So the Royals traded David DeJesus.
It's like when you know a relationship is ending, and you know it might even be for the best, but it still kind of shocks you when you actually hear the words.
As is typical, five bloggers will give you six different opinions about what this means for the Royals.
Will McDonald provided a more negative point of view on this site, while Beyond the Box Score comes in on the slightly more optimistic side.
As this is my first foray into Royals blogging, I should probably make a few disclaimers before we jump in:
- I will from time to time use some so-called "advanced statistics." Please do not take this to mean I am putting myself out as a devout sabermetrics guy or even that I actually fully comprehend them. I dabble.
- I tend to look at things from a "glass half full" perspective. I say it's objective, others would argue it's unrealistic. Really it's more of a defense mechanism from years of being a Royals fan.
Now that we have those out of the way, let's begin.
This is, in my mind, a trade the Royals were never going to "win." With the value being placed on prospects these days, most of these trades are not straight "wins" for the team getting rid of the veteran without dumb luck five years down the line or sheer unadulterated stupidity along the lines of AJ Pierzynski for Joe Nathan, Francisco Liriano and Boof Bonser.
Basically, we knew DeJesus was going, and we weren't going to get a top 10 prospect for him, we just needed to get some serviceable players.
Yes, we didn't HAVE to trade David DeJesus. Barring a move to the outfield from Wil Myers or Eric Hosmer, there are no super-prospects knocking down the door to play a corner outfield spot.
He's making a good living, but he's not making THAT much.
But, as much as it pains me to say it because I love him, DDJ just wasn't going to be around much longer.
So, the question is, did we get serviceable talent in return.
Mazzaro is a 23 year-old right handed starter who in just a shade over 200 innings of big league pitching has been slightly below average (91 ERA+) and dead-on 0.0 WAR. He doesn't get you extra wins, but he doesn't cost you any either.
Certainly not a budding Cy Young candidate, but he looks like he can be an innings-eater that will give up some hits, walk a few batters and strike out a few more than he walks.
The way I see it, having a 23 y/o starting pitcher who is -- at 23 -- right about league average, can't be a bad thing.
In 2010, his ERA+ of 97 would have been bested by only Zack Greinke (101) and Bruce Chen (100) on the Royals.
Not the best of standards, for sure, but the reality is Mazzaro improves our pitching staff for 2011 with or without Bruce Chen.
Yes we have Montgomery and Dwyer and Duffy and Teaford and all those guys, but many of them are at least a season away and the chances of ALL of them panning out are slim-to-none.
Vin Mazzaro is a league minimum guy who can come in and improve our pitching staff immediately in 2011 and probably in 12 and 13 as well.
Like most people, I don't know a lot about this kid. He's 22 years old, a lefty, and from what I've read, grades out as an average prospect with a chance to contribute down the line but far from a sure-thing.
His ERA is slightly high, but his strikeout rate is strong (136 in 129 1/3 innings, to only 56 walks).
Basically, anything Marks contributes at the major league level for the Royals in the future is gravy.
As I said, I don't think is a trade you can ever really expect to "win," but I think the Royals did respectably well.
Consider the Alberto Callaspo trade, which most people kind of rolled their eyes about, but nobody really said "THE ROYALS GOT HOSED." (Especially after Callaspo posted a 0.5 WAR and an OPS+ of 67 in Anaheim)
Sean O'Sullivan is Vin Mazzaro and Will Smith is Justin Marks.
O'Sullivan has slightly fewer innings and is a little younger, but his ERA+ is a mere 77.
Sure DeJesus is a much better player than Alberto Callaspo, but Will Smith is a stronger prospect than Justin Marks, so I think the trades are both fairly even. Neither team really wins on paper, but nor does either team lose on paper.
In the end, would I have liked to have received more for DeJesus? Sure.
Does the sentimental side of me wish DeJsus could finish out his career in Kansas City? Absolutely, but this doesn't even move the needle on the "Neifi-Perez-for-Jermaine-Dye-meter."