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Royals Spending Big?

Peter Gammons tweeted a couple of days ago that this free agent market is shaping up to a fantastic one for the players and cited examples such as John Buck and Joaquin Benoit getting three years each. Then in a sentence acceptable for journalists only on Twitter* said “Pirates, Royals offering big.” Pretty cryptic stuff from Gammons who is wrong way less often than his critics would like to admit. Before we start getting excited about to whom the Royals could be making big offers, this statement was qualified with the fact that it was from the mouth of an unnamed agent. Agents do everything they can to drive value for their clients. Still, though, this is an interesting statement considering that we’ve been told all off-season that payroll would be decreasing. To add to that, the trade of DeJesus has already saved the Royals about $5.5 million.

*I love Twitter. I really do. In fact, you should follow me @DBLesky. What I don’t love is the negative effect I feel it is having on journalism. This may be a topic for an entire off-Royals blog post, but as someone with a journalism background, I struggle to find where reporting the story first is the most important thing in the world. Please don’t confuse that statement with me condemning anyone who tries to break the story first. They don’t have a choice in the matter. The news society is designed to praise those who are “first on the scene.” That’s not even my biggest problem with Twitter, though. My biggest problem is that it’s making people stupid. While this is going to sound like it should be followed with “get off my lawn!” I am just appalled at how many kids don’t have basic sentence structure skills and it’s because of limited characters. End rant. Thank you for reading as I went off the deep end for just a moment.

So when Gammons tweets that the Royals are spending big, it’s a little bit of a shock. I got to thinking what spending big could mean. It could mean they’re offering big money to the top-tier free agents of the world like Werth, Crawford, Lee, Martinez, etc. While I’m not an advocate of spending big money this off-season, there are a couple of fits in the top-tier of the free agent class. As I’ve mentioned before in this space, Werth is a fit. Aside from Wil Myers, there’s not much in the way of corner outfielders in the system and in a lineup that’s about to become very lefty heavy, a middle of the order right-handed bat would be a big coup. I’m not sure that the money and years match up, but I’ve thrown out 3 years for $51 million before. A couple of posters on Royals Corner have mentioned front loading the deal while there’s not a ton of money on the books and I’d be willing to tack on a fourth year if they did that. The other option that may make sense is Victor Martinez. That’s an option if, and only if, they believe he can catch full-time. Otherwise he’s just adding to the glut of 1B/DH types in the system.

Something else offering big could mean is offering up a lot in a trade. I haven’t really discussed this here, but as you all know by now, Justin Upton is being dangled. He can be had, but for quite a price. The Diamondbacks, like the Royals with Greinke, want to hit a home run with this deal if they make it. The Royals obviously have the farm system to make a trade of this magnitude, but the question is whether or not it makes sense for them. I think to get Upton, it would take two of the big pitching prospects, a big prospect bat and probably a Major League arm. Would you trade Soria, Montgomery, Crow and Myers for Upton? I’m not sure that I would. I love Justin Upton and I think he’s still improving, but there are a few red flags with him that would really concern me if I’m not only giving up huge talent potential for him, but committing $50 million for him. Not that he and his brother, BJ, are the same person, but there have been questions about BJ’s work ethic, and Upton hasn’t exactly played through pain over the course of his short career. Also, BJ looks like he has peaked early. Is the younger Upton on path for the same sort of career? It’s hard to say, but it’s a huge gamble giving up talent like that.

Readers of this blog know that I’m a big proponent of a Werth signing because he has the pedigree, the talent and the athleticism to be worth a three or four-year deal. His home run numbers will inevitably drop moving from Citizen’s Bank Park to Kauffman, but he’d provide solid defense, a good OBP and a veteran bat the young guys can lean on.

This speculation got me thinking about a world in which the Royals were suddenly able to field a team with a $120 million payroll. It was sort of fun to think about what they could do this off-season with about $60 million to spend. Ahh, a dream worth dreaming! Realistically, though, the Royals aren’t going to make any big splashes in the free agent market this year, and they probably shouldn’t. They’ve got a ridiculously talented cast of players on the rise, and it makes sense to see where the pieces all fit in before committing big money to a piece of the puzzle. It’ll be interesting, though, to see what offering big actually ends up meaning.

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  1. Patrick
    November 22, 2010 at 11:49 am

    I have to echo your sentiments on Twitter and it’s negative effects on journalism. You hear things right away, and then the article about whatever signing, trade or whatever is kind of a let down because you already heard about it on twitter. A one sentance tweet kind of brings down an actual article.

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