Sunday’s non-waiver trade deadline came and went without Dayton Moore and the Royals making any additional moves as the organization instead played spectator to a rather frenzied trade market. I don’t know if Moore deserves criticism, praise or neither for this.
Moore did ship the forgotten Wilson Betemit to Detroit earlier in the month for two young non-prospects (but also two guys who you can kind of envision making it to the majors as well) and also spun the unwanted and unhappy Mike Aviles to Boston for a younger, happier version of himself (Yamaico Navarro) who can also play the outfield as well. Given the status of both Betemit and Aviles at the time each trade was made, I applaud Moore’s return on both.
As Craig wrote after the Aviles trade one would have thought more activity was sure to follow. After all, if Moore could spin a 30 year old player who had spent much of the year in Omaha to a division leader for a player who was actually on their major league roster, then surely there would be a market for veterans Melky Cabrera, Jeff Francouer, Jeff Francis and Bruce Chen.
As it turned out, apparently not.
It may well be that Moore’s initial asking price of a number three type starter for either Cabrera or Francouer was so outrageous that rival GM’s simply didn’t bother wasting anymore of their time thinking about it. The sheer number of better players that were traded, however, may simply have overwhelmed the market and left the Royals’ in the starting gate.
After all, when Hunter Pence, Carlos Beltran and Colby Rasmus (Michael Bourn as well) all are out in the market, it is easy to lose interest in the likes of Cabrera and Francouer. With Ubaldo Jimenez, Erik Bedard and Doug Fister on the move, teams that might have resorted to a Francis or a Chen simply had better, sexier options.
Given that Ryan Ludwick was traded to Pittsburgh for a player to be named later or cash (pretty much the ultimate ‘here, just take him’ trade) might give some indication of what the offers might have been for Jeff Francouer – a better player than Ludwick right now, but not that much better.
As you probably know, I am as big a prospect guy as there is and trading a veteran for a couple of lottery tickets so that Lorenzo Cain (.318/.391/.525 in Omaha, .306/.348/.415 in 158 major league plate appearances in 2010) could play in Kansas City has always been my hope. However, if the compensation for a Francouer was a used lottery ticket and some spare change, then even I agree with Moore’s lack of action.
Several years back, I was genuinely livid when Moore, using the ‘we’re not going to trade for anything less than value’ mantra, refused to move Ron Mahay at the trade deadline, but this year I have no great angst over waking up in August with Melky, the Panamanian named Bruce, Francis and the Frenchman still on the roster.
So, what now?
There was a little bit of a Twitter snippet that if Kyle Davies was placed on the disabled list, that Johnny Giavotella would be called up to Kansas City. That would certainly get everyone’s attention and I am all for it. Let’s see what Johnny’s AAA line of .341/.394/.485 translates into at the big league level and let’s find out if the kid can actually field or not. Chris Getz, who went a rather remarkable seven weeks without an extra base hit before doubling on Saturday, really should not be an impediment to seeing what a red hot young player can do in a season that is not going to end in a playoff berth.
We will see what transpires with Davies and what the subsequent result might be. Ned Yost was already rumbling about returning to a five man rotation before the injury, so something is likely to change. I foresee a Davies move to the disabled list, accompanied by Kyle’s inevitable return from it about the time Danny Duffy runs out of innings towards the end of August. If Davies’ biggest contribution of his Royals’ career is eating some meaningless innings to save the arm of a pitcher who is part of the team’s future, then so be it.
Whether a DL stint for Davies means Giavotella gets the call or not remains to be seen. Dayton Moore and Ned Yost have never done much to make me think they are particularly creative, so adding an 8th bullpen arm (hello Everett Teaford once more) is just as likely a roster move. That said, what Giavotella is doing at the plate in AAA is bordering on the ridiculous: he will be here sooner rather than later.
Side note: If Moore’s logic is to keep the bulk of the Omaha team together for a AAA playoff run. So they can ‘learn to win together’, I am going to have some sort of coniption…maybe even a hissy fit. I will buy that logic when someone, without looking it up, tells me the last three PCL champions and shows me how that benefitted their big league club.
So, what happens to Lorenzo Cain? Given that he already has major league at-bats under his belt, Cain may the most major league ready of anyone who spent time in Omaha this year. Unlike Giavotella, Lorenzo also brings plus defense to the outfield, but it is hard to figure where he fits in right now. I don’t like the idea of bringing Cain up to play a couple of times per week and we all know that neither Cabrera or Francouer is going to sit as long as they are on the roster.
Perhaps the fact that Cain has already had a taste of major league pitching in a weird way makes the need to get him back to the majors less pressing. Theoretically, Cain could hit the ground running as the regular centerfielder on Opening Day 2012 without getting more than a courtesy look this September. The idea being that Cain has already gone through that first 100 at-bat ‘adjustment period’ that bedevils many a good prospect upon their debut in the majors.
In my heart, I think Dayton Moore missed a chance to be really creative at the deadline and possibly move The Process ahead at least a good half-season. Should the Royals have shouldered the monetary load that is Wandy Rodriguez? Should they dipped their toe into the Ubaldo Jiminez pool? If key trade componets were Mike Montgomery and Aaron Crow, would you have made the leap? Is a bird in the hand worth two in the bush? Truthfully, how did the Charlie Furbush for Doug Fister trade get made without Nathan Adcock being included?
Okay, back to reality.
Since Ned Yost’s closed door meeting, the Royals have played good baseball, winning baseball actually. Enough so, that they remain interesting. Add Johnny Giavotella to the lineup tomorrow night and this Royals’ fan will remain interested and also remain convinced that the Royals are moving forward despite the lack of activity on Sunday.