Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Millwood? Thanks but no thanks!

If the end of the Kyle Davies era means the beginning of the Kevin Millwood era then I say give me more Kyle. Michael Engel gives a pretty solid analysis of a potential Millwood signing over at KoK and while he's fine with it at the right price I am not. We've seen this played out before, a mid-30's pitcher past his prime is brought in on a one year deal and bombs. And while I can't know for certain he'd be terrible his recent history suggests he will be.

Year W L ERA GS IP H HR BB SO ERA+ WHIP H/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
2007 10 14 5.16 31 172.2 213 19 67 123 89 1.622 11.1 3.5 6.4 1.84
2008 9 10 5.07 29 168.2 220 18 49 125 88 1.595 11.7 2.6 6.7 2.55
2009 13 10 3.67 31 198.2 195 26 71 123 127 1.339 8.8 3.2 5.6 1.73
2010 4 16 5.10 31 190.2 223 30 65 132 83 1.510 10.5 3.1 6.2 2.03
Other than that fluky '09 season, which can probably be attributed to luck (.275 babip), he has been extremely hittable.  In the last four seasons only 24 pitchers have had a H/9 higher than 10.5 (min. 162 IP), Millwood and Livan Hernandez have done it three times, nobody else has done it twice.

Innings eater and veteran presence are labels thrown around that mean precious little to me. I mean look, if he's going to put up an ERA+ under 90 wouldn't you want him to pitch as little as possible? Low quality innings aren't suddenly transformed into something wonderful just because there are a lot of them. As for tutoring the younger pitchers, is he supposed to say "See how bad I was today? Don't do that."? Being vocal is fine and all but if a guy is continually getting bombed I gotta think any message he delivers isn't going to land.

Millwood's last best chance for any sort of success most likely rests in the National League, where 11% of batting orders consists of hitters that either bunt or strike out. I hope he realizes this and turns down what I'm sure will be a far too generous Royals offer.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

My reaction to Storm Chasers as performed by Michael Scott



Omaha Storm Chasers screams minor league baseball, which I imagine is exactly what they were going for. But still, I would have preferred they stay the Royals despite the fact that wasn't going to land them on any top baseball names list. Love it or hate it but Storm Chasers is definitely better than Golden Spikes, so at least it's got that going for it.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Looking forward

The trade that sent David DeJesus to Oakland has somewhat confirmed two things in my opinion:
  1. Moore isn't likely to bring in a Ponson/Tomko type veteran to fill out the rotation.
  2. Alex Gordon will be a Royal in 2011.
If both of these hold to be true then I will be very pleased. It sounds like the rotation is set based on this Moore comment made yesterday.

“Prior to making this deal today,” Moore said, “we had (Zack) Greinke, (Luke) Hochevar, (Kyle) Davies and (Sean) O’Sullivan. That’s just four guys. Vin Mazzaro gives us a fifth.
“We’ve got some (candidates) internally. We’ve got Aaron Crow and, possibly, Everett Teaford and (Danny) Duffy. They’re going to get hard looks in spring training.

I guess my dream of Tejeda getting a shot will remain just that, a dream. Crow and Duffy have yet to see time in AAA and Teaford has all of 4.2 innings there, I doubt those three are given serious consideration. So it would appear then that the rotation heading into 2011 will be Greinke, Hochevar, Mazzaro, Davies, and O'Sullivan. I'm assuming Mazzaro will be the #3 guy, if not he certainly should be. I know a lot of fans felt like KC got ripped off but it looks to me they got a better return than the White Sox got for Nick Swisher (Wilson Betemit, Jhonny Nunez, & Jeff Marquez). At the time of that trade Swisher was 28 years old and had a 112 OPS+. If Mazzaro can be a legit #3 then this trade is a win for KC.

I halfway expected Gordon to get dealt this winter but with DDJ gone I can't see Moore trading away another starting outfielder (though apparently the Blue Jays are interested). I'm still a Gordon fan, in fact my belief that he will be an above average big leaguer has been both consistent and unrewarded. Mark my words though, it will happen. With Gordon in left and Blanco/Dyson in center it stands to reason that Moore will acquire another outfielder (I haven't forgotten Maier, I think his time is just about up in KC). It could likely be a minor league free agent but it's even more likely it will be Jeff Francoeur. It would be nice to have another right handed hitter with pop but it would be even nicer to have someone successful at getting on base, and that's not exactly a Francoeur specialty (.310 career OBP).

