Friday, May 30, 2008

I had an idea...

(I posted this piece a few hours ago, only I just noticed that - because I had started this post a few days ago before all hell broke loose - the blogger software posted this under Wednesday's date, halfway down the screen. Bad blogger. So I'm posting again and deleting the original post, although this may result in a few comments being lost.)

As we wait for our long national nightmare to end - again - there are so many things I want to talk about. I still haven't given my thoughts on the Soria extension, the draft is coming up in four days and I want to get my thoughts on that, and of course we still need to finalize some nicknames. (I figured the last thing on the list ought to wait until the Royals pull out of their tailspin - otherwise everyone's going to end up with awful nicknames like "scumbag" and "dorkface" and "Tony Pena Jr.")

But right now, everyone wants to talk about how to fix the team's offense. And so I brainstormed a little, and I came up with a trade idea that might benefit the Royals. And unlike most trade ideas that fans come up with, I'd like to think my trade idea might actually make sense for both sides. Maybe. Possibly.

Perhaps not surprisingly, given the state of our offense, my idea for improving the team's offense involves...trading away two of our hitters. So here goes.

The Royals trade: David DeJesus, Esteban German, and a pitching prospect to Chicago.
The Cubs trade: Felix Pie & Ronny Cedeno to Kansas City.

Settle down, everyone. Here's the rationale for both teams.

For the Royals: David DeJesus is a fine player, but he epitomizes solidity. From the Royals standpoint, the problem with DeJesus isn't that he's a problem - it's that he isn't part of the solution. By trading DeJesus, the Royals would get Felix Pie, who may never rise to the caliber of player that DeJesus is, but whose upside exceeds that of DeJesus. Pie hit .362/.410/.563 in 55 Triple-A games last season. He's not that good, and he's a free swinger and a high-risk prospect, but he has the ability to hit .300 in the majors, with 15-20 homers and better speed than David. He's just 23, whereas DeJesus is 28. By 2010 or 2011, which is the earliest the Royals should be targeting contention, he may be the better player of the two.

Cedeno, of course, immediately represents a massive upgrade on Tony Pena Jr, primarily because any animal that walks on two legs and has opposable thumbs ought to represent an upgrade. Cedeno was a massive flop in his one opportunity as the Cubs' everyday shortstop, in 2006, when he hit .245/.271/.339. But the year before, he hit .355/.403/.518 in Triple-A; the year after, he hit .359/.422/.537 in Triple-A. We're all excited about Mike Aviles and his .338/.369/.634 line in Omaha, but 1) he's never hit this well before; 2) most people feel he can't handle shortstop in the majors; 3) he's 27 years old.

Cedeno is 25, and he's had two seasons in Triple-A as good as Aviles' best season. He's hit .321/.402/.444 for the Cubs in limited playing time this year. He would not be a free agent until after 2012; Pie wouldn't be one until after 2013.

German had an OBP over .380 for the Royals the last two years, and 38 at-bats this season don't change the fact that he's a terrific utility player who can play second base, third base, and the outfield. He does everything that Cedeno currently does for the Cubs, except that he's a backup shortstop in an emergency only.

Basically, this trade would at the very least not hurt the Royals offense in 2008, because any loss of offense in centerfield would be made up for at shortstop, and the Royals simply have no playing time available for German. The Royals could put Pie directly into their lineup, although given his struggles this year (both in Triple-A and the majors) I'd prefer they stash him in Omaha for a few months, try to teach him some plate discipline, and tell Joey Gathright he's got one last opportunity to play every day, and let's see what you got.

For the Cubs: the Cubs have the most potent offense in the National League. They are in first place in their division. They have an excellent shot at the playoffs, and have to be considered one of the favorites to come out of the National League. As you may know, this would be a rather unusual event for this franchise, and would be met by much applause throughout the land.

