Its November 21, and Dayton Moore has yet to make a move. What's the deal? Its the Hot Stove Season, which means we convene the wise sages of Royals Review Central to gaze into their crystal balls and survey the baseball landscape.
Would you have matched Oakland's three-year offer for Billy Butler? How should the Royals try to fill that void?
BHWick: I think the Royals didn't need to literally offer $30M over three years to retain Butler. It's in their best interests, PR-wise, for people to think they had to offer Butler that much though. I wouldn't have offered more than $18 million or $20 million over a year plus an option and if Billy stays or goes, then so be it.
As for filling the void, finding a guy to start 100 to 120 games at DH might be slightly harder if Butler's deal defines the market right now. But it'd be far better to do the most possible to get a credible 100-120 game designated hitter than to think that they could put a Christian Colon on the bench and rotate the DH between resting regulars and Royals bench bats. The Royals could just as easily post an awful tandem effort at DH in 2015 without an anchor to handle 65-75% of the work there.
Also, the idea from the McCullough article - that Butler's presence on the roster prevented them from fielding enough middle infield backups? - total organization spin. They didn't field enough middle infielders due to sub-optimal decision making with 25 man roster spots more than having a guy who primarily played DH.
Kevin Ruprecht: Nope. I'd look at Chris Denorfia or Michael Morse.
Shaun Newkirk: Oh absolutely not. I'd maybe be okay giving Butler a one year, $10 million deal, but not two years, $20 million or three years, $30 million. I'm not sure there are a lot of options out there. Maybe Adam LaRoche since he's not a bat only guy? The Royals really should acquire a player who's not going to be a full-time DH but rather platoon there with another. Obviously easier said than done. I still kinda like Michael Saunders.
How should the Royals try to fill that void? Has Yoan Moncada been cleared to sign as a free agent yet?
The Royals have been linked to big free agents like Jon Lester and Yasmany Tomas. Is this just smoke or is there fire?
BHWick: Mostly smoke, probably. Tomas is a guy whose potential probably lands in-between "awesome" and "dude riding the wave of value for Cuban players". There's not an obvious spot for Lester without trading one of the average veteran starters now or without some young guy getting hurt. Obviously Lester makes the team better but there would also have to be a corresponding move to make the move make sense.
Josh Duggan: Sadly probably just smoke. I'd lust after Tomas's meaty lower half regardless of which uniform he wore, but it'd be a lot hotter if he were wearing a Royals one.
Shaun Newkirk: Smoke on Lester. Not quite fire, but more like lava lamp. Some heat there, but might just be for looks.
Tyler Drenon: Could be legit. Probably not, and I'm not sure either of those players is the best option for the Royals, but this offseason could end up defined by bold, emotionally-fueled moves by ownership. Maybe Glass got a taste of extra-monetary success and now he'll direct his evil schemes toward another pennant.
Max Rieper: I think they are doing their due diligence on both, but I don't expect a serious offer on either of them.
Kevin Ruprecht: I wouldn't say there's fire, but I wouldn't say there's not-fire. There's a lit match.
Joshua Ward: I am not sure about Lester, but I think there is legitimate interest in Yasmany Tomas. I also think that the Royals will get priced out of the outfielder, but I think they are definitely interested. Word around the water cooler regarding his workout is that the Royals were "overly impressed" by his workout. I don't think they have the financial resources to do it, unless David Glass was serious about his no-profit approach to the team, in which case the club has about twenty million or so from playoff earnings to play with, on top of expected season ticket increases, merchandise revenues, and other sources of income.
The Lester interest is understandable. Signing Jon Lester puts the Royals back in the playoffs in 2015, regardless of other moves that they make. Again, I don't think they have the financials to make it happen, nor do I think Lester is inclined to pitch in the Midwest.
So yes, I think there's some fire here, but it is the dying light of day.
Will Greg Holland or Wade Davis be dealt this winter? Should they?
Josh Duggan: I'd be surprised if either was traded. If money weren't an issue, I'd say it didn't matter, but we all know that is not the case.
