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You hate to beat a team when they’re down, but the one thing that has several MLB analysts curious is why in the world Dayton Moore would stand pat at the MLB deadline when it means he will get absolutely nothing for several guys who are currently on the roster with no long-term value for the Royals? Simply put, names like Kyle Davies, Jeff Francis and even Melky Cabrera or Jeff Francoeur should not be Royals at this point, especially the pitchers.
If the trade rumors were correct that some teams were at least interested in talking about Davies and Francis, especially, then there’s no reason to not shop them for at least a moderate prospect or future considerations if someone was willing. Neither pitcher remotely fits the long-term plans for the Royals unless Francis is wanting to sign some major extension. Jeff Francoeur has come out publicly stating that he wants to remain in KC, so that’s one thing, but Francis is another entirely.
The reality is that if someone like Jason Marquis has a market at the deadline, then Francis definitely has one. Francis might have a 4-11 record, but that’s no fault of his own. Instead, the starter has made 22 starts with a 4.38 ERA to show for it. He’s been one of the rare steady points on the Royals starting staff, and the Royals could have definitely some kind of trade bounty for him.
As for Davies, if the Royals could have received something — anything! — for Davies, then they should have pulled the trigger. He’s been absolutely miserable on the mound for the entire season save for one or two starts that Dayton Moore must have committed to memory.
Cabrera is having a career-year which could have brought some nice trade haul at the deadline, so with Moore having kept him, I’m going to assume that he didn’t receive something worth losing Cabrera for, who is a keeper for next season as well. Still, trading only Mike Aviles and Wilson Betemit doesn’t fully take advantage of the situation the Royals are in and fails to maximize the deadline.
After the rumored deal fell through that the San Diego Padres were sending Ryan Ludwick to the Cleveland Indians, the Padres are now keeping Ludwick in the National League by sending him to another team at the MLB Trade Deadline looking for some power in their line-up, the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The Pirates have been looking for some muscle in their line-up and already added Derrek Lee from the Orioles, and it seems they’re willing to move another prospect to SD, although the person is unknown at this point. All that’s coming out are rumors that the Pirates and Pads are in discussions to make the deal happen today, which is the deadline to do so before all players must clear waivers for a trade — a process that can become political as one team tries to keep another from getting an asset by claiming him.
Ludwick is hitting .238 on the year but plays his home games at Petco which is important to remember. He also has 62 RBI.
Furcal, twice an All-Star, and the National League Rookie of the Year in 2000, is batting just .197/.272/.248 this year in 37 games for the Dodgers, but will add veteran value to a team that has struggled with finding consistency out of Ryan Theriot.
A lifetime .283/.349/.407 hitter, St. Louis in banking on Furcal having something left in the tank to help a team that is six games above .500 at the moment. The switch-hitter has battled injuries this season, twice appearing on the disabled list but as Derrick Goold points out at stltoday.com, Fucal has seven hit is his last 18 at-bats.
Furcal will earn about $4 million the rest of this season and is on the books with a $12 million option for next season. The Dodgers are obviously in a financially troubling situation right now and needing to rid themselves of payroll.
Furcal had to approve of the trade to St. Louis.
In return the Dodgers are receiving 24-year old AA outfielder Alex Castellanos. With Springfield, Castellanos is batting .319/.379/.562 with nineteen home runs and 62 RBI. He is a bit of an older prospect in AA, but seems to be a solid return for Furcal.
Well the Indians are certainly going after it in the American League Central Division.
The same day that Detroit helped their rotation by picking up Doug Fister, the Indians upped the ante as it appears they will be trading for Ubaldo Jimenez of the Colorado Rockies. In picking up Jimenez, Cleveland receives a 27-year old 6'4" right-hander with a 56-45 career record with a 3.62 ERA. His FIP is just a bit better at 3.57. Any pitcher with those numbers in Colorado is a solid addition. The deal is being finalized per Troy Renck of the Denver Post.
Many may think Jimenez has regressed after last season's stellar 19-8 season when he finished with a 2.88 ERA, but his strikeout rate and walk rate are still very near what they were during 2010. Opponents are just hitting better against him, this season a .247 clip where last year batters only averaged .207 against Jimenez.
Veolocity has been a concern in 2011, as his fastball has dropped from 96.1 mph last season to just 93.4 mph this year, while his slider is down three mph, curveball two mph, and changeup one mph.
Dave Cameron at Fangraphs wrote a piece earlier in the month discussing the challenges Jimenez has faced this season, but doesn't seem to be concerned about any regression or inconsistency.
In return Cleveland has to give up a lot. While it will make the major league club better right now, it's concerning looking at the amount of talent the Indians will be sending to Colorado.
Pomeranz was the first round selection of the Indians last season (5th overall) out of Ole Miss. A big 6'5" 230 lbs lefty, Pomeranz was ranked the 61st best prospect in baseball coming into the season by Baseball America. He was ranked the fourth best prospect in the Cleveland system. Recently promoted to Class AA Akron, Pomeranz is 3-3 this season with a sparkling 1.98 ERA. His WHIP was 1.14. In 91 innings with the organization he struck out 112 batters while walking 38.
White, a right-handed pitcher, was the second ranked prospect in the system and 47th overall in baseball before the year began. A 22-year old who played for North Carolina, White was the 15th overall pick in the first round of the 2009 draft. After posting a 1-0 record with a 1.90 ERA in four starts at AAA this season he moved up the big league team where he is also 1-0 with a 3.60 ERA in three starts.
Gardner, 23, is yet another pitcher and was ranked the ninth best prospect in Cleveland's organization. The 6'4" right-handed pitcher is 20-14 with a 3.63 ERA since being chosen in the third round of the 2009 draft. At AA Akron this season Gardner was 7-8 with a 4.99 ERA in addition to rather high 1.59 WHIP in 97.1 innings.
