Now that we have Darren's thoughts on the offseason moves thus far, georgiaroyal and I decided to have a discussion about the Royals' offseason moves:
georgiaroyal: I suppose we've got to begin with the job that Moore is doing in his first offseason as the Royals GM. What I really appreciate, as a fan, is action on his part. Some may quibble about the money that's been spent and so on, but staying with what we had just wasn't a viable option.
soonerroyal: I certainly agree with that. Although the Meche deal seems well to be extremely expensive, he is immediately better than anyone on the staff for the past several years. He's also made some major changes to the bullpen. It seems as though Dayton Moore is moving away from the young power arms and relying on veteran relievers.
georgiaroyal: Meche is getting $7 million in '07 and then it jumps to $11 million in '08-'09 and then $12 million in '10 and '11. Sweeney's contract coming off of the books after this season helps us afford him, and I'd rather have money wrapped up in a pitcher than a position player, anyway. I like what's being done in the pen. We need guys that can come in and throw strikes. How frustrating has it been to watch a guy trot in from the pen and struggle with the zone?
soonerroyal: That's a very good point. And it seems like the Royals are gravitating toward strike throwers and getting rid of the guys who have no clue where the strikezone is (Burgos, Sisco). However, it still hurts to see great young arms leave the team, especially when they cost so little. But, this team needs a change. The major league team is getting the overhaul it needs to become a functional unit again. Allard's teams placed the burden mainly on the youngsters. But, it looks like Dayton is going to place the burden on veterans and once the young players are ready to contribute, then everything should come together.
georgiaroyal: That is very much the way it has worked for the Braves over the past 15 years. Now, instead of being forced to put guys like Greinke in the rotation, we can leave them in the minors until they are absolutely ready. Dayton's money is being spent on different types of players than Baird when he had a little to play with. I'm less concerned signing guys like Meche, Dotel, Bale, and Riske than when Baird brought in Santiago and Juan Gonzalez. The reward is much more likely than with those types of guys.
soonerroyal: I really like the potential reward from the Meche deal. He's entering the prime of his career and he's coming off a strong season when he was healthy for the first time. Dotel is a very good closer if he's healthy and is only 33. Those are certainly good gambles. Gonzalez and Santiago, as you mentioned, were well past their prime and had more risk than reward.
soonerroyal: Moving on to the Royals’ recent trades, the Sisco for Gload trade still strikes me as rather odd. The Royals gave up a very talented lefty for a reserve first basemen/outfielder. I'm still having trouble justifying this deal, although Gload will be a useful player certainly. He gets on base at a decent clip and has modest power. But, giving up a young power arm seems pretty risky. It's the type of move a contender would make to complete their team, but not a team that needs to build a core of talented players.
georgiaroyal: At the risk of sounding like a Moore-lover (maybe I am...a little), I do like the acqusition of Gload. He gives Shealy a backup at 1B as well as a guy that can play a corner OF position. This makes Sanders and Brown even more expendible than they already are. Our list of guys that can play the outfield in KC next year is: Teahen, DeJesus, Gathright, Brown, Sanders, Costa, Gload, and possibly Maier, Huber, and Butler. Wow. That sure is a long list, but the primary reason for getting him was to have competition for Shealy. He'll be a good guy to have around for that. I agree about giving up Sisco, though. It is risky, but I don't think that one will come back to bite us. I really don't. The league adjusted to him and he had nothing else to go to.
georgiaroyal: Sisco averaged 5.02 BB/9 innings in his rookie year (his good year). Last year, that number jumped to 6.17 BB/9 innings. That isn't what you want coming out of the pen.
soonerroyal: Sisco certainly has a lot of development left. He's going to have to learn another pitch and improve his command. If he does (probably a big IF), he could be a top setup man or closer. But, Gload will ensure Sweeney never takes the field and give the Royals options at the outfield spots. I just think that with all of the outfield options the Royals have, signing someone like Mientkiewicz could have accomplished the same thing without giving up a young arm. But, it's not a terrible move. What are your thoughts on the Jason LaRue acquistion?
georgiaroyal: That's true. It's not terrible, but it would have been nice to send Sisco to the minors for a year or so and see what happens with him.
Getting LaRue was a deal that I didn't pay that much attention to. The Reds are paying half the '07 salary. He's a low average hitter with some pop in his bat. That sounds like a certain someone we know, doesn't it? Buck just hasn't put it together, yet, so getting LaRue will either push Buck to produce or it will prove him to be a solid part time/backup catcher. John isn't a young Buck (pun intended). I'm still holding out hope that he will have a breakout year and approach 18-20 HR and a .260 batting average. I think he's capable of those type of numbers. Hopefully, hearing LaRue's footsteps will inspire him to reach those numbers.
soonerroyal: Buck and LaRue are very similar. Their offensive numbers are very similar, their SB/CS ratio is very similar. He's basically an older version of Buck. So, hopefully the Royals just acquired him to bring in some competition in case Buck struggles. LaRue isn't a guy you want as your starting catcher. I think Buck has some upside as well. He's shown pretty good power at times, so maybe his bat is just taking a while to develop.
georgiaroyal: Buck will be turning 27 this season. He's approaching his prime, and I do expect him to put up some better offensive numbers in 2007.
georgiaroyal: Before the season starts, I'd still like to see some moves made, and I expect to see some action with all of our outfielders. Maybe we can use Brown/Sanders (or both) to acquire some more pitching depth or maybe a shortstop of the future to push Berroa. We are set at all of our infield positions. We are definitely set in the outfield, and catcher. If the Royals have some money and want to acquire another veteran starter, I don't think I'd have a problem with it. We don't have a lot of young guys knocking the door down, so let them continue to develop.
georgiaroyal: I'll admit that I'm always high on the number of wins I predict, but right now, this looks like a team that could win between 75-80 games.
soonerroyal: That pretty much echoes my sentiments. The Royals are pretty well set overall, but the more reliable veteran starters the team can get, the better. I'm certainly looking forward to the season and being able to watch a stable rotation for once. Hopefully it will put an end to all the random waiver wire starters the Royals have used over the past few seasons. I'm not quite as optimistic, but I think 70-75 games is pretty reasonable. If Butler and Gordon get up here quickly and make an impact right away, I could certainly see 75-80 games. On our next post, we'll have a discussion about any new Royals' moves as well as our thoughts about the Royals’ depth chart, particularly at the top.