Trading the Farm to Mortgage the Future?

We’ve seen reports or trades made by a handful of teams trading away some of their top prospects in order to win now. Sure clubs like the Royals, Athletics, Orioles and Padres need to sell those who probably won’t re-sign with them in order to keep their system stocked. But then we’ve got the other side of the coin of feeling you’re just so close and trade your prospects for a Gio Gonzalez, Mat Latos or Trevor Cahill.

Sure small markets like the Royals want players like the three players listed who are still young and clubs can control them for inexpensive costs which these markets need. Fan bases want you to make a deal that turns you from middle of the pack team to contending for a wildcard or division title. But it begs the question should you clear out your farm system for a guy who you might only have for a year or two?

As we know Kansas City has one of the better farm systems which recently has produced Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Johnny Giavotella, Salvador Perez, Louis Coleman, Kelvin Herrera and Danny Duffy to just name a few pieces of operation 2012′s homegrown talent. But what about the next wave of talent a.k.a prospects such as Wil Myers, Jake Odorizzi, Mike Montgomery, Christian Colon, John Lamb and Chris Dwyer?

Yes they are good assets to have but say Dayton Moore wanted to test the waters for a James Shields or Gio Gonzalez (traded to the Nationals for four top 10 prospects) who are two good pitchers rumored on the market. Do you want the team to give up a Myers, Odorizzi and Colon in a trade? Depending on which baseball insider you follow these names and other young Royals appear in articles of guys teams such as the Rays and A’s want back in return.

Is the upside of some of these names worth the upside of giving up some of the best in your organization? After these names who are still at Northwest Arkansas and Omaha, there are more still at Idaho Falls, Burlington and Wilmington where KC is stashing prospects. Kansas City hopefully will be in position near the deadline where they may need to make a move for pitching or another bat when one of these names might be sacrificed to get that playoff appearance that many of us crave.

Hopefully GMDM is looking at the bigger picture (sometimes we wonder with signing Yuni back) which I feel he is by not overpaying for guys that look like good fits but have clubs asking for the moon. Depleting the farm can set small markets back if things don’t pan out in a worst case scenario because you risk those traded away becoming stars in other uniforms.

Let me flip the coin once more here. Stockpiling talent like the A’s have done for years only to keep turning guys over again and again leaves nothing to show since the Moneyball days. Billy Beane is a great GM but at some point Oakland fans must be saying “it can’t be just we’ve got a lousy stadium deal etc.” that you keep trading guys away for younger guys. The Athletics haven’t won in a long time it now feels like despite getting good value in return for all their stars moved in the last 3-4 years.

If Kansas City has the chance to get a guy who can help them in what is a small window for small markets to compete, they should make that move. Look at the Minnesotas and Tampa Bays of the world who have built from within and traded guys away. They have done alright (granted the Rays have kept their system stocked to brim with guys) which is the hope for us Royals fans.

Personally, if THAT player comes along realistically it will cost probably a Myers, Cain or Odorizzi which depending on how long the player is controlled is important for this organization. I want to see this group of largely homegrown guys and a couple other moves win but completely understand that you need to give in order to receive which goes for more than just the holiday season.

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Topics: AL Central, Baseball, Gio Gonzalez, Kansas City Royals, KC, KC Royals, Matt Latos, Mike Montgomery, Mike Moustakas, MLB, Royals, Trevor Cahill, Wil Myers

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  • jim fetterolf

    I think Billy Beane and Tampa are doing it the way we have to, keep developing our own talent until we have an excess that we can trade for more prospects, make it a self-sustaining system. Oakland got a bunch of high-grade prospects for a couple of #2 starters. Worked for us unloading Greinke, will work again a few years down the road. Tampa shows that it is a good idea. Keep the farm.

  • jim fetterolf

    BTW, good piece.

  • jim fetterolf

    I think Billy Beane and Tampa are doing it the way we have to, keep developing our own talent until we have an excess that we can trade for more prospects, make it a self-sustaining system. Oakland got a bunch of high-grade prospects for a couple of #2 starters. Worked for us unloading Greinke, will work again a few years down the road. Tampa shows that it is a good idea. Keep the farm.

  • jim fetterolf

    BTW, good piece.