Saturday, February 14, 2009

Rethinking the Jacobs trade

I know I initially hated the trade but lately I've started to come around to Moore's side concerning Mike Jacobs. Look I get why people don't like this move (I was one of them after all), low OBP, terrible defense, slow runner - I get it, I understand it and I will hold no grudge to those who blast me for defecting. And I really don't know what swayed me (though pitchers and catchers reporting tends to bring out my glass half full side) but I now believe that this was a decent trade for the Royals. We can talk all day about if KC didn't get Jacobs/Crisp/Farnsworth then they could have afforded Adam Dunn and while that is definitely true I don't recall one time Dunn's name being linked to the Royals. I certainly would have rather had Dunn than those three but he's a National now and Hillman must play with the cards that DM dealt.

And one of those cards is Jacobs. My objection to his acquisition had nothing to do with Leo Nunez, he had a good year but always seemed easily replaceable. While he did put up an ERA+ of 120 and 143 in '07 & '08 he only pitched 92 innings in those two seasons, replaceable. No my objection was purely based on Jacobs Kingman-like .299 OBP last season. His OBP has gone down every season and his career mark of .318 is well below league average (.337) but that trend has to stop sometime and most likely will in 2009.

All of Jacobs value is in his power, he has to hit home runs to be productive. So how many does he have to hit to make this a favorable trade for KC? My original thinking was 30, anything less and he is weighing the offense down but I've changed that to the mid-20's with a stat line in the .260/.320/500 neighborhood. I think this possible and actually quite likely looking at his 2009 projections.

Projection AVG/OBP/SLG HRs RBIs
Bill James .270/.325/.515 26 80
CHONE .259/.313/.474 23 78
Marcel .256/.314/.471 22 73

I think James projection is a little more in line with what Jacobs will actually do. Looking at a different player CHONE & Marcel have Alex Gordon basically repeating his 2008 season while James has him putting up career highs in everything, which I think he will. So if Jacobs does OPS .840 with 26 home runs well it would be hard for anyone to call that a disappointing season.

Blast away.
Right smack in the middle of this Bob Dutton piece my biggest fear for 2009 has been confirmed:
The Royals are counting on Horacio Ramirez to fill their need for a left-handed starter after shelling out $1.8 million to reacquire him in the free-agent market.

The deal includes up to $900,000 in performance bonuses, and in a winter market characterized by austerity, represents a sizable commitment — especially since Ramirez hasn’t been an effective starter since 2005.

Ramirez pitched solely in relief last year, compiling a 2.59 ERA in 15 outings for the Royals before an Aug. 9 trade sent him to the White Sox. Even so, club officials acknowledge only a dreadful spring will keep him from opening the season in the rotation.

Well a dreadful spring didn't keep Tomko out of the rotation last year even though he was outpitched by Kyle Davies and Luke Hochevar so I doubt Ramirez is in any danger. I just don't understand it.
Last year I sponsored the baseball-reference page of Gil Meche and he responded with another good season so this year I'm passing on the Royally Speaking karma to Hochevar.


  1. You have been blasted for defecting.

  2. I actually think that his stat line will be what you are stating, but there is generally a big problem with citing Bill James Projections, as they are far and away the most optimistic for hitters.

    Jacobs was insanely unlucky last year, had the lowest BABIP by far in his career, and the Hardball Times revised xBABIP numbers indicate Jacobs was among the ten unluckiest hitters in baseball last year in terms of what his BABIP SHOULD have been. He will get .260 and .320, but that OBP will only come up because of the average. He still will not walk, just to spite us.

  3. He still will not walk, just to spite us.

    Lol, no doubt but if he slugs .500 I can live with that.

    Antonio - sorry.