Thursday, October 30, 2008

Memo to DMGM: WTF?

So I guess Mark Teahen isn’t moving anywhere after all. It’s not often that a rumor that was reported at the highest levels gets shot down with such authority, but that’s what happened here. Even as Bob Dutton himself reported that “Sources from both clubs said Teahen could be dealt for one of three outfielders: Franklin Gutierrez, Ben Francisco or Trevor Crowe,” Dayton Moore begged to differ. “It’s unbelievable. I don’t doubt that somebody said that, but that somebody lied. Mark Shapiro will tell you the same thing.” If that wasn’t a strong enough denial for you, here’s another one: “That's an absolute lie,” Royals general manager Dayton Moore told MLB.com, “an absolute lie. It's a lie.”

O-kay then. Fortunately, I adhere to the Blogger Code of Conduct, which frowns upon reporting or commenting on unconfirmed trade rumors. The fact that I was in LA all weekend for my brother’s wedding and unavailable to wildly speculate is purely coincidental.

Teahen is still a Royal, but if nothing else, what we can take from the rumor is that, much to the surprise of many Royals fans, Teahen has actual trade value. He may be a below-average hitter (though just barely; his career OPS+ is 98), but he compensates with his baserunning instincts, broad base of skills, prime-of-career age, and his defensive versatility. The last one is key; the rumor was that the Indians wanted Teahen to play third base, which makes a lot of sense when you consider that a few months ago I described Teahen as “a left-handed Casey Blake.” By re-establishing that Teahen can still play third base, the Royals have made him a viable trade target for half-a-dozen teams. If they want to trade him this winter, they probably can.

In the meantime, let’s talk about the trade rumor that Moore won’t deny. That rumor has the Royals working hard to dislodge Mike Jacobs from the Marlins’ loose grip. The initial rumor stated that the teams were discussing a trade of Jacobs for Carlos Rosa; we are now being told that the Marlins are concerned about Rosa’s health (he was shut down in August with a forearm strain), and given that they’re looking for a major league-ready reliever, a bullpen arm – perhaps Leo Nunez, who was almost traded 15 months ago for Milton Bradley – might be substituted instead.

Now, the Royals need offense, no one questions that. And given the fungibility of relievers, and Moore’s proven ability to put together strong bullpens with low-cost talent, trading from the Royals’ excess of relievers in order to upgrade elsewhere makes perfect sense. But let me be clear about this: trading for Mike Jacobs is a terrible idea.

Three years ago, the Marlins traded for Jacobs, when he was 25 years old and still had his rookie eligibility, and was coming off one of the more impressive pre-rookie campaigns you’ll ever see: 11 homers and a .710 slugging average in 100 at-bats for the Mets in 2005. In return, the Marlins got three league-average seasons from Jacobs (OPS+ of 106, 100, 109) at close to a league-minimum salary.

Jacobs turns 28 today. He is eligible for arbitration, and his salary is likely to jump to around $3 million for 2009. He will be a free agent in three years, which isn’t all that relevant, because in three years it’s unlikely that he’ll be worth paying millions of dollars to. He’s unlikely to get any better than he’s been the last three years, and given the difference in league quality, and the fact that Kauffman Stadium is openly hostile to his primary skill, it’s likely he’ll be a little worse in 2009 than in 2008. This is what happens to unathletic hitters who reach the majors at a fairly advanced age: they are very valuable commodities in Year One, and perilously close to becoming liabilities by Year Four. Which is, in part, why the Marlins are so willing to move him.

Jacobs wasn’t even all that good in 2008. He certainly had his uses; he hit 32 homers in just 141 games, and slugged .514 for the Marlins. But he drew just 36 walks, and his OBP was .299. Two-ninety-nine.

