Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Money, Roster Decisions and Rumors

There has been a lot of talk this offseason about the Royals and their payroll limits. I have heard Dayton make statements that the payroll can be in the $70 - $75 million range. I have also heard reporters and bloggers alike stating that Glass is cheap as he won't allow payroll to be much higher than it was last year which was a little over $58 million. Let's take a look at the current 40 man roster and see how the payroll projects. I am sure the roster will continue to change this offseason but the only change I am making today is leaving Jason Smith off the roster and putting in his place a Rule V pick. All salaries are shown in millions.

Jose Guille - $12
Gil Meche - $11
Coco Crisp - $5.75
Ron Mahay - $4
David DeJesus - $3.6
Zach Greinke* - $4
Mike Jacobs* - $3.3
Mark Teahen* - $3
John Buck* - $2.8
Miguel Olivo - $2.7
John Bale* - $2.2
Luke Hochevar - $1.2
Jimmy Gobble* - $1.5
Ross Gload - $1.9
Esteban German* - $1.4
Joel Peralta* - $1.1
Joakim Soria - $1
Kyle Davies* - $1
Joey Gathright* - $0.5
Brian Bannister - $0.45
Ryan Shealy, Alex Gordon, Tony Pena Jr., Billy Butler, Alberto Callaspo, Robinson Tejada - $0.42 each
Shane Costa, Neal Musser, Mike Aviles, Devon Lowery, Carlos Rosa, Jairo Cuevas, Jeff Fulchino, Kila Ka'aihue, Mario Lisson, Mitch Maier, Brayan Pena, Julio Pimentel, Henry Barrera, Rule V pick** - $0.4.

* = arbitration eligible. Approximate salary figure.
** = unknown player until the Rule V draft in December.

The above 40 man roster will cost the Royals $72.52 million in 2009. Plus the Royals still owe Yasuhiko Yabuta $3 million in salary for 2009 and an additional $500 thousand buyout of his 2010 option giving the team a player salary commitment of $76.02 million.

Now there are several issues with this roster. Currently Guillen, Crisp, and DeJesus are locks for the outfield leaving one spot for Teahen, Costa, Gathright and possibily Maier as a backup. Well Teahen, Costa and Gathright are all out of options and would have to clear waivers or be released outright if they fail to make the 2009 team. Likewise we have three catchers who are all out of options as well leaving one to be cut. The infield has Gordon, Aviles, Callaspo, Jacobs and Gload as locks for the roster unless traded leaving just 2 more spots open on the 25 man roster assuming a 12 man pitching staff. So Butler, Shealy, German, Pena Jr., and any free agent addition is left fighting over those last 2 spots. My thinking is one of Butler and Shealy would take a spot rotating in with Gload and Jacobs at 1B and DH and German and Pena Jr. would fight for the backup infielder job.

So let's say that German is cut in favor of Pena Jr. and Costa is kept as the backup outfielder with Maier in Omaha. Then the club deals John Buck for a prospect and keeps Pena as a backup catcher. (This scenerio saves the club the most money.) That means that German, Buck, Teahen, Gathright, and possibily Shealy get cut from the roster. For this scenerio lets say Shealy is gone too as Butler makes the team. So that is $8.12 million dollars shaved off of the team payroll. Now we have a payroll of $67.9 million. Dayton would still have on his offseason list a starting pitcher, preferrably left-handed, relief help and a middle infielder. You can see why Dayton is not planning on doing much shopping in free agency. What Dayton needs to do is flip those players who aren't in the plans anyway for role players who fill the needs just mentioned.

So what can we get for Teahen, German, Gathright, Buck, Shealy/Ross Gload plus about $5 - $7 million? That is what Dayton Moore has been busy finding out. There are rumors out there of a Mark Teahen for Sean Marshall trade with the Cubs. Marshall is a LHSP who will likely make $420k next season. What would the Padres, Reds, or Brewers give up in return for Buck? I could see Gload fitting in well with the Mariners, Cardinals or Giants. As for free agents, the Royals could be looking at players like Willie Bloomquist, David Eckstein, Nick Punto, Ramon Vazquez and Felipe Lopez in the middle infield but I expect them to do most of their player acquisition through trades. What are some other players that you feel like the Royals could acquire this winter? Please post your thoughts in the comments section.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Royals Acquire Covelli Crisp - And More!

I'm going to do a better job maintaining this blog and making sure it is updated every day. Although we now have several writers for the blog by the fans, for the fans....it's still been rather sparse. If you are interested in writing for The Royal Treatment, contact me via e-mail. My e-mail is located in my member profile here at Blogger. Or, send me a personal message over on my Royals message board, Royals Nation.

I'm going to begin with several news stories around the Royals blogosphere. Obviously, the Royals today acquired center fielder Covelli "Coco" Crisp for relief pitcher Ramon Ramirez. I have somewhat mixed feelings about this trade, but the cynic in me can't help but rear its ugly (or pretty?) head early. Below is what I wrote over on kcroyalsbaseball, the Yahoo! Royals Message Board.

