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Royals Win Again, Trade J.P. Howell

So less than a year after he pointlessly debuted with the Royals, J.P. Howell was traded to Tampa Bay for Joey Gathright and infield prospect Fernando Cortez. Nothing like tearing down the Allard Baird era bit by bit.

Howell always seemed like a low-upside, low-downside guy to me, someone in the mold of Mike Wood on a good day. As the Royals got in the habit of doing, they rushed him to the Majors, having him make his first start against the Diamondbacks only a year after being drafted and becoming one of the first players from the 2004 Draft to appear in the Bigs.

Of course, the Royals took that low-downside that Howell seemed to possess coming out of Texas and pushed it down further than anyone imagined; culminating in a career 6.19 ERA. Still, Howell is still just 23, hardly cooked as a pitcher, much less as a pitching prospect. But then again, what would a tools-hound from the Braves want with a college pitcher? Better to bet on the 5% chance that Joey Gathright turns into Gary Pettis or Tom Goodwin, themselves pretty limited players. Right? If we can get some random infielder (Cortez) thrown in, all the better.

Still, its a pretty marginal trade all in all. But Howell nonetheless has a better chance of being an All-Star level player someday than Gathright, who's already 25.

On the positive side, with a somewhat fly-ball heavy staff, the Royals might do well to employ Gathright instead of Emil on some nights. Sure, the lineup will still suffer, but at least we might, just might have some decent outfield defense, and the Royals shouldn't be turning down opportunities to be decent at anything.

This seems to be Moore's idea:

"Sometimes the best way for us to improve our pitching is to improve our defense and Joey Gathright speaks to that element of what we're trying to do here with speed and defense and pitching," Moore said.

By the way, are guys like Moore genetically required to say "pitching and defense" together all the time? Is it like "cookies and cream" or "ham and cheese", just something that you can't associate without completing the phrase.

Still, I shudder at his praise of speed and athleticism. Can a 500 out season from Joey be far behind??

The real question is how this effects Kerry Robinson's status, and until I know the answer, I'll continue to lose sleep.

The good news in Royalland is that our boys grabbed win #20 last night and wouldn't let go, staging an epic comeback against the Pirates. Down 5-1, the Royals outscored the Pirates 9-1 to end the game, cruising to a 10-6 win that changed the lives of all who witnessed it. And on Jeremy Affeldt Shirt Day for good measure.

Sure Redman was "shaky" at best, but he labored through 5 innings, holding down the Pirates after their initial outburst. The best pitching of the game was done by Joel Peralta however, blanking the Pirates for two innings, and seriously damaging their chances at a comeback. Of course, Buddy Bell's quest to use Elemer Dessens everyday continues, as Dessens made his 30th appearance of the season, inching him closer to his career high, a 50 game season in 2004 with Arizona and LA. Congrats on another great game Elmer!

Futility Update- Through 69 Games:

1962 Mets: 19-50
2003 Tigers: 17-52

2006 Royals: 20-49

All hail the motivational powers of Dayton Moore and Buddy Bell!!!