So the Kansas City Royals made the splash that fans had been waiting on since Monday’s trade with the Padres. There is still time for Dayton Moore to keep dealing before the deadline. Rather than deal in the hypothetical let’s look at the sure thing.
What is certain, according to Rustin Dodd, is that the Kansas City Royals will have a new two hole hitter. They also appear to have a new right fielder as well. Although that may not be written in stone. As most fans know by now the man filling that spot is old friend Melky Cabrera.
This is the Melk Man’s second stint with the Kansas City Royals. His last was a 200 hit season in 2011. The first time around Melky came to KC with mixed reviews. He was originally a big time prospect, but by the time he joined the team he was teetering on bust status.
Cabrera saved his career in Kansas City and has had success since then. Now he returns to a team that is in the thick of the playoff hunt. Expectations from the front office and Ned Yost appear to be high. After all he is being dropped into spots that a certain rookie had been doing a decent job holding down.
Jorge Bonifacio has been the hitting from the second spot in the lineup for quite awhile now. He has also logged the majority of the innings in RF this season. Jorge has proven that he belongs in the bigs. He is batting .263/.332/.454 with 14 homeruns. Don’t expect him to go anywhere, it just looks like he will have a new role.
Why Melky is the right choice.
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From an offensive standpoint Cabrera is a clear upgrade. He comes to the Kansas City Royals with a .295/.336/.436 slash line. The average will play nicely behind Whit Merrifield at the top of the lineup.
Melky also provides a boost against left handing pitching. An area where the Kansas City Royals have struggled this season. His slash line is .296/.327/.500 against southpaws.
Defensively Cabrera is not the same as he was his first go round with the team. At that point you could still put him in center and get solid performance. In the corner outfield there really shouldn’t be much of a difference between him and Bonifacio.
Even considering that it is probably a safe bet that Melky logs at bats from the DH spot as well.
Another positive is the price.
Both in actual dollars and assets it is hard to argue that the Kansas City Royals gave up too much in this deal.
From a payroll perspective the team is adding around $2.5 million in payroll. The White Sox are covering about half of Melky’s remaining salary. He is yet another soon-to-be free agent. Could the team retain his services this winter? I think it is a real possibility especially with the other players expected to depart in the off-season.
As for what the Kansas City Royals had to send to Chicago, it came at an affordable price. GMDM appears to have made another move that does not hurt the the team’s immediate future. Minor league pitchers A.J. Puckett and Andre Davis are on their way to the Sox’ system.
Puckett was the Kansas City Royals’ top pick in the 2016 draft. While you may think that sounds like a lot to give up for a potential rental remember this: Puckett was a second round pick. He was drafted 67th overall.
You have to give up something to get a major league contributor. The fact that the team were able to keep more highly regarded pitchers such as Foster Griffin is huge.
The Clubhouse Affect
Melky has a reputation of being a positive in the clubhouse. He is known for always having a smile. Clearly the Kansas City Royals know what they are getting from a character standpoint. Meshing with the club is as equally important a factor to a playoff run as anything else.
Overall Melky Cabrera is not the biggest name that has floated around the Kansas City Royals. The whole picture though shows why GMDM made the move to add the switch-hitter on Sunday. Now the team needs the Melk Man to be a key member of a potential championship contender.