Tuesday, November 14, 2006

2007 Options

2007 Options

It is such a stab in the dark trying to predict what any given team will do in the offseason. I hope to look at the Royals position by position and see what the feasible options are—perhaps by covering more ground we will have a greater chance of stumbling on the acquitions that Dayton Moore is looking to make for next year. Feel free to add you own prognostications.

The 2006 crew:

John Buck was the starter and didn’t make the desired strides offensively that many of us hoped—his OPS hovering around 700. It is very difficult to accurately measure a catcher since a lot of value can come from working with pitchers. Buck seems to be decent defensively. Catchers tend to develop offensively later than other positional prospects—but that is no gurantee that Buck can raise his OPS to 750ish range.

Paul Bako stunk. He won’t be coming back.

Down on the farm:

Paul Phillips and Matt Tupman are not going to be starting catcher but either could be an improvement over Bako. I look for Philips to be the backup and Tupman to be in Omaha.

Other options.
FA Greg Zaun has already been linked to KC. But if he returned, it would probably be as a started-which means Buck would have to be flipped. Some guys I like if we wanted to trade include Yorvit Torrealba-COL and Kelly Shoppach from CLE—both are decent offensively and supposed to be good defensively and are blocked currently. Signing someone like Mike Piazza could be a smart move--he could catch a little (a very little) play some 1st and some DH when Sweeney gets hurt. But it won't happen.

2007 predictions: Buck and Philips--What should happen Buck and Piazza

Third Base
The 2006 Crew:

The resurgent Mark Teahen—played great—874 OPS. But it sounds like he is already being prepped to go to the outfield when his shoulder heals. I like Teahen—a lot—but I would hope the Royals would listen to trade offers (Ervin Santana?) for him. Unless we are blown away—we hang on to him and let him play RF (assuming his shoulder heals, his arm would be more valuable in RF than LF)

Down on the Farm:
Teahen is just holding the spot for Alex Gordon. The only drama is here is will Gordon break ST with the Club or get to return home to Nebraska for a month or two

Other Options: not needed

2007 predictions: It now appears Gordon may start the year with the big club. What should happen: First, I think the idea of trading Teahen should be seriously explored. If we don't get a good offer, then Teahen leans the OF during ST and then starts year at 3rd until June when Gordon is called up

The 2006 crew:

Angel Berroa was the worst regular in baseball last year—stunk at the plate, stunk in the field, stunk on the basepaths. Fortunately he’s signed for the next 2 years for a total of $8 million. The Royals aren’t contending for the division crown, so it won’t kill us to put him back out there, it will just be very painful. Besides, he can’t be worse than he was last year….right?

Down on the Farm:
Andres Blanco has a worse bat (if you can believe it) than Berroa but better glove but he had surgery is probably out until mid year. Angel Sanchez is a bit of an enigma as a lot of people like his tools but hasn’t performed that well. We won’t count on either on of those guys for next year

Other Options:
Craig Counsell and Alex Gonzalez are out on the FA market and either one would be a big upgrade. Counsell is not young but his defense is good and he would probably give us more offensive production than Berroa did last year. Gonzalez defense is supposed to be pretty good he is capable of being a decent offensive player but seems to be somewhat streaky. On the trade front, many Royals fans have long salivated over the idea of trading for the Angels Erick Aybar. I see him almost certainly being moved this offseason—but probably not to us. I have heard the Angels really want to upgrade CF, 3B, 1B. I’m not sure David Dejesus is their kind of player (and it would take more than Aybar for me to give up DDJ) and Gathright is not going to get it done. We are short on 1B already. As for 3B, well read below.

2007 Prediction: Craig Counsell signs a 2 year/ $6million deal. Berroa is one expensive backup What should happen: Erick Aybar

2nd Base
The 2006 Crew:
No position boasts as many option for the Royals as 2nd base. Gold Glover Mark Grudzalanek will be back putting up a 740ish OPS. He could again be very attractive at the trade deadline. Esteban German will probably return to his role as “super sub”. I really hope he gets at least 400 Abs. The other option is he might be traded (how many 2nd basemen are there with an OPS of 880?). Again, I don’t trade him unless I get some good young pitching.

Down on the Farm:

Jeff Keppinger was picked up in a deal with the Mets. He isn’t young but has posted a high batting average everywhere he’s went. He will be nice to have around should the injure bug hit. Donnie Murphy is a longshot for 2007, but I still like this guy in the future.

Other Options: We have more than enough help at 2nd base.

2007 predictions: Grudz and German. What should happen: Grudz should be traded for a decent prospect and German should be our full time second baseman.

