Potential Trade Targets for the Royals: The Right Fielders

Jim McIsaac

Who can fill Frenchy's shoes?

We continue our trade series by looking at upgrades for right field. Ned and Dayton both indicated their desire to add a bat, and right field makes the most sense for a bat. While David Lough and Justin Maxwell held their own in right, we can probably expect a good regression from both. Dayton could look to add an experienced bat to hit in the middle of his lineup.

The Old Veterans

Melky Cabrera, Toronto Blue Jays

Remember good ol' Melky? Dayton took a flyer on the former Braves outfielder in 2011 and he responded with a terrific season, that allowed Dayton to trade him for some much-needed pitching. That pitching turned into a disaster named Jonathan Sanchez, while Melky went on to become All-Star Game MVP in what was a sensational, yet tainted season.

Melky signed a two year-$16 million deal with Toronto last year, and immediately reverted back to sucking again. He hit just .279/.322/.360 and was a below replacement level player. It was later found a tumor in Melky's spine was limiting his mobility, possibly causing the disappointing season. The Jays may roll the dice and see if Melky can bounce back, but if the Royals think Melky can return to form (cleanly!) he might be worth a flyer should the Jays look to cut costs.

Andre Ethier, Los Angeles Dodgers

Ethier signed a massive deal last June when the Dodgers were spending their silly money, and he has underwhelmed ever since then. The Dodgers have him locked up through 2018, but will pay him $72 million over the next five years. Ethier got off to a rough start this year, but hit .299/.388/.467 over his last 81 games, and hit .272/.360/.423 overall. Ethier is a .906 OPS hitter against righties, compared to .644 against lefties. He's paid far too much to be a platoon player, but if the Dodgers eat a considerable amount of money, he might begin to make sense for the Royals. With the emergence of Yasiel Puig, the Dodgers may consider it worth it to shed some of Ethier's salary off the books and get Puig in the lineup with Carl Crawford and Matt Kemp full time.

Ryan Ludwick, Cincinnati Reds

Ludwick was a late bloomer, but he slammed 37 home runs for the Cardinals in 2008 and has been a decent power hitter ever since. In 2012, the right-hander hit .275/.346/.531 with 26 home runs in just 472 plate appearances. He signed a big three year deal with the Reds last winter, then lost most of the year to a disclocated shoulder. The Reds owe him $17.5 million over the next two years, but may look to get out from under that to shore up other needs. The Royals may be able to get the 34-year old outfielder cheaply, with the Reds eating some money, if they feel he can bounce back from his injury.

Josh Willingham, Minnesota Twins

Willingham seems to be perennially on the trade block. He put up a monster year with the Twins in 2012, slamming 35 home runs, but he hit just .208/.342/.368 with 14 home runs this year. The 34-year old Willingham will earn $7 million in the final year of his contract in 2014. Willingham is an awful defender, and has little experience in right field. Still, he can draw walks and hit for power, and if the Twins are motivated to move him as part of a rebuilding process, the asking price could be cheap.

The Young Veterans

Kyle Blanks, San Diego Padres

Blanks was once a Top 100 prospect that has struggled to see the field due to injury. He had plantar fasciitis in 2009, had Tommy John surgery in 2010, and a torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder in 2012. With Yonder Alonso now entrenched at first base, and Carlos Quentin in left-field, Blanks found himself the odd man out. Blanks hit a disappointing .243/.305/.379 this year in 308 plate appearances, although it was a September slump (.435 OPS) that hurt what was a decent season up to that point. He has a career .176 ISO and a 102 OPS+ over parts of five seasons in the big leagues.

Blanks is a tall right-handed hitter, standing at 6'6'', with solid power and good walk rates, although he strikes out a ton. Despite his size, Blanks held his own in right field, although he has had numerous arm surgeries suggesting throwing could be an issue. Blanks is eligible for arbitration for the first time, but is already 27 years old.

Lucas Duda, New York Mets

The Mets reportedly will shop Duda this winter, although its possible they instead part ways with disappointing first baseman Ike Davis and move Duda to first base. Duda is a defensive liability. Only Raul Ibanez has posted a worse dWAR in the outfield over the last three seasons. But the 27-year old lefty can hit a bit. Duda hit just .223 but with a .352 on-base percentage and a .415 slugging percentage with 15 home runs in just 384 plate appearances. Duda hits righties much better than lefties (.812 OPS vs. .643) and is arbitration-eligible for the first time this fall. The Mets may value Duda more than he's worth, but if they're motivated sellers, the Royals might be able to get a power bat without giving up much.