McBride, 26, was taken in the second round of the 2006 draft. He's an outfielder that was currently playing in AAA. For his career he is a .282/.345/.467 hitter. Last season he batted .279 with 21 home runs and 75 RBI. 2009 was his best minor league season thus far when he hit .287 with 18 home runs and 99 RBI. McBride is a marginal prospect, not ranking in the Indians top 10 but could benefit from moving onto a new ball club.
So to cap the trade again, Cleveland is sending three pitchers and an outfielder to Colorado for Jimenez. The three pitching prospects were ranked second, fourth, and ninth among Cleveland prospects per Baseball America.
Pomeranz can't officially be named in the trade until after August 15th, because any player taken in the 2010 draft must wait until one calender year after signing before being moved.
Though the trade is still likely to go through, Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus has tweeted the deal is not yet official (which we knew), as he says the lackluster start by Jimenez this evening has the two teams still talking.
Continue to stay tuned.
It now appears the start tonight must have really put a dent into the situation as Goldstein says the two teams will continue to talk and nothing will be finalized this evening.
A few conflicting reports as now ESPN is reporting the deal as being done. Interesting indeed.
The Boston Red Sox may have silently pulled off the best deal of the MLB trade deadline, unless the player to be named later is significant. That’s because the pieces of the trade between the Red Sox and Athletics is one-sided with what we know now. In the reported deal, the A’s are sending Rich Harden to the Red Sox for minor league 1B Lars Anderson.
On the surface, Anderson seems a good catch. He’s been among Baseball America’s Top 100 prospects the last three seasons. He was No. 87 coming into the 2010 season, but he’s been lackluster both in 2010 and 2011 at the AAA level. Certainly he’s put up serviceable numbers with .261/.362/.420 line this year that’s nearly identical to last year, but it’s not a cornerstone first baseman like you’d expect.
With almost 1,000 at bats at the AAA level, it’s clear that Anderson is not the bright future first baseman that everyone believed him to be back in 2009. And now that Adrian Gonzalez is firmly established as the BoSox cornerstone player, Anderson simply has no place to go in Boston. So in essence, Theo Epstein flipped a player he couldn’t use anyway for a guy who is one of the best strikeout pitchers in baseball — health issues or not.
The Red Sox just acquired a dangerous arm for their postseason rotation in exchange for some AAA fare once celebrated. That’s an incredible trade any way you slice it, so here’s believing the A’s are getting something substantive later on with this one. For now, it’s an absolute steal.
With the AL Central up for grabs, it’s quite clear that the teams involved are making moves to get better and better. Just after the Detroit Tigers made a move to bolster their pitching staff, the Cleveland Indians are trying to cement their line-up by adding the San Diego Padres’ Ryan Ludwick to their outfield.
Ludwick has struggled since landing in San Diego despite his impressive RBI total of 62. His total line of .238/.301/.372 doesn’t seem like much help for the Indians, but Ludwick is a better bat than what Petco Park in SD has allowed him to be. Nearly two thirds of his RBI have come on the road, and his average is 40 points higher away from San Diego as well. He might not be the offensive force he was during his Cardinals days, but Ludwick should add some pop for the stretch run.
He also shouldn’t cost the Indians too much in prospects given the quick rental that he is. San Diego has several other players to deal in the next day before the MLB trade deadline, so holding out for Ludwick and dragging the feet of the franchise might lose any chance of getting something for Ludwick. Thus, expect Jed Hoyer to take a decent deal for Ludwick and move on to Aaron Harang, Heath Bell and others.
We now sit just over a day from the July major league trade deadline and the only part of the Kansas City Royals roster that had been moved recently was third basemen turned pine rider Wilson Betemit who was traded to the Tigers for a pair of low minor league prospects.
It is very likely the fan in me who continually loves to see trades made and players moved that makes today a dissapointment. However as of Saturday afternoon the Royals are still 16 games below .500 and in desperate need of pitching arms for the rotation.
I am starting to come around and see why Kansas City General Manager Dayton Moore may be wanting to hold onto Melky Cabrera. I understand that. After an embarrassing season in Atlanta, Cabrera is putting together a fine .298/.333/.458 season with 13 home runs and 61 RBI. As it stands he is having a career high 3.3 WAR season.
However Moore continually waxes poetic about Jeff Francoeur who is hitting .271/.323/.458 with the same number of home runs and RBI as Cabrera. The offensive difference is Cabrera is on an upswing and showing promise, while Francoeur still continues to strike out at an alarming 16.6% rate. He may be a good clubhouse guy, but 25 great clubhouse guys isn't exactly going to put wins on the scoreboard.
Sure the return for Francoeur might not be the greatest thing in the world either, but if you can get a marginal starter for Frenchy it should be done. Look at what the Royals found on the scrap heap in Denver when they picked up Felipe Paulino from the Rockies.
Meanwhile in Omaha, Lorenzo Cain is batting .319/.390/.520 with 12 home runs and 55 RBI for the Stormchasers. Unfortunately he has faults as well, as he has a higher strikeout rate than Francoeur at the moment. But Cain also has a higher ceiling because of his range in centerfield. It would be addition by subtraction.
If you move Cabrera to right field and bring up Cain to cover center, you likely are a better defensive team because of it and you also would have an acquired player to fit in somewhere as well.
We all know what you get with having Jeff Francoeur on your ballclub, and right now that is a record that is 16 games below .500. I am not saying the Royals would find another Paulino type pitcher in a deal, but what is wrong with taking the risk if you know have a similar player in Omaha who is ready to answer the call and fill in.
