With David DeJesus Dealt, We Need Prospect Love

David DeJesus had a very solid and very underrated career. Even amongst Royals fans I don’t think his talents were appreciated as much as they should have been. Regardless of what he did on the field, in my opinion, he was an even bigger star off of it. As a representative of the Royals, DDJ was always a class act and an all around good guy. Kansas City is going to miss him in ways that extend beyond the field.

I don’t mean for this to be depressing so follow along (after the jump) and see where I go with all of this.

Some folks question Dayton’s returns for the services of David DeJesus. Okay, let’s be honest, pretty much everyone in Royalsland mouthed or shouted WTF?!* upon learning of the trade.

*You can spell it out for yourself …

My initial reaction was very similar, but I tend/try to be reasonable and pragmatic in my thinking so I made it a point to check into Vin Mazzaro and Justin Marks before I got too irate. The end result? I’m still not a huge fan of this deal. Not necessarily because of the players the Royals received in return but because of the timing.

Why is Dayton Moore seemingly so obsessed with dealing players at the start of the offseason instead of letting things play out a bit? Last year we said goodbye to Mark Teahen on November 6th. This year DDJ departs on November 10th. Why the rush Dayton? Why the rush?

Now I’m not going to revise history. Despite being a big Mark Teahen fan, I was on board with that trade. I liked the return (Chris Getz anyway) and I liked the fact that it freed up some salary as well. Still the timing bothered me about that deal, and the “bothersomeness” of this deal easily brushes that of the Teahen-Getz trade (I still refuse to acknowledge Josh Fields) into the darkest recesses of my Kauffman stadium-shaped mind.

Would it not make sense to hang on to DJ until other top-tier outfielders like Carl Crawford were off the market? Maybe let Jayson Werth decide where he will call home before shopping our own talented outfielder? The Oakland A’s were not in the running for either of those two players so in theory a DDJ to Oakland trade would have still been in the cards a few weeks from now.  Why not head into the Winter Meetings with DeJesus still in our deck?

Again I’m not down on the Mazzaro-Marks return for DDJ but why now? Why so early in the offseason? I’m fairly certain, based on the tried and true laws of supply and demand, that a better/greater return would have been waiting for the Royals in a few months, or even a few weeks. If Jeff Francoeur is the reason for this rush … *sigh*

Anyway against such a backdrop I thought I would point out some of the love that Royals prospects are getting. You know, in an attempt to distract us from the fact that our GM should really be involved solely in our team’s minor league development, scouting and draft functions. At the same time attempting to distract you from the fact that our GM should really be one Mike Arbuckle who is the “Senior Advisor to the General Manager/Scouting & Player Development.”

So here goes …

Right off the bat we can turn to Project Prospect who revealed their list of the Top 5 Catching Prospects on October 31st. It’s no surprise that Wil Myers was on the list and it’s no surprise that he was only ranked behind the Yankees’ Jesus Montero.

But that’s not the real good stuff.

Nope the good stuff is John Sickels’ 2011 Royals Top-20 Prospects list which was unveiled on October 24th. As he mentions in his rankings of each team, the grades assigned at this point are “extremely preliminary.” But it is from those grades, preliminary or not, that we can derive some real hope.

In Sickels’ 2010 Prospect Book the top-graded Royals prospect was Mike Montgomery who checked in with a B+. There were another 5 KC prospects who received a solid “B” grade, but everyone else was B- or lower. Lodge those facts solidly in your memory and then fast forward to today.

In his current rankings, THREE Royals received a grade of “A” (Moose, Hos, and Myers) while Danny Duffy snatched an A-. Monty is still there with a B+ but now he is joined by John Lamb. Then we can tack Dwyer, Colon and Eibner onto the list of “happy” news as those 3 received a “B” grade. If you are keeping track that means the Royals system went from 6 players rated at a B or better to 9 players in that same range with 4 players ranking higher than any KC farmhand did heading into the 2010 season.

Let’s get back to those “A” prospects shall we? Knowing only the Royals rankings is like sketching out the picture before it gets painted. We need to put these into the context of the rest of baseball. After all, the  Royals won’t be playing themselves every night (though it sure feels like it on some nights).

In the 2010 book, Sickels gave out a grade of “A” to 9 players. You might recognize the names. Pitchers Stephen Strasburg, Neftali Feliz and Brian Matusz were joined by hitters Jason Heyward, Jesus Montero, Buster Posey, Desmond Jennings, Carlos Santana and Pedro Alvarez. Another 9 players in last years book received a grade of “A-.” That’s a total of 18 players.

