Wednesday, August 18, 2010

What to Do For 2011

Let's face it, 2010 was a foregone conclusion before it started. The Royals, however, have a lot of upside going forward, but there's a lot of different ways they could approach the offseason. First, let's look at their upcoming free agents:

Willie Bloomquist, UTIL
David DeJesus, OF*
Bruce Chen, SP

That, surprisingly, is it, and DeJesus even has an option. So here's my advocacy for these three:

Let Bloomquist go

Bloomquist sucks, quite frankly. He's hitting an abysmal .248/.283/.350, he plays terrible defense (but at every position!), and his only valuable skill is his speed, which will decline quite rapidly (he's almost 33). No-brainer. Next.

Pick up DeJesus's 2011 option

This is another fairly easy decision. DeJesus is likely to be worth the $6M his salary will pay him (he arguably has been every year except 2007) and the Royals have no other options for RF. Blanco is likely a career 4th OF, Maier is likely the CF of the future, and KC has no OF depth in the minors whatsoever. Also, DeJesus is a fan favorite (I love him too) and KC would be sad to see him go (and likely see another drop in attendance).

Do not resign Bruce Chen

Even though Chen has regressed into a "meh" pitcher, he's still been playing over his head this year. 2011 will likely bring a 5+ ERA and sub-replacement numbers from Chen, who's 33 and turned in his last good year 5 seasons ago.

Easy enough. Now let's look at all the arbitration available players:

Brian Bannister, SP
Kyle Davies, SP
Luke Hochevar, SP
Alex Gordon, OF
Robinson Tejeda, RP
Brian Anderson, RP
Wilson Betemit, 3B
Billy Butler, 1B
Brayan Pena, C
Josh Fields, 3B

Offer arbitration to Davies, Hochevar, Gordon, Tejeda, Anderson, Betemit, Butler, Pena

Davies and Hochevar are young players who have shown some potential and both will likely be fairly cheap. Gordon is struggling to adjust to OF but he has tremendous potential and must be kept. Tejeda is invaluable and will likely be cheap. Anderson is starting to figure out how to pitch. Betemit has been invaluable this year and is a solid backup plan at third. Butler is a face of the franchise and has a lengthy career ahead of him. Pena is a solid backup who should be starting.

Do not offer arb to Bannister or Fields

Fields was a headscratcher of a pickup who has been supplanted by Betemit. Bannister is a sad case, an internet favorite for his cerebral approach to pitching. However, the fact of the matter is, he is not a good pitcher and will continue to not be good. The Royals will not miss him.

If the Royals took this step, their roster would look like this so far:

SP Zack Greinke
SP Gil Meche
SP Luke Hochevar
SP Kyle Davies
SP Bryan Bullington (?)
RP Joakim Soria
RP Robinson Tejeda
RP Jesse Chavez
RP Blake Wood
RP Kanekoa Texeira
RP Dusty Hughes
C Jason Kendall
C Brayan Pena
1B Billy Butler
1B Kila Ka'aihue
2B Chris Getz
2B/SS Mike Aviles
SS Yuniesky Betancourt
3B Wilson Betemit
OF Alex Gordon
OF Gregor Blanco
OF Mitch Maier
OF David DeJesusc

That leaves 2 roster spots and holes all throughout the lineup, with logjams at other positions.

Trade Kila Ka'aihue

Kila, sadly, doesn't have a spot with the team's future. I love the guy, but he's blocked at 1B by Butler and Eric Hosmer's inevitable callup. He's starting to figure out major league hitting, so this offseason looks like a good time to trade him.

Call up Mike Moustakas

Moose is having the revitalization year that everyone said he had to have. He tore the cover off the ball at AA, he's been struggling a bit at AAA but I think he'll be ready by 2011 Opening Day to be the starting 3B.

Go after Marcus Thames or a cheap relief option in free agency

An outfield of Gordon/Blanco/Maier/Gordon has the disadvantage of being all-lefthanded and Thames absolutely mashes lefties on his career. Failing that, the bullpen could use some shoring up.

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