The Cubs are playing to win now. They've got a great lineup - but they have one massive, gaping, festering, chest wound of a hole. They have no centerfielder. Well, they have Pie, but they don't think he's ready, and pennant races in a big media market are not kind to rookies struggling to establish themselves. So now, they have Jim Edmonds, which is great except this is 2008, not 1998, and Edmonds is evoking the memory of Willie Mays in 1973 right now - a once-great player reduced to such a degree that he's almost painful to watch. They've started Reed Johnson out there the last two nights.

The Cubs also have a problem which may not hurt them now, but will almost certainly haunt them come playoff time - even their longtime fan George Will thinks they lean too far to the right. Eight Cubs have batted 100 times or more this season - and seven of them (all but Fukudome) bat right-handed.

DeJesus would solve both of these problems. While he's not a great hitter, his career line is a perfectly respectable .282/.357/.412. Factor in the league difficulty factor, and you can add 5-10 points to those numbers. Plus you can't help but think that once he escapes the swirling vortex of doom that is the Royals' offense, his performance will go up a bit. He won't need to bat at the top of the lineup in Chicago - he'll probably bat 7th, behind guys like Ramirez and Soto, sandwiched between DeRosa and Theriot. With a fresh start on a winning team in a weak division in the inferior league, DeJesus could easily hit .295/.370/.440 the rest of the way.

Secondly, DeJesus is signed to a very favorable contract. He's making $2.5 million this season, and is signed for $3.6 million next year, $4.7 million in 2010. His contract has a club option for 2011 at $6 million, or a $500,000 bonus. (Thanks, Cot.) The Cubs would have him under contract for three more years after this one, and yet they'd be on the hook for less than $9 million in guaranteed money if his career goes south and they elect to decline his option.

Keep in mind, the Cubs are still in the midst of being sold, and so having guaranteed player commitments on the books is a good thing for them - at least that's what we were told when they offered Alfonso Soriano $136 million and the rights to Lake Michigan. Having a centerfielder under contract into the next decade may be appealing to the Cubs' management team for that reason.

In return, the Cubs would give up Pie, who is a top prospect, but they have reason to be concerned - his #1 PECOTA comparable going into this season, of the thousands and thousands of minor and major league players over the last 50 years, is Corey Patterson. Pie hasn't hit well in a small sample size this year. They may well decide that a bird in the hand is better than a bird in the bush. And Cedeno is basically a utility infielder for the Cubs at this point, with little hope of starting in the future - replacing him with German would be almost a wash for 2008.

Is it a fair deal? I asked Kevin Goldstein for his opinion - originally, the trade was DeJesus for Pie and Cedeno - and he felt, not surprisingly, that I was greatly overrating DeJesus and that the deal was tilted in the Royals' favor. Adding German balances the trade considerably, but even so I can see the argument that two young potential starters are worth more than one ready-now league-average player and a good utilityman. So I've included the generic "pitching prospect" as an equalizer, with the exact value of that player to be negotiated by the teams.

The Royals have had quite a year on the farm in terms of the development of their pitchers - more on that at some point - and so I think they could afford to part with some depth. Certainly, a Grade C prospect like Blake Johnson or Henry Barrera could be given away without any regret. Would I put Julio Pimentel into the deal? Probably. Blake Wood? Probably not. But I am not a scout; I would trust Dayton Moore and friends to get together with the Cubs and arrive on a mutually agreeable player. Or they may well decide that the trade is even, two-for-two.

Will this happen? If it does, it will be the first time in the history of these here internets that a trade suggestion made by a blogger comes to fruition. (If I'm wrong about that, somebody please let me know.) But it should. Both teams would benefit. God knows the Royals could use all the benefit they can find right about now.

