentives) and he can still play center. Maybe he'll have a career renaissance. It's worth a shot.
- Viewer Mail 11.26.2009:
Jane Heller at Confessions of a She-Fan writes RE Roy Halladay:
I'm not worried about the wear on Halladay's tires. There are many good body shops in the Bronx.
$140 million for a aged (though classic) car, along with a lot of stuff going in the transaction is a big risk.
Jeff at Red State Blue State writes:
For some reason, people seem to believe that if you sign a guy to such a big contract he'll be that good for the duration. Big mistake (insert Carl Pavano, Vernon Wells, Milton Bradley here). I'd be weary of just about anyone demanding that amount of money for that long, but that's me and I don't have millions in the bank to throw at... well, anything.
Sometimes teams don't have a choice like the Mets with Johan Santana.
With Pavano, the Yankees get grief for that nightmare, but if they hadn't paid him the Red Sox, Mariners or Tigers would've; they just got unlucky. Wells was a pretty good player who got Albert Pujols money. Think about that.
Halladay is at an age where he wants to get his money; considering some of the contracts guys like Barry Zito have gotten, I can understand why he'd say, "gimme mine" and he's in the position to get it now. I tip my hat to him. At least if he's unable to pitch, you know it's not a Pavano-like reason of wanting to go to the beach instead.
If anyone's earned that ridiculous money, it's Halladay. I think teams should tread lightly before making that commitment and giving up the chunk of their top tier minor leaguers.