Well a week has gone by since the non-exciting July trading deadline. The Royals acquired outfielder Justin Maxwell from Houston, but did not trade Ervin Santana and did not trade for a second baseman. What did those loyal Dayton apologists over at Royals Review think of the Royals' moves at the deadline?
What are your thoughts on the Justin Maxwell deal? Did the Royals give up too much? Does he improve the team?
Clark Fosler: My initial reaction to the Maxwell trade was negative, but after some thought, trading Kyle Smith for a guy who did manage to hit 18 home runs in 350 at-bats last year (however awful his average may have been) is not a bad flyer to take. Dayton Moore’s roster construction has confounded me for years, so adding a 29 year old 5th OF that you may not have needed seems pretty natural at this point.
RoyalsRetro: I liked the trade quite a bit. I think it is a small data point (in the face of a lot of other contrary data points) that maybe Dayton is starting to get it with player acquisition. Maxwell has a low average and strikes out a ton, two traits old school baseball men hate. But Bill James once wrote about how Earl Weaver would focus on what a player could do, rather than what he couldn't do, and put that player in the best situation to exploit their talents. Maxwell is a lefty-masher with good power and tremendous defense and baserunning. In the right situation, say, platooned with a left-handed hitter like David Lough, he could be a tremendous acqusition for cheap.
And I was never very high on Kyle Smith. His ceiling seems rather low to me, and that's if he ever gets to the big leagues.
NHZ: I would rather GMDM have given up a "live arm" that can't really pitch than someone who's still a starter, and has drawn a reasonable amount of praise for his ability to pitch. But really, usually when you hear "knows how to pitch," as a positive for a prospect on the lower rungs, it means his stuff won't play at the MLB level. So I won't say we gave up too much, I'll just say there's a greater puncher's chance of Smith turning into something than that of a minor league reliever.
Josh Duggan: It sure seems like I was in the minority yesterday, but I don't like the trade at all. I don't know that Smith will be a Major Leaguer, but I'm of the mind that you don't trade a prospect with his record of success for the lefty-mashing half of an outfield platoon. I know he's not necessarily the most projectable player in the world, but it seems like the knocks on him are mostly of the physical variety. I think Smith is too good of a prospect to give up for Justin Maxwell, who probably could have been had for a reliever in the higher minors. The trade isn't likely to be a disaster because the impact on both ends is likely to be limited, but it didn't really seem to serve much of a purpose either.
im_not_that_bright: Right after Justin's pinch hit homerun, I thought it was a great move. Otherwise, I'm neutral. It didn't make much sense in the grand scheme of things, but as a Royals fan I have learned to stop looking for things making sense
Were you surprised the Royals weren't sellers? Were you surprised they weren't more of a buyer?
NHZ: No to both. They did pretty exactly what I expected them to do. They didn't make another "win now" trade, probably because they overvalue the current team. Instead they grabbed a guy who hits lefties who might marginally improve the offense. Maxwell, contrary to what some have suggested, isn't a bad player, but he is far too old to expect anything more than what he already is, so the overall package is pretty underwhelming.
Josh Duggan: I'm a little surprised they didn't make a more irresponsible move. The impact of the Maxwell trade is likely to be nominal. Obviously Bob Dutton has his finger on the pulse of the organization more than anyone, and he kept asserting that a major move was highly unlikely, so it's hard to say one way or the other that they were going to do much, so their relative inactivity was hardly surprising.
Clark Fosler: I was not surprised the Royals weren’t sellers. Even when Moore has been a mid-season ‘seller’ he has been hesitant to actually sell. I think Moore did try to be more of a buyer, but could not get anything substantial accomplished.
RoyalsRetro: Not surprised at all. I thought they would be racked with indecision and not make a move at all, but a Maxwell move makes total sense in that its not a move that gives up much of anything in future talent, and Maxwell is not a rent-a-player, so this can be seen as a move with an eye towards the future as well as the present.
im_not_that_bright: Again, I have tried to learn not to be surprised by moves the Royals make. I wasn't surprised they weren't buyers or sellers. I am glad they still have Zimmer, Ventura, and Mondesi.