44 comments:

Anonymous said...

your nuts

Anonymous said...

as a Cubs fan i have no problem tradeing Pie away... like you say he has a lot of upside, but it would be more helpful to get a better hitter. with that said, i dont think the Cubs should trade Cedano because he can play 2nd, SS, 3rd, and outfield in the possible future... so why trade him??? lets look at the rockies, they have 9 guys on the DL... injuries are a part of the game and its always good to have a young guy that can hit and play multiple positions, besides if the Cubs choose to they could have Cedano work in the outfield during the offseason and spring training... so that solves the problem in centerfield... all in all i think your trade is a great idea, but i dont think it will happen becasue if Cedano is to be traded away i think the Cubs are going to excpect more in return

Anonymous said...

Cedeno and Pie were two of the possible pieces in a possible Brian Roberts trade. Dejesus does absolutely nothing for the Cubs. He is not an upgrade over Mark DeRosa or Ryan Theriot. The Cubs have players in the infield. Plus, Ronny Cedeno is a very hot commodity right now. If you started throwing Joey Gathright into the equation, ears might start popping.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't be more confused by
5:48's comment. Dejesus wouldn't replace Theriot or DeRosa...because he doesn't play infield. Whose ears would pop if the Royals threw Gathright into the equation? He sort of blows. Don't get me wrong, he's fast...but why would anyone get super excited about Gathright (especially in comparison to Dejesus)?

Shelby said...

this is worth a shot.

obviously.

Anonymous said...

who are you to propose a deal like this? the cubs would never give up Cedeno for such little in return. He came up with the Cubs and they have put a lot of work into him. They are definitely getting what they originally expected from him. He could be a starting shortstop for most teams and the Cubs definitely know that. I think they could package him with Matt Murton and a pitching prospect like Ceda or Veal to get an all-star caliber player.

I would imagine that is the more likely trade that baseball will see, not packaging him with another player that the Cubs are having patience with like Pie (just as they had patience with Cedeno, which has paid off very well) for some mediocre players. But, we'll see what happens as July approaches.

Anonymous said...

Cubs fan here, what about DeJesus for Pie and a Cubs B level prospect? I do think Pie will be the better of the two in 2010/11, but needs a change of scenery and a chance to develop and play everyday, but the Cubs are in win now mode so he wont get that (and Lou hates him). I am not interested in German and I am hoping Cedeno becomes the Cubs everyday SS so they can use the highly overrated Theriot as trade bait/utility player.

Anonymous said...

As a Cubs fan I say NO!!! Cedeno should be starting at SS right now and will soon if he is not traded for a lot more than you are talking about.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the pitching prospect could be Tomko.

Kevin

Anonymous said...

What a dumb trade idea. I wouldn't trade Ronny Cedeno OR Felix Pie straight up for those two. How about this trade? Cedeno and Pie for Zack Greinke? That's a little more of a an even trade. We'll throw in Jason Marquis if you need another starter.

mark72 said...

I hope your idea is possible, but I can't imagine that it would go through.

It's also beneficial for the Cubs franchise to have a couple of young players on contract through arbitration years at cheap and arbitration-level salaries more so than a C+ sort of player like DeJesus for several mil.

Kevin said...

BTW, thanks a lot DeJesus. The incredibly stupid baserunning continues. It is throughout the team, not just DeJesus, though he's tonight's example.

I think Rany was closer the other night discussing "solid". Don't expect to get major leaguers in trade for any of these Royals.

Kevin

Anonymous said...

I really like the idea of a Pie-for-DeJesus swap - throw in the right prospect(s) on one side or the other and it works pretty well.

However, including Cedeno creates a lot of problems. Even if "pitching prospect X" gives the Cubs a reasonably good value in return, trading Cedeno just isn't an option for the Cubs right now for several reasons:

1. He's without question their most valuable bench player, both as a hitter and as a fielder. Without Cedeno (and even with German going to the Cubs in return) that bench gets a whole lot worse, and depth counts for a lot in a playoff race.

2. He's the only backup SS they've got. Yes, I know Mike Fontenot played a few games there last season, but anyone who saw them knows just how badly that went. The Cubs don't have any shortstops waiting in the minors, either.