BHWick: No. Maybe. The last time Dayton dealt somewhat high-profile middle relievers was Leo Nunez (for Mike Jacobs) and Ramon Ramirez (for Coco Crisp), wasn't it? Those deals didn't exactly work out. I guess Nori Aoki-for-Will Smith wound up as a break-even deal as Will Smith's value dropped a bit towards average and Aoki almost became above-average in September. I think previous experiences, along with a perceived lack of non-Herrera/Davis/Holland quality relievers (see: guys who "didn't get us there" getting postseason bullpen spots because guys like Aaron Crow and Louis Coleman stunk in 2014), will dissuade a deal. Bullpen fortune can change quickly and I think Ned will want a full season to play with HDH.
Shaun Newkirk: No and yes. Preferably Holland for me. What will the Yankees give us?
Tyler Drenon: Probably not. Maybe if they need to open up space for a bigger move, but I don't think they'll disassemble one of their biggest strengths unless a really good deal comes along. It wouldn't be a bad time to think about moving one of them, but a move like that might also mean keeping Brandon Finnegan in the MLB bullpen this year to keep it sturdy rather than stretching him out as a starter in the minors. Personally, I'd prefer a move that would allow the Royals to keep a strong bullpen for 2015 and allow Finnegan to turn himself into a more valuable asset as a starter.
Kevin Ruprecht: I think so. The chances are high. I do think one of them should be traded. One or both of them is going to regress, probably Davis. Davis might regress to Holland levels, and Hollands might regress to Herrera levels.
Joshua Ward: Maybe? And probably. At least one of them, anyway. Davis is the more valuable asset, Holland has the statistics that some teams look for. Kelvin Herrera should be thrown into this conversation as well. The last thing the Royals should want to happen is a repeat of the Soria kerfuffle, wherein it was debated ad nauseum whether or not the Royals should trade him. They decided not to, and the next season he underwent his second Tommy John surgery and the Royals gained nothing.
I have concerns about the efficacy of any Royals pitcher to assume that seventh inning role with one of the heads of Cerberus removed, but it is certainly a move the Royals should be willing to make, considering their strengths, needs, and the fungibility of pitching elbows.
Max Rieper: Before the post-season, I was 90% sure one would get moved. Now that the Royals got so much attention and had so much success with their "HDH" bullpen combo, I think they will be very reluctant to break that trio up unless they are overwhelmed. It will be interesting to see how the reliever market plays out, its always hard to peg how much elite relievers can net in a trade.
Who are some of your favorite trade or free agent targets this winter? What would you do if you were Dayton Moore?
But above all, I really think the Royals need to take a long, long look at Brandon McCarthy. Aside from being one of the funniest athletes on Twitter, he's been a very good and consistently underrated pitcher. He has no qualifying offer. He'll cost around what Jeremy Guthrie is making for twice the value. His profile plays to Kauffman's strengths. Viva La McCarthy.
Tyler Drenon: My favorite trade target -- assuming we're talking about guys that have been mentioned in at least one rumor -- would have to be Josh Donaldson. It's a pipe dream, but putting him in the middle of everything going on in Kansas City right now could be a HUGE move. It would cost them. Big time. But it might be worth considering the failure rate of prospects, the fact that Donaldson is arbitration eligible through 2018, and the fact that he's one of the best baseball players in the world.
He'd be followed closely be Jordan Zimmermann, but Zimmermann is a free agent after the season and he's destined to land a massive contract. The Royals wouldn't have much of a chance to hang onto him past this season and the cost -- in terms of prospects -- would probably be very high. Other guys that I'd look into if I was the GM: Ervin Santana, Yoenis Cespedes, Carlos Gonzalez, Matt Kemp, Rene Rivera, Dallas Keuchel, Brandon McCarthy, Stephen Piscotty, Arismendy Alcantara, and about a thousand other guys.
Max Rieper: I would robably sign a starting pitcher on a two-year deal like Brandon McCarthy to fill James Shields spot this year, and Jeremy Guthrie's in 2016, with Brandon Finnegan easing into a role in 2016. I like Tomas quite a bit and would make a serious run at him, but failing that I'd add a bat like Mike Morse to play rightfield/designated hitter and try to improve our overall bench and bullpen depth.
