Baseball’s winter meetings concluded this morning and most of the general managers are likely in the air this afternoon. Expect a light news cycle for all of you/us who have been clicking on Twitter and MLBTradeRumors eighteen times an hour for the past four days.
The meetings ended without the Royals ‘officially’ signing outfielder Melky Cabrera. That said, you can pretty much book that contract (1 year/$1.25 million) as discussion of it appears via Royals.com. Nothing gets on there without something coming out of the organization itself. Besides, do you really think there is another GM out there who is going to swoop in and steal Melky Cabrera out from under the Royals?
I was actually holding off on this commentary until some corresponding roster moves were made, but then read that the Royals do not have to add the officially signed Jeff Francoeur to the 40 man roster until Monday. So, even with the Rule 5 drafting of Nathan Adcock, the team is officially just at forty players. Now, come Monday when Francoeur and, almost certianly, Cabrera are added, Kansas City will have to make room for both of them.
That might be an interesting exercise as the usual group of ‘Victor Marte’ types no longer populate the 40 man roster. While I am not sure that signing Cabrera and Francoeur necessarily improves the Royals, at least the idea that finding room for them will lead to some semi-hard choices does indicate at least incremental progress. Sort of..
Anyway, back to Melky Cabrera. Mention was made by Dick Kaegel that Cabrera (a switch-hitter mind you) ‘could figure as the righthanded half of a platoon with Alex Gordon’. Let me be among the many to say: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
For his career, Gordon does have a striking platoon disadvantage (80 OPS+ vs. LHP, 108 OPS+ vs. RHP), but in an admittedly small sample size in 2010 actually posted a 105 OPS+ versus lefties in 2010 (70 at-bats) and only a 77 OPS+ against right handers. That could just be a fluke or it could be a sign of improvement. No matter which, not playing Alex Gordon everyday would be a colossal waste of yet another year in ‘finding out’ about the one time phenom once and for all.
Need we even discuss the fact that the switchitting Cabrera actually has a slightly better platoon split vs RIGHT handed pitching as opposed to when he faces southpaws? No, I didn’t think so.
Here is the bottom line: Dayton Moore to free agent outfielders is much the same as my wife at Famous Footwear. Why buy just one when you can get the second pair (or second outfielder) for half off? Thus, we have Francoeur and Cabrera when probably just one – and I don’t really care which one – would be enough.
While an outfield of Gordon-Cabrera-Francoeur (which is the only alignment that makes sense, unless the Royals really did just pay over one million dollars for Melky to be an fourth outfielder when they already had two cheaper versions on the roster) is probably better than the Gordon-Blanco-Maier alignment they entered the week with, it is not enough better to warrant any delusions of grandeur. For that matter, it is not enough better to avoid the scorn of all us hated bloggers and commenters.
Truthfully, I can live with Cabrera if the only real price is losing Mitch Maier and blocking Gregor Blanco and Jarrod Dyson. I cannot live with it, if it means Alex Gordon in a platoon situation. That maneuever is completely non-sensical for a team that will have to overachieve just to avoid 95 losses.
Now, onto our newest Rule Fiver: Nathan Adcock. He’s a big kid, with three pitches – one of which is supposedly a very good curveball. Throws kind of hard, but not as hard as Elvin Ramirez, taken right behind Adcock, or Aneury Rodriguez who fell to eighth after being projected as a possible first pick overall. Either of those guys would seem to have a better chance of sticking as the seventh man in the bullpen more than Adcock, who at age twenty-two has yet to throw an inning above A ball.
The above makes me think that the Royals really have no intention of Nathan Adcock sticking on their 25 man roster and either think the Pirates will not want him back when offered or intend to work out some deal next spring to keep him without Rule 5 restrictions. (You know, like trading Mitch Maier or Gregor Blanco to the Pirates)
All in all, the Rule 5 is a roll of the dice and for all I know Adcock will throw 60 inning of garbage work in the majors next season – there will be, after all, plenty of garbage time to go around. He has some potential as a back of the rotation starter and it never hurts to have a farm system full of arms, so I do not despise the selection of Adcock, but am simply skeptical of it. Let’s put it this way, when the first of January comes around and I do my monthly projection of the 2011 Opening Day roster, Nathan Adcock will not be on it.
By the way, that January 1 post: don’t expect Zack Greinke to be on it, either.