3. If history is any guide, Ryan Theriot will cool off dramatically from his good start, and when that happens the Cubs will need somebody to step up and take his place in the lineup lest they endure another half-season of their shortstop hitting as well as their pitchers.

Also, I take issue with the automatic assumption that the AL is the superior league, but that's an argument for another day.

-M.P.

Shelby said...

As I predicted, Cliff Lee was more than hittable, and we only manage 4 runs.

Anonymous said...

Why settle for that with our crap leftovers? I say trade for ARod, surely the Yankees would eat the contract in the interests of moving him for our premier scrubs like DeJesus and German. Maybe the Cubs will just give us Soriano?

Anonymous said...

Time to blow up the whole team and start over like the Tigers did. The Royals are the new cursed team. I know we won a title in '85, but we haven't even been back to the playoffs since then. Hell an expansion team has won the world series twice since they came into the league. I thought this was the year it all turned around, and guess what? I am this close to being done with them. They exist to suck money out of my pockets while I get no enjoyment from them and their losing ways. Screw you guys, I'm staying home.

Tim said...

I'm a huge cubs fan, and I believe some of them who are commenting here are overvaluing cedeno. Dejesus is exactly what the cubs need, he would be a perfect #8 hitter behind derosa, and we definitely need another left handed bat. Cedeno is going to come back to earth soon, he has never hit this well in the majors, and he has a pretty high babip so hes been lucky. If I were Jim Hendry, I'd take this trade any day.

Anonymous said...

I'm a life long Cubs fan and i've been following the Cubs closely all year. I do think Dejesus would be a pretty good fit for the Cubs, but i think you undervalue Cedeno a bit. He's been quite valuable to the Cubs so far this season, and no offense to Royals fan, but German brings absolutely no value to the deal. Pie i wouldn't mind trading away that much, but if Theriot fades in the second half like he did last year, we're definitely gonna wanna keep Cedeno. Dejesus and either a solid starting pitcher or a prospect with a promising future would likely get to Pie, or you can probably have Pie for Grienke or Bannister straight up.

Anonymous said...

pretty hilarious how Cubs fans are offended by the idea of a fair trade and then go out and propose a bunch of trades tilted way in their favor.

Feels like yahoo fantasy baseball where every manager thinks he can rip everyone else off.

bbxpert said...

DeJesus's boneheaded baserunning play tonight won't make other teams start clamoring to get him. I think it's amusing how supposed Cub fans seem so attached to a utility infielder. The Royals have a history of taking utility infielders and making them starters so Cedeno would fit right in.

Anonymous said...

I'm the same Cubs Fan who posted earlier. I never said I was offended, I just said that I thought Cedeno was being under-valued in this scenario. Pie is a highly touted prospect by many people outside the Cubs organizations, and Cedeno is considered starting caliber. Dejesus on the other hand in considered an average player and German nothing better than a career bench player. also the Cubs don't need more bench help but could use more starting pitching. I'm just giving the view from my side of the fence, and I'm sure Royals fans think more highly of both Dejesus and German than I do... true fans are never completely objective about their beloved teams.

Kevin said...

I agree mostly with the Cubs fans that DeJesus and German are both pretty average - shall we say "solid" - players. But, what Rany has proposed seems far less ridiculous and outlandish as a straight up trade of Pie for Greinke or Bannister.

I can go one better! How about Tomko straight up for Soriano!

At this point, I think we should trade Hillman for Sweet Lou. But, I can't do that to Lou, he'd have a coronary watching this team.

Anonymous said...

It's not that bad of a trade proposal, depending on the 3rd player the Royals throw in, but the main problem is that Cedeno is the only backup SS the Cubs have (Fontenot and DeRosa being emergency guys). It would make more sense to have Pena be in the trade instead of German because he, like Cedeno is probably a good enough athlete to play positions other than Short. Then the royals would have to throw in something a bit better.

Of Jesus would probably bat 2nd for the Cubs and they would move Theriot to his rightful spot of 8th.

