Day two of the Winter Meetings have come and the outfield market is still stagnant.
With inertia the order of the day, the Dayton Moore addressed the Royals situation on Tuesday. Kansas City entered the meetings with vacancies in left and right field. Left has belonged to Alex Gordon the past few years, and even with the outfield market yet to take shape, indicators were the Royals wouldn’t be able to come close to matching a high bid for their All-Star. Right has been a black hole for nearly the entire Moore regime.
The following table is not for the weak of heart. It’s players who have played 30 percent of their time in right field for the Royals with their career stats for the team. I would have loved to broken it down just by numbers accumulated at the position, but Baseball Reference doesn’t allow for that feature in it’s play index. Why 30 percent? Because I’m a masochist and wanted to get a way to include Jose Guillen.
That is an awful, horrible, disgusting group. It’s possible with just three adjectives, I may be underselling it.
Never mind all that. The Royals think their right field answer for 2016 is already in the organization. From Moore from the lobby at the Opryland:
“We think it’s time for (Jarrod) Dyson to get an opportunity to play a lot more.”
This may qualify as outside the box thinking, because I’ve always associated Dyson with fourth outfielder status. He’s a great guy off the bench as a pinch runner or defensive replacement, along with a spot start or two every once in a while. Dyson’s offensive numbers suggest he’s a platoon candidate.
|vs RHP as LHB||959||853||227||28||20||6||62||78||169||.266||.329||.367||.696||110|
|vs LHP as LHB||243||213||45||6||1||0||14||22||51||.211||.288||.249||.536||63|
Dyson is eligible for arbitration for the second time and MLB Trade Rumors estimates he will earn in the neighborhood of $1.7 million. That’s certainly a less expensive option than anything the team could get on the free agent market. Over the last four years as a fourth outfielder, Dyson averaged 2.2 fWAR. Steamer projects him for 1.6 fWAR as a full-time player, but I think the system is underselling his defense. It’s not a stretch to imagine him topping his 2.2 fWAR average, which would make him a great value for the Royals.
The thinking is, addressing the outfield situation internally, prevents the Royals from committing long-term to a player. With Bubba Starling on the 2017 horizon, the team wants to keep their options open.
Except I keep coming back to the Royals current payroll situation and how the core group will be together for the next two seasons. It doesn’t feel like the time for settling for a fourth outfielder as an upgrade. However, if that fourth outfielder gives the team the payroll flexibility to go big in left field to bring Alex Gordon back in the fold, then sign me up. That’s really the only way this makes sense.
Either way, this is Dayton Moore speaking about a player on a roster that is – at the moment – incomplete. Dyson has been a great value for the Royals and the team has used him in a way for them to realize that value. Making him an almost everyday player wouldn’t be the worst thing the team could do, but if they choose that path, they better be prepared to go big on the other corner.