Fister will certainly help out the Tigers staff in the long run. He is also under team control until 2015. You can throw out his pitching record and notice his stats are still quite solid. Fister is a capable number three pitcher in a good rotation. The deal is better than records indicate.
In making the deal, Detroit also received starter recently turned reliever David Pauley who is 5-4 with a 2.19 ERA and .99 WHIP ins 54.1 innings pitched.
Going to Seattle will be rookie Charlie Furbush, a 6'5" left-hander who was taken in the fourth round of the 2007 draft. The 25-year old was 1-3 this year with Detroit with a 3.62 ERA in 17 games (two starts). He had pitched in 32.1 innings.
Seattle also will receive outfielder Casper Wells, as 26-year old who has batted .286/.341/.490 in 100 big league games. This year he has four home runs and 12 RBI.
This certainly looks to be a win for the Detroit Tigers who are much better than they were yesterday.
It has been confirmed the Mariners will also receive prospect Francisco Martinez in the trade. Just 20-year old, Martinez is already at AA and was batting .282/.319/.405 with seven home runs and 46 RBI for Erie. Martinez is currently play third base.
The Detroit Tigers are currently 2.5 games ahead of Cleveland in the American League Central Division but are desperately look to upgrade their pitching staff. In order to extend that lead and gear up for a potential playoff race the Tigers find themselves in an arms race like many do at this time of year.
Colorado's Ubaldo Jimenez is the biggest name potentially out on the open market, as the big 6'4" right-hander is just 27-year old and not far removed from his 19-8 season last year in which he struck out 214 batters with a 2.88 ERA. He would go to the All-Star game and finish third in the National League's Cy Young Award voting.
Jimenez has regressed a bit to 6-9 this year with a 4.20 ERA but has pitched better in the last two months. In July he has improved his strikeout rate to 11.03 K/9.
He certainly won't come cheap, but the Tigers believe they have the pieces to offer the Rockies in return. Per Danny Kobler of CBSSports any Detroit deal for Jimenez would have to involve either Jacob Turner or Rick Porcello in return.
Because of the steep price for Jimenez, Detroit may have turned their eyes recently to Seattle's Doug Fister. Fister, also 27, is on a cheap contract with the Mariners and while he is just 3-12 this year he does sport a respectable 3.33 ERA to go with a 1.17 WHIP. That all proves that a pitching record doesn't mean as much as many still believe.
Long rumored to be on the market, off the market, and back on again, Hunter Pence finally knows where he will continue playing baseball as the Philadelphia Phillies picked up Pence in a trade Friday evening with the Houston Astros.
Ken Rosenthal and Jon Morosi of Fox Sports had been working on the potential trade all afternoon, but Morosi finally started tweeting details around 9 pm eastern time.
In picking up Pence, Philadelphia acquires a 28-year old former second round draft pick of the Astros. Currently hitting .309/.356/.472 with 11 home runs and 62 RBI, Pence is a career .290/.339/.480 batter. His career offensive season came last year when Pence hit 25 home runs and 91 RBI to go with a .282 average. Pence has hit 25 home runs each of the last three seasons.
Houston will be receiving Johnathan Singleton, Jarred Cosart, and two players to be named later. According to Baseball America, Singleton was ranked second in the Phillies system while Cosart was fourth. Singleton was ranked the 39th best prospect prior to the season, Cosart came in at 70th.
Singleton, 19, is already 6'2" 215 lbs and was hitting .282/.386/.411 with 9 home runs and 47 RBI for Clearwater (A+), while Cosart , 21, was 9-8 with a 3.92 ERA for Clearwater. The right-hander has 79 strikeouts against 43 walks.
Astros fans should be happy as Baseball America's Ben Badler seems to love Singleton (via twitter)-
don't know that Jared Cosart can stay healthy, but man oh man do I like Jonathan Singleton's bat
After the flurry of rumors and speculation surrounding two of the Kansas City Royals starting outfielders, the current buzz is that both will be in KC next season as well. The frustrating part of all of this is that both will still likely garner trade rumors this time next year unless the Royals are able to reverse their fortunes in one season and be competitive at this point in the season in 2012.
Francoeur started out with a hot month in April, but has since reverted to career norms with the ability to provide some pop in the line-up and a great arm in the outfield. Cabrera, however, has turned in a career performance in Kansas City, so it’s no wonder the Royals would want to keep him unless they’re bowled over by a trade offer at the MLB trade deadline. On the year, Cabrera has 26 doubles and 12 home runs to go with a .297 average for a career-high .786 OPS.
Anything goes at this time of year, so it’s not a done deal, but it seems all of that talk was for nothing. Then again, given the Royals current position in the AL Central basement, at least the deadline gives the team something to talk about.
The injury plagued Cleveland Indians are just 3-7 over their past 10 games and now find themselves two games behind Detroit in the American League Central Division.
A fourth-year veteran from Japan who is in the final year of his contract, Fukudome will take a .273/.374.369 batting line to Cleveland that includes three home runs and 13 RBI in 345 plate appearances. He is a career .262/.369/.403 hitter at the major league level.
Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports first mentioned this morning that the Indians were interested in making a deal with Chicago.
The Cubs will be on the hook for much of the remaining money left on Fukudome's contract for this season. In return the Cubs will be receiving two prospects from Cleveland. At this time the two names are unknown. The deal has been agreed to, however it will not be finalized until this afternoon.
Beltran, 34, is set to be dealt to the Giants with $4 million in cash and in return New York will receive pitching prospect Zach Wheeler.
In the final year of his seven-year contract with the Mets, Beltran is batting .289/.391/.513 with 15 home runs and 66 RBI. Beltran was named an All-Star this season for the sixth time in his 14-year major league career. Jon Paul Morosi and Ken Rosenthal have been covering the expected trade for Fox Sports.