The other problem is that probably half the people in the Cubs organization think Cedeno should be the starter at short right now.

Given a full time job Cedeno's BABIP may fall a bit, but his strikeout rate would drop and line drive % is likely to increase. No one who watches a lot of baseball would be stunned if Cedeno batted .300 and slugged .450 for a season. He's also got good range (great range at 2nd) and a strong arm.

Anonymous said...

I am a Cub fan, who has wanted DeJesus for over a year. He plays great defense, bats left handed, and looks to me like he can improve as a hitter. But typical for a Cubs fan, I overvalue our prospects....Pie and Cendeno seem like too much to offer. Would the Royals be interested in Marquis and his contract? Anyway, I hope this rumor gains momentum, I would like to see the Cubs get DeJesus

Anonymous said...

Give Wood another month to show he's locked down the role as closer. Afterwhich trade Marmol to the Red Sox for Crisp and Hansen or Bard. Done.

Great trade for both sides as long as Mormol remains as dominant in the AL East. Crisp is now what Pie has the potential to become; signed through 2009 (with an team option), giving Pie another year to develop.

Bo Vandy said...

"Give Wood another month to show he's locked down the role as closer. Afterwhich trade Marmol to the Red Sox for Crisp and Hansen or Bard. Done."

I would personally shoot Jim Hendry in the face with an AK-47 if he made that trade. Marmol is the best 8th inning pitcher in baseball.

Anonymous said...

Which is why the offer would include a starting CFer who could produce now and one of two dominant AAA relievers.

In return the Red Sox would receive a reliever who could produce now. The trade makes perfect sense.

But it's either that or Pinella runs Marmol into the ground. 35 IP already. Sheeesh.

Anonymous said...

Marmol to the Red Sox. Are you a f'n idiot? For Coco Crisp?

Please go back to the land of stupidity, because you are f'n clueless.

Mean Dean said...

The trade makes perfect sense.
No. No, it really doesn't.

Anonymous said...

The funniest thing about the comments on that trade is that it was probably offered already by Hendry but rejected by Epstein. Yes, it's that one-sided, Cubians.

'Give up a starting CFer and one of two recent 1st round closers for Marmol? will you also guarantee he will survive in the AL East? ROFLMAO!'

Anonymous said...

That makes a lot of sense, Marmol for Crisp. Then the Cubs could trade Jim Edmonds for Paplebon so that the Red Sox could fill their back up CF spot.

The Cubs CF'rs have batted a putrid .256 .332 .343 .675. The Cubs should trade the best reliever in baseball for a guy hitting .256 .295 .397 .691. That would be a huge upgrade.

If these AAA closers are so good, how come the Red Sox bullpen is 10the in the AL in ERA (4.14)? The Cubs, for your reference have a 3.13 ERA.

Anonymous said...

Even at his career best, I would not trace Marmol for Crisp even less now. Marmol is being looked at as our future closer. No one trade a pontential top closer for an average cf. That makes no sense. For that might as well sign Lofton and keep Marmol if we need a cf that badly.

Rob said...

Given the perversions of Hendry and Piniella, (starting pitching and stolen bases) I think a trade with the Royals would look something more like this...

Pie, Cedeno, Gallagher, Ceda, and a random toolsy player with no track record of success (Kyler Burke or Chris Huseby or somebody fitting that general mold) in exchange for Greinke and Galloway.

Hendry has been connected with showing some interest in Greinke in the past, and knowing Lou... he'd probably prefer Galloway to DeJesus. Apparently, the reason the Cubs are scoring so much is because of all the hit-and-runs and stolen bases... not the OBP and power... or at least that's what he thinks.

I know Greinke is on a tear this season, but that trade has a lot of major-league ready and/or high ceiling parts. Does that seems like too much? Not enough? Just right?

Anonymous said...

