Wednesday, November 5, 2008

On trade rumors

The latest out of MLB Trade Rumors (HT to reader Lukas J.):

The Braves are mentioning Jeff Francoeur "in trade talks with anyone who will listen." Royals GM Dayton Moore is known to be a fan. Looking at 2008's bottom ten in OBP...Moore signed Jose Guillen (.300), acquired Mike Jacobs (.299), and has been linked in trade talks to Francoeur (.294) and Yuniesky Betancourt (.300). And don't forget Willy Taveras (.308).

Across Royals Nation (or municipality, maybe), folks are rising with pitchforks. Jeff Francoeur? .294 OBP! .294 OBP! .294 OBP!

But let's slow down a bit. Where did this rumor originate? Why is Dayton Moore "known to be a fan"? Let's see, shall we?

Aug. 15, KC Star's Mike Flanagan writes a post on his blog titled "Braves' Francoeur to the Royals?" The first line of that post reads: "OK, OK, that's pure speculation."

Sept. 20, Sarah Green of MLB Trade Rumors writes a post titled "Francoeur to the Royals?" The first line reads, "Pure speculation here, but the Jeff Francoeur-to-the-Royals rumors continue."

(Don't bother with that "rumors" link. It takes you to a July 24 Trade Rumors post that says, without disclaimer, "The Royals are said to be interested in Francoeur.")

Nov. 3, Braves blog Talking Chop writes a post titled "Does Anyone Want Jeff Francoeur?" In it contains this line: "It occurred to me that the Royals might have some interest. After all, they did just acquire Mike Jacobs....

"I'm not seriously advocating this, but in the world of rumors, if the Royals think Jacobs can help them, then they probably think Francoeur can too. Add to that the obvious connection to the Braves that Royals GM Dayton Moore has, and it's not too much of a leap."

So, as far as we can tell, the sources of "known to be a fan" comes from 1) speculation and 2) self-censured speculation.

Dayton Moore has said he would consider all possibilities for making the team better, and if that means trading another middle reliever for Jeff Francoeur, it would be brilliant. Of course, we don't think the Braves would part with the former SI cover boy for so little, but that's beyond the point. From here on, let's take rumors for what they are: salty, unappetizing, teeth-crunching grist. You can try to have fun with them, but don't throw them at others or go crazy with the extrapolations.

As for Betancourt, it's been reported that the Royals tried to get him for Billy Butler before the 2007 season. That was, of course, when Betancourt was still a prospect bursting with potential. As Bob Dutton reports for the KC Star:

The Mariners have a new general manager in Jack Zduriencik. They lost 101 games last season. Betancourt’s development plateaued over the last two years. And Seattle can use some punch after scoring fewer runs last season than all but one American League team.

It’s a long shot that also produced claims by both clubs that no talks have taken place.

The Francoeur talks we can deal with: grist for the rumor mill, why not. Betancourt? Let's put a stop to that now.


  1. I'm new to blogging and this website. But, I have been thinking long and hard about what Dayton Moore and the Royals can do to set themselves up for 2011 and forward. I know it would be nice to win in 2009, but I don't want to continue to lose young talent without being able to replace it from within. Also, being a small market team, I am concerned about having to overpay for guys like Jose Guillen.

    So, I wanted to see if we could discuss the possibilities of guys we could trade for that will be on the same timetable as Moustakas, Hosmer, Melville, and company.

    Is it possible to trade Meche, Guillen, DeJesus, maybe even Bannister, or Hochevar, and get young high end talent prospects to fill holes that we have like SS, CF, Catcher, Corner Outfielders, and also get some other young arms into the system.

    I was looking around and it seems like good fits might be the Braves (which bodes well as Dayton Moore knows them). Also, the Rockies have some young talent that we might be able to get.

    I know it seems like Greinke is a hot topic (as he should be), but it would be so nice (in my opinion) to lock him up in a deal similar to Soria's. Can we acquire this prospect talent without dealing Greinke or Soria.

    I'm even ok with dealing Butler or Gordon at this point (although, I really would love to see Gordon excel.)

    Anyway, I also like the idea of getting Taveras from Colorado to be a leadoff guy and play CF. Then move DeJesus or Aviles to the 2 spot.

    Should we try to sign Orlando Cabrera and move Aviles over to 2nd?