Beltran who spent seven seasons in Kansas City as a member of the Royals, still is in the Kansas City all-time top10 in hits, home runs, RBI, and stolen bases.
In return the Mets will be receiving 21-year old pitcher Zach Wheeler who was ranked by Baseball America as the 55th best prospect in baseball prior to the start of the season. The first round draft choice in 2009 (6th overall) is currently 7-5 with a 3.99 ERA in 16 starts for San Jose (Class A - Advanced). He also has a 1.375 WHIP to go with 98 strikeouts and 47 walks.
Though the deal is not final it certainly appears that for all intents and purposes that it will go through.
After a mostly quiet day on Tuesday, trade rumors have really started to heat up on Wednesday and the Toronto Blue Jays made the big splash on Wednesday afternoon as they acquired young outfielder Colby Rasmus from the St. Louis Cardinals.
Though it wasn't technically, it essentially was a three team trade that went down as follows-
Rasmus is clearly the center of the trade, as he is just 24-years old and is an established major league centerfielder. He had been batting .246/.332/.420 with the Cardinals, including 11 home runs and 40 RBI. In his three years in the majors Rasmus has batted .259/.334/.444 with 50 home runs 158 RBI. Again at just 24-years old it appears the Blue Jays received a solid cornerstone to build their team around without having to give up much in return other than a bunch of relief pitchers.
The Kansas City Royals continue to be active in the international free agent market, signing their fourth player of July. The latest, Adalberto Mondesi is the son of former big leaguer Raul Mondesi.
All seems quiet on the trade front at the moment. In one small deal today the Reds traded Jonny Gomes to the Nationals for prospects Bill Rhineart and Chris Manno. In making the move Cincinnati has opened up room to call up heralded prospect Yonder Alonso.
As for the latest Royals news, the team appears at the moment to be leaning towards keeping outfielders Melky Cabrera and Jeff Francoeur. Yahoo's Jeff Passan writes the news in his latest trade update.
Apparently General Manager Dayton Moore is not receiving the interest in Cabrera in terms of prospects to warrant trading Cabrera who is having a fine season after coming to the Royals as a $1.25 million signing this past winter.
Cabera is likely the third best center field option on the market after B.J. Upton and Colby Rasmus. If neither of those players are moved, it likely will raise the price tag on Melky as we move towards the weekend. At that time the Royals may find something more to their liking.
As for Francoeur, the Royals are reportedly wanting to lock up the first year Kansas City player for next year. He seemingly has found a home with the organization and is valued for his leadership in the clubhouse. The Red Sox have been reported as showing interest in acquiring Francoeur this week.
As always the trade deadline and the players rumored to be moving can change day-to-day, so we will continue to update you on any rumored news.
Yesterday Joel Sherman of the New York Post had mentioned to the surprise of many that the Royals were in the race to trade for disgruntled Rays outfielder B.J. Upton. Sherman is back today with another story stating that the Rays are "very serious" about moving Upton.
The Royals have the prospects to acquire Upton, but it appears that Upton is most likely heading towards the National League if he were to be traded as Sherman names the Nationals, Braves, Pirates, Reds, and Cardinals as having the most interest in Upton.
We'll continue to follow this rumor, however it appears the Royals were just checking in on what it would take to acquire Upton. The 26-year old who is struggling this year in Tampa Bay would have been a nice addition at a buy-low price, however with the Rays asking for the moon (and rightfully so) in return, hopefully Kansas City backs off their interest.
Jeff Francoeur is aware that as the Royals are in Boston to face the Red Sox, he could be looking at his former team from his current one. The Royals outfielder says he’s been up front with general manager Dayton Moore about his longing to stay in Kansas City, and yet rumors are swirling that the BoSox are in on Francoeur’s righthanded bat to help solidify their line-up. For Francoeur, he realizes, it’s just part of the business.
Francoeur talked to WEEI’s Rob Bradford about the rumors recently and said he used to check the Internet for where he could possibly he headed. Now he’s at peace with whatever happens, saying it’s given him the chance in recent years to gain playoff experience. He also mentioned his Boston connections.
“It would be neat,” Francoeur said. “From a standpoint where my dad took a train with my grandpa for tons of games to Fenway. I was in high school and had a Boston Red Sox credit card. But I’m happy here, and I would like to play here.
Bradford makes even more of a connection with a certain scout who almost had his wish for the Red Sox to choose Francoeur back in the 2002 draft.
Ironically, it isn’t the first time Francoeur has drawn interest from the Red Sox. The team had significant interest in the then-Parkview (GA) High star during the 2002 draft before Atlanta swooped in and took him with the 23rd overall pick. Francoeur still, however, has fond memories of the process, which helped forge a lifelong friendship with Red Sox area scout Rob English (whom he still visits and goes catfish-fishing with.)
On the year, Francoeur is hitting .268 with 13 home runs and 60 RBI. But it’s Francoeur’s hitting prowess against lefties that really has to get a front office excited, with the ability to add a .309/.362/.617 line against lefties to your arsenal. That would make an already potent line-up even more effective and potentially push the BoSox deeper into the post-season.
Ahh, twitter. The new rumor mill of baseball.
According to a tweet from Joel Sherman, a baseball writer for the New York Post, the Royals have shown interest in trading for Tampa Bay Rays outfielder B.J. Upton.
On the surface it's hard not to be excited about potentially obtaining a gold-glove caliber center fielder who averages 17 home runs and 72 RBI a year. However in doing so, Dayton Moore would have to back up the prospects truck in Tampa and unload quite the haul to obtain the 26-year old.
Upton is a solid player, but he just doesn't come off to me as a great player. His .256/.341/.411 career line doesn't thrill me, and in the current season is batting just .229. For his career, he also has over twice as many strikeouts as he does walks. Again, it doesn't thrill me in comparison to what the Royals would have to give up in terms of prospects.