Monday, November 8, 2010

Some de la Rosa speculation

MLB Trade Rumors posted their annual Top 50 Free Agents list today and has one of the players predicted to land in KC, former Royal Jorge de la Rosa.

MLBTR:
12.  Jorge De La Rosa - Royals.  Though De La Rosa at least gets groundballs, some consider
him another Oliver Perez waiting to happen.  Much will depend on whether De La Rosa requires 
more than three years or $10MM annually.  The Pirates and Nationals seem like potential suitors 
as well, if he can't find common ground with the Rockies.

JDLR is obviously a much improved pitcher since being traded to the Rockies. With KC in 2006,07 he went 11-16 with a 5.64 ERA (82 ERA+) and 1.64 WHIP in 178.2 innings. With the Rockies, the last three seasons, he's gone 34-24 with a 4.49 ERA (104 ERA+) and 1.38 WHIP in 436.2 innings. While still prone to extreme bouts of wildness (4.5 career BB/9) he has been getting more strikeouts (8.9 SO/9 as a Rockie), which includes a career best 193 in 2009 (in just 185 innings).

I can't see Moore offering a 3/30 contract given his intention to cut payroll. I would imagine this could only happen if Greinke is traded (which I of course oppose). Should his price fall though, and he can be obtained without trading Greinke, Moore should absolutely go after him. Piggybacking off my last post I would like a 1-4 of Greinke/Hochevar/JDLR/Tejeda a lot.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

On Zawadzki, Arias, and Tejeda

I'm not familiar with either of the middle infielders Moore recently claimed so I'll defer to Craig Brown's analysis at Royals Authority. After reading his post and checking their minor league numbers I agree that Zawadzki probably has should have the edge over Arias. Their major league PA's are too small of a sample size (Arias 275, Zawadzki 42) to gauge whether they can hit at this level.

Player PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG
Joaquin Arias 3383 417 900 106 52 28 340 138 51 147 334 .285 .317 .378
Lance Zawadzki 1631 221 389 73 15 30 187 58 11 163 329 .268 .344 .401

Arias has more speed, Zawadzki walks more and has some pop. If it's up to me I'm going with the guy who gets on base more. Now you may be wondering why it matters how often a utility infielder gets on base because they are usually just defensive replacements and pinch runners. Well on another team that might be true but in Kansas City the managers tend to fall in love with their backups and give them entirely way too many plate appearances. We've seen it time and time and time again. Managers in KC may change but this is a constant.
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In his last post Rany brought up moving Robinson Tejeda to the rotation and I wholeheartedly agree. In fact this was something I brought up before the 2010 season after Tejeda made a mockery of major league hitting in his six 2009 starts (the league hit just .138/.271/.248).

Rany:
The more I think about it, the more I think the Royals should commit to Tejeda in the rotation. 
The downside is minimal; he’s already proven he can pitch effectively in middle relief, and can 
go back to that role if need be. He’s a hefty guy who should be more than durable enough to 
handle a starter’s role. The Royals desperately need one more starting pitcher to start 2011, but 
don’t want to commit to a free agent for the long-term given the number of minor league pitchers 
who may warrant a promotion by season’s end.

I actually thought, after he failed to make the rotation after spring training, that they would move him to the rotation at some point during the season but I wasn't really surprised when they didn't. It's funny that a good September will insure Kyle Davies 20+ starts year in year out but all it got Tejeda was a ticket to the bullpen. Tejeda in his career has a 4.52 ERA in 53 starts but if you throw out his disastrous 2007 season his ERA drops to 3.41 in 34 starts (179.1 innings). Much like Greinke isn't the same pitcher he was in 2005 I think it's safe to say Tejeda isn't the same pitcher he was in 2007.
If the 1-3 spots in the rotation are Grienke, Hochevar, and Tejeda I'm feeling pretty good about the 2011 season as a Royals fan.