Moore stated in the press conference earlier today that Ramirez and Nunez would be impossible to replace. That's probably mostly posturing on his part - defending his players - but it's true that it will be extraordinarily difficult to replace their 2.64 and 2.98 ERA's, respectively. That said, I have confidence that Moore can find competent back-end relief pitchers on the relative cheap. Obviously, a little luck has to be involved. Robinson Tejeda now becomes our prime right-handed setup man. The roles of Carlos Rosa and Ron Mahay just increased, and John Bale now looks like a candidate to return to the 'pen.

Anyway, B.P. ranked Crisp as a +29 defender in center field in 2007, and compared his outfield defense to that of Andruw Jones in his prime. Crisp's CF defense was actually negative last year (meaning he cost the team runs), but I'll chalk that up to the nagging injuries that plagued him for the better part of the year. I think Crisp will provide plus defense in CF. At a park like Kauffman, defense (more specifically, range) obviously takes a higher precedence.

That said, I'm not keen on Crisp's career numbers. .280/.331/.409 is still pretty uninspiring, even for a center fielder. His +51 BA/OBP split is uninspiring. Given that we owe him $5.95MM this year, we lost a capable 8th inning reliever, shifted DeJesus to a power-premium position, while giving players like Butler, DeJesus, and Teahen more incentive to be traded (and possibly lowered values, overall), I can't really deem this a win on the Royals part.

Obviously, Dayton isn't done this offseason. More trades, and likely signings, will take place. I'd be hard pressed to say our team wouldn't actually be better off if we simply signed Burrell (4/$64 would be in the ballpark) and called it a day with regard to offensive building. Obviously, we could still sign Burrell.

I wouldn't exactly call Crisp an OBP guy. Moore and Hillman are on record multiple times as stating that OBP is rather important. Crisp is most definitely not a top of the order hitter. He provides some tools - power, speed, some doubles power - to maybe warrant everyday duty - but at $5.95MM, and with our circumstances? Like I said, I can't really deem this a victory on Moore's part.

Crisp would probably make more sense to the Royals as a bottom of the order hitter than a leadoff man, as Moore himself stated Crisp might be in 2009 (although, admittedly, that may have been the zillionth case of a G.M. defending his player). Regardless, I think the move might be beneficial if we could trade Mark Teahen for something of real value to this ballclub. I like Baseball Think Factory's take on the trade.

Anyway, I recently appeared as a guest on 610 Sports' baseball analyst's program Baseball This Week. The podcast for that particular program can be found at Light Hitting Infielder, which is a website created by Royals Corner member meinfarr and contains all things Greg Schaum, from a blog to prospect discussion to a biography to podcasts from the show. My podcast is here. Don't miss the program every Thursday evening from 6 to 8 p.m. on 610 KCSP, Kansas City. This week, RN member FanofJoseAgain! will be the guest.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Royal Rant

Just a little rant as I come back from a little playing Army. Forgive my rambling and incoherant blather, it was an act of passion. I hope to have a follow up in a few weeks when it becomes more apparent what moves, if any, the Royals and Dayton Moore decide upon.

I'm sure you guys have seen the quotes from our fearless leader of the KC Royals refer to Mike "I don't need no stinking walks" Jacobs as being possibly the only significant move of the offseason. Now, as you all know, I was looking at this offseason as a huge step towards a playoff spot. Not only because I feel we have good talent already but because the holes that need to be filled have plenty of available talent to fill them. To top it all off, we all remember back in oh, I think it was August, Dayton Moore had not only promised, but emphatically demanded that there will be changes. I also find it more than irritating that two weeks ago it was mentioned that FA's won't even be looked at after it was stated by Moore numerous times that changes will be made. Moore states the current financial sink hole our country is currently in as the reason for not spending during the offseason. Forget about he $250 million the great people of Jackson County put up to renovate the already beautiful K, (although it will truly be the gem of MLB once completed), and the ticket increase that was implemented immediately after the season ended. No, that means nothing to Moore and David Glass. Apparently the whole "win now, we will do anything" approach doesn't hold true anymore. It was a fallacy that came from the soul sucking act of loosing 21 out of 28 games in one month. It was said with anger and bruised pride. Of course once the season ended and all of us ignorant fools that spend every free waking minute pouring our heart and souls into everything that is the Royals, moved on from this season and erased the pain of August with the false hope of September, it seemed to do the same for Moore. Now to be fair, Moore states that he is trying to make moves through trades but no one is willing to part with what the Royals want, nor for what the Royals are willing to give. My feeling is that unless we significantly upgrade a true position of weakness, ie; CF, SS, or C then I feel standing pat is the best course of action. There has been plenty of rumors of picking up Jeff Francoeur or Yuniesky Bentancourt. If Moore gives up anyone of consequence for either one of these players I will have lost all faith in our GM. The Jacobs move was even at best and that is only because he gave up a middle relieve that doesn't K many and is often injured. I was going to list some teams and players that I thought might be possible trade partners but right now I think we as fans should just take some time and wait to see what develops. Moore could be posturing and that wouldn't surprise me. As we stand now I do feel this team can compete very well in the Central if the players we have mentioned over the last 2-3 years develop into what we all believe they can be. Greinke could take another step forward, that with Gordon and Butler figuring it out could propel this team well over the top. It would take a guy like Davies or Hochevar to step up and be a legit #3 also but I feel between those two one will step up. The Hot Stove has just been lit, so it will take a month for the flames to really catch hold. Until then I will drink a few beers and see where it goes. I only wish it had started out better.