Friday, December 09, 2005

Winter Meetings Wrap

The Royals made some pretty uninspiring moves at the Winter Meetings. The Royals traded Bayliss and Blackwell for Mark Redman. After looking at this deal for a while, I'm becoming more suspucious at Redman's Lima-esque second half (7.08 ERA). Redman has been pretty consistent over the past 4 years, posting ERAs under 5 and pitching more than 175 innings each season. So, I'm not terribly worried.

The Royals also signed Elmer Dessens to be a "6 to 9" out guy. The back of the Royals' pen is pretty well set, but the Royals needed some middle relief help. Dessens gives the Royals another option for spot starters. Another move with little upside, but not much investment.

The Royals traded their Rule V Pick to the Rangers for Esteban German, a 26-year-old second basemen. German had outstanding numbers at AAA last year, stealing 43 bases in 49 attempts and putting up a .313/.400/.423 line. But, as we learned from Pickering, minor league numbers don't necessarily translate into big league production. Baird called German an "underestimated player", similar to Ibanez or Brown. Of course, for every Brown and Ibanez, there's a Mateo or Nunez. Perhaps Baird's scouting has found the Royals a second basemen with good on-base skills and speed, which would be welcome additions. The Royals didn't lose much by trading their Rule V Pick.

But, I still don't understand why the Royals didn't grab one of the pitchers available. The Royals could have selected JD Martin, stuck him on the 60-day DL and let him make a few spot starts in August once injuries start to take their toll. Martin was just 22 and pitched great at AA, with a 2.38 ERA and 63 K's to 8 walks in 56 2/3 innings. Bob Zimmerman or Rafael Rodriguez could have given the Royals another power arm in the bullpen. The Royals didn't have anything to lose by selecting one of those pitchers.

The Royals also lost three potential starting pitching candidates, DJ Carrasco, Victor Santos and Sean Etherton. The Royals lost Santos and Etherton in the Rule V Draft, so would be returned if they don't stay on their new team's big league roster. Santos was pretty good for the Brewers over the past 2 seasons, averaging 26 starts and a 4.78 ERA. The Pirates picked him up, probably to replace Redman, and may end up with the better end of the deal (2 pitching prospects and a cheap, effective starter). I think Santos should have been protected on the 40-man roster. The Royals 40-man roster is a joke, with guys like Kyle Snyder and Shawn Camp. The Royals can do much better than that.

The Royals' uninspiring moves have taken up about $6 million or so in payroll for next year, so the Royals aren't finished. Baird still wants another veteran starter (Tomko, Kim, Armas, Elarton, etc.) and a corner outfielder (Sanders, Burnitz). Hopefully, those moves do more to improve the Royals because they still have a long way to go.


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