Thursday, January 06, 2005

With the free agent season drawing to a close, only a few decent players remain on the market. In the Royals two main positions of need - starting pitching and corner outfield spots - there are only a few attractive players remaining. I thought the team should make a strong push for Odalis Perez, who eventually re-upped with the Dodgers for a reasonable 3 year, $24 million deal, but that was just a fantasy.

The only remaining pitchers of note are Derek Lowe and Kevin Millwood. I wouldn't touch Lowe, but Millwood remains an interesting 1 year contract possibility given his recent injuries. But I suspect he'd rather take his 1 year chances on an actual major league team than toil with the Royals.

In the outfield, Magglio Ordonez remains in play, and in a situation similar to Millwood's after coming off a knee injury. He'll probably go the 1 year route as well, but not with KC. Otherwise, its Jeromy Burnitz, Dustan Mohr, Marty Cordova and the like. Since we already secured 200 abs of Eli Marrero for $2.5 million, I'll take a pass on these high risk, medium reward gentleman.

The major disappointment of the season thus far has to be the Royals' inability to land a youngish corner outfielder via trade. This was probably the most anticipated move of the offseason among Royal faithful, but nothing has ever materialized. The team was fixated on Kevin Mench, for whom the Rangers apparently demanded no less than Zack Greinke. Let me think - no. I'm not that high on Mench anyway. The Reds, according to their fans, seem to believe Austin Kearns is worth at least 5 of the Royals top players and prospects, 4 field box season tickets and 2 buckets of KFC extra crispy. I'd trade Affeldt for Kearns (plus throw-ins on each side), but that's about it. I only read a few rumors about the possible acqusition of Jason Michaels, who would be a great fit with the Royals. He's stuck on the bench in Philly and has real ability at the plate, unlike every Royal outfielder or prospect outside of David DeJesus. But I... hear... NOTHING! It's gettin' awfully close to reporting date for pitchers and catchers, so I'm not anticipating any moves.

So what happened to the spending spree? The Royals' brass said that they had $10 to $12 million to spend this offseason, but so far they're saving their pennies:

Acquired T. Long: Added $0.5 million
Acquired E. Marrero: Added $2.5 million
Signed J. Lima: Added $2.5 million
Traded B. Santiago: Saved $1.15 million

NET: Added $4.35 million

(I'm assuming that the exchange of minor leaguers, young players, and adding Chris Truby added or subtracted a negligible amount to the payroll, which may or may not be true, but I'm not going to look up the salary of Leo Nunez.)

This would leave the Royals with another $6 million or so to spend on major league payroll, if their originals plans stick. But if they're not going to spend it on a decent player (and please, PLEASE do NOT acquire two more Jose Lima types with that money), then I hope they'll do the right thing and draft the best available talent with the 2nd pick in the amateur draft and pay whatever they demand. Its the price of doing business, Mr. Glass. Get used to it.


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