Royals Rumblings - News for August 3, 2015
Lots of media outlets are praising the Royals for their trade deadline.
ESPN's David Schoenfield has the Royals as "clear winners."
The Royals are my clear winners in that they had two glaring holes and fixed them both in acquiring a No. 1 starter in Johnny Cueto and second baseman/outfielder Ben Zobrist. No team's World Series chances improved more than the Royals', in part because they already were well on their way to a division title. But Cueto improves their odds of winning the best-of-five Division Series and advancing farther in the postseason, and Zobrist ultimately will get Omar Infante's nothing bat out of the lineup. It's amazing, really: A year ago, the Royals were 55-52 on July 31 and had only gotten there with a recent hot streak; they'd been 48-50 just a few days earlier. They were criticized for not trading James Shields. But from July 30 to Aug. 23, they went 19-4 -- three weeks that turned the fortunes of the franchise. Baseball's laughingstock for nearly two decades, the Royals could be headed to a second straight World Series.
Dan Szymborski thinks they are winners, but concedes they did pay a price.
From a pure value standpoint, the Royals would rank lower on this list. Kansas City gave up real prospects, including Sean Manaea and Brandon Finnegan, for short-term rentals (albeit top-notch short-term rentals) in Johnny Cueto and Ben Zobrist. And with the AL Central not really in doubt, especially given that none of the division's also-rans made win-now moves, the Royals won't get as much value out of their acquisitions as would a team with its playoff status more in doubt. That being said, the Royals will be scarier in the playoffs. Zobrist will eventually replace possibly the worst near-All-Star in MLB history (Omar Infante if you're keeping score) and, because of the nature of the postseason, a top pitcher like Cueto will have outsized influence. Just as important, the team is new to being in the penthouse rather than in the basement, so solidifying all these new Kansas City fans as Royals loyals has a great deal of value to the future of the club. Even if K.C. is bounced in the ALDS, the fans will remember that when push came to shove, this franchise actually went for it rather than chickening out.
ESPN's Jim Bowden ranks Dayton Moore #2 in General Manager moves last week.
Like the Blue Jays, their biggest need was an ace and a Game 1 starter, and Johnny Cueto fills that role. He will also help the continued development of Yordano Ventura, who should now blossom in the second half. The acquisition of Ben Zobrist didn't get enough attention, but that was a huge move. He can fill in for the injured Alex Gordon in left field and then provide an upgrade in right field or at second base. Zobrist gives them protection at almost every position if there were to be another injury.
Jeff Passan was pleased.
Really, legitimately, truly bought at the deadline, which is still a shock, because these are the Kansas City Royals. Oh, and: What they bought is really good. Next to the Blue Jays, the Royals received the greatest boon of short-term talent in Johnny Cueto and Ben Zobrist. Cueto is the starter Kansas City coveted. Zobrist is the Swiss Army knife they desired. And the team with the best record in the AL wasn’t happy to rest on its first-half performance. It’s going for the World Series again. Verdict: Bravo.
Cliff Corcoron of Sports Illustrated was also impressed.
Ben Zobrist, meanwhile, is an Alex Gordon doppelganger at the plate who can play either outfield corner or second base, the three places the Royals most needed an upgrade with Gordon on the disabled list with a strained groin. Already the favorites to repeat as AL champions given their performance to this point in the season, the Royals are significantly improved with those two pieces in place.
Mike Moustakas did not start the last two games of the Toronto series with a mild knee contusion after being hit by a pitch. He should return Tuesday.
In case you missed it, Kendrys Morales had an amazing slide on Friday night.
If you're just catching up on the trade deadline action, here is what everyone did. There were 41 trades last week, among 29 teams, with 127 players involved, 20 of them named to an All-Star at one time.
One team that did little was the Padres, surprisingly. What are they thinking?
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