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Sunday Notes: Wherefore Cheslor?

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Hot takes from the editorial desk

MLB: Kansas City Royals at Cleveland Indians David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

I frequently have thoughts that are too long for Twitter, and not long enough for a full-fledged article, so I thought I’d share them in a weekend notes column, not unlike Sam Mellinger, David Lesky, or the great Larry King.

  • Dayton Moore hinted at a possible trade, and with few attractive assets in the minor leagues, I think Cheslor Cuthbert makes the most sense to be dealt away. He is blocked this year by Mike Moustakas, cannot be sent to the minors without clearing waivers, and Hunter Dozier could take over next year at third base if Moose leaves. The question is how does the market value him? One the one hand, he posted a respectable 93 OPS+ as a 23-year old, with 15-20 home run power, and has the pedigree of being a former Top 100 prospect. On the other hand, his defense was quite poor, according to the metrics, he was one of the worst baserunners in baseball, and had pretty underwhelming minor league numbers. I think Atlanta makes a lot of sense as a destination. Adonis Garcia is 31 and was replacement level, and Rio Ruiz does not appear to be quite ready. The Braves have a mess of young pitchers, and while I don’t think Cuthbert lands you a great arm or anything, he could net a cheap, young guy who has some flaws to his game, but with adjustment could be something.
  • Sam Mellinger had an interesting tidbit in a recent column that Dayton Moore wanted to move the fences in at Kauffman Stadium when he first took the job with the Royals. This reminds me of a big drunken argument I had with a friend over moving in the fences. I argued it is a terrible way to develop pitchers, and besides, they had already tried it in the late 90s with disastrous results. However, back in 2006, when Dayton took over, there was pretty much no pitching prospects to develop, and they did have some young hitters in Alex Gordon and Billy Butler. It is interesting that a General Manager that stresses pitching and defense as much as Dayton Moore would have wanted to move in the fences.
  • Both Jeff Passan and Kelvin Herrera referred to the Royals as a "file and trial" team, which is news to me. If you don’t know, "file and trial" means that once a team and a player file for arbitration, they will go to a hearing rather than settle the case. The Royals apparently made an exception for Herrera in the wake of the tragedy of the Yordano Ventura incident. It seems like a pretty hard line, and considering the Royals have never had to go to an arbitration hearing under Dayton Moore, I wonder if this is a recent development.
  • Out of all the non-roster invitees to camp, I think Al Alburquerque has the best chance of making the team and being useful. Unlike most of the other invitees, he has a plus skill - his slider. According to this data from Daren Willman, Alburquerque’s slider has been one of the most unhittable pitches in the game.

  • Yes, Brandon League is on that list too, but his strikeout rates have always been rather low and he hasn’t pitched in the big leagues in the last two seasons. Alburquerque, on the other hand, has struck out 11 hitters-per-nine innings in his career. If he can keep the walks from getting out of control, he could be a decent late inning option.
  • For tonight’s Superb Owl, I think it will be a rout one way or the other, I’m just having a hard time guessing who will be the victor. People are overlooking just how dynamic Atlanta’s offense was this year, but Tom Brady is still Tom Brady. I think ultimately the Patriots cheat find an edge and come away with a blowout win, 38-21.