Logan Morrison, Miami Marlins

Morrison is a Kansas City-native who was once a top prospect that has struggled to stay on the field due to injury. The Blue Valley West alum hit just .242/.333/.375 in 333 plate appearances this year, but has posted a career ISO of .178 and a walk rate of 11.1%. Morrison would be a big liability defensively, as he has struggled in the outfield, has suffered a knee injury, and has little experience in right field. The Marlins are a notoriously cheap organization and may want to clear salary to be able to afford Giancarlo Stanton or simply to save money period. Morrison has been a thorn in management's side, filing a grievance against the team for gaming his service time and he is an active Tweeter whose comments have been known to get him in hot water. The Marlins are said to be actively pursuing Cuban free agent first baseman Jose Abreu, so it may be time for the Marlins to send Morrison packing.

Josh Reddick, Oakland Athletics

Reddick is just a year removed from a breakout 32 home run season where he earned a Gold Glove and MVP votes. But the 26 year old regressed badly in 2013, hitting just .226/.307/.379 with 12 home runs in 441 plate appearances. Reddick dealt with a wrist injury for much of the year, which may explain the decline. However, Billy Beane has never been afraid to trade players, so if the Royals offer the right deal, Reddick could become available. Reddick is a solid defender and is hitting his first year of arbitration.

Mark Trumbo, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

We talked a bit about Trumbo here. Trumbo provides plus power, but at the expense of poor defense and lousy on-base skills. The 27-year old right-hander hit .234/.294/.453 with 34 HR 100 RBI and 2.2 WAR last year for the Angels. He has several controllable years left, so the asking price could be high for the slugger.

Dayan Viciedo, Chicago White Sox

The White Sox were rumored to be discussing deals for Viciendo last winter, and with a group of young outfielders coming up through their system, it might be time for them to deal the Cuban slugger. Viciendo has pop, but little plate discipline, and hit .265/.304/.426 this year with 14 home runs. He had a career best season in 2012 with 25 home runs, but just 28 walks. Viciendo is a below-average defender (notice a trend here?), although not an absolute butcher in right field. Dayan is still young - he'll be 25 by Opening Day - and is arbitration-eligible for the first time, after which he still won't be eligible for free agency until 2018.

Other possibilities:

Peter Bourjos, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim - Bourjos is an elite defender who has struggled to stay on the field due to injury. He posted a 5 WAR season in 2011, but has only played in 156 games the last two seasons combined. He missed large chunks of time this year with a hamstring injury and a broken wrist. Bourjos will be 27 on Opening Day, and while he's a terrific defender who can hit some, he may not be the power bat the Royals are looking for.
Nolan Reimold, Baltimore Orioles - Reimold is a 30-year old right-handed bat who has struggled to stay on the field due to injury. A back injury cut his season short this year and may explain his awful performance - .195/.250/.336. Reimold has a career .439 slugging percentage with 20 home run power and decent on-base skills and not much of a split. He may be a non-tender candidate, so it may not take much to get him in a trade.
Darin Ruf, Philadelphia Phillies - Its hard to tell if Ruf fits in Philly's plans. He's a first baseman by trade who played right field and slugged well in his rookie campaign. If Ruben Amaro feels tempted to make a bold move to upgrade his team to win now, Ruf could be moved.
Justin Ruggiano, Miami Marlins - Ruggiano is a journeyman who had a career best year in 2012 with the Marlins at age 30 with a .909 OPS. He regressed badly this year with a .694 OPS. He did manage 18 home runs, but its hard to see what a right-hander like him can give you that Justin Maxwell doesn't already provide.
Travis Snider, Pittsburgh Pirates - Its hard to believe just a few years ago Snider was a potential headliner on a Zack Greinke deal. Snider has been an abject disappointment since being a Blue Jays prospect. He was dealt last year to Pittsburgh for reliever Brad Lincoln and has continued to not hit. He is still just 25 so perhaps he can turn his career around, but the result thus far have been awful.
Nate Schierholtz, Chicago Cubs - Schierholtz is a career lefty bench bat who hit a career high 21 home runs with the Cubs this year. He struggles mightily against southpaws and fails to get on base much. The 29-year old is entering his last year before free agency.

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