Also, if the Royals were to acquire Upton, what place would it leave Lorenzo Cain? Cain is playing well enough in Omaha to deserve a chance with Kansas City, however he is blocked currently by Melky Cabrera. If the Royals trade Cabrera, yet obtain Upton, it leaves Cain once again in the dark.
One person in the business I certainly trust when talking about minor league prospects is Ben Badler of Baseball America. There might not be a better opinion out there when talking baseball prospects, so I often trust whatever he has to say. He also chimed in on twitter with his thoughts, saying it "Would be a disaster for KC". If Ben Badler doesn't think it is a wise move, I don't either.
All seems quiet right now on the Royals trade front, but that certainly doesn't mean that Kansas City won't be active in talking with other clubs during the final week of the July baseball trade deadline. While it was no surprise that Kansas City traded Wilson Betemit, it certainly came out of the blue last week when Kansas City moved him one afternoon to the Detroit Tigers.
Depending on what you read, it seems the player Kansas City is most actively shopping right now is outfielder Jeff Francoeur. It was reported late last week that Kansas City had been discussing a possible Francoeur trade with the Red Sox, however it appears as of now that Boston is just doing their homework on Francoeur. Those discussions could mature this week as Boston recently placed J.D. Drew on the disabled list.
Moving onto the other outfielder and likely the biggest trading chip Kansas City possesses (sans Joakim Soria), Melky Cabrera was linked up last week with a possible trade to the Philadelphia Phillies. The teams went as far as discussing names in a possible deal. While it is unknown if the Royals will trade Cabrera, ESPN's Jim Bowden believes neither Francoeur or Cabrera will traded by Kansas City unless Dayton Moore is overwhelmed with the return. If you are more inclined to believe Bowden, then it is likely neither outfielder will be going anywhere this week but on a road trip to Boston and Cleveland with the Royals.
The market seems even more quiet for Royals pitchers Jeff Francis and Bruce Chen, the other players that may be jettisoned before week's end. Bowden mentioned back on July 19th that both Francis and Chen may be moved, but there hasn't been any updated news since then.
We'll continue to keep you updated throughout the week on both rumors and any actual deals the Royals make before July 31st.
The Boston Red Sox are known to be in the market for an outfield bat, at least if you believe the rumors that they’re in the mix of several teams for Mets outfielder Carlos Beltran. But FOX Sports Jon Paul Morosi is reporting that Boston might be looking to Kansas City to fill that need if Beltran is going to refuse to leave the National League via his no-trade clause.
Morosi writes, “The Red Sox have inquired about Francoeur’s availability, multiple sources told FOXSports.com; one person briefed on the discussions said they were of an "exploratory" nature. The Royals have a mutual option on Francoeur for next season, so they are under no pressure to move him.”
The mutual option is one of a few reasons why Francoeur is likely to stay. Dayton Moore is rather fond of Francoeur, and the outfielder has expressed a desire to stay in Kansas City. His power bat plays well in the line-up and his veteran leadership has been praised in the clubhouse. With a cheap contract, he seems the least likely of KC’s outfielders to go.
On the other hand, and perhaps most importantly, Melky Cabrera is playing over his head right now and some team is bound to bite on adding Cabrera to the line-up. He continues to hit well all season long and has displayed solid gap power with 25 doubles and 12 home runs. One of them will be traded, but I’d expect it to be Cabrera instead of Francoeur if Dayton Moore can help it.
One of the obvious differences between the American League and the National League is the use of the designated hitter. It’s a position that keeps the careers alive of those players who are still formidable at the plate, but nearly useless in the field. And if you’re a team like the Kansas City Royals, it brings up a possible trade advantage when a player of that description is blocked in the minors for a NL team.
Consider the case of Mat Gamel. The minor league slugger has been a third baseman throughout his minor league career until this year when the Brewers have mostly played Gamel at first. He’s a man without a position because scouting reports read that Gamel’s a defensive liability no matter where you place him. Yet his bat speaks for itself. This year, Gamel is hitting .327 in AAA Nashville with 19 homers and 64 RBI. Last year, Gamel hit .309 in a half season in Nashville with 13 homers and 67 RBI. For his career, in just over 700 minor league games, Gamel has a .305/.378/.499 line. That’s a player ready for the majors.
Over the course of four major league seasons, Gamel has only been given 85 games and 171 at bats to prove himself. That’s an average of 43 at bats per season. He’s largely been written off by many, and yet the guy hasn’t even come close to getting significant playing time. The bulk of those games, 61 of them, came back in 2009 and Gamel responded with a decent .760 OPS. But the Brewers continued to flirt with other players at the position and gave significant ABs to Casey McGehee among others.
This is exactly the type of slugger the Royals could look at to take over at DH if they were so inclined to move Billy Butler for some prospects down the road, even after this year. Gamel also has extensive experience at both corners in the field if need be (i.e. if Mike Moustakas can’t hit the ball). Yet for this kind of impact bat, the cost wouldn’t be as high given his defensive limitations and even limited ceiling in Milwaukee.
Perhaps they’re grooming him to take over for Prince Fielder when he leaves via free agency for a monster contract. If so, then that’s a solid play and the Brewers should keep him. But if the team continues to move him back and forth trying to find a place for his bat, the Royals should move in.
Two things are clear from Jon Paul Morosi’s latest MLB rumor column over at Fox Sports. First, the Philadelphia Phillies are interested in potentially adding Royals outfielder Melky Cabrera at the deadline to secure another bat for the stretch run. Second, Cabrera is closer to Carlos Beltran’s numbers than you might believe. Uh, what?