What would you have done if you were General Manager?
NHZ: Moved Santana and Holland to the highest bidders. As much I like their performances this year, Santana's a bit of an enigma from year-to-year, and he's going to command a lot of money; meanwhile, Holland rules, but history isn't on his side when it comes to maintaining his current value. Both scream "sell" to me, but the Royals think they're close to making noise, so here we are.
Josh Duggan: I would have traded off Santana and Holland to the highest bidders. Both were overvalued chips--specifically Santana--and much like the rest of you (maybe I'm projecting here), I don't see contention as realistic, as the path to a playoff spot for Kansas City likely goes through taking the division.
Clark Fosler: I would have traded Santana simply because I don’t think the Royals will have any hope of resigning him and probably should not commit to a long term/big money deal for Ervin. If Garza returned Olt+, I would have looked for something similar in return. I also would have flipped the reliever of Arizona’s choice for Ian Kennedy and worked hard to get Kendrick (yes, I would have traded Ventura or Duffy + for him).
RoyalsRetro: I would have likely dealt Santana if there was a halfway decent offer out there, but I kind of get their reasoning for not trading him. The club is on a hot streak and there is probably some negative effect by taking a young team, having them learn how to win, then trading away a fairly important piece of that winning. Even when he leaves this winter, you do net yourself a nice draft pick, so you don't come away empty-handed. That being said, I would have traded him.
Holland, I don't think you can trade right now unless you are overwhelmed. But I'd look to move him this winter.
im_not_that_bright: I would have traded Santana, Holland, Shields, and Tejada, and any other piece that isn't likely to be a part of the Royals when they are a World Series contender.
What are your predictions for the last two months of the season for the Royals?
NHZ: We'll competitive enough for Moore to keep his job, and we'll be bad enough to not even sniff the second wild card spot.
Josh Duggan: At this point, who knows? I think they're still just as likely to finish somewhere between 77 and 84 wins as they were before the All-Star Break. Maybe they'll surprise me, but I'm not going to chalk up their recent offensive success against lesser pitchers as a sign that they've turned things around. There is still too much dead weight in this lineup. We're also coming into that part of the season where the bullpen is likely to get shakier. Collins was overused in June and the beginning of July, Herrera has been scary, Hochevar is still Luke Hochevar and could implode at any moment, and Crow always feels like he's on the verge of falling apart.
There is still room for this team to find ways to shoot itself in the foot, though I'll admit that their recent Hosmer-fueled success has gotten me less certain that they'll finish under .500. I'm going to stick with the 78-win (or maybe it was 77) prediction I have had all along just to keep myself honest, but they'll probably outperform that prediction just to make me look like a dick (as if I needed any help with that).
RoyalsRetro: Its fun to think about best case scenarios, and if you squint, you can envision a scenario where Hosmer goes into Beast Mode, Butler starts hitting like he did last year, Gordon starts hitting like he did the last two seasons, Escobar starts hitting like he did last year, Moustakas starts hitting like he did the first three monts of last year, and everyone stays healthy, and the pitching doesn't regress. The Royals could win 90 games if that happens.
But will that happen? I think probably not. We're probably due for another two week slide where we drop12 of 14, including a couple of stupid losses against a lousy team like the White Sox. Things will all even out and we'll end up with about 80 wins.
Clark Fosler: The Royals will win all the games….no, not really. I think they might yet reach my optimistic non-logical prediction of 85 wins. Sadly, as I predicted at the same time, that won’t be enough to make the playoffs. Oh, and Justin Maxwell and Mike Moustakas will each hit 9 home runs between now and the end of the season.
im_not_that_bright: I still remain solid on 80 wins. I had thought they would tank in August and peak in September, but I think it will be the opposite of that now. The Royals finish with 80 wins, but because they were about 4 games over .500 in August Dayton will be regarded as a hero.