Royals Improve Defense, Prospect Depth

December 19, 2010 at 1:27 pm Leave a comment

Lorenzo Cain
Jeff Roberson – AP Photo

Being a little redundant here but the Kansas City Royals traded ace starter Zack Greinke,  Yuniesky Betancourt, and $2M in exchange for centerfielder Lorenzo Cain, shortstop Alcides Escobar, top prospect starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi, and a PTBNL.

The Royals had about as close to a zero percent shot at contending in 2011 as any team in the Majors.  They had to trade Greinke to free up money and set them selves up for future success.  This trade does just that and it makes them better up the middle.

Lorenzo Cain appears to be the main piece in return.  Cain is a plus defender and plus runner with good on-base skills and easy 30+ steal potential.  He may never hit double digit homers but that’s fine as long as he plays toward his strengths.

Alcides Escobar is a plus defender and plus runner although it has not translated onto the basepaths fully yet.  He lacks patience (only 29 unintentional walks in 549 plate appearances last year) and makes too much weak contact right now but has the ability to change that as he matures.  He is a guy that pitchers will love and will give a team value offensively if he hits for average.

Jake Odorizzi is the minor league gem in this trade.  He is phenomenally athletic that projects as a solid mid-rotation prospect that pounds the zone with an above-average fastball and an out-pitch breaking ball that has developed well.  His change-up is still below-average and needs to develop it in hopes of being more than a 5th starter or reliever.  If he can put it all together he could be a legit #2 starter.

The Royals look like a dangerous 2013-2015 team.  They could look like this in a year or two:

C – Wil Myers
1B – Eric Hosmer
2B – Johnny Giavotella
3B – Christian Colon
SS – Alcides Escobar
LF – Alex Gordon
CF – Lorenzo Cain
RF – Mike Moustakas
DH – Billy Butler

1. Mike Montgomery – LHP
2. John Lamp – LHP
3. Jake Odorizzi – RHP
4. Danny Duffy – LHP
5. Chris Dwyer – LHP/Aaron Crow – RHP

That does not include any free agents they could add or trades they could make.

They could also receive Jeremy Jeffress as the PTBNL, making this trade even better for their future success and depth.  Jeffress is a hard throwing right-hander that could recieve a lifetime ban if he fails one more drug test.  His days as a starter are done with the lost development time due to previous drug suspensions but he should profile as an electric reliever.

Although this trade pretty much solidifies the Royals as a 100-loss team, it helps puts them in position to contend from 2013 and beyond.

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