I’m not sure what Morosi is smoking, but let’s be honest here on a couple of counts. First of all, Beltran was an All-Star outfielder just last week (or so) who has a .917 OPS and leads the major leagues in doubles with 30. He’s hitting .293 and slugging .528 and is the best bat available at the major league deadline.
On the contrary, Cabrera is hitting a respectable .294, but he’s slugging at 80 points less and has a .787 OPS. Again, his totals are certainly respectable and a much better economical buy than Beltran at the deadline, but there’s no way a team willing to go hard after a major attraction like Beltran is going to feel okay winning second place. The two outfielders aren’t even in the same category.
As for the Phillies, any indication that they’re in a must-buy mode is a bit off, given their current scenario. Raul Ibanez has been hitting better in the last month, as has Dominic Brown and Shane Victorino just came off of the DL. They could certainly use another hitter for some help, but they’re not the desperate club they’re made out to be in the media since their hitters have been better than advertised over the last four weeks.
Melky Cabrera might get traded in the end, and the team that scores the center fielder should be pleased as the Royals have been so far this season. But any ideas that they’re getting a solid Beltranesque player are simply unfounded, and it’s ridiculous to say so in the first place.
Kansas City Royals fans might be interested to learn that a former player favorite might be headed to the National League in the frenzy of the Major League Baseball trade deadline. In this instance, David DeJesus is apparently drawing the interest from the surprise team of the National League: the Pittsburgh Pirates. That is, if Buster Olney is to be believed.
Olney writes via Twitter, “The Pirates have talked internally about pursuing David DeJesus, but it’s unclear whether they will follow up aggressively with Oakland.” DeJesus has been a definite disappointment all season long for Oakland after the trade involving Vin Mazzaro this off-season. DeJesus ended last season on a frustrating note to injury right when it seemed like he was putting together his best season as a pro. After hitting .318 in the season’s first half, he was suddenly out. In 2011, he’s been completely abysmal.
Certainly, the A’s weren’t thinking they’d end up with a .229 hitter when trading for DeJesus. In 85 games, the right fielder has a .660 OPS, although he has been heating up as the summer wears on — hitting .290 over the last two weeks. Perhaps that’s drawn the interest of the Pirates who see a potential buy low situation. The Pirates could certainly use another decent bat in the line-up since they’re ripe with several swing-first sluggers like Garrett Jones and Pedro Alvarez. Either way, it’ll be interesting for Royals fans to follow a former player on a surprising first place team like the Pirates.
The latest from Dayton Moore on the Kansas City Royals most desirable trade candidate is that Joakim Soria is not so tradeable after all. The All-Star closer has been as consistent a performer as anyone over the last few years in Kansas City and until struggling for a few weeks this year, he's provided the team with an elite level closer for several seasons. Thus, Moore sees no reason to lose Soria unless he's overwhelmed -- an unlikely scenario given the glut of relievers already available on the market.
General manager Dayton Moore told Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star, "We certainly understand and appreciate why there would be strong interest in him. He’s a premium closer. But he fits for us, and our view of Joakim Soria hasn’t changed as it pertains to his importance to our team. It would have to be a heavy price. We recognize the importance of having good starting pitching. We feel we have some good internal candidates. You can never have enough (starting pitching), but we need Joakim Soria at the end of our bullpen."
With the emergence of Aaron Crow and Tim Collins in the bullpen, the Royals have a strong young core under team control for the next few years. With the lack of quality starters for KC, maintaining a deep, healthy, effective bullpen is of primary importance. Soria anchors that strength for the Royals, and Moore is wise to recognize that.
Now that Wilson Betemit has been whisked away to the Detroit Tigers it appears the Royals are officially open for business. We obviously knew this, but no one knew when the first trade would be made by Dayton Moore. Well according to MLB Trade Rumors, it appears Kansas City has been in talks with the Philadelphia Phillies in a move for Melky Cabrera.
While I am intrigued by what Cabrera has done this season, I feel the Royals should certainly do their homework on moving "The Melkman". Taking into account how poor the trade market appears to be this summer, along with the friendly contract he has, Cabrera's value may never be higher than it is now. If you can get another club to overpay then you certainly should make a deal.
With just 11 days left in the July trade window, it should be an all hands on deck situation for the Royals scouts who are likely out scouting minor league clubs all across the country at the moment. Perhaps the Royals shock everyone and decide to package Joakim Soria and Cabrera to a contender. It certainly will be worth following, as things heat up over the next week and a half. For most Royals fans this is the highlight of their summer.
In a sign that sportswriters and fans could care less about deals that will not happen, Aramis Ramirez, the Chicago Cubs slugging third baseman, is rumored in several potential deals this trade deadline and yet he holds a full no-trade clause that he has said again and again he will not remove. But that hasn't stopped the Anaheim Angels from kicking the tires on third base options like Ramirez and the Royals Wilson Betemit in hopes of increasing the production from that spot in the order.
The latest rumor circling is that Betemit is an option for the Angels in a trade, and the Halos have the solid near-ready pitching that Dayton Moore would be looking for in a deal. It's hard to tell whether or not the Angels would give up a solid prospect for two months of Betemit before he hits free agency, but perhaps a young bullpen arm like Michael Kohn could get the job done. Then again, would the Angels give up a young, controllable bullpen arm like that? Possibly.
It'd be a great trade for the Royals if so. Betemit is a strong asset for a club on several fronts -- from his versatility to his bat -- and yet the Royals will definitely lose him either way in just two months. To add a solid, young reliever for Betemit at this point should be considered a win.
While most trade rumors surrounding the Royals are focusing on a few primary players like Wilson Betemit, Melky Cabrera, Jeff Francis and Jeff Francoeur, there’s a possible veteran name in the minor leagues currently heating up that Sports Illustrated’s Jon Heyman says could head to a contending club: Jeff Suppan.
