At long last, the trade deadline has come and gone, and once again, both in a general and a Royals-specific sense, its hard not to feel a little disappointed. While numerous legitimate reasons -- few cash-strapped teams, "smarter" post-Moneyball GMs, for example -- were cited as causes behind a mostly bland deadline I think theres also a more sinister one: an incredibly pervasive conservatism and risk-aversion throughout the game. Tabling for a moment the specifics of the future prospect versus current star quandary (i.e. the Smoltz-Alexander trade) its never good when an entire industry thinks the same way about everything, in this case: player development, pitching staff management, in-game strategy, lineup construction, etc etc. The difference between the most "radical" and "old-school" GMs is about 5%. The fluctuations between coaches/managers is even smaller.
Take a look at the National League standings for a moment and explain to me how only basically one team, the Braves, went for it? Now perhaps the extreme parity actually discourages doing anything risky, because everyone is already "close" to glory with the trashy rosters they've already got. Nevertheless, according to published reports at least, the last week or so has been the same battle being played out over and over again: everyone wants a top prospect and everyone is unwilling to trade their top prospects.
You have to feel that prospects have become overvalued, and that some team could have scored a huge advantage by actually putting their version of Luke Hochevar on the table.
Of course, this is a bigger problem plaguing the game. To take one example, the Nationals, Rangers and Devil Rays alone will play, at minimum, something like 350 completely meaningless games this season. Yet none of those games will involve a four-man rotation, tandem starters, a bullpen by committee, using your best reliever in the biggest spot in the game, etc. Not even for a single-game will an all-lefty lineup be featured or will a funky defensive configuration be attempted. Aside from the Moneyball strawman, when was the last time a new idea infiltrated the game? The passing of Bill Walsh this week poignantly illustrated that baseball hasn't had a Bill Walsh since...
Regarding the Dotel-Davies trade, theres little left unsaid after a very intense day here at RR. The best starting points are today's Trade Deadline Open Thread and its 200+ comments, 90% of which are D-D related, and RoyalRetro's intro piece on Davies. The discussion continues in multiple rock-solid diaries. Without further ado, here's the official Royals Review Response:
- Davies is 23, he can get better.
- Davies has, reportedly, three good pitches.
- Davies will be cheap Royal chattel until 2011.
- Presumably Dayton Moore knows more about Davies than three-weeks of scouting.
- Fresh off some rough years, Davies may benefit from a kick in the pants/change of scenery.
- Davies is a ball-thrower, and since ball-throwers are overvalued by the market, ball-throwers are always good for later trading chips.
- When was the last time an Atlanta farmhand panned out somewhere else?
- Davies has had, broadly speaking, a few rough patches, both on the mound and in terms of coachability.
- The Braves felt that five more seasons of Kyle Davies equated out to about the same value as 25-30 innings from Octavio Dotel. Dotel is coming off a major-injury and peaked during the second season of Gilmore Girls.
- Octavio Dotel is a mythical closer, and the Braves believe in closer power. Meaning Dotel, and hence Davies, is more valuable. - The Braves look to be in the 85-87 win range, the exact point on the competition arch at which "win-now" moves are the most valuable. - While we don't precisely know what other options Mr. Moore had, its safe to say his choice was likely a similar level player, or doing nothing. DOing nothing, by the way, was an option many teams ultimately choose. Certainly, we didn't want that.
-On the other hand, compared to the Gagne and Linebrink deals, the Royals seem to have gotten much less in return. In a different scenario could Dotel have commanded more?
So in sum, we got a guy. This guy can be around for awhile if we want him to be. Being neither a scout, nor female, I'm not solid on evaluating the physical and mental development of 23 year old dudes. So until further notice, welcome to the family Hiram! Kyle is a child's name, and we aren't in Georgia anymore.