BHWick: I guess Jason Heyward is off the board? Melky has some intrigue although I don't think he'd be good in Right Field and if he doesn't hit in any fashion, then he's not worth it at DH either. People will mention Nick Markakis, who may not be entirely realistic. Colby Rasmus might be intriguing but I'm more interested in giving Cain a full season in CF over time in RF. Torii Hunter? Bleh. If we're gonna sign an old guy to play RF, then ask Ichiro Suzuki what he thinks about KC in August. What would I do? Obtain outfielders, obtain emergency starter (Aaron Harang seems like a guy who could reasonably lose a starting job to an emerging starter), and trade Moustakas. But I'm not Dayton Moore, he'll do two of the three.
Kevin Ruprecht: I think this plan, or variations of it, has been stated by commenters several times, and I'll go with it. Sign Yasmany Tomas. Sign Ervin Santana. Trade Holland for something good.
Who is the starting right-fielder on Opening Day next year?
BHWick: One hint: Born in Arkansas before Bill Clinton first won elective office. Extra hint: Turning 40 in 2015. Third hint: Won't be playing RF at the end of the year because he's not actually a good fielder any more.
Max Rieper: Yea, I agree. Torii Hunter. They've been in love with him for a long time, and I think they'll overpay what other teams are willing to give him. I expect a two year $20 million deal, and too much playing time stumbling around in right-field.
Tyler Drenon: As things stand now, Lorenzo Cain. Jarrod Dyson playing center field everyday wouldn't be a terrible thing, but it looks like the Royals are planning on adding an outfielder to keep him in the role he in which he served last year. With that in mind, it's pretty hard to make a good guess as to who will play right field next year since there are so many possibilities. Just for fun, I'll go with Matt Kemp and a big stack of cash in right for 2015.
Josh Duggan: *Shudder* Torii Hunter *shudder * *sob * *shudder*
Kevin Ruprecht: Lorenzo Cain.
Joshua Ward: I'm going to go out on a limb and say that it will not be Jose Guillen. Or Reggie Sanders. Or Jeff Francoeur. Or Emil Brown. Or Michael Tucker. It'd be pretty cool if it was Yasmany Tomas or Justin Upton. I'm guessing it will be someone like Denorfia.
Shaun Newkirk: I'll say somebody not in the organization currently. Preferably Mike Trout though.
Do you have more confidence in Dayton Moore after a pennant-winning season?
Kevin Ruprecht: I have a little bit more, yes. The fact that he didn't jump the market...yet...and overpay for someone is promising.
Shaun Newkirk: Not really. It was a fun run but it was lucky.
BHWick: It seems hard for a kinda-youngish team that won 175 games over two years to plummet back into the Earth for years on end unless Moore starts trading guys for arcade tokens. Moore got guys who have underperformed in good years and guys who have overperformed. I'd give Jason Vargas and Jeremy Guthrie more credit for their results than Dayton Moore deciding that those guys were gonna hit it big in KC. Some bad GMs have fluked into 1 good year (Bavasi, Bill), but two in a row seems harder. Dayton Moore might be just as good a GM as the always-overrated John Schuerholtz (remember: Schuerholtz inherited Bobby Cox's players and Ted Turner's money). Believe it.
Max Rieper: The ends don't always justify the process.
Tyler Drenon: I suppose I have to. You can't really argue that much with results. It'd be surprising to see them do it again in 2015, but it's not like the whole thing was a farce. I'm much more optimistic about their chances, and unless there's a huge, boneheaded Moore move in store for us, that probably won't change this winter.
Josh Duggan: A little more than none, but not a lot more.
Joshua Ward: Not particularly. I am glad that it happened. And he was a big reason for it. I give him credit for where he got the team, but there's still a lot of things that make me uneasy about his decision-making process; his loyalty to players, his exhortations on the Braves Way when they are in the process of dismantling their roster, etc. I do believe that he does, in fact, have a Process though, which is something I was skeptical of before. He knows how he wants to build a team, even if he doesn't always do it well.
I wasn't here. I'm not here.