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GM for a Day

Baseball Prospectus has been putting up their GM for a Day posts over the last couple of weeks for various teams, so I thought I’d put my two cents in for what I would do this off-season regarding the Royals. I’ve made a previous post about what I think will happen and what I’d do using the constraints of the players on the roster, but this is a little less based on reality. The only thing I will be adhering to is a payroll of between $60 million and $75 million.* Other than that, any player is fair game for benching, release, etc. It also means that my original draft of signing Crawford, Werth, Lee and Vazquez as free agents is probably out the window. One might be possible, though…

*I know that the Royals said payroll would be dropping, but there’s always wiggle room for the right player. DM even said as much himself in the article that mentioned payroll being cut.

My first order of business is probably going to be similar to what is on DM’s agenda. Zack Greinke. In a perfect world, Zack would be a Royal for the next ten years, but i just don’t think that’s going to happen. He doesn’t have to be traded now, but if he’s going to get traded it has to at least be before the 2012 season starts and probably before the 2011 season ends in order to get peak value. Every team would love to have Zack, but only a few have both the financial prowess and prospects to make it happen. Here are the teams I think could make a run at Greinke:

Minnesota Twins
Boston Red Sox
Tampa Bay Rays
Seattle Mariners
Texas Rangers (if Lee signs elsewhere)
Los Angeles Angels
Chicago Cubs
Atlanta Braves
Los Angeles Dodgers
Colorado Rockies

I put the Braves on the list because they are a common trade partner and the Rockies because they need a second ace to match up in that division, but neither really has the guns to get a trade done. The Twins also don’t have enough to get it done for a trade within the division. So we’re now down to seven teams. The Dodgers can probably be crossed off the list although they have a moderately chip of their own to trade in Kemp and maybe even Chad Billingsley. A Kemp/Billingsley package would provide Major League proven talent in return and is something I’d definitely look into if some of the other deals don’t work out. When it’s all said and done, the top three trading partners in this scenario are the Rangers, Rays and Red Sox. And really, the Rangers offerings aren’t as good as what could be gotten from the other two teams.

Ultimately, I’d settle on a package to the Rays centered around Jeremy Hellickson. In addition to Hellickson, I’d get Reid Brignac, Matt Moore and I’d ask for Wade Davis, but would ultimately settle for a guy like Luke Bailey. This trade could conceivably be expanded to include a guy like DeJesus, but that’d require Jennings in return and I don’t think the Rays would be willing to add that much salary in addition to giving up that many prospects. In Hellickson, the Royals get a guy who they can plug directly into the rotation. Brignac would immediately become a starter. Luke Bailey can become the catcher of the future (assuming his surgery allows him to catch, a physical would be a big deal here). Matt Moore would fit in really nicely with all the prospects working their way up. He needs to improve his command, but everything else is working for him already.

So I’ve made the first big strike. And freed up $13 million in payroll for 2011 (and 2012). My next move is also a trade. It’s time to cash in on Betancourt’s year and hope some other GM is willing to give up anything for the trouble. Betancourt is owed over $4 million in 2011, but I’d ship him off to anybody willing to take him for $1 million. A team like the Giants might have some interest. It doesn’t matter who. He’s gone.

Now I make a big free agent splash. The Royals prospects have two weaknesses. They are too left-handed heavy and there aren’t enough corner outfield prospects. There’s a right-handed, corner outfield bat on the market who can make a real impact on this lineup both in 2011 and in the future and that bat is Jayson Werth. It’d be a tough sign, but I’d give him 3 years, $51 million. He’s athletic, has plate discipline and would be fantastic protection for the young guys coming through the system. When Moustakas can come to the majors and hit 7th, that’s a huge plus. DeJesus moves to center in this scenario for the early part of the season before he’s traded at the deadline to make room for Dyson.

My small free agent signing is simply re-signing Chen to a one year, $2.5 million deal. We can tack on an option for with a $500k buyout if it makes him happy.

That’s about the extent of my plans as the general manager for a day. The roster would look as follows:

Catchers – May (400k), Pena (1M)
Infielders – Aviles (450k), Betemit (2.5M), Brignac (400K), Butler(4.5M), Getz (500K), Kaaihue (500K)
Outfielders – Blanco (500K), DeJesus (6M), Gordon (2M), Maier (500K), Werth (17M)
Starters – Chen (2.5M), Davies (3M), Hellickson (400K), Hochevar (2M), Teaford (400K)
Relievers – Coleman (400k), Duffy (400k), Holland (400k), Meche (12M), Soria (4M), Tejeda (1.5M), Wood (400K)

That roster would carry a payroll of just under $64 million. Keep in mind that $12 million also comes off at the end of the season in Meche. Knowing this, I’d probably work on an extension for Butler at some point.

Essentially replacing Greinke with Hellickson will probably be a loss, but I could very easily see Hellickson putting up Greinke 2010 numbers and being much more cost effective. Plus, it opens up some money to be able to sign a big free agent bat that is so desperately needed. A lineup that has established players like Butler and Werth and hopefully Gordon (though my patience is wearing mighty thin with him…post to come) is a nice environment in which to break in the Hosmers and Moustakases of the world.

  1. Daniel
    October 18, 2010 at 11:24 am

    What about Tim Collins? I think he can and should be in our Opening Day bullpen.

  2. October 18, 2010 at 11:30 am

    I’d have no real problem with him making the team, but he’s only had about 20 AAA innings. I’d just like to see him get a little more time down there. He’ll be in the bullpen at some point in 2011. You could argue easily for him over Duffy, though, with Duffy starting in AA or AAA.

  3. Patrick
    October 18, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    Werth for 3 years, 51 million seems a bit steep to me, but that team does look like it would be fun to watch once the minor leaguers start moving into the majors.

    You should also put your “Leave a comment” at the end of the post. I find it mildly annoying to have to scroll back up at the end.

  4. October 19, 2010 at 10:40 am

    I think Werth for that much is a little much, too, but it’s not long enough to hurt the team too badly and it’ll take more to get him to come to KC than elsewhere.

    As for the comments, I agree that it’s a pain, but without changing the theme, I don’t know how to move the link. If you read the article as it’s own page, though, the comments are directly at the end of it. Thanks for the feedback!

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