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The Deadline Nears

I suppose you thought that after another fantastic day at the plate for Johnny Giavotella that I’d be writing a whole post about how he should be the Royals starting second baseman rather than Chris Getz. Well, I’m not going to do that. The fact that he’s still in Omaha, though, while Getz is masquerading as a Major League player is infuriating to me, and I just don’t get it, but I’m not going to get too terribly worked up over it until the trade deadline comes and goes. The reason for that is that we are less than two weeks away from the Royals potentially shaking up their roster. The problem with Giavotella right now is that he is not on the 40 man roster, so they would have to do some work to get people off the 40 man in order to get him to the big leagues. Yes, there is certainly some dead weight on there, but trades may be the best way to make the space. And if there is anybody up above looking out for the Royals, a contending team will lose their second baseman in the next week or so and actually want to trade for Chris Getz.

Rany stole my thunder a little bit with his post from a couple of days ago about the trade value and the likelihood of certain players getting traded, but I’m going to talk about it anyway. As you all know, the Royals have a few players who are probably not really a part of the future and they have what appears to be suitable replacements in the minor leagues that might actually make the team better. The Royals spent the off-season doing exactly what they should have done. For young players ready to play in the big leagues, they were on the roster. For those who were not ready, the Royals signed stop gap free agents. It’s not typical for me to praise what they did, but I think they did the right thing signing guys like Melky Cabrera and Jeff Francoeur.

In regard to those two signings, it’s funny what half a season can do to change opinions. In the offseason I thought the signings were good ideas in principle because the Royals needed someone to handle the outfield duties. Of course, the Royals hadn’t yet traded for Lorenzo Cain, so that wasn’t an issue in anybody’s mind just yet. Even though Cain wasn’t in the fold, I did not like the signing of Melky Cabrera after reading reports that he was out of shape and didn’t work very hard at his craft. On the other hand, while I mocked the Jeff Francoeur signing just like everybody else did, I thought it had a chance to work out well, especially if the Royals used him as a platoon partner for someone. Well, as it has turned out, Cabrera got into better shape and has been one of the Royals best hitters while Jeff Francoeur is doing his best to make sure nobody forgets his April because if they do, they’ll realize that he’s been absolutely terrible since then. So now, it’s easy to look in the minors and realize that the Royals have only one outfielder who, without a doubt, is ready to play in the big leagues every day and that is Lorenzo Cain. There’s increasing sentiment that the Royals should trade just one of the outfielders they signed and keep the other. I think I might agree with that, but I think they should keep Cabrera. He’s due arbitration after the season, but still shouldn’t make a ton of money and can handle right field until Wil Myers is ready sometime during the next season.

Anyway, I meant to get to the trade possibilities much sooner than this, but hopefully you stayed with me through my ramblings. There are essentially five players who have some serious trade value on the Royals roster right now. They are the two outfielders, Jeff Francis, Bruce Chen and Joakim Soria. I’d put Billy Butler on the list, but I just don’t think they’re going to dangle him at this point. He’s in a deep slump and might be traded in the off-season, but right now his value is about as low as it’s been since his sophomore season. With those five above, though, there are certainly contenders who could use them and who could give up something good for them.

Melky Cabrera; Possible Destinations: Red Sox, Rays, Phillies, Pirates, Giants – All these teams need outfield help in some way or another. Teams like Tampa Bay probably wouldn’t need to trade somebody for a guy like Cabrera as they have two outfielders in the minor league system who have a chance to contribute, but they might need some help regardless. The nice thing about a guy like Cabrera is that he’s been a fourth outfielder before, so if he’s brought into a situation where a team needs a rental because of an injured outfielder returning in mid-September, he can slide into that role again when the time comes. I think the Royals can actually expect more for Cabrera because of all the teams who could use him. Dayton Moore recently said that he’s looking for near ready starting pitching in trades, but I think the best bet with trading is to trade for talent in the lower levels of the minors and hope that you come up with a stud. Cabrera could bring back two very talented, raw minor leaguers or a prospect at the back end of the top ten in a mediocre system.

Jeff Francouer: Possible Destinations: Red Sox, Indians, Phillies – Francoeur is less marketable than Cabrera. For one, he can’t play center field. You can argue all you want that Melky can’t either, but he hasn’t been heinous there this season in spite of some of his troubles, so in a smaller ballpark I think Cabrera could patrol center decently enough for half a season. Francoeur is, however, a very good right fielder. The most likely destination for him is Philadelphia where they badly need a right-handed hitting right fielder who can mash lefties and play good defense. I’d love to see them be able to get a guy like Trevor May, but unless the Phillies get really desperate I don’t think they’d part with him for Francoeur. Now, if you add Soria to the mix, maybe they could get something going there. A guy like Vance Worley might be a fair return for Francoeur from the Phillies and it would give the Royals their near ready starting pitcher.

Jeff Francis/Bruce Chen: Possible destinations: Yankees, Indians, Tigers, Brewers, Cardinals – Any team in contention could use more pitching. I group these two together because I don’t think the Royals are going to trade both of them, but I do think they’re going to trade one of them. Neither pitcher is going to fetch much on the open market, so the Royals could probably have their choice of a mediocre arm who is pretty good in AAA, but probably won’t be more than a reliever in the Majors or a raw guy with some potential in the low minors. I’d take the raw guy every day of the week.

Joakim Soria: Possible destinations: Yankees, Rays, Rangers, Angels, Phillies, Diamondbacks – Realistically, every team wants Joakim Soria. Some teams don’t need him, but every team wants him. Sadly, he has more value to the team he is on than he does on the trade market. Teams don’t typically give up serious talent for closers, last year’s Ramos for Capps trade notwithstanding. I mentioned above potentially packaging Soria with Francoeur to the Phillies and that could get the Royals a really nice package including any of the high upside arms in the Phillies system as well as a guy like Worley who is ready now to contribute. I don’t think the Royals should trade Soria now, though, but rather in the off-season if they’re going to at all. I just don’t see a huge market for him at this point, which is odd because of how dominant he’s been since regaining the closer’s role.

So there you have it, just a few hundred words on the trade market for the Royals marketable players. Check back in two weeks to get an idea of what the roster looks like. Oh, and count on August 1 as the post where I scream bloody murder if Giavotella isn’t in the big leagues.

———-

It occurred to me that I’m an idiot and there is one more player who has some serious trade value on the Royals and that is Wilson Betemit. How I could overlook him is completely beyond me. I could see him as a fit with the Tigers, Angels, Brewers, Marlins and Braves. He might be able to get a mid-tiered prospect like Melky could get. That all depends of course on how desperate the team looking to trade for him gets.

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