Some of you have no interest in trade rumors and just plain random speculation and it can get pretty overwhelming this time of year. Between tweets and posts from reporters with some inside knowledge to those who simply speculate to just random comments on various sites that suddenly come back around as legitimate rumors – assuming a rumor can ever be categorized as ‘legitimate’ – the whole July trade deadline can simply wear a person out.
That said, if you are one who disdains speculation or are just plain grumpy about the trade deadline and all that comes with it, then this is not the column for you.
The Royals appear to be leaning towards not doing much at the deadline. Dayton Moore, thus far anyway, has stuck to his guns about wanting near major league ready starting pitching in return for either Melky Cabrera or Jeff Francouer. It is not a horrible idea as Cabrera has been outstanding and Francouer okay: maybe somebody will panic and overpay. While I would like to see what Lorenzo Cain can do as much as anyone, an outfield of Gordon-Cabrera-Francouer has proven quite capable this season.
The consensus I am getting from within the organization as well as outside of it is that ‘staying the course’ and ‘trusting The Process’ is still the plan. Dayton Moore has publicly stated that expects to field a contending team made up of mostly homegrown players over the next few seasons. If it all works as planned, then staying the course is exactly the way to go. IF….
What about an alternative plan of action? This might be labeled as bold, risky or just plain stupid and let me state that everything from here on out is mostly just pure speculation from the tortured caverns of this blogger’s mind.
Trade for Wandy Rodriguez
I have beat these horse a couple of times already and the idea was not even mine to begin with (I stole it from Rany and I’m not even sure he was the first to offer it up), but the truth is Rodriguez is better than any starter the Royals are sending to the mound right now and he will be better than anyone they send out in 2012 as well. In the wildest expectations for Danny Duffy, Mike Montgomery and Jake Odorizzi, Wandy would still be in the middle of a good Kansas City rotation in 2013.
The Astros want out from under the $26 million they owe Rodriguez and that number becomes $39 million if he is traded as a $13 million option for 2014 kicks in on any trade. Now, in 2014, Wandy will be 36 years old and there exists a real probability that he will not be worth $13 million. That season would also be the first where the Royals would really start to run into some serious salary concerns, so there is risk in making this move as it could end up hamstringing the organization from adding a piece or two to put them over the top.
That said, the price is reportedly low on Rodriguez for a team willing to take up the salary load and the Royals are pretty much not paying anyone anything this year and truthfully won’t have a big payroll in 2012 or 2013, either. In addition, tell me the free agent starter that the Royals can get in the off-season that would be better than Wandy Rodriguez.
If the price tag was, say, David Lough and Chris Dwyer, I would make the trade. If the Royals had to throw in one of the thirty or so live bullpen arm they have in the minors (Buddy Baumann or the like), I probably still make the deal. Reading the rumors, I am not sure it would take this much to get Rodriguez.
One other cavaet, Rodriguez actually has a negative road split over his career – odd given that Houston is something of a launching pad. Add that to your risk assessment.
Trade Joakim Soria
I don’t trust closers. We have all seen them suddenly come apart and never get it back. There was a time early this year where many thought that Soria was headed down the path of Mark Davis and so many others, but he has righted the ship and pitched like Joakim Soria as of late. That said, I don’t trust closers.
Dayton Moore’s asking price for Soria was supposedly one major league starter and one near major league starter. The Yankees, it was assumed, were asked to give up Ivan Nova and one of Dellin Betances or Manny Banuelos and balked. I don’t blame them. That said, Mariano Rivera will at some point in our lifetime stop pitching..or at least stop pitching effectively.
What if the Royals lowered their asking price just a touch? Say Ivan Nova and D.J. Mitchell instead? Given that Greg Holland looks like a real life closer of the future to me and Aaron Crow might well be a closer right now and, by the way, the Royals can spend the rest of 2011 grooming one of them to be a closer and still rest comfortably in the AL Central, I make that deal.
Now, we could continue on with other trades. I would try to move Jeff Francouer and Jeff Francis, maybe Mike Aviles (if he had value) or Chris Getz (if HE had value) or other ‘non-future’ parts of this team, but those are not necessarily BOLD moves.
Ignoring the trades that might actually happen, would you trade Soria and trade for Rodriguez?