As we hit July and officially begin the furious rumor-milling that signals is the approaching trading deadline, it looks as if the Royals have a shot to be pretty active in the market in 2010, with a few players on their way up the system and a few who are near the end of contracts or well out of the Royals long-term plans.
There’s so much noise out there that it’s difficult to tell what’s a true rumor, what’s speculation, and what’s being floated out there by a franchise, an agent or just a beat writer with a clever idea. So I won’t try to play GM, but I do have some players in mind who I think are easily tradeable and have value to other teams in contention.
OF – David DeJesus
DeJesus has been the most mentioned of Royals on the block, and while he’s certainly available, the Royals are correct to seek a large return for him. At 30 years old, he’s getting past his prime, but he’s also demonstrating an improvement on his already consistent year to year numbers. DeJesus has been an overlooked player for years, mostly due to his lack of any one elite skill. He hits for average, but not so well to challenge for a batting title. He plays solid defense, but he’s not perfect and despite Kansas City’s marketing campaign, he’s not a Gold Glove player. He has a bit of power, but his ceiling is 15 homers. He has speed but rarely steals.
But what he does do is make contact and hit the ball all over the place. He’d make a fine left-fielder for a playoff team, as a left-handed bat who hits to all fields and has no significant platoon issues. Even better, he’s got an affordable contract for the remainder of 2010 and with a club-friendly 2011 option of $6 million, he’s got value beyond your normal rent-a-player.
But again, the Royals are correct for expecting a large haul for DeJesus. He’s affordable for a contender, but he’s also affordable for the Royals who have few outfielders who would be available to step in right away. As David Lough, Jordan Parraz and the rest work their way to becoming major leaguers, DeJesus would make a nice bridge between eras. There’s also the option to keep DeJesus, offer him arbitration (which he’d have to refuse after a career year, right?), and when he signs elsewhere, ideally he’d be a Type A free agent and the Royals would get two picks in the first 50 in a deep 2011 draft. I’d say that warrants a big return.
OF – Jose Guillen
All talk of his ranting aside, Guillen has the power bat a lot of teams look for (even if most of his power came before June). Through Interleague play, the Royals have been able to showcase him in the outfield, and just to look at him, Guillen does look like he’s in the best shape of his Royals career.
Now, he’s harder to move because of his contract, but the Royals have leaked hints that they’d eat a lot of the remaining $6 million of his contract.
Guillen could help some clubs looking for right-handed power, though, as we’ve seen, it comes in bunches and Guillen isn’t the patient type who’ll still walk even amidst a slump. It’s a good bet that the Royals will be able to move Guillen, though they probably won’t get a whole lot in return. At this point, they probably don’t care. Kansas City would gain a lot by subtracting, as we’d finally get to see Kila Ka’aihue everyday at DH. Right? RIGHT? Please?
RP – Kyle Farnsworth
Farnsworth can be an enigma, but he’s performed this year. Carrying a 2.14 ERA and 1.099 WHIP, Farnsworth has done some long relief, some middle inning work and pitched in the 8th here and there. He still hasn’t done well in high leverage situations (the league has a 108 OPS+ against him in those situations), and his strikeout rate is a mere 6.7 k/9. So that takes away some of the luster.
Still, a veteran arm that can hit triple digits is going to catch somebody’s attention, and with only $2.25 million left on his contract, he’s affordable to a team with bullpen concerns. Like Guillen, I wouldn’t expect a lot in return, but who knows. A decent AA level prospect might not be a bad gamble to take if you can get it, considering Farnsworth doesn’t figure into the long-term plans in any way.
OF – Scott Podsednik
Podsednik has performed close to his 2009 stats, which is surprising, since nobody thought that’d be the case. His BABIP is .333 so there may be some regression. Regardless, Podsednik’s having one of his best seasons. He wouldn’t draw a lot unless a team really needed a leadoff hitter or a ninth batter with speed, but I doubt the Royals are going to pick up his 2011 option anyway so they may as well get something for him now. Plus, Alex Gordon could step in and take over left field full time.
UT – Willie Bloomquist
Some rumors started churning that the Red Sox may look at Bloomquist as an option to help them fill the gap left after Dustin Pedroia‘s injury. While he couldn’t be an everyday option, he’s got that Luis Sojo quality to him that the Yankees enjoyed in the late-90s. Just less power. And no real position. But again, the Royals won’t keep him after this season (right?) and Irving Falu could fill the same role if the Royals wanted to call someone up. If not, Wilson Betemit is pretty much the new super sub nowadays anyway for the infield. I’d like a Bloomquist trade from a symbolic standpoint at least.
There are still weeks of speculation, and there’s no way the Royals are going to get a lot in a deal that resembles what a Cliff Lee or Jayson Werth might command. But they do have some players of use that other teams could be interested in, so there could be a lot of roster shuffling in the next month.