Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Hot Royals Should Double Down with Jumbled Outfield

The Kansas City Royals won a “frickn’ trade this week.  Dayton Moore took an area of surplus, relief pitching, and filled an area of need, lead off hitter. I really love it when The Royals make big boy baseball moves.

Getting Norichika Aoki for Will Smith was a solid, mature baseball move.  I would have rather seen the Royals open up their wallets for a free agent, power hitting outfielder, but this is true progress.  They have a deeper, better lineup today than last week.  Just the fact they seeked out a high OBP guy (averaged 355 OBP the last two season) gives me optimism.  Perhaps the saber metrics head has been half way dug out of the sand.

In Hunter Samuels last column, he nicely broke down the current Royals surplus, fourth outfielders.

He writes about David Lough, Jarrod Dyson, and Justin Maxwell.  The only fourth outfielder Hunter didn’t mention?  That would be Lorenzo Cain.  Most people, including the Royals, see Cain as a starter.  I don’t.  His range is fantastic in the field, but his offense is below average, and he can’t make it through a full season without injuries.  That’s not bad new folks.  Because when you see Cain on this light, it creates more options.

All of these guys are slightly below average starters, but A plus for any bench.

Instead of just designating Lough for assignment, I have to assume the Royals are considering more creative options.  What could a Lorenzo Cain and Luke Hochevar package get?  What if all of  four of them stayed, and Billy Butler was traded for a second sacker?  I heard some Cano guy landed in the Pac-West, and there may be some spare infielders there.  You guys know anything about that?

Arguments on trade specifics shelved, I think we can agree that it’s nice to see “progressive progress”.  Seeing the Royals appropriately distributing and moving their player’s values feels great.  Seeing the Royals value on base percentage makes me almost giddy.

No way Dayton is done dealing.  Here are his cards.  They need a second baseman that can hit.  They have four solid fourth outfielders, and still have a stable of bullpen arms, including a very expensive set up guy.  Don’t pass Dayton, don’t stand pat.  Keep dealing Dayton, you are actually on a hot streak.

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Tags: Dayton Moore Kansas City Royals Lorenzo Cain

  • hemroid

    This trade is another 1 year deal though, the Royals will probably not resign Aoki in 2015. IF Will Smith is any good, then we traded another good player with 5 years of control for 1 year. I like the trade IF they Royals keep Aoki on board. To me it just has more makings of desperation.

    • Ed Connealy

      Very possible…but I think the Royals view this year as “the year”. ( See Myers/ Shields trade) It’s a deliberate short sighted move….I think.

    • cardsfanatik

      I can see them re-signing Aoki also, if he provides what they are looking for, giving a lead-off hitter that is currently making under 2 million, a 3 year deal, at an AAV of around 7 million, would be a good move for both player and team. It may not even take that much to re-sign him. Or some team like the ever hated Skanks, could just come in and pay him 3/100 because they feel like it. I’m so tired of big market teams being able to buy who the hell ever they want. Its time for a salary cap. ESPECIALLY if the contracts just continue to get stupid. I don’t believe any MLB player is worth 150 million, let alone some of the stupid ones, (Pujols, Cano, etc).

  • jimfetterolf

    Good points. With six outfielders, five of which can play center and four of which plus defenders, and none of which having options left from what I’ve, if Billy is kept two need to be traded. If Billy is traded, one of those can be kept as a 5th/platoon DH. I assume the Royals will keep Maxwell as 4th, RH with pop yada yada, so that leaves Lough and Dyson on the outside looking in. Seattle supposedly covets Billy and needs OFs and has plenty of young arms and some extra IFs. Perhaps Billy, Dyson or Lough, Crow and/or Collins could bring back Seagar and a prospect or at least Tai Walker and some lower minors arms. Dyson alone should be worth Franklin.

    We probably need to try to keep five of the OFs as not much depth in the minors and Aoki a one year rental who will need to be replaced next year or maybe sooner if the extra three walks per hundred PAs don’t bring the total value that includes an average glove from a smaller NL park and a 62.5% SB last year.

    • moretrouble

      Jim, I think KC has two guys that can play CF – Cain and Dyson. Not that the others can’t play center, but the two that can, play what I call – line to line/fence to infield. They have speed, take good routes, get good jumps and neither is afraid of the fence. I agree that KC should keep 5 OFer’s on the roster, as much due to Cain’s injury history as anything else.

  • moretrouble

    A nice article that makes a valid point – Cain needs to improve offensively to be considered a bonafide starter. Light hitting CFer’s who play great defense have value, but KC needs more than that and Cain is capable of it. When I watch Cain hit, I see a guy who tries to be something he isn’t. He’s not a power hitter; he’s a gapper. While I admire his desire to be great, his best chance at offensive success is to stay inside his swing mechanics. In other words, it’s a question of maturity, not talent. I hope KC allows him time to develop in the manner they waited on Gordon. I think Cain is capable of being a great all-around ballplayer.