1st Base
The 2006 Crew:

Minky won’t be back so I won’t waste much time on him. The Rockies were nice enough to practically give us Ryan Shealy last year. He struggled the first few weeks but brought his OPS up to 789. This year he will be expected to hit with more power and get that OPS up toward at least 850. His defense was surprisingly good.

Down on the Farm:
We got nothin’ in the way of 1st base prospects in the High Minors.

Other Options: my guess is someone like Mark Teahen, or Emil Brown will be the back up 1st baseman if Shealy goes down.

2007 Prediction: Shealy--and that is what should happen.

The 2006 Crew:
Emil Brown and his 815 OPS were more than solid. His defense was better. The guy is solid—but he is due a raise in arbitration and he could be prime trade bait. I think this guy is underrated and should only be traded for value (Juan Gutierrez—HOU prospect).

Down on the Farm:
Does Justin Huber have leprosy? The way he was treated this year you might think so. So first base is not his thing—sounds like things are going well in LF. I’m guessing a pretty safe bet is that one of these two guys will be traded this offseason—perhaps both.

Other Options:
Again, Teahen could end up in LF

2007 Prediction: Emil Brown--Huber traded. What should happen--Brown should be shopped for a pitcher and Huber should start in LF.

The 2006 Crew
David Dejesus had his obligatory injury and then came back got real hot and then cooled off towards the end of the year. Dejesus could go out next year and have an 850 OPS or he could be hurt for 3 months. From all accounts his defense out in CF is decent but Dayton Moore’s first move was to pick up Joey Gathright-who is fast. Unfortunately, he can’t hit, can’t hit for power, and doesn’t get good jumps (unless it’s over a parked car). Gathright has had good OBP in the minors, but I think he is someone whose minor league numbers don’t translate very well to the Big Show. A team like the Marlins could use him. I’ll steal this trade straight from futuregm over on the Scout board: Gathright for Yusmeiro Petit.

Down on the Farm:

Other Options:
Not that it is a place of real need but I think Reggie Willits-LAA and Ryan Church-WAS are underrated.

2007 Prediction: Dejesus—Gathright traded--and that is what should happen unless you can pick up Willits or Church on the cheap--in which case-you could trade both CFers (I know a crazy idea)

The 2006 Crew:

Never fight a land war in Asia. Never sign Reggie Sanders in an even year. He didn’t hit and then got injured, landed on the DL where he continued not to hit. Reggie could be trade bait. Perhaps he could go to the Yankees for Carl Pavano—Carl would need to waive his no-trade clause and I have no idea why he would do that to come to KC (unless we guaranteed picking up his 2009 option for $13 million). Of course, the Yankees would need to send us something like $15-25 million (depending on the option situation). Dayton made this kind of trade of Odalis and I like the risk/reward on this. Shane Costa didn’t hit great in 250 ABs but he raked down at Omaha. I am going to pencil in Teahen.

Down on the Farm:
Billy Butler will be hitting the cover off the ball in Omaha but should probably spend the majority of the year in AAA.

Other options:
There was a small rumor that the Royals might be interested in Jose Guillen if they trade Reggie. Jose can be a good player but his attitude is Sheffieldesque-so I would take a pass unless it’s a really good bargain (something like 1 year/$2 million)

2007 Prediction: Teahen with Costa playing second fiddle--if we can trade Teahen then Costa gets a shot to start until Butler is ready.

The 2006 Crew:

Stairs is gone so we now have the indestructible Mike Sweeney as our only full time DH on the roster. Mike missed a lot of time last year, even by his standards. His hitting when he was healthy was also sub-par. But he looks to be here for $11 million next year, so we might as well make the best of it.

Down on the Farm
Other Options:


2007 Prediction: Sweeney—if healthy could be traded mid-year. What should happen--perhaps Sweeney can be traded and someone like Piazza could DH for us.

Starting Pitching
The 2006 Crew:

Runelvys Hernandez was awful with an occasion good start. Redman, Elarton and Mays were predictably not good. Luke Hudson emerged as “reliable” in the sense that he was better than anything else we had. Odalis Perez was picked up in a good high reward trade. Zack Greinke battled back from his issues to pitch pretty well at AA. Jorge De La Rosa couldn’t control his pitches. The starting rotation was and is a mess.

Down on the Farm:
Tyler Lumsden and Luke Hochevar cannot be counted on for next year. As I mentioned Zach Greinke showed he deserves a shot at the rotation come spring.