    Finally, wouldn't it be something if we could package Guillen with some other guys (other than Greinke or Soria) and get Matt Holliday?

    Your thoughts?

  2. The best thing the Royals can do to set themselves up for 2011 is to not trade Meche (3 yrs left), Hochevar, Gordon and Butler... and definitely not Greinke. Gordon and Butler are still improving, and I don't see anyone of comparable age in other farm systems that project better that those two (that the Royals can get, anyway).

    I don't think Willy Taveras is an answer at CF... DeJesus fits fine there. It'll be nearly impossible to get Matt Holliday, and one year of Holliday (in final year of contract, Royals won't be able to afford him in 2010...) isn't worth Greinke, et al.

    Jose Guillen is a concern, but he's someone the Royals (and GMDM) will have to live with. We can always hope for a better season out of him in '09.

  3. I can see your side, but to me that looks like more of the same and not trying to make the team better.

    I don't think we will compete in 2009 or 2010.

    Why would we keep Gil Meche or Jose Guillen if we can't go to the playoffs. I'm looking long term and trying to figure out a way to build around youth.

    I love DeJesus, but he just is more of a #2 hitter than a #1 and we don't currently even have anybody in the system coming up to be a prototype leadoff hitter. Don't you see that as a problem? Who on our team can steal bases? Who on our team can get on base consistently, other than DeJesus? I just think it is painfully obvious the lack of hitting talent in the system.

    As for Gordon and Butler, love Gordon's swing. Butler is a big concern as the team doesn't seem to trust him in the field. Neither of them look like they are adjusting to the Bigs. I would prefer to keep both, but I just get the sense from your comments that you are willing to do more of the same.

    We lost too many games last year that we should have won, and I think that has to do with the fact we are expecting too much out of guys that don't belong in the positions they are.

    I'm curious what you feel our batting order should look like next year? Who's going to steal bases for us? Who's going to bat over 300. I just see glaring holes that need to be filled as does everybody.

    I love the Snider kid in Toronto. I like the McCutchen kid in Pittsburgh. We need a young SS in the system. How are we going to fill those holes without moving anybody?

  4. Sorry, more thoughts after time to digest. How in the world do you not find somebody that projects better than Butler or Gordon that we can't get? First, my point of the discussion is seeing what guys are out there that are the same age or younger than Teahen, Gordon, etc. Second, Butler is projecting as a DH with very little power. That is a concern to me. Even though I want both these guys to pan out. I just have not seen the flashes or hot streaks out of Gordon and Butler that seems to come with future greatness. Gordon has struck out way too much and Butler...well, I just don't know why you get a DH that bats 7 or 8 and that is where he belongs right now. Maybe he will improve to a .300 hitter with some power. I just don't know. But my point isn't to discuss trading Greinke, Soria, Gordon, or Butler necessarily. My point is to see if we can acquire some Top 100 prospects by dealing other guys such as Teahen, Buck, DeJesus, Bannister, Guillen, even Meche or Hochevar if needed. We seem to have some young arms ready to come up within the next year or two. If we can lock up Greinke and build the rotation around him with legitimate lineup presence and a great closer like Soria, I think we can build a winner for a decade and change the face of this organization.

    Why do we have to keep Meche if he could net us two or three players? Say next season's trade deadline approaches and we are in 4th or 5th place, I'll bet Meche could net that. Especially, if we were to throw in another guy that isn't part of the future nucleus. Then we will have additional money to go get another starter, that is perhaps younger.

    I just don't understand why people aren't talking more about this. Other teams do it all the time and have figured out ways to win. It's not like we're going to trade Meche and lose out on a CY Young pitcher. I think Meche is solid and a hell of a guy. But, it's just an idea to try and acquire more young talent while trying to keep Greinke. I think Soria and Greinke should be off limits as long as the Royals intend to lock him up this year. If not, it's a real shame because then I think our future rotation is completely up in the air, especially once Meche's contract expires.

    The Braves and Rockies both have young SS's that are being blocked to the BIGS. There are several other teams who would have interest in Meche, probably enough to give up a serious OF prospect and maybe even a young pitcher in return. Then we can focus our draft on pitching and keep working on developing some of the really young guys we already have.

