Trade Bait: DeJesus Finally Traded

For at least the last two seasons there has been plenty of speculation as to when the Kansas City Royals would trade David DeJesus.  The versatile outfielder has been rumored to go to just about every team that has been in contention.  He has finally been traded, with the Oakland Athletics receiving him in exchange for pitchers Vin Mazzaro and Justin Marks.

The A’s must have an affinity for Kansas City Royals outfielders.  Coco Crisp recently roamed center field in Kansas City.  They’ve also brought in Johnny Damon and Jermaine Dye in the past.  Now with DeJesus, they have an ideal #2 hitter.  David will hit for a good average and gets on-base at a rate appropriate for that spot in the order.  Although he has gap power, it’s unlikely that he’ll hit more than 10 home runs in a season.  Also, even though he has good speed, DeJesus is not a good base stealer.  In 2009 he hit a low with only four steals in 13 tries.

The A’s outfield picture gets a little cloudier though.  The team has already picked up Coco Crisp‘s option for next season and also have Rajai Davis, Ryan Sweeney, Conor Jackson, Jack Cust and to some extent Chris Carter.  At least one of Cust and Jackson will probably not be offered contracts for next season though and Carter may be used primarily at DH.

Dealing from their surplus of starting pitching after winning the bid for Japanese right-hander , the A’s sent over to the Royals.  Mazzaro will take over the recently released ‘s spot in the rotation and should provide some solid innings.  He’s been known to keep the hits down in the minors, but the walks get to him occasionally.  If he refines his control, Mazzaro could become a decent mid-rotation starter (at least the middle of the Royals’ rotation).

Marks slings a low 90s fastball, a slider, a curve and a changeup.  He gives up his share of hits and walks.  Although he hasn’t posted good numbers in the lower minors, it is a small sampling and Justin could improve as he moves through the system.  With his high strikeout rate though, if he doesn’t survive as a starter, Marks could become a decent situational lefty out of the pen.

At first when I looked at this I felt that Dayton could’ve gotten a much better deal.  But when you look at DeJesus’ numbers, it’s nothing to get really excited about.  Yes, he hits for average and gets on base well.  He’s also provided very good defense in left field.  But he’s mediocre in the other outfield spots and left field is typically where you hide your poor-fielding power hitter.  David also doesn’t hit double-digits much in home runs, can’t steal bases, and gets hurt often.  Essentially, he’s only a few notches above fourth outfielder status.

This is a better trade for Moore than I thought.  Mazzaro could decline next season outside of Oakland’s spacious ballpark and away from a good defense behind him.  But he should eat innings better than Bannister and Marks is a wild card that may turn into something useful.  Moore also saves $6 million to spend elsewhere.  Beane gets a number two hitter with decent left field defense, but doesn’t address the glaring need for more power in the lineup.  The trade looks to be somewhat of a wash to me.


Ten Players Most Likely to be Traded

With the approaching trade deadline, it seems appropriate to list the top 10 players most likely to be traded.  Of course, Yunel Escobar wasn’t anywhere near this list initially, but that’s how the trade market plays out.  However, there are a few that are likely to be dealt before the deadline.  These aren’t necessarily listed in any order, other than they are the top 10 of my list to be traded.

1. Cliff Lee  – What, I can’t use him?

1. Roy Oswalt – How much salary the Astros will eat may be the only drawback.  He’s not an true dominant ace anymore, but Oswalt would be a very nice addition to many pitching staffs.

2. Ted Lilly - Lilly is having a relatively mediocre season, but he’s a lefty with plenty of experience.

3. Dave Bush – Bush’s season totals may not look that great, but he had a 3.41 ERA in June and has a 2.45 ERA so far in July.  He’s not anywhere near an ace, but Bush should eat up innings and match up well with other pitchers in the back of other team’s rotations down the stretch.  A good way to steal some wins if your rotation is relatively deep.