In his 2009 book he assigned an “A” to just 4 players and an “A-” to another 16. That’s 20 players.

In 2008 he gave out an “A” to 8 players and an “A-” to another 9. That’s 17 players.

So we have three years of precedent. If things hold true when his 2011 book is released in the coming months, I think we can safely deduce that between 17 and 20 players will receive the highest marks available. If that is the case, the Kansas City Royals, by themselves, will make up 20-23.5% of those players.

About half of the 30 major league organizations will fail to land a single player above a B+ rating. We’ve got 4. So please, focus on that for the rest of your day after reading this. Maybe it will help you sleep better while we wait for Dayton to surprise us with more shenanigans related to the major league roster.

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Tags: AL Central Baseball Chris Getz Danny Duffy David DeJesus Eric Hosmer John Lamb John Sickels Justin Marks Kansas City Royals KC Mark Teahen Michael Montgomery Mike Moustakas MLB Vin Mazzaro William Myers

  • Eric

    One thing that might have to do with the timing is the 40-man roster. We clear two spots on the 40-man roster and fill one with Mazzaro. Certainly, Moore could have cut Bannister and had the spot already, but there is something to be said for securing a starting pitcher today before Oakland finds some other DeJesus level outfielder and decides to keep Massaro and leave us with just a four man rotation.

    When Dayton makes a trade, sure, he has to consider what other offers might come available next month, but he has to discount them against the fact that some of his current leverage might leak away by unforeseen moves reducing the available trades. Dayton might have more information about what other teams have mentioned to indicate reduced need to make the deal, such as mentioning alternatives, and indicating they aren’t going above a certain level for a player. Dayton also has the benefit of knowing what teams were offering in July when the market was hot. If he feel that this was the best time and return then he should make the trade. Don’t forget the adage, ‘One in the hand is better than two in the bush.’

    If Dayton can break even on half his trades (which is probably what this is), and win 40%, and only lose 10% where he was in a corner because of timing, long term, he will come out ahead.

    • http://www.kingsofkauffman.com Gage Matthews

      While you don’t want to wait too long on a trade, when there are going to be several teams vying for two free agent OFs, someone is going to be left out. Any team(s) left out could then contact the Royals and Dayton could be in a high negotiating spot knowing that those guys are really wanting an OF like DDJ. At a time when DDJ has a 99% chance of not being injured, it doesn’t hurt much to wait. Especially this early in the offseason.

      I’m not really against this trade, but I don’t particularly like what Dayton brought in for DDJ. Injury or no, it seems that there might have been a better deal out there somewhere. But, like you say, we fans can only speculate as to potential offers. Maybe Dayton really is more knowledgeable this time, but it mainly seems like cost cutting. When Dayton already said they’re cutting costs this offseason, I’m not sure it’ll lead to much, so why do it now? The timing is the biggest thing that bothers me, but again, that’s from an outside perspective.

      • Wally Fish

        This morning on 810, Dayton plainly stated that this deal with the A’s was the best offer they’ve ever gotten for David DeJesus.

        If we take him at his word (and he was surprisingly frank and open in the interview) then this trade makes a lot of sense.

        The more I’ve read and researched on Mazzaro and Marks the more I’m on board with the return they got back for DDJ. Again my point isn’t that I have a problem with the players they got back, I find the timing a little curious. I say that having already watched what he did to open the 2009 offseason as well. My question still stands: why the rush to make a move?

        Gage is absolutely correct, the market figured to work in the Royals favor and DDJs value as a trade commodity was likely to go up in the coming weeks. You don’t need to be a GM with inside information to see that.

        That said, based on his comments this morning, they CLEARLY love Vin Mazzaro and see something there. If this was their chance to get a guy they coveted and get a power lefty prospect on top of that I’m on board.

        I don’t think slots on the 40-man roster really had anything to do with making this deal. The Royals, and most teams, have plenty of chum on their 40-man that can be jettisoned at this point in the offseason.

        As an aside I came away from his interview today greatly encouraged. Not because of his trade thoughts, but because for the first time that I can remember he was relaying the orginization’s philosophy and plans in very plain and simple terms. For once I feel like the amorphous “process” finally had some definition.

        I finally feel like the organization top to bottom has a direction and the “Royal Way” has finally be defined.