Crown Gems: David DeJesus, Alberto Callaspo, Jose Guillen, and More

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In this edition of Crown Gems:  David DeJesus, Alberto Callaspo, Jose Guillen, The Machine, and we go around the AL Central to check out some blog entries from the other 4 teams.

As Lee Warren writes about over at Royal Reflections, DeJesus Continues to Make an Impact in the Community.  DJ is a solid bat and a solid glove on a woeful team, but even the Royals perpetual losing ways can’t keep his character from shining through.

Clark Fosler, from Royals Authority, takes a look at the position of 2B within the AL Central in Alberto Callaspo Versus the American League Central.  I still can’t decide exactly what I think about Callaspo as a member of the Royals going forward.  Part of me wants to trade him, immediately, and get what I can get.  Part of me wants to move him to DH.  A third part of me wants to keep him at 2B because I am fairly convinced that, offensively and defensively, Alberto will get better.  Maybe I will figure it out before Spring rolls around.

Royals Review brings us Insane Trade Ideas Involving Jose Guillen.  This is the kind of outside the box thinking that the Royals’ front office needs to be employing, even if nothing comes of it.

Guillen’s skills are clearly diminishing and his 2003 season, where he hit 0.311/.359/.569 with an OPS+ of 142, is his high water mark.  He’s now played 13 seasons in the bigs and has just 4 seasons where his OPS+ has topped 100 and his career OPS+ currently stands at 99.  Using Wins Above Replacement (WAR) as another measure, he actually cost the Royals with a -2.0 WAR in 2009.  The previous season he was barely in the positive with a 0.2 WAR.  In 2007 with the Mariners, the year before he struck gold, thanks to Dayton Moore, he had a WAR 2.4.  At his best, from 2003 through 2005 he racked up WARs of 3.6, 2.7, 4.0, which is good but not $36 million over 3 years good.

Focusing on specifically on defense he has turned in just 1 season, 2005 with the Nationals, where his UZR/150 was positive.  Since he has been a member of the Royals his UZR/150 has been -7.8 in 2008 and -36.4 in 2009.

He is costing the Royals in the field and at the plate at this point.  His legs are failing him, his bat has slowed down, he can’t field, and he’s never exactly been known as a workout warrior.  A rebound season at 34 years old seems just as unlikely as Dayton actually finding a team to take him off his hands.  Guillen is going to get the rest of the money he is due from the Royals regardless, and I don’t fault him for that, but the team would be better off to paying him not to play in 2010.

The only way I make any of the trades proposed by Royals Review is if I am extremely confident that you are going to get something positive from the player acquired while not significantly worsening the payroll situation.  The guy from RR’s list that makes the most sense to me is Kosuke Fukudome who has posted positive WARs, 1.8 and 2.4, in his 2 seasons with the Cubbies.  He also has posted real nice UZR/150s of 13.1 and 29.1 while playing RF the last 2 years.  His 0.375 OBP in 2009 would have led the Royals but a decent margin over Butler’s 0.362.

Kosuke gets on base, plays solid defense at a position of need, and would become the best all around position player on the roster.  It also seems likely that he will play better in the coming years as he continues to adjust to baseball in the US.  Going from the spotlight with the Cubs to the shadows with the Royals would also likely benefit him.

Fukudome has 2 years left on his 4 year $48 million contract.  He’s due $13 million in 2010 and $13.5 million in 2011.  Since the Royals are paying Guillen $12 million for 2010 anyway, I’d roll the dice, acquire Fukudome and gladly commit and extra $14.5 million to make it happen.  The Cubs probably wouldn’t be willing to make the trade straight up, but I’d be willing to package someone else in the deal to get it done.  Would the Cubs bite if Dayton offered Guillen and Teahen?  Would Guillen and a 2nd tier pitching prospect out of the low minors get it done?  I’d sure be mulling it over if I was the GM.

Royalscentricity posted a very well written review of Joe Posnanski’s new book The Machine.

Around the AL Central:

  • Beyond the Boxscore posted their Power Rankings Season Review of the AL Central a few days ago.
  • Deep Left Field (Indians):  John Farrell No Longer Managerial Candidate.  If only Trey Hillman had been fired.   Then I could be writing posts about the search for a new manager.  Something tells me I will get my chance to do just that at some point in 2010.
  • Motor City Bengals (Tigers):  BBA Awards Rookie of the Year.  If only the Royals had a rookie in the conversation.  Of course that would require Dayton and Trey give somebody, like Kila, a legit shot instead of trading for Mike “Frying Pan Hands” Jacobs.  Incidentally Jacobs had a UZR/150 of 4.8, which is the primary reason I am not sold on Ultimate Zone Rating as a legitimate measure of defensive ability.  Defensive stats have a long way to go, but with brilliant people like John Dewan on the case, they’ll get there.
  • Twinkie Talk (Twins):  Misplaced Ire: Nick Punto.  This is an excellent post by Steve Fetch.  I myself was a Punto “hater” until last offseason when the Twins resigned him.  At that point, I looked at Punto’s game from all angles, and now I appreciate what Nicky P brings to the table.
  • Tremendous Upside Potential (White Sox):  Jim Thome wants to return to the White Sox in 2010.  Dear Santa, all I want for Christmas is for Jim Thome to spend a week with Alex Gordon, Billy Butler, and Alberto Callaspo.  Please have Mr. Thome impart some tips and OBP knowledge to the young offensive core of my downtrodden team. For those of you who aren’t aware Thome has a career OBP 0f 0.404.  He’s old and a shell of what he used to be but his 0.366 OBP in 2009 would have still lead the Royals.
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Tags: AL Central Alberto Callaspo Baseball David DeJesus Jim Thome Jose Guillen Kansas City Royals KC Kosuke Fukudome MLB Nick Punto Royals

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