Other Options:
Let’s start with trade options: We could always pick up overpaid vets like Jarrod Washburn or Carl Pavano—they could probably be had fairly cheap in terms of talent to give up, if we were willing to take on salary. Young pitching is just about the hardest thing to find on the trade market. Perhaps the Twins will trade someone like Scott Baker, but I don’t think they will do it within the division. Baltimore might be willing to trade Hayden Penn, but I’m not sure Justin Huber or Emil Brown would be enough to get it done (but they are Baltimore). There were some whispers that Paul Maholm might be available in Pittsburgh—he would be a good pickup. As I mentioned above, I would like to go after Ervin Santana—but I think I’ll do a whole post devoted to that.

The FA market is flush with #3/#4 starters. We start with the conviction that none of the top guys will sign with us. Below are some guys in our range (maybe). I cut and paste some stats that Georgia Royals was kind enough to provide on a message board. I also estimate what it would take to sign them.

Ted Lilly (30 years old) 15-13, 4.31 ERA in 32 games (181.1 innings). 1.43 whip, .254 obaa. 4 yrs/$40 million

Vincente Padilla (29 years old) 15-10, 4.50 ERA in 200ip, 1.38 WHIP 4yrs/$36 million

Gil Meche (28 years old) 11-8, 4.46 ERA in 32 games (186.2 innings). 1.43 whip, .256 obaa. Made $3.7 M in '06. 3 yrs/$27 millionAdam Eaton (28 years old) 7-4, 5.12 ERA in 13 games (65.0 innings). 1.57 whip, .299 obaa. $4.65 M in '06. 3yrs/$25 million

Randy Wolf (30 years old) 4-0, 5.56 ERA in 12 games (56.2 innings). 1.69 whip, .285 obaa. 3 yrs/$21 million

Tomo Ohka (30 years old) 4-5, 4.82 ERA in 18 games (97.0 innings). 1.37 whip, .266 obaa. 2yrs/$15 million

John Thomson (33 years old) 2-7, 4.82 ERA in 18 games (80.1 innings). 1.56 whip, .295 obaa. 2 yr/ $12 million

Tony Armas (28 years old) 9-12, 5.03 ERA in 30 games (154.0 innings). 1.50 whip, .279 obaa. 2 yr/$12 million

Jeff Weaver (30 years old) 3yrs/$27 million

Bruce Chen (29 years old) 1 yr/$4million

Looking at that list, I would go after Adam Eaton (Randy Wolf is my backup plan) and then try to pick Chen up cheap.

2007 Predictions: Eaton, Perez, Hudson, Chen, Greinke. What should happen: Ervin Santana, Eaton, Perez, Hudson, Greinke.

Relief Pitchers
The 2006 crew:

Jimmy Gobble, Todd Wellermeyer, Joel Peralta and Joe Nelson have earned a shot in the pen next year. Youngsters Ambiriox Burgos, Andy Sisco, and Ryan Braun will have to earn a shot. Someone like Jorge De La Rosa could be sent to the pen if he doesn’t cut it as a starter.

Down on the Farm:
Ryan Braun had some great numbers, can he translate those to the big show? Leo Nunez has some great stuff but may need a little more time in Omaha.

Other options:
There are always a slew of options out there to trade for. Signing a guy like David Riske would be a smart move. The Royals also picked up Ken Ray on waivers from the Braves

2007 prediction:Gobble, Wellermeyer, Nelson, Braun, Peralta, Ray and Riske? with Sisco and Burgos figuring things out in AAA--and that is what I think should happen too.

I'll follow up with a post showing my "predicted" team as well as "my" plan...


At 9:55 AM, Anonymous Brian said...

"It now appears Gordon may start the year with the big club."
Just curious, is this based on Kaegel's article? If not what are you basing this on? I'd love to see Gordon with the Big club next year.

At 7:29 PM, Blogger Darren said...

It was based partially on Kaegel's article and I think I read something else somewhere that indicated that might be the case--but I don't remember the specifics.

For free agent reasons, I'd much rather bring Gordon up after a couple month victory tour in Omaha. But if he plays great in ST, then he can force our hands.

At 3:08 AM, Blogger SoonerRoyal said...

Nice synopsis Darren. The Royals desperately need a new shortstop, but I can't see them getting one as long as Berroa is still on the club. Pitching is certainly the main order of business. The starting pitching crop of this year's free agent class doesn't bring much hope. But, if the Royals can grab a couple of league-average starters, then that's a good start. The only way the Royals are going to get top pitching talent is to develop their own.

At 11:42 AM, Blogger Eric said...

That's true about developing their own pitching. There should be cause for some optismism on that front though with Greinke, Lumsden, Hochevar, and Buckner all in the upper minors. Beyond that, they've got another crop of good looking starters in the mid minors with Carlos Rosa, Daniel Cristensen, Chris Nicoll, Luis Cota, and Matt Kniginzky (although he's going to miss most of 2007 due to injury).


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