I know the GMDM article in the Star yesterday is already being discussed in another post, but I'm hoping the subject matter discussed here is different enough to not seem redundant. The article seemed to indicate that GMDM won’t have much $ to spend in the free agent market this offseason so any impactful moves seem likely to come via trade. However, I just don’t see GMDM and his win now (and later) and "pitching is the currency of baseball" philosophy trading Zack or Soria or Meche - nor does JoPo, it would seem. So do we have any truly tradeable commodities that could net an impactful player at the major league level in 2009? Let’s look.
1. David DeJesus – outside of Zack and the Mexicutioner, it would seem that DJ is the most valuable commodity. He’s coming off of a career year (not that he blew previous years’ numbers out of the water, but…). DJ hit .307/.366/.452/.818 with an OPS+ of 114. That’s good for anyone and it’s great for a CF. He can lead-off, hit well against lefties or righties (he’s a career .294 hitter against RHP and a career .272 hitter against LHP = solid), and best of all he’s signed way below league average for 3 more years (the final year being a club option). CF is a demanding position and several high power teams will be looking to upgrade in CF this offseason (Yankees, Cubs, Braves, etc). As much as I hate to say it, it might be time to sell high on David. He’s been somewhat injury prone throughout his career. It would seem that Mitch Maier possesses many of the same skills and is currently cheaper, faster, and better defensively than David. But we really have no clue what Mitch can do as an everyday major leaguer.
- Conclusion: Listen to all offers for DJ this offseason (and I would think there will be several). If he can bring back one major league ready positional upgrade* (MIF, C, OF, 1B) and one or two solid AA or AAA (or high ceiling low) prospects, I think you move him.
*Incoming player X has to be a reasonably established upgrade at a position of need (i.e. Robinson Cano, Max Ramirez, Mike Theriot).
2. Hiram Kyle Davies – is it possible that HKD built himself some trade value with his strong finish to 2008? My guess is any 24 year old starting pitcher with his “stuff” has some value. And actually getting some major league hitters out can only enhance it. The real question is, does Kyle have more value to the Royals as a possible solid #3 or #4 starter in 2009 or would this be considered selling high in anticipation of the inconsistent Kyle (GD-it, KYLE!) returning? And what could we get for Kyle? Would a pitching starved organization like the Rangers accept a deal of Davies and a minor league pitcher (Pimental?) for one of their catchers not named Laird? I’m still not a Hiram-believer (I’m more of a Hiram-hoper) so I’d certainly listen.
Conclusion: Think hard about selling high on Kyle. He’s very young, durable, talented and under team control for several more years. Teams will overpay for pitching, no? My guess is there’s potential Davies could net the Rs a piece of the 2009 major league puzzle, but it’d have to be a good piece since he’s likely to be a part of the 2009 rotation as we stand today.
3. Ron Mahay – Ron had a stellar 2/3 of a season, then got hurt and struggled down the stretch. Still, I think Ron is valued fairly highly as a rare established lefty vet in the pen who can get both lefties and righties out. He’s in the final year of a 2 year deal, receiving $4M in 2009. Ron was a much talked about commodity at the 2008 trade deadline, but nothing came of it. Doesn’t mean GMDM won’t receive a few calls this offseason about Ron. Thing is, what can you realistically hope to get for a 37 year-old (he’ll turn 38 mid year in 2009) reliever with one year left on his deal? This past July the Marlins acquired Arthur Rhodes for minor league RHP Gaby Hernandez; last December Milwaukee Acquired RHP Salomon Torres from the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for RHP Marino Salas and RHP Kevin Roberts. At the trade deadline in 2007 we all know what Octavio Dotel (a 2-month rental) brought us. I know, I know… Dotel had that magical dollar sign associated with being a “closer.”
Conclusion: Chances are trading Mahay does not help the 2009 club. It seems he would bring a high minor league B or C prospect at best. I’m not sure this is the way Dayton wants to go. If he really thinks competing in 2009 in an option, I would think you keep Mahay and explore flipping him at the deadline.
4. Alex Gordon/Billy Butler – I don’t like the idea of looking to trade either of these guys simply because you’re selling low… way low, I hope. It sounds like Gordon especially still has value around the league, but how does removing one of our supposed “cornerstones” (at least offensively) help the future of the organization? I don’t know if it would be possible to pull a Delmon Young for Matt Garza type of trade this offseason, but I somehow doubt it. Delmon had a solid rookie campaign. Gordon and Butler are coming off of two unspectacular (probably somewhere between solid and mediocre, but a lot closer to mediocre) seasons.
Conclusion: I think Gordon has to stay and I’m with some of you who have suggested locking him up while his value is low. He’s a local (sort of) kid and it’s not hard to see him becoming a perennial all-star and who should be league average for his position at worst. Now, if someone wants to offer up a stud pitcher or stud OF for Billy, I think you consider it seriously. I’d love, love, love for Bam Bam to rake for the Royals for the next 5-10 (to 20) years, but it doesn’t look good for him to ever hold down a position defensively. DH has to be the easiest position to fill through free-agency… (or maybe Kila Monster profiles there if we find a legit 1B or if Shealy somehow becomes a viable option). I think flipping Billy for a legit position player or starting pitcher just makes sense. Now, how realistic it is, I’m not sure.
I had thought about including Leo Nunez and Ram Ram here, but they sort of fit in the Mahay category (not as established certainly, but can you really expect to get equal value for a relief pitcher who has not closed ballgames? My guess is no unless you’re willing to accept A or AA talent.) And then there’s Jose Guillen. I’d love to send JoGui packing. Not even because of his anemic OBP (although that drives me crazy!!), but because for all his “passion,” I don’t see him solidifying a clubhouse; quite the opposite. He’s rarely played on a winner (and he’s had his chances playing for a third of baseball). The one true winning organization he played for kicked his @ss out of the post season. Anyway, to trade Jose now would mean accepting $0.50 on the dollar and unless you’ve got some defunct junk bonds, that’s probably not a winning proposition. I’d still listen (maybe Seattle wants him back), but my guess is the Rs would end up eating half of his salary (at least) and that still handcuffs us with no obvious choice around to step into a corner OF position. (I was going to say “no one else around to pick up the run production,” but I’d argue that Alex Gordon or Billy Butler would have had nearly as many RBIs if they were batting 4th all year – which is why we all know RBIs are a lousy stat.)
Sadly, I see the above as the extent of our “valuable” commodities if Donald Zachary, Soria, and Meche are excluded. At the high minor league level, even Carlos Rosa has a seemingly serious injury to battle with this offseason leaving only Dan Cortes as a realistic trade possibility (with any value).
What have I missed? Am I completely off-base here? Bring on the thoughts of the RR faithful!
(I apologize for the crappy formatting)