Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Royals Close To Signing Broxton

The Royals are on the verge of signing former Dodgers closer Jonathan Broxton, per Ken Rosenthal. Injuries and ineffectiveness limited to Broxton to just 12.2 innings in 2011 but he had minor elbow surgery after the season and no doubt hopes to revert to his 2009 self in hopes of a bigger payday next offseason. That season he had 36 saves and 114 strikeouts in 76 innings (13.5 SO/9!). Anything close to that he will be the natural choice to succeed Joakim Soria if/when he gets dealt. Of course a good year and Broxton himself will likely garner a lot of attention at the trade deadline.

Year Age W L ERA G SV IP BB SO ERA+ WHIP H/9 BB/9 SO/9
2005 21 1 0 5.93 14 0 13.2 12 22 71 1.829 8.6 7.9 14.5
2006 22 4 1 2.59 68 3 76.1 33 97 174 1.231 7.2 3.9 11.4
2007 23 4 4 2.85 83 2 82.0 25 99 156 1.146 7.6 2.7 10.9
2008 24 3 5 3.13 70 14 69.0 27 88 134 1.174 7.0 3.5 11.5
2009 25 7 2 2.61 73 36 76.0 29 114 154 0.961 5.2 3.4 13.5
2010 26 5 6 4.04 64 22 62.1 28 73 96 1.476 9.2 4.0 10.5
2011 27 1 2 5.68 14 7 12.2 9 10 67 1.895 10.7 6.4 7.1
7 Seasons 25 20 3.19 386 84 392.0 163 503 132 1.232 7.3 3.7 11.5

This is not a bad move in my opinion, though I think I'll add if he's healthy as a qualifier. I thought the opening day bullpen was dang near set in stone but this could be a prelude to another move. Something like this one perhaps.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Chen Again

There were whispers a couple weeks ago that Dayton Moore was no longer trying to acquire a frontline starting pitcher, whispers with merit apparently as Moore has opted to bring back Bruce Chen instead. The rotation appears set now as Chen joins holdovers Luke Hochevar, Felipe Paulino, Danny Duffy and newcomer Jonathan Sanchez. Meanwhile Aaron Crow, Everett Teaford, Luis Mendoza and Mike Montgomery will get spring training looks though I doubt any of the four will emerge victorious. And if they do it'll likely be at the expense of Duffy, who frankly could use a little more AAA seasoning.

On the surface the Chen signing may look like Royals management don't really believe contention is a possibility, I mean they are returning four starters off a unit that was just not very good, but it's plausible they honestly think the ifs I outlined here can and will occur. I'm not so sure they're wrong. Of course you can add two more ifs to that article as in, if Sanchez can return to his 2010 form and if Chen can remain a league average back of the rotation starter.

I spent a considerable amount of time on twitter last night defending Paulino's spot in the rotation, which surprised me. And this is why:

Highest SO/9 in Royals history (min. 20 GS)
Rk Player SO/9 GS Year
1 Zack Greinke 9.50 33 2009
2 Kevin Appier 8.82 32 1996
3 Bob Johnson 8.66 26 1970
4 Felipe Paulino 8.59 20 2011
5 Kevin Appier 8.42 23 1994
6 Kevin Appier 8.27 31 1995
7 Zack Greinke 8.14 32 2008
8 Tom Gordon 8.06 32 1990
9 Gil Meche 7.83 34 2008
10 Dennis Leonard 7.50 37 1977
11 Kevin Appier 7.49 34 1997
12 Danny Duffy 7.43 20 2011
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 11/24/2011.

In their history the Royals haven't had many pitchers that missed bats on a regular basis but that's exactly what they have in Paulino. It'd be crazy to send him to the bullpen just because the big league success he achieved in 2011 was the first of his career. Despite Dutton's claim that he'll be fighting for a spot in spring training I think he's a lock, I believe that Moore and Yost are smart enough to recognize what they stumbled upon. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Comps To The End

Life can be a strange thing, death too I suppose. Consider the case of Paul Splittorff, Mike Flanagan and Bob Forsch, three statistically similar pitchers from the same era. They are each others top comps at baseball-reference.com and all three have passed away this year. I honestly don't know how unusual this is, it actually may not be, but I found it interesting nonetheless.

Name W L ERA IP ERA+ WHIP H/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
Splittorff 166 143 3.81 2554.2 101 1.340 9.3 2.7 3.7 1.36
Flanagan 167 143 3.90 2770.0 100 1.334 9.1 2.9 4.8 1.68
Forsch 168 136 3.76 2794.1 98 1.291 8.9 2.7 3.6 1.36

If you missed my interview with former Royals broadcaster Denny Trease you can check that out here. Denny recalls Splitt the pitcher and covers the smooth transition from the mound to the booth. I still believe that Trease/Splitt remain the top TV duo in the team's history.

The Sanchez/Cabrera Trade And How It Affects 2012

In one swift move Dayton Moore improved the rotation and the team's defense. After receiving no suitable offers for Melky Cabrera at the trade deadline Moore sent him to the Giants yesterday in exchange for lefty Jonathan Sanchez. While Sanchez comes with more than a few question marks he'll do much better than anything the unholy trifecta of Sean O'Sullivan/Vin Mazzaro/Luis Mendoza would provide.

Sanchez will be a free agent at the end of next season so it's hard to believe this'll be the sole addition to the rotation. I mean that wouldn't really make much sense unless Moore thought he could extend Sanchez or flip him at the deadline. What I suspect is happening is that front office believes the Central is up for grabs and wants to go for it but without mortgaging too much of the future.

Now Sanchez alone doesn't vault the Royals into contention so I think that a trade for another starting pitcher - one with a well established track record - is still a viable possibility. I'm speaking of course of the move we've all been expecting, the one where Moore parts with Wil Myers or Mike Montgomery. Acquiring Sanchez doesn't mean the search for an ace is over.

Cabrera being dealt opens up centerfield for Lorenzo Cain, a player with plus defense and plus speed. Cain has significantly more range than Cabrera so his addition to the lineup will help all the pitchers. I mentioned on twitter shortly after the trade was announced that I hope Yost leaves Alex Gordon in the leadoff spot as his insertion there was one of Yost's best moves. I even went so far as to predict the opening day lineup, which I'll share here too:

  1. Gordon
  2. Giavotella
  3. Butler
  4. Hosmer
  5. Francoeur
  6. Moustakas
  7. Cain
  8. Perez
  9. Escobar
That's a pretty solid starting nine I think which leads me to believe that the offense will be just fine, even without Cabrera's bat. And let's be honest, he was unlikely to replicate his his 121 OPS+. Cain's bat is still a work in progress but it doesn't take a leap of imagination to suggest he's capable of being league average. Couple that with above average defense and he has the potential to be a valuable player for Kansas City.