September 25, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA; Kansas City Royals left fielder Alex Gordon (4) reacts after he strikes out during the ninth inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Detroit won 2-0. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE

Trade Rumors Swirling Around Royals Hitters

While we wait for the 2012 season to end and the offseason to begin, Royals fans are interested to see how the Royals will attempt to improve the starting pitching for 2013 and beyond.

Free agency is one way – and we’ve talked about many options who might be available this time around – but it’s only one way. The Royals could also make a trade to get pitching.

Really, it’s maybe the most likely way they’ll get pitching. In a trade, the player they acquire has little say in going to another team. In free agency, you’ll have to convince them to join your team over the many others who are vying for their services. There’s more control – though both methods have their price.

You have to give something up to get something back, and if the Royals are serious about getting a pitcher (or two), they’ll have to move some important pieces. Buster Olney mentioned the core of Royals hitters who many be available in such a deal, specifically listing Alex Gordon, Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas and Billy Butler as options, noting that Hosmer has the most value. They call that the trade that hurts, because at least in free agency, you’re just giving away payroll to acquire a pitcher. Giving up legitimate players for a pitcher can create a new gap.

With recent comments suggesting that Dayton Moore may be hedging on going after free agents,the trade market starts to look more and more like the way the Royals will build up their rotation next year. Some names that have been tossed out are Josh Johnson, Jeremy Hellickson, James Shields, Matt Moore (who Marcus Meade is dreaming of, but Robbie at Rays Colored Glasses would decline trading away) and maybe even pitchers that nobody expects to get traded.

The ideal situation calls for the Royals to get a player like Moore or Hellickson who are still awaiting their arbitration years and have more seasons under control. Another way to go is to find close pitching prospects and bring them up. Bob Dutton passed on a report from Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times about the Royals looking at James Paxton in the Mariners system. Greg Schaum of Pine Tar Press would be mostly okay with that, but would want to get more added to the deal if the Royals gave someone significant up (he mentions Jason Vargas specifically).

No matter what, the Royals can’t keep doing what they’ve been doing. Something has to change with the starting rotation and with every season, the window closes a little bit more. By free agency or trade, the Royals can’t enter 2013 without more improvements being made to their rotation.

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  • jimfetterolf

    Alex Gordon has the most value and has a contract that will look even friendlier by ’14, plus is a left fielder. I’ld value him at a Paxton, two hot AA arms, and at least one hot A+, maybe with an A lottery ticket. Prosects are only prospects and Alex is a proven big league player on a cheap contract. Reds need an LF. That also frees $10 mil to add to the FA pot to go after Sanchez and still sign a broken pitcher like McCarthy or Marcum as well as try to keep Guthrie. AAA and AA pitching is a bit weak at the moment for the Royals, so I’ld restock. Odorizzi and Ventura are closest and one is likely to bust and another to be average or so, just the nature of things.

    Second possibility is Greg Holland. Closers are hot and seemingly overvalued, so might get a good AA and A+ or more for him. He’s dirt cheap for a good closer.

    Billy is always possible, put him in a bandbox park and he’s a 40/120 guy. O’s and Red Sox would be possibilities.

    • Michael Engel

      That’d be a nice haul for Gordon, but I think the implication is more or less a straight up deal. Also it’s a lot on the speculative side – I think there’s probably some of the “where there’s smoke there’s fire” to this but it could just be they’re looking at him.

      Realistically, I know someone’s probably gotta be dealt but I still don’t want it to happen if there’s a way to get pitching AND keep players. But…what I want and what happens rarely converge. (see: record, Kansas City Royals)

      • jimfetterolf

        Just trying to guess a value for Gordon. I would think three cheap years of him should be worth at least twice what Milwaukee received for two months of Zack and maybe similar to what KC received for two years of Zack. We don’t need a major league SS or CF right now, catcher is covered and we have cheap competition for 2B, we need pitching prospects with upside to fill the void created by Montgomery and Dwyer’s failure to advance. Just a matter of converting value in the currency of prospects. Paxton and two AA arms likely to make AAA this year would be the baseline, plus younger AA and A+ arms. We have expendable bodies to throw in as small change or even add Holland to get a fat deal.

        By looking at a prospect haul, I’m following Oakland-Tampa ideas of trading “expensive” veterans for a haul of prospects. My minor league skills aren’t that great, but I think my prospect take might be a little low, but that’s for the market to decide. I just think we’re a little thin between the bigs and the Zimmer-Selman-Smith group, need to add equivalent bodies to JaKKKe and Ventura while awaiting the return of the three TJS pitchers and an idea of what they will have.

        Alex is probably our highest value player at the moment and most likely to be cashed. I wouldn’t trade him for another #3 with a year or two left, only a big haul of prospects.