The trade makes perfect sense.

haha, the most sensible part is that bard... is catching for san diego. lol

As a sox fan, I'd love it. If the cubbies want crisp and hansen, for marmol, i'd take that trade, even throw in masterson or lowrie. Marmol+ Okajima+Papelbon= 6 inning baseball game. Unless Marmol decided to act like he who shall not be named, currently relieving another NL central team of a significant amount of money.

Anonymous said...

http://www.minorleaguebaseball.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?n=Daniel%20Bard&pos=P&sid=milb&t=p_pbp&pid=453268

Anonymous said...

I don't care what you half-assed armchair GM's think, it's a good trade. It addresses each team's respective needs while leaving neither no worse off; Howry would walk right into Marmol's role.

Anonymous said...

How could the Cubs' need be a center fielder who is no better than what they have now?

You realize that they're the best team in baseball, right? They're not building for the future.

The only need that would address is the need for Boston to have baseball's most dominant reliever.

Anonymous said...

You say that Reed Johnson stared in center the last two nights, insinuating that he hardly ever sees action, despite the fact that he's been a staple of the Cubs' offense, especially against lefties. You also made mentioned Theriot towards the bottom of the Cubs' order, despite the fact that he usually bats second. Also, this trade makes no sense for the Cubs, and their offense is too good to make such a desperate transaction, at least at this point in the season.

Anonymous said...

I am a cubs fan, and I am not totally opposed to your trade, but Edmonds and Johnson aren't horrible centerfeild options. I don't know that I would compare Edmonds to Willie Mays in 1973 either. The fact is that Edmonds is like Bartolo Colon, cheap and low risk. I think it would make more sense for a Pie and PTBNL for Dejesus and German(or middle relief). Dejesus in the right system could become a Andy VanSlyke type player (which I would be happy with), but German is worthless to the Cubs. German on his best day will not be as good as DeRosa and he(german) is the same type of utility guy. In my opinion, the only thing I would change is adding a guy at second or middle relief. As it stands now the Cubs are sitting pretty on everything defensively/offensively. I'll stop now, before I get on a rant about middle releif (ie Erye and Wuertz).

MrN

Anonymous said...

ok, wow, why on earth would the cubs do this. give edmonds time, he doubled and tripled today and is getting used to wrigley. hes got great defense and they dont need much from him offensively. they need depth at pitching, not offensively in center field. why dude, you have no credentials to be posting junk proposals like this. you would be the worst GM ever.

Anonymous said...

"I don't care what you half-assed armchair GM's think, it's a good trade. It addresses each team's respective needs while leaving neither no worse off; Howry would walk right into Marmol's role."

and the bullpen would be exponentially weaker by trading the best setup guy in baseball and future closer of the Chicago Cubs for an average baseball player at best.

No thanks.

But if you want to believe it's a good trade from the Cubs standpoint, go right ahead.

We all know who hit every branch falling out of the stupid tree.

troyt said...

Congratulations Cubs fans! You've graduated from self-pitying baseball fans to 'anonymous' Internet trolls!

Jon said...

As a Cubs fan I would not support this trade. Cedeno is extremely versatile and can even get by at 3rd base or left field in a pinch. I saw German play in AAA Sacramento and really he is still a very good minor league player but only capable at 2nd. The Cubs do not need to tinker with the offense right now they need a reliable starting pitcher. They are depending on a 22 year old rookie, unreliable Jason Marquis, a converted reliever Dempster, and .500 pitcher Lilly in the 2-5 spots. Both teams real needs need to be addressed in any trade.

Anonymous said...

i have heard talk on the radio that if the indians are too far out of their division race by the trade deadline that the cubs might go after cc sabathia...anyone want to comment on what they think it would take from the cubs to get a pitcher of this caliber???

i admit sabathia has not been as good as his cy young season last year or in years past, but he is in the last year of his contract and after his first start of the year in which he gave up 99999 runs, he has come back into his own, considerably lowering his era and i think he could dramaticall improve the cubs rotation. comments...