Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Final thoughts on the Davies-Dotel trade

Winslow Townson/AP

HIRAM KYLE DAVIES, welcome to the heartland.

I try my best to make this blog interesting, worthwhile and occasionally informative, but I don't fool myself here: whatever I do, it pales in comparison with Royals Review, which is the hub of the Kansas City Royals online community. Case in point: RR's trade coverage. This post and its three links within -- be sure to scroll through the highly informed comments -- are all one needs to understand both the Royals fan base and what makes Royals Review like to the lark at break of day arising from sullen earth, as Shakespeare wrote.

Of course, they're not the only Royals blog producing fine content. Going around the horn on trade fallout, I'm going to take a page from RR and divvy the reactions into categories.

CATEGORY 1: Here's what happened, and here's why you should be optimistic
  • Royals Authority: "The question: Is Dayton Moore right one more time?"
  • RTC Talk: "'He's Mexican tough..... which is really tough.'"

  • Doolittle Brothers: "If previous GMs had made this deal, there might be some ranting and raving. But with Moore, you have to assume it’s a solid pickup."
  • Royal Reflections: "Let's just hope he sees something that we don't regarding Davies."
  • H.G. Miller Sports Blog: "'A right-handed version of Jorge De la Rosa.'"

CATEGORY 3: Dayton Moore was returning a favor to John Schuerholz
  • Breaking 100: "Could it be that Dayton took this trade as a quid pro quo type of deal? After all, the Braves got next to nothing for Tony Pena, Jr. earlier this season. So, this is the reciprication [sic]: the Royals get next to nothing for Dotel."
  • Kansas Royals Blog: "It looks to me like GM Drayton [sic] Moore was doing his old team a favor by making this trade."

CATEGORY 4: Rubbish. As in, everything under this category is pure rubbish
  • Pitch Weekly: "According to what he's done so far, he has the stats and history to join the burnout likes of Dan Reichert, Jeff Austin, Chris George, Kyle Snyder, Jimmy Gobble and, of course, Zach Greinke."

The best word to describe the general reaction would be unenthused. Or maybe "tepid" or "unimpressed," since unenthused isn't a real word.

My reaction to all this reaction is to question exactly who was available and who wasn't. Surely the fan outrage -- what of it exists -- would be more restrained if it turns out, for instance, that Wladimir Balentien was never available, nor was All-Star Futures Game MVP Chin-Lung Hu.

My reaction to the trade itself: it was a good one. About as fair a trade as you could expect, especially at a time when GMs are all reluctant to move their blue-chip prospects. If Brian Cashman had a dollar for every time he rejected a proposal involving Phil Hughes -- and before him, Robinson Cano and Chien-Ming Wang -- well... he'd have like 25 dollars. Octavio Dotel is an old rent-a-player who really hasn't been dominant this year. That Dayton Moore was able to pry a young, cheap pitcher who isn't eligible for salary arbitration until after next year and won't be a free agent until after 2011, who has three good pitches and a plus changeup, who projected, not long ago, to be a front-line starter for the Braves, should be, honestly, considered somewhat a steal. We won't be able to get a 100 percent accurate assessment on Davies until next year, but we should be seeing him pitch for the Royals real soon, and maybe afterwards, again, Dayton's critics will shut up.

Of course, like Doolittle, I too am a little concerned that Dayton's expertise of the Braves' farm system -- a little depleted now that they've sent half of it to Texas for Mark Teixeira -- might cause him to overlook prospects from other organizations who may have higher upside. Then again, I trust Dayton. Completely. And he knows better than anyone that starting pitchers need to be the cornerstone of any franchise, which is why he fixed his eyes on a starting pitcher -- potentially a really good one at that, better than Brian Bannister and Jorge De La Rosa, possibly better than Tyler Lumsden and Leo Nunez -- and went and got him. Isn't that why we respect him for nabbing Gil Meche, because he saw what he wanted and wouldn't stop at any length to get him? At the end of the day, a man has to look himself in the mirror and question whether he regrets making or not making the move he made or didn't make. And if Dayton Moore doesn't regret this trade -- I'm guessing right now he doesn't -- then I don't either. And I won't, because while this was a calculated gamble, as all trades are, it was a good one, in my opinion. Now all Davies has to do is prove us right.

POSTSCRIPT: Raise your hand if you noticed Pitch Weekly misspelled Zack Greinke, despite hyperlinking his name to

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