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With too many outfielders and a full 40-man roster, the Rockies have designated corner outfielder Matt Murton for assignment. While no future star, Matt Murton is a nice player who can hit for average, take a walk, avoid strikeouts, hit the ball in the gaps, and play an average to slighly above average corner outfield. A right-handed hitter, he has mashed LHP (career: 306/374/483, 857 OPS) while holding his own against RHP (career: 276/340/412, 752 OPS). Only 27, he is under club control for four more years (although he may qualify for arbitration next year as a Super 2). There is not a lot of upside, but with regular playing time, he could be a league average (~2.0 WAR) player -- maybe a little more with an age 27-29 peak bump -- for near the league minimum. At the very least, he would make a very good fourth outfielder, especially for a team with two left-handed hitters starting in the corners (like say David DeJesus and Mark Teahen). And yes, a right-handed (and cheaper) Mark Teahen is a fair comparison. This would be a little move, but one that could push the Royals back in a positive direction at little cost.

A Risk Worth Taking?

Nick Johnson wants a trade... Does he fit on the Royals? Maybe you think he doesn't, because -- he has had major injury problems. -- he only has only year left on his contract (although that might be a good thing). -- the Royals already have a logjam at 1B/DH. -- he has outstanding strike zone judgment -- he's never played for the Braves or the Mariners Still, and seriously, $5.5 million isn't that bad, compared to what the Royals are shelling out elsewhere. Maybe there's still time to dump Jacobs. Shealy can go by the wayside, if necessary, and Gload, well, who gives a crap about Gload. When healthy, Johnson is a better fielder than any other 1B candidate on the Royals, and although he's never gotten press, he's a beast of a hitter. Not monster power, but the guy can basically fall out of bed drunk and OBP .400 (career .396). Oh, and he can actually hit both right- and left-handed pitching. He's basically a non-psychotic, first base version of Milton Bradley, a one-year flyer who might be worth trading at the deadline, at the very least. And, as opposed to all of Dayton Moore's other idiotic "win now" acquisitions this offseason that don't help the team win now, this one might. Even this past season, when he only appeared in 39 games, he WARed 0.9, which is almost a game better than Hoagy did in 150+ games. Over a full season, Johnson projects as a something like a +30 hitter and a +3 defender. Even if he only plays half a season that still better than any other non-Butler 1B/DH on the Royals is likely to do over a full season, and even Butler projects only slightly better over a full season. Just a thought... It won't happen, but I always liked Johnson and thought he was underrated.

Fangraphs, now with wOBA

Fangraphs has added wOBA (weighted On-Base Average), one of the stats that improves on OPS by essentially weighing the relative value of on-base and slugging more accurately and scaling it to league average OBA (.335 is average, .400 is awesome, .300 is virtually replacement value). The link above explains the basics in more detail. The Fangraphs version of wOBA does incorporate SB/CS. The Royals last year were 25th in MLB with a team wOBA of .314. Mike Aviles led the Royals (100 PA min.) with a .360 wOBA, with only David DeJesus (.355) and Alex Gordon (.344) also above average.

JoPo finally weighs in on the Jacobs deal

I'm embarrassed to say I've been waiting for this since the deal was announced. In short, Joe doesn't like it. There goes his invitation to have Thanksgiving Dinner overlooking the Plaza...

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