I think I broached this topic on one of the Gameday threads this weekend, but it should probably be more fully explored.
How does this rank in the annals of "dark" weekends in Royals history? I've only been around for about 10 years so I don't know if I've exactly seen a lot of "bright" weekends but this seems like a bad one even by our standards.
Any others that spring to mind at the moment? Or maybe some optimism as to how this really isn't that bad as you guys know I'm always in that market1) The GM made a really stupid trade that makes everyone question if he even knows what he's doing. You don't take on someone else's payroll problem *and* give them prospects for doing it. As has increasingly become the cliche this weekend, we needed a SS before the trade and we still have a need for a SS after the trade.
My own personal take where I've finally put proverbial pen to virutal paper is below and I think it's mostly on the same page not only with Royals fans but a lot of baseball, in general:
Soren was on 810 this morning using a similar justification to GobbleforCyoung. We didn't give up anything at the major league level and we improved at SS. Soren even went so far to say that this looks like a good trade in a vacuum, which I vehemently disagree with as many do, be he said once taken in concert, as a whole, it's hard to justify.
The first assertion is that Betancourt is better than any SS we have at the MLB level. He is better than Tony Pena Jr, yes. But how is he better than Bloomquist by any metric? He is definitely a worse hitter. Defensively, he's is "officially" a SS whereas Bloomquist is not, but both scouts and stats guys say he's gotten worse at fielding and is a bad SS. So neither is a good SS. That said, Betancourt, may not even be MLB caliber as he was just benched in Seattle for a rookie hitting .168.
We only gave up Cortes and a throw-in with Saito. This is true- we gave up nothing at the major league level. We know the bloom is off Cortes's rose, however, there's opportunity cost to consider. What else could we have gotten for Cortes? For some reason, teams love to hold tightly onto their B level prospects but that's because they are strangely valued around the league. If we're trading for a guy who has negative value, why should we give up anything at all? Why not take on that player for Saito alone and then we'd still have Cortes to deal for another need.
The final nail in the coffin of this deal is that we gave up $7M and 2.5 starting years to someone who isn't even necessarily an MLB-level SS. This again goes back to opportunity cost. What if there are other SS's available but we now think we're set because we're locked into a bad contract? What of Mike Aviles? What of the $7M we could have spent elsewhere? Anyone idea what caliber of middle infielder was available last offseason for that kind of cash?
Really, Poz's comparisons to Neifi Perez and Rany's to Angel Berroa should send a chill down every Royal's fans spine. I know they did to me. It seems like we have been down this road before but it's even worse now because we actually gave up something of value to get it.
I think Rany had a scary but possibly very prescient paragraph in his blog post over the weekend:
But in practice, I think that years from now we will look at the Betancourt trade the way we look at the Neifi Perez trade. Just as the trade for Perez signaled the death knell for the Allard Baird era – even though it would take years for the Royals to finally put the era out of its misery and make a change at the top – I think that the trade for Betancourt signals the point at which Dayton Moore’s tenure as GM becomes untenable. It will probably be at least a few years before the Glass family sends Moore packing, but I no longer have any expectation that the Royals will ever win anything under the current administration.
Another minor frustrating aspect of this is to now have to answer again to the large market teams and how this again puts a false data point onto the "see, money doesn't matter- you just have to spend it well" graph. Yes, you have to spend it well, but a team with more resources doesn't have to spend nearly as well as a team with less.
2) Meche is now officially hurt, tho he's actually been hurt ever since being thrown 115 and 132 back to back. This is almost as if some divine being were looking down from on high, laughing at us (he is), in light of the recent blowup with Rany involving Nick Swartz and the press credentials.
It's no secret we've had other injury issues, particularly this season. I'm mainly on an island with this one, but I'm concerned for Greinke, personally. He threw 95 pitches for his first start of the season and then reeled of 14(!) in a row with over 100. I realize all pitch counts are not created equal and he was in such an insane zone for the first month and a half of the season that those aren't nearly as stressful pitches as, say, Gil has had. But having 5 CGs in the first 2 months of the season is going to take its toll.
3) Greinke's great season gets bypassed for Halladay to start the All Star Game. Yes, Halladay would be deserving in any other season but Greinke has been better this season. By no measure is Halladay better except less losses and a couple more BB in over 100 IP.
Halladay: 10-3 2.85ERA 123.0IP 106K 17BB 1.10WHIP 2.86FIP 4.2 WAR 39.0VORP
Greinke: 10-5 2.12ERA 127.1IP 129K 21BB 1.08WHIP 1.97FIP 5.8 WAR 45.5VORP
I know, it's basically a lifetime achievement award for Halladay but it does slightly take away from the banner season Zack has had.
4) Our GM was on the radio this morning, repeatedly talking about his payroll constraints for the first time. It's a problem- we get it and we've heard it. But you can't come to us, as a fanbase, and expect that to wash as an excuse right now when you just added payroll. If $75M is where we top out for payroll, in the new stadium, then we are doomed to more bad baseball unless we get one of the best minds in baseball in the front office.
This is not to say that Dayton is bad. In fact, I think he's done a good job with a lot of things that go unnoticed. He greatly increased the "scouting and developement" presence, doing everthing from adding a minor league squad so we have the most in the majors to increasing scout pay to convincing Glass to really open the checkbook on the draft- those Melville, Myers, Dwyer-type picks will pay dividends. I think he really bolstered the front office, drawing some quality talent to this team.
However, with that resource limitiation, you need the front office equivalent of a superstar, not someone who doesn't get defensive stats, even if he's good in other facets of his job. He would have to be great at practically everything to overcome these obstacles.