    Let's say we keep things as they are and hope for the best. Let's say we get into the playoffs. Do you really think we have the professional hitters needed to get by some of the pitching staffs you have seen. We don't have any real power threats. We can't get on base. We can't manufacture runs.

    I just want to see what prospects other people out there are interested in and see if we can come up with some ideas. Isn't that what Blogging is about?

  5. I appreciate your spirit -- yes, blogs are a fine forum for speculation. But I can't believe you'd be so quick to put Gordon (and Butler, though to a lesser extent) on the block. He's 24 years old. He had one year in the minors. Last year he improved his walk total by 25 in 17 fewer games. The kid is trending upwards, and I'd say he's one of the few untouchables on the roster. Of course, I say that while knowing anything, technically, is possible, but I also don't see any team who'd want to swap 24-year-olds. And I don't see the point of trading a 24-year-old for, say, a 22-year-old with more "potential." How do you even measure that?

    Also, I disagree with your premise that it's acceptable to sacrifice 2009 (and 2010, I think you've implied) for the sake of 2011. The Royals did unload -- or try to, to the best of their ability -- veterans a few years ago in hopes of building for two or three years down the road. They bottomed out in 2004, were still very bad in 2005, and have improved in each of the next two years. I think it'd be tragic if they took a step back now. Also, the idea of building to contend in 2010/11 does not have to be mutually exclusive with the effort to improve in '09. I think they'll do both.

    Other odds and ends: steals are overrated; we'll speculate on batting order later; what's wrong with Mike Aviles? Hasn't he earned a shot at SS/2B? The team should try to get a stud middle infielder and move Aviles to second, but who are you willing to give up? Do teams even want Guillen? (No.) Which teams want to give up a hot prospect for Meche? (Very few.) And I like the kid Snider out of Toronto, but it's going to take at least Greinke to pry him away, and front-of-the-rotation starters are more valuable than corner outfielders.

  6. Chin-Lung Hu, SS, Dodgers. I STILL like the guy, and I think he's get-able.

  7. I don't think we need to trade Gordon or Greinke to get what I'm talking about.

    Here's what I was thinking:

    Ship Butler and Hochevar to Texas for Andrus and Teagarden. That would give us a SS and Catcher that would be able to play in 2009 and definitely 2010. Move Aviles to 2B.

    Ship Bannister and Guillen to Pittsburgh for McCutchen and eat some of Guillen's contract. McCutchen could start in CF as soon as 2009 also.

    Then ship DeJesus and Meche to Toronto for Snider. Toronto is built to compete now.

    That would give us the possible following lineup:

    C - Olivo/Teagarden
    1B - Jacobs/Ka'aihue/Hosmer in 3yrs
    2B - Aviles
    SS - Andrus
    3B - Gordon/Moustakas in 2-3
    LF - Snider
    CF - McCutchen
    RF - Teahen/Moustakas in 2-3
    DH - Ka'aihue

    Now Starting Pitching would obviously be decimated, but we would keep Greinke and Cortes as well as the rest of our guys in the minors. We could then get super aggressive and bring in a few free agents like Clement, Livan, etc. I know they can suck it up, but we would be absolutely loaded and could start drafting a good mix of college and high school pitchers. I think we could replace Hochevar with the 2009 Draft and have somebody ready to go by at least 2011. Also, who's to say that in 2010, we couldn't bring in a big FA pitcher.

    I know it's a pipedream, but this was the blogging I wanted to do.

    Do you think any of those trades would even be possible?

    There are many other options, do you have any ideas?

  8. Oh yeah, I know with that many young guys it could burden them, but we would still have Jacobs, Olivo, Teahen, Gordon, and Aviles to bear the leadership. If we were able to unload Guillen and Meche's contracts (or at least a good portion of them), we would have the money to go after some of the FA pitchers each of the next 2-3 years. I would bet once word got around at the talent that KC was putting together, some guys would start to be attracted here. We have now shown that we can deal with Boras, at least on Draft Picks, it should help us in dealing with him on a FA or two.

    I agree some stats can be over rated, but I don't think having skilled players at C,2B,SS, and CF is over rated. I also don't think that we have what it takes to win a championship.

    Maybe I've just been beat down so long as a fan.

  9. I love how many Royals fans think we're going to improve by standing pat!

    The system is weak. It needs to be beefed up if we're ever going to contend for more than a three year period. The organization is more important than any X-player. Greinke included.