If your stated goal (more on that later) is to obtain a major league ready starter, and you end up with a pair of minor league arms, that’s still a net positive, right?
In J.C Sulbaran and Donnie Joseph, Dayton Moore obtained a couple of arms with upside. And when you’re dealing a Proven Closer at the deadline, I’d suspect that’s about as good as you can possibly come up with.
Sulbaran has spent the entire season in Double-A. A power arm that can touch the mid-90s, like many other young flamethrowers, his issue is command. He’s walking 4.6 BB/9 this year and has a 4.4 BB/9 for his minor league career. Word is, he’s wild up in the zone. Before this season, his home run rate hasn’t been affected as he can blow hitters away with the high strike. This year, against tougher competition, it’s become more of an issue as his HR/9 rate has ballooned to 1.5 HR/9.
The Jonathan Sanchez Experience has conditioned us against this type of starter. Breathe. The difference here is about $5.5 million. Even if Sulbaran never finds his command, it’s a risk worth taking.
Meanwhile, Joseph could be a candidate to join the Royals bullpen right now. In 52 innings split between Double and Triple-A, he’s struck out 68 batters while walking just 17. Nice. He’s allowing a few more hits as he’s moved up the organizational ladder, but for a reliever with limited exposure, it’s not a huge issue.
Moore had stated he was looking for a major league ready starter, yet he didn’t get one. Is this deal a failure? Hardly. Negotiation is an art. Aim high. Thankfully, GMDM was deft enough to either realize the potential when moving off his opening gambit, or was never serious in the first place. Although I won’t join the chorus of those damning the skeptics who feared GMDM would hold fast to his initial demand and would let the deadline pass without a trade. It’s not like Moore has done anything of late to earn our trust as a fanbase. We’re a skittish group… And rightfully so.
In the end, Moore turned a Proven Closer coming off of injury and signed on a one year deal into two minor league arms - one of which is ready for his major league debut and could provide relief for an overworked bullpen. Jonathan Broxton was a candidate to be traded before the ink was dry on his contract. Thankfully, the Royals were able to flip him for two young arms. Evaluating minor league talent has always been, and remains, one of GMDM’s strengths. Seems like it comes in handy when it’s time to accumulate prospects at the trade deadline.
Looks good to me.