It’s really been a while since national baseball writers mentioned something about the Royals that wasn’t directly related to the farm system. I’m just not used to a humble team in the Midwest getting attention from national media like they have today (at least when a Cy Young Award winner wasn’t on the trading block.)
Imagine my surprise this morning that while catching up on my Twitter timeline, three such names were dropping rumors about the Royals.
The first item that popped up was this nugget from Buster Olney.
Assuming what Olney’s heard is true (and there’s no reason to think otherwise), this is the proper stance for the Royals to take. Gordon isn’t blocking anybody in the outfield, he’s a former #2 overall pick who’s destroyed the minors, and he’s had injuries derail parts of three seasons. A fractured thumb last spring cost him time in camp and in the regular season.
In other words, it’s too soon to write him off. I have a feeling I’ll be the last person still clinging to the Alex Gordon bandwagon if/when the wheels finally fall off. Consider that other players have had rough starts to their career before figuring it out later on. Delmon Young came on last year after some disappointing years. Torii Hunter took a couple seasons to break out. Nelson Cruz has battled injuries (and still is) but when he’s been healthy, he’s developed into a strong speed/power combination outfielder.
Gordon isn’t really a burner, but he has a career 73% success rate as a basestealer. He looked poised for a breakout after 2008, and he’s shown the ability to take a walk (a rare commodity for the Royals). 2011 is a key year for Gordon and unless the Royals get the kind of return Olney reported they’re after, he should get the chance to turn it around as a Royal.
Gage already covered a lot of this tidbit from Ken Rosenthal, but I figure I can add a bit too.
Brayan Pena and Luke May aren’t long-term solutions at catcher. At best, they hold the spot until Salvador Perez comes up. Manuel Pina should be a capable 2012 option, but for 2011’s purposes, I think we’re looking at a Pena/May 70/30 split until Jason Kendall returns. After that it might go to 99/1 in favor of Kendall (if history repeats itself.)
If the option is Taylor Teagarden, I say no thank you. Sure, he’s just 27, but he hasn’t hit in the majors at all and stopped hitting in the minors after 2007. I’d take my chances on May or Pena instead.
If the option is Wilson Ramos or Austin Romine (or Gary Sanchez, another big Yankees catching prospect), that’s another story. Maybe even Goddard, Kansas native Derrick Norris of the Nationals could be a target (as he was reportedly in the Zack Greinke deal).
Those are catchers of the future. Teagarden isn’t. I see this rumor as something the Royals might be tossing around, but I bet they’re aiming higher than Teagarden.
The suspicion was that the Royals were after Engel Beltre and possibly Jurickson Profar and some arms from Texas. This sheds light on the whole package they reportedly asked for which includes the Rangers #2 (Profar), #5 (Beltre), and #6 (Michael Kirkman) prospects (according to Baseball America) plus 24-year-old pitchers Tommy Hunter and Derek Holland. It would have been a big haul and a better deal than what the Royals got, but it was also declined by Texas and there’s no indication that it’s even close to what they would have given up for Greinke.
More and more, I like the group the Royals got from the Brewers, but these two that (may have) gotten away would have been even more exciting.