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Catching Up and Heading Towards the Deadline

I spent the weekend on the road and in the car, and aside from a few desultory employments of my phone for score checking, was decidedly disconnected from the Royals for three days. Sure, by the time I feel asleep each night I had learned if the Royals had defeated the Rays or not that day, but information beyond that was not easily available. In a way, aside from the cell phone utility, it reminded me of being a kid again: basically I was dependent of the ESPN crawler at the bottom of the screen, good timing on hearing scores get read on the radio and interpreting the twenty-second highlight (2.5 plays) of the game on Sportscenter/Baseball Tonight. Essentially, my knowledge of the weekend series boiled down to this: there were some rain delays, I think Carl Crawford hit a triple at some point that scored runs, and yesterday Billy Butler hit the foul pole. I also remember hearing Aviles named as one of the players with a homer, but as I am part of the Aviles Nation, this may or may not be representative.

Of course, should I be asked to do so, I could give a twenty minute explanation of the Brett Favre situation or the current status of Yankees-Red Sox, as well as a fifteen minute talk on the week the Mets have had.

  • Late last night and earlier this morning, my master plan was to do a big post on which Royals might get traded, and sometime later this week that may happen. Honestly however, the post was a nonstarter because I kept coming back to the same issue: there actually aren't many guys likely to go. The Major League roster at the moment has, in trade terms, a clear set of untouchables -- although this isn't quite the right word -- such as Soria, Gordon and Butler, who aren't going anywhere. Below them, there's another large pool of the team's attractive players who are lacking either the first group's upside potential and or favorable contract status that make them truly untouchable. Call them "mostly untouchable" I suppose. In that category you've got Greinke, DeJesus, Meche and Guillen. While lots of teams may want those guys, aside from Guillen, it would be a truly bold gesture for Moore to part with one of those fellas. Just below that tier -- you can see why this would have been a fairly terrible post -- are the guys in the sweet spot, players who are both likely to be coveted and are expendable for age or role or contract reasons. These are the actual players who might be traded in most normal scenarios: Grudzielanek, Mahay, Nunez, Tejeda, and Ramon & Horacio Ramirez. Beyond those six mostly spare parts you have the trio of Teahen, Buck and Olivo. Teahen hasn't been good enough for someone to want him really, but he can play a variety of positions passably and someone may try to add him as a late C-level type of acquisition. Hey, someone wanted Affeldt once too. I also have a sneaking suspicion that either Buck or Olivo may be traded as well. So, all told, you have a pool of something like eight to ten guys, depending on your personal preferences, in which, something like three or four will actually be traded. Maybe, maybe you could throw Gathright into the mix for a team looking for an Endy Chavez vibe, but the Royals likely killed that by actually playing Gathright a lot and exposing him as inadequate. Oh, and he's sorta injured or whatever. No one is trading for Ross Gload, Esteban German, Kyle Davies and the like. We'll have plenty of time to talk more about all these matters of course...
  • Speaking of trade talk, remember, before posting something, check to see if there isn't already an entry specifically about that player/topic/rumor.
  • It is very nice to see Billy Butler heat up like this.  You can break Billy's season down in all sorts of ways, but roughly you have this: pre-demotion he hit .263/.330/.339 in 206 PAs, post-demotion-to-ASB he struggled to a .191/.224/.298 line in 49 PAs and since the ASB he's hit .314/.385/.686 in 39 trips to the plate.
  • Jose Guillen's OPS peaked at .817 on June 17th, when he was hitting .291/.312/.505. Since then, he's completely cratered, hitting .184/.225/.281, over his last 120 PAs while ensconced in the middle of the lineup. Thanks to just 10 walks drawn all season, his OBP is a measly .286.
  • The Buck/Olivo catching tandem. Redundant or double tasty? One has an OPS+ of 89, the other, 92. Can Buck stay above .250 in batting average this season? His career high is .245... a nation watches nervously.
  • Seriously Teahen, what the hell man? .285 with middling power and decent patience is one thing, but .248 really kills the formula. Ask Joey Gathright (actually, Gathright has so little power that there is no formula). Sure, bad batting average stretches or seasons will happen, but this is getting bad. In his last 113 PAs, Teahen is hitting .210/.257/.333. Indubitably, those two games he hit leadoff are surely to blame. Indubitably.
  • Ron Mahay is a rough Zack Greinke start away from leading team pitchers in VORP. Mahay's 20.1 VORP currently ranks above Soria's 18.8 total, as well as Meche's 17.0.
  • Although I gave him love earlier today in a fanshot, Tejeda's been merely a replacement level pitcher according to VORP. Then again, a generic starter with control problems but some interesting stuff is essentially the prototype for an average reliever, isn't it?
  • At 20,346 fans per game, the Royals are 28th in baseball in raw attendance. The 2007 average was 19.961 and in 2006 it was 17,158.