This is a fun time of year, but right now trying to separate fact from fiction is next to impossible. Don’t get me wrong, I love the speculation, and I’m as guilty as anyone of coming up with off the wall trade scenarios, but I’m not sure there is much meat on the bones being thrown by the various reporters and sites like MLBTR.
Right now, the popular stories regarding the Royals seem to include the Mariners, the Diamondbacks, the Orioles…and probably some other teams I’ve forgotten over the last couple of weeks.
The Mariners have a pitching heavy system, while the Royals obviously have more young hitters, making these teams seem like a perfect fit. Of course, with the caliber of some Mariners pitching prospects, they are probably locked in on a guy like Wil Myers. Will Dayton Moore go that route? Are the fans okay with a move like that? Time will tell. Personally…even though we need pitching, I think an everyday player like Myers is worth more than a highly rated pitching prospect. Too many things can go wrong with a pitcher, and an everyday player will contribute…well…everyday.
The Orioles have apparently inquired about Silver Slugger winner Billy Butler. I’m not sure what they would offer for a DH…and not sold that what they would offer would be enough. Butler is a great hitter, no doubt. But he’s not great at much else. I’m not knocking the guy…every lineup needs great hitters. That said, I’m just not sure what kind of value a DH, who won’t contribute in the field, has on the trade market. I think he’s a guy the Royals might get more value out of by keeping him right where he is.
The Diamondbacks are an interesting addition to the rumor mill. They are apparently fielding offers on right fielder Justin Upton. The Royals are in dire need of pitching. Not really a fit, is it? Then again…the hot rumor is that KC would send Mike Moustakas as part of a deal for Upton. That leaves a hole at third base…unless…Wil Myers, third baseman? Myers played some third base in Omaha in 2012, and by all accounts, was very good. The word from around the league is that Myers could play third in the big leagues. In this scenario, KC would likely try Myers at third, stick Upton in right, and roll with Jeff Francoeur as a reserve player, which is where he belongs anyway (since we’re likely stuck with him).
The question when analyzing a trade like one for Upton is: Are you okay with KC using its resources to pick up another bat? Or are you strictly interested in pitching?
Personally, I’m up for any improvements. Pitching, though, is what’s been killing this team for several years now. I’m most interested in solving that part of the equation. If I’m the GM, that’s my priority, while deals like the rumored Upton scenario would take a back seat.
Given that pitching is such a need, I’d think the ideal trade partners this off-season would be the Mariners or someone like Tampa, who is always looking to shed payroll and has some interesting trade targets like James Shields. Of course, if you want to dream big, they also have newly crowned AL Cy Young winner David Price. I’m not sure Dayton Moore, or most fans for that matter, could stomach the cost involved on a guy like Price, even if it might be what this team needs to get on track.
I know this much – if KC is going to make a real attempt to improve the rotation – they have to give something of value to receive something big. What we give up might sting a bit…but this team, at some point, needs game changers on the mound. The question is, will this regime have the guts to move someone like Eric Hosmer, Alex Gordon, Moose, Myers, or Butler to make it happen? After the big Toronto and Miami swap…I’m anxious to see if any rumors become reality.