Well, Dayton Moore finally pulled the trigger on the big deal of the summer, trading Danny Valencia for Erik Kratz and Liam Hendriks. In other words, a career lefty-masher for two journeymen; one of which is a 34-year-old back-up catcher, the other is a pitcher with an ERA over six in the majors who profiles like an AAA depth signing. Is this better or worse than the idea of trading for Jonny Gomes?
I'm going with about even, just because of the weak return. At least it's selling and not buying, I suppose. But when you acquire a player like Valencia on a short term deal and then flip him at the deadline, you do sort of hope that you get one player in the trade who might pan out.
Speaking of panning out (or lack thereof), here's your Position Player Ups and Downs for the last couple weeks, for your 53-51 Kansas City Royals (2.5 games out of the 2nd Wild Card...sound familiar?).
And unto every life, especially the lives of players dependent on BABIP to make offensive contributions, a little rain must fall. The universe finally realized that Cain had been coasting on a balls-in-play for awhile, and he's been headed back towards Earth as a result. At .297/.333/.410, we might hope that's closer to Cain's actual abilities...but that triple slash is still fueled by a BABIP 38 points higher than his career average. At least he hasn't been hurt that much this year? If he can keep up some approximation of a decent hitter, his defense, as you all know, keeps him in good-regular territory.
Been hot enough of late to gain the up arrow, despite his continuing struggle to hit the ball with any authority. It's not that Aoki's skillset coming into MLB two years ago was bad - he had what I would term as a good year a decent year with the Brewers before the trade - but some combination of age-related decline, switching leagues, and the book getting out on him have left him as a pretty unimpressive player. Fangraphs has him with more value than you'd expect on the defensive side of the ball, and that still puts him as less than half of a Lorenzo Cain by WAR.
Dyson would probably also like you to know that he's been worth more than Aoki this year. Speaking of value and skillsets, it is pretty impressive that Dyson manages to maintain a walk rate near 8% of his plate appearances, given that his already paltry slugging percentage has declined from last year. It's a similar trick to the one Aoki's pulling, but Dyson adds more on D and on the basepaths. That leaves with with a pretty neat player, who also unfortunately has the same weakness (power) of most of the Royals roster.
Gordon's value hasn't really suffered since last we met, as he continues to play excellent defense and be one of the few players on the Royals who gets on base with any real regularity, but his SLG has dipped to .417 for the year. If the current figure holds, it'd be the third straight year where Gordon's IsoP has sunk. It bears mentioning two caveats to this negative note, though; 1) it is not Alex Gordon's fault that Dayton Moore has built a team where a guy with a career-high of 23 dingers is the premier power threat in the line-up, and 2) Gordon's SLG has dipped since his right wrist injury, which is something to be mindful of when we're wondering if he's going to hang more dongs.
I could also add, I suppose, that Alex has had a very good year anyway. But you all should know that by now.
Okay, really. The dude is hitting .209/.244/.372 since coming to the Royals. That's a considerable improvement on his LAA numbers. Shut up and let him die in peace.
I almost gave Billy the green arrow because of his recent good games, but that would ignore the bad beforehand. Ticking up to .273/.326/.370 from .275/.325/.355 is not enough for a green arrow without extenuating circumstances. When push comes to shove, for all his goodness over the years, Butler right now is still a designated hitter with an OPS under 700.
Overall, Alcides is in pace to have virtually the same exact season as 2012. That isn't a bad thing, though it isn't exactly overwhelming either. Sort of like the Royals in general, methinks.
The other player who's sort of living and dying by BABIP right now, and currently dying a bit more than living. Infante's never been a patient hitter, some decline in power should have been expected at his age, and he's 30 points below his career average thanks to that fickle fairy. I like the Infante acquisition for the Royals, but it's worth noting that by fWAR he's been worth less than Escobar this season to date.
The fact that Eric Hosmer and Billy Butler have struggled to overtake the hitting lines of the team's middle infielders is probably the best way to summarize this year's Royals team in a single sentence.
The two-dinger game against the White Sox was a thing of beauty, and he cracked the .200 BA for the first time in twiddly-two days. This brings his season line to .195/.260/.390. He's slugged almost .500 this month, though, so it no longer feels super cheap to be giving him greens. Even if his OBP is his best month this season is still .292.
What kind of witchcraft has Perez been using this year? His batting line and overall value are as good, if not better, than last year. His walk rate has ticked up. He's done this despite swinging more overall and making contact and making slightly less contact on pitches in the zone. Okay, whatever, as long as the result keep coming.
Others: as mentioned above, we've swapped a Brett Hayes for an Erik Kratz. This might have been the least-newsworthy thing I've ever written. Farewell, Danny Valencia. You did what we thought you'd do, and that wasn't a bad thing.
The Royals, after yesterday's day off, are back in action tonight against the Twinkies, and with James Shields on the mound. As with the rest of the games this season for a team chasing a Wild Card berth, it's a big game tonight.