The well-traveled starter has been with several clubs down the stretch, especially in a National League race with the Milwaukee Brewers or St. Louis Cardinals. At this point, Suppan has been pitching with the Royals AAA club in Omaha and it’s surprising the parent club hasn’t already called his name given their need for someone to eat up some innings at the major league level. As Heyman recently tweeted, Suppan is 4-1 with a 2.28 ERA in his last six games for Omaha and there’s enough need for healthy starters at this point that someone could bite.
Heyman doesn’t offer any more conjecture regarding what Suppan might bring in return, if anything, or whether the Royals would let him walk. But it’s an interesting thought for those teams wishing for a middling veteran presence to provide a bit of long relief or spot start at this stage in the season. For the Royals, if they trade Suppan, they could use it to bring in a toolsy player who might just need a change of scenery.
The Atlanta Journal Constitution is reporting that Kansas City Royals outfielder Jeff Francoeur might be heading to familiar territory in the NL East, albeit with a different team than the Atlanta Braves — the franchise that introduced Frenchy to the Major Leagues in the first place. With a major hole in their line-up against left-handed pitching, Francoeur could fit in well in the Phillies line-up.
There are other contenders to fill that slot, including San Diego Padres outfielder Ryan Ludwick. However, the Phillies already have a major budget and have been told to spend low, giving Francoeur a possible nod as a trade target. Francoeur is earning $2.5 million this season and has a team option for next season at $4 million. Francoeur has made overtures to stay in Kansas City, but the well-traveled outfielder is also aware of baseball’s business-first mentality, so he knows it’s a possibility.
On the year, Francoeur is hitting .322 against lefties and slugging at an incredible .655 rate. The Phillies have been disappointed by Dom Brown’s development in the outfield and Raul Ibanez has been hot and cold all season. While names like Ben Francisco can fill in from time to time, the reality is that the Phils lack an impact bat to help put them over the top. Frenchy could be that guy.
More rumors are certain to come, but Francoeur heading back to the NL is one of the probable rumors we’ve heard concerning the Royals.
Of the two smart free agent deals that Kansas City Royals general manager Dayton Moore grabbed this offseason for his starting outfield, it seems one has more staying power than the other. With recent words that Jeff Francoeur is wanting to stay in KC, the rumor from Ken Rosenthal is that Moore is attempting to trade Melky Cabrera instead of Francoeur in the hopes of landing some near-ready pitching talent at the MLB trade deadline by the end of this month.
Francoeur is having a decent year overall, although he's definitely slid from the devastating first month he placed on AL pitchers back in April. For the year, Frenchy has a line of .263/.308/.439 and seems well liked in and around the organization. On Cabrera's behalf, he's the better hitter of the two with a .203/.331/.4450 line. Francoeur does have an mutual option for next year.
At only 26, some team is bound to be intrigued by Cabrera as a possible outfield fit -- not just for this year -- and acquiring him now would allow for some time to check out the merchandise, so to speak. He's got a solid bat and won't embarrass himself at the plate, and the potential is there for some solid gap power. He also has several years as a member of the Yankees under his belt that brings some postseason experience.
Some possible destinations? While Cabrera didn't hit well in his quick run in the NL East with Atlanta, the Phillies are looking for an outfield bat. The Giants might come calling depending on what happens with Carlos Beltran, and the same goes for the Tigers. There's a lot of player movement expected in the next week, so Cabrera might be a second or third option for some team -- meaning a deal might not happen until the eleventh hour. For now, the Royals hold the chips and wait to cash them in.
With the dearth of solid third base options around the major leagues, it’s no surprise that Wilson Betemit is a sought after trade option for some team making a post-season run. And it shouldn’t be surprising if Betemit receives at least a decent take this offseason when he’s finally a free agent. With that in mind, the timing is perfect for the Royals to make at least something out of what will soon be nothing once Betemit’s contract is up after this season.
With Mike Moustakas already in house and taking Betemit’s playing time, it makes the versatile infielder quite expendable. While he’s not nearly as hot as last year’s incredible level of productivity (where Betemit slugged .511 and managed an .889 OPS in 84 games), he still has a solid bat off of the bench with a line of .285/.345/.415.
Betemit is also versatile around the diamond, which makes him a great utility fit on a contender. He’s played the majority of games the last two years in Kansas City at third base, however KC has also plugged him in at first, second and the outfield on multiple occasions. Given his cheap contract as well ($1 million), it’s a solid all-around pick-up for any team that grabs him.
This seems an ideal situation to move Betemit to some contender, and it’s no surprise that the aggressive Brewers are already on the prowl. Several more suitors will likely show up when all is said and done, and that’s good news for Dayton Moore, considering the Brewers might not have very much to offer given their empty farm system and the prospects they already traded in the K-Rod deal.
Then again, perhaps there’s something there that Moore likes from the scouting reports from the Greinke deal that he can get in this one as well. Moore should have the ability to get something of note for Betemit given the factors involved.
The rumors swirling around the New York Mets this time of year are that they will be sellers — at least of Carlos Beltran. The All-Star outfielder is even commenting publicly on which places he could go, which makes it almost a no-brainer that Beltran is heading somewhere. But even the questions of where aren’t as wild as they generally are with a player of his status, because most of the discussion centers around the San Francisco Giants, last year’s World Series champions, who could use a left fielder and a bat of his caliber.
But Buster Olney, baseball writer for ESPN, says that’s not set in stone. The most common rumor involves 2009 first round choice Zach Wheeler heading to New York for Beltran to provide the Mets with a top flight pitching prospect in return. Money would also change hands given Beltran’s $18.5 million contract from the Mets for whichever team gives them a prospect.
