Posts tagged ‘Royals’

Royals Improve Defense, Prospect Depth

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.


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

Greinke Makes Brewers 2011 Contenders

Zack Greinke

The Milwaukee Brewers are not done trading the farm system for a shot at glory in 2011.  They have struck a deal (reported first by Bernie’s Crew) with the Kansas City Royals that will net them 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.

I wrote earlier about the Brewers rotation when they acquired Shaun Marcum but let’s take a quick look at what it yields after this trade:

 Pitcher  IP  FIP  ERA  WAR
 Zack Greinke  220.0  3.34  4.17  5.2
 Yovani Gallardo  185.0  3.02  3.84  4.6
 Shaun Marcum  195.1  3.64  3.74  3.5
 Randy Wolf  215.2  4.85  4.17  0.7
 Chris Narveson  167.2  4.22  4.99  1.7


This trade gives the Brewers one of the best rotations in the NL.  It also allows them to permanently place Manny Parra and Mark Rogers in the pen where both of their stuff plays up. 

Greinke is a legit ace, just one year removed from leading the AL in ERA, ERA+, and posting a 2.33 FIP as the AL Cy Young Award winner.  He gets to now feast on the NL and better yet, the NL Central. 

Even with the big addition there are still two problems with this trade from the Brewers standpoint:

1.  They are worse defensively than they were before the trade (and that was already pretty bad).

2. This depletes their farm system to the point where a reliever is arguably their top prospect and he may be their PTBNL.

Still, with a rotation as fierce as the Brewers is, and an offense that should have no problem putting runs on the board, the Brew Crew should be considered playoff contenders and could be very scary to face in a short series.

December 19, 2010 at 12:38 pm Leave a comment

Need + Surplus = Marcum for Lawrie Trade

Shaun MarcumBrett Lawrie

When news first got out that Shaun Marcum was heading to the Milwaukee Brewers the prospect was rumored to be Brett Lawrie.  I thought to myself that there was no way the Brewers would give him up for Marcum.  Well, I was wrong.  The Brewers, in a desperation move to add a starter because they cannot afford a top free agent, pulled the trigger on Marcum in exchange for their best prospect.  I want to make it clear that I believe the Jays won this trade but I understand why the Brewers made it.

The Brewers 2011 rotation before the acquisition of Marcum would have looked a little like this (with 2010 stats):

 Pitcher  IP  FIP  ERA  WAR
 Yovani Gallardo  185.0  3.02  3.84  4.6
 Randy Wolf  215.2  4.85  4.17  0.7
 Chris Narveson  167.2  4.22  4.99  1.7
 Manny Parra  122.0  4.50  5.02  0.4
 Mark Rogers  10.0  2.08  1.80  0.3

That’s far from a contender’s rotation, especially with the poor defense that plays behind them.  Parra and Rogers both belong in the bullpen, and Narveson is more of a 5th starter with Wolf being a solid #4.  That leaves the Brewers with a heavy need of a #2 and #3 starter, something that will cost you roughly $8-$12M per year in the current market.  The Brewers simply cannot afford that.  When the opportunity to acquire Shaun Marcum came up they felt compelled to make the deal happen.  Here is what their 2011 rotation could look like with Marcum:

 Pitcher  IP  FIP  ERA  WAR
 Yovani Gallardo  185.0  3.02  3.84  4.6
 Shaun Marcum  195.1  3.64  3.74  3.5
 Randy Wolf  215.2  4.85  4.17  0.7
 Chris Narveson  167.2  4.22  4.99  1.7
 Mark Rogers  10.0  2.08  1.80  0.3

Marcum is an instant upgrade to a bleak rotation and allows Parra to move to the pen, where he belongs.   He is also under team control for two more years and will cost much less than a free agent of his caliber.

Toronto makes this trade without blinking an eye.  They acquire Canada-native Lawrie, currently learning secondbase, and could choose to either keep him and develop him or add him to a package and try and land the Royals Zack Greinke.

Lawrie is very raw at secondbase and may end up having to move to a corner outfield position or firstbase, something the Brewers had their own surplus of.  Here is a scouting report from Keith Law on Lawrie:

Lawrie has a good swing, almost a classic left-handed swing but from the right side, with tremendous rotation and raw power. I’ve seen him overstride in BP, but he quiets down a little in games, still taking all-out swings but with such a good swing path that he covers the plate and struggles only with changing speeds. He’s an intense, aggressive, “one-speed” player who might benefit from dialing it down a notch every now and then, and the lack of finesse in his game is part of what holds him back as an infielder.

Lawrie hit .285/.346/.449 with a wOBA of .361 and ISO of .164.  He hit 8 homers, 35 doubles, 16 triples, and stole 30 bases.  His pitch recognition is lacking but he still performed incredibly well for a 20 year old in 604 plate appearances in AA.  If Lawrie can stick to secondbase he could be a star, but the odds seem against him staying there.  I think he can, for what ever that is worth.

The Jays had a major surplus of starters with Rickey Romero, Brett Cecil, Brandon Morrow, Kyle Drabek, and Marc Rzepczynski all capable of filling out a rotation. 

As the trade stands it made total sense for the Jays to do with their surplus and the Brewers addressed a need that, saved them money, although they still paid a high fee for it.

December 6, 2010 at 12:45 pm 2 comments

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