Sep 12, 2012; Anaheim, CA, USA; Los Angeles Angels starter Ervin Santana (54) delivers a pitch against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE

Kings of Kauffman Mailbag – Ep. 6


Hello and hi there. It’s been a while since we’ve done one of these – six months to be exact – so there is quite the pile up in the inbox of questions that have been asked through the season. You may be asking, “hey, mailbag dude, why haven’t you been answering my questions?” And to that, I have no excuse. Only reasons. None of them good reasons, but reasons nonetheless.

You see, this season was just about like the rest for writing and following the Kansas City Royals. Lots of head scratching post-game comments, lots of mysterious amounts of playing time being divided amongst (mostly not good) players, and lots of frustrations over losing games with the same formula overnight. So because of all of that, and because this is almost November which means free agency season, trade season, and a whole-host of what-will-happen-next intrigue, I’ll stick with the emails that have been sent after game 162 was played.

As always, have a question for any of us on staff, or just like to vent about your children to someone, you can write us at [email protected].

On to the bag:

What will you do if Alex Gordon is traded? – Fearless leader, @michaelengel

Part of me thinks Engel is sincere and legitimately concerned about my potential state of mind if such a transaction did go down. Most of me, however, thinks he’s actually rooting for an Alex Gordon trade to take place just so we can make some popcorn, crack open a frosty beverage, and watch my mental meltdown happen.

I can certainly understand the type of thinking that would lead Dayton Moore to trade his (by far) best player in hopes of not only trying to improve the team for 2013, but in an effort to better setup the 2014, ’15, and ’16 clubs for contention before Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer leave via free agency. I really can.

But that type of thinking is also symptomatic of an organization that continually makes odd decisions, and spouts empty rhetoric, that would trade their best player during his peak seasons, in an effort to get better. Nothing about trading Gordon makes this team better, because doing so robs the lineup of one of only two players that have above-average on-base skills, and there’s no one in the system that is ready to replace him. (Moving Wil Myers to left field just means more Jeff Francoeur, and that’s not good for anyone.)

I gotta hope Moore sees things the same way. Gotta. Because as much as it’s increasingly clear the process (or Process) of trying to establish a 25-man roster entirely of your own draft picks (taking some liberties there) isn’t working and never was going to, trading key players from the offensive side of the major league roster for pitching now only moves deficiencies from one part of the team, to the other.

Plus, if Gordon is traded, I don’t really have a schtick any more.

There’s rumors that the Royals would be willing to talk about including either (Eric) Hosmer or (Mike) Moustakas in a trade for pitching, isn’t it too early to give up on them? – Jeremy

I’d have to say yes, absolutely. In the case of Eric Hosmer, you can’t look at one season of him after all the years of relative dominance in the minor leagues, coupled with a near Rookie of the Year campaign, and declare him a “bust” or tradable. Let’s not forget he, just like Gordon was before him, was considered as “can’t miss” as “can’t miss” can-be. The industry was unanimous that Hosmer was headed for stardom, and that even if he didn’t ever reach elite status, he’d still be a high on-base guy with power and plus defense at first base.

You can’t let one year cloud your mind of the three strong years before it.

Moustakas on the other hand, he’d be the one that I’d at least consider trading for the right piece. At third base, his defense makes up for his lack of offense (weird saying that) but because that was never the case with him, I’d be worried that he’s going to have trouble repeating that type of season with the glove. And his corner infield mate, Moustakas was never really the “can’t miss” guy that Hosmer was among all the “prospect guys” because he’s plate discipline has always been suspect. There’s nothing he’s done to dispel that notion, either.

That being said, he’s still young, cheap, and playing a position that is incredibly weak throughout baseball. Moustakas is going to have an easier time being an above-average third baseman than Hosmer is being an above-average first baseman because the pool is so shallow on his side of the diamond. Trading him is going to have to come with a steep price tag as well.

What are your thoughts about Jeff Francoeur being named a finalist for a Gold Glove? – Mark, Leawood

LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

No seriously. LOLOLOLOLOLOL.

It really just goes to show you that the Gold Glove awards, just like the Coaches Poll in college football, is conducted by a bunch of people that don’t really watch games.

This just went down, but Ervin Santana? I’m not sure whether to be excited, angry, (ticked) off, or think this is another sign that GMDM can’t put together a roster at the ML level. Maybe all of the above? – Eric

This is a tough one because I’ve gone there and back again with this trade and what I feel about it.

On the one hand Santana is a velocity decreasing, ERA increasing, homerun allowing factory that is going to make $13MM ($12MM covered by the Royals) in 2013 in the last year of his contract. He’s shown upside throughout his career with some quality stuff, a sound delivery, and the type of stretches that you could normally associate with a solid No.3 to No.2 starter. Though because the Royals already have a guy like that on their roster and in their rotation, and tried to change of scenery guy last year when they acquired Jonathan Sanchez, this acquisition would seem to be a reach and an awful ton of money to be giving to a guy that might not be all the good.

On the other the Royals have money to spend and positions to fill, and it is only a one-year contract, so maybe this is exactly the type of move the Royals need to be making. Let’s not forget this is a rotation that features Bruce Chen prominently, and if you think Santana isn’t an upgrade over Chen, then God, Jed, I don’t even want to know you.

When all arguments are laid out on the table regarding this trade you’re in one of either two camps: camp No.1 that says this is just another sign that Dayton Moore can’t put together a major league roster because he spends what money he has foolishly and on bad players. And you’d be right. And camp No.2 that says the Royals needed somebody for the starting rotation, and for what they gave up, for a pitcher on a one-year contract, this isn’t all that bad. And you’d be right.

I think for the time being I’m leaning towards camp No.2, but the more I think about it, I’m getting that sinking feeling that Moore acted before the market established (like he’s done so many times before) and the price he paid for an average-at-best pitcher will prove to be entirely too much.

Here’s to hoping I’m not right.

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Tags: Alex Gordon Eric Hosmer Ervin Santana Kansas City Royals

  • Marcus Meade

    I think your last assessment is correct, that Santana wouldn’t have gotten 12M on the free agency market though prevailing thought suggest major inflation this offseason. But lets say he could have gotten 8-10M from other teams. If that’s the case, it would have taken at least 12M from the Royals because no one is coming to Kansas City unless he is being overpaid. By making this trade, the Royals guarantee themselves someone who can be a solid number 2 starter while his value is low (though his price tag is still high). There’s really no major risk in this deal. If he sucks, he’s gone half way through the year like Sanchez. If he’s good, he has trade value half way through the year when some in house options may be more ready. If he’s good, he may help the Royals contend and add to revenue, and if they can’t trade him, they can re-sign or give a matching offer and get a compensation pick. If the only downside to this trade is they overpaid, that’s semi-foolish because the Royals are going to have to overpay any pitcher they want or trade away big ticket items like Butler, Gordon, or Myers for early contract guys like Jeremy Hellickson. I say smart move and an overall win for Moore.