Olney goes on to say that several teams are in the mix for Beltran still at this point, and notes the Detroit Tigers as one of them. He writes, “The Yankees are not interested, but perhaps the Tigers are, and they have always been known to be more aggressive than most teams and not shy about taking on a big contract.”
Who would the Tigers have to get up? And do they need a big bat in the outfield like that? Even though the Tigers are in first place, they remain there by a hair over the Indians and the Twins and the White Sox are both within striking distance. Heck, even the Royals are a hot streak away from being relevant in a weaker division. And for a first place team, the Tigers have major holes in the line-up.
Specifically, left field is a problem spot for the Tigers, who have been trotting out Ryan Rayburn for most of the at-bats there to the tune of a .213/.248/.360 line. Over the last two weeks, Raburn had picked up his average 15 points or so heading into the All-Star Break, but he’s still not any competition to a mindset of whether to go for after Carlos Beltran. The answer, if they have the money, is an obvious yes.
The Tigers could decide otherwise, given that they are fourth in the AL in batting already and their greatest woes are not in the line-up. But plugging that hole in left field might be worth taking up, considering the best hitting teams in the AL are all teams that the Tigers will have to contend with in the post-season, if they make it. The Yankees, Red Sox and Rangers all have potent line-ups and if the Tigers could pair Beltran with Miggy Cabrera and a hopefully resurgent Magglio Ordonez, well, that makes things a lot more destructive against opposing pitchers.
Perhaps Jacob Turner could get the job done, the Tigers first round selection in 2009. He’s currently in AA and looking very comfortable for a guy who just turned 20. He’s compared to Rick Porcello and the Mets should like an arm like that for half a season of Beltran. For the Tigers, that might hurt to lose a controllable promising arm, but Beltran could also be the difference between losing out on the divisional title and making noise deeper in the playoffs.
In an apparent scramble to write a story in the midst of some MLB downtime, ESPN’s Jason Churchill put together a list of possible “sell high” candidates at the trade deadline. Some names on the list are definite possibilities given their contract status (Andre Ethier), but others, like the Kansas City Royals’ Alex Gordon, make no sense whatsoever. Churchill writes:
Gordon was a busted No. 2 overall draft pick before breaking through this season and is on pace for career-high numbers in every positive offensive category. He’ll hit arbitration for the second time over the offseason and the Royals have a chance to deal Gordon for help in other areas, such as pitching or catching, while he’s performing as well as he ever has and before he gets expensive.
The Royals’ timeframe for contention is nearing, and Gordon could be a part of the core of such a roster, but he’s 27 years old and not many scouts are sold that he’s more than passable in left field, nor trusted to continue to produce at this level. It’s the first time he’s hit for average and late bloomers have a tendency to have a short shelf life.
That’s quite the pessimistic view in our opinion, given that Gordon is just now coming to life and establishing himself as a positive force in the line-up. If anything, the Royals have waited a long time for such rewards with a considerable investment in terms of playing time and patience.
There’s also no reason to lump Gordon in with a lazy “short shelf life” content with no evidence to back up such statements or why Gordon would even be a candidate for such a career trajectory. The reality is that the scouting reports on Gordon throughout his early career were high on his potential because the tools were there — even in raw form. Now that he’s putting it together on a consistent basis, what does it mean that he’ll suddenly regress at the age of 27 or soon thereafter?
The Royals are hopefully poised for a long run once the rookies arrive and establish themselves at the major league level. But they’re going to need veterans surrounding them — guys like Alex Gordon and Billy Butler who can help them adjust. Unless Moore is blown away by a random offer, there’s no reason to even think Gordon is on the trade market.
Perhaps Doug Melvin got sentimental looking at an old yearbook and realized his team would start to break up this off-season. Perhaps he was euphoric seeing Prince Fielder crack a three-run shot to seal the All-Star win for the National League. Or maybe he remembers how valuable a Francisco Rodriguez rookie card was worth in 1971. No matter the reason, Melvin made a bad deal in his trade with the New York Mets in giving up two players to be named for K-Rod and his gargantuan contract.
Trading any modicum of minor league talent for K-Rod at this point simply wasn't worth it for a few reasons, let alone giving up two guys (who are anonymous for the sheer fact that it's too embarrassing for Melvin to name real names). K-Rod's contract is already burdensome for less than half a season ($3.5 million). But if he ends up finishing another 20 or so games (21 to be exact), the Brewers must pay him $17.5 million next season as a vesting option kicks in.
In other words, the Brewers gave up prospects and are doling out good money for a closer that they can't even use -- or else they'll pay too much. If Mark Attanasio had this kind of money where Melvin didn't have to worry about it, then he should have extended Fielder a while ago or even made a better run at C.C. Sabathia. The Brewers have displayed a willingness to spend when they believe in their team (and they should), but they're still a mid-market franchise in a divisional race more crowded than the set of Lost.
So for that occasional eighth inning outing, the Brewers are paying heavily -- can you imagine they couldn't have snagged Chad Qualls from the Padres or Octavio Dotel from the Blue Jays for much, much less? It's not that K-Rod has been horrible this year at all -- he has 23 saves to go with a 3.16 ERA and 46 strikeouts in 42 innings. He also is horrible at Citi Field, meaning he might savor his moment out of the spotlight. Again, he's another solid reliever for Melvin. But he's not their closer. Nor is that even an option for more than a handful of games.
A team makes one move, maybe two, at this point in the year to maximize its roster. When a team acquires a bad contract, usually the other franchise eats a lot of money or else goes easy on the players it receives. Yet it seems the Mets made out considerably well even without knowing the specific players they are getting in return. In this instance, Melvin would have been much better off plugging the enormous hole at shortstop rather than spending it all on a "name" reliever when someone else much cheaper could have served the same purpose.
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