4. Brett Myers – Another solid pitcher like Bush.  Nothing flashy, but he’ll eat innings for a contender.

5. Adam LaRoche – LaRoche hasn’t hit that well the past couple months, but he’s notorious for ripping the cover off the ball in the second half. 

6. Ty Wigginton – Ty has cooled off since a torrid April, but teams may be interested in his versatility and power off the bench.  The Yankees have reportedly interested in him so they can rest A-Rod’s hip occasionally down the stretch.

7. Jorge Cantu – He’s not hitting like he did last year, but Cantu can play both corners and come off the bench for some team.

8. Lance Berkman – Berkman has stated in the past that he would like to play for a contender.  Although his overall season numbers are down, his statistics since the start of June should be tantalizing to some GMs.  The main question may be, can he play outfield still?

9. David DeJesus – Although I find it odd that the Royals would want to deal him with his relatively low salary next season, the rumors just won’t go away.

10. Kevin Gregg – Though he’s not a hard thrower, Gregg is an experienced closer that could improve any bullpen.


Long Season for the Royals creates Questions

The long season that the Kansas City Royals have had so far has worn on many Royals fans.  It seems to have even worn a little on Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star.  Mellinger’s post, “Puppies make people happy. And apple pie. Ice cream, too. This post…not so much” is a quick look at how the Royals season has been somewhat of a disappointment over their expectations, looking quickly into the Royals near future and wondering if they can see an improvement soon.

That’s the question though, “can they?”

The team as an interesting core of players that could make this team look good in the near future.  But they also have a few key players that are real question marks, but serve as the main difference between the team looking good in the future or not.

The Interesting Core

Although Gil Meche was a questionable signing at the time, it looks brilliant now for Dayton Moore.  Zach Greinke has been solid this season as well, even though it has been his only truely good season.  Then there’s Joakim Soria, this brilliant Rule 5 pick has been a stud closer.  David DeJesus has been a solid contributor, but rumors persist that he will be traded this winter.  Then there’s the recent pleasant surprise of Mike Aviles, but is he more suited for second base?

The Key Players

Alex Gordon has been held up as the savior of the Royals by some.  Ever since he was drafted, Gordon was hailed as a perrenial All-Star, but that hasn’t even come close to happening.  Although he’s made some good progress, he needs to take a large step forward next season.  Billy Butler has been held up to nearly the promise the Gordon has.  I’ve even heard an ESPN contributor label him as a Lance Berkman type.  But he too has to make major strides forward for this team.  Jose Guillen was signed to be a stable power presence to protect the young stars in the lineup, helping them to develop.  But he’s been very inconsistent.  They need more reliable production out of him next season.  Brian Bannister was brilliant at the start of this season and pitched well last year as well.  But he’s fallen on hard times lately. 

The Ugly

Although Mark Teahen seems to be a gritty player, it looks doubtful that he be a league-average corner outfielder.  The shoulder injury seems to have done him in.  Luke Hochevar was pushed through the minors and never really showed any of his promise, now he’s in the majors, but I don’t think he’ll be an answer for their rotation.  I’m not really sold on Kyle Davies as even a fourth starter.  There’s no disputing Joey Gathright’s speed, but he can’t even be hidden at the bottom of the lineup.  Then again, Dave Roberts has always gotten away with speed and poor batting averages.

The Hope

Not a whole lot to look forward to.  First baseman Kila Ka’aihue has been awesome this season.  Between Double-A and Triple-A he’s hitting .320, with 35 home runs and a 1.095 OPS.  Many say that he’s hitting way above what they believe he’d hit in the majors, but they also said that Aviles wouldn’t hit as well in the majors too. 

If DeJesus is gone after this winter, Mitch Maier could possibly take over in center, but he doesn’t seem to be an ideal candidate for the spot.  There’s also Alberto Callaspo, who has a good stick.  However, he may become just another Esteban German ot the team if he cannot grab second base.

Dayton Moore certainly has his work cut out for him.