The mere fact that Moore is talking to the Marlins about Jacobs tells me he still doesn’t get it. He doesn’t get that what really ails his offense isn’t the lack of power, it’s the lack of walks. The Royals finished next-to-last in the AL in homers last season. The one team they out-homered? The Twins, who finished third in the league in runs scored and came within a game of the playoffs. But the Royals didn’t just finish last in the league with 392 walks, they had one of the lowest walk totals in a non-strike season in recent American League history. Since 1931, here are the only four AL teams to finish with fewer than 395 walks in a full season:

Year Team BB

1957 Kansas City 364

2002 Detroit 363

2005 Detroit 384

2008 Kansas City 392

So what’s Moore’s solution? To trade for a first baseman with a .299 OBP. There were 29 players this season who batted at least 300 times and played at least half their games at first base. Only two of them had a lower OBP than Ross Gload’s .317. One was John Bowker, rookie first baseman for the Giants, who had a .300 OBP. The other – with the lowest OBP of any first baseman in the game – was Jacobs. That’s right: Moore has managed to find a first baseman that actually reached base less often than Ross Gload. And he’s willing to give up talent to get him.

Jacobs’ .299 OBP was a career low, but it’s not that far off his career line of .318. In three seasons as a major-league first baseman, his career high in walks is 45, and unless you’re Ichiro Suzuki, you simply can’t run up a respectable OBP without drawing some walks. Out of 23 first basemen with at least 450 plate appearances this season, all but two – Jacobs and Casey Kotchman, who has had better years – drew at least 45 walks. And that’s Jacobs’ career high. It’s fair to say that Jacobs is the least patient everyday first baseman in the majors today. If the Royals aren’t going to get walks from their first baseman, where are they going to get them from?

Maybe Moore has been watching a little too much of the Royals’ 1985 highlight tapes. Look at this comparison:

Mike Jacobs, 2008: .247/.299/.514, 32 HR, 36 BB

Steve Balboni, 1984: .244/.320/.498, 28 HR, 45 BB

Steve Balboni, 1985: .243/.307/.477, 36 HR, 52 BB

Yeah, the Royals won the World Series with Balboni as their first baseman. But as I’ve written in many places, the Royals learned all the wrong things from their world championship team. They learned that offense doesn’t matter (they finished with the second-fewest runs in the league), and they learned that walks are optional (they had the third-fewest walks in the league). They learned those lessons so well that they haven’t been to the playoffs since.

Interestingly enough, Balboni was also acquired for a tenured reliever, in his case Mike Armstrong. But Balboni was actually a better player in 1984-85 than Jacobs has been, because the offensive standards of the time were so much lower. And Balboni was valuable because he helped to fill a position of real need for the Royals. Today, by comparison, the Royals have too many options to play first base. They need to whittle down those options, not make things more complicated.

Trading for Jacobs all but insures that Kila Ka’aihue spends all of next year in Triple-A. Trading for Jacobs leaves Ryan Shealy fighting for a platoon position next year. Trading for Jacobs might force Gload off the roster…oh, who am I kidding, we all know that Gload is guaranteed a spot come hell or high water. If Moore found a way to rid himself of Gload in this trade, it might actually make sense, but Gload is under contract for another year and close to $2 million, and you know the Royals will find a way to justify keeping him around.

Most importantly, though, trading for Jacobs makes it more likely than not that Billy Butler has already played his last game for the Royals.

We know that Moore is not a fan of Butler; we’ve known that since Sam Mellinger wrote this summer that Moore had offered Butler to the Mariners for Yuniesky Betancourt two winters ago. (The Mariners, bless their hearts, declined. Betancourt’s defensive reputation is massively overrated, and he hits like a late-model Angel Berroa.)

If Jacobs plays first base, he will likely require Gload to serve as his defensive caddy, which gives the Royals the option to use Shealy at DH, or possibly even Ka’aihue, or simply rotate an extra outfielder through the position. If Jacobs is moved to DH, then Shealy and Gload will likely share first base. Either way, it will be easy for the Royals to deem Butler expendable, and trade him for the best package of talent they can get.

I don’t get the overt hostility towards Butler, I really don’t. I understand that he’s immature, and that he’s had it so easy through the minor leagues that he’s hot-dogged it in the majors and acted like he has nothing to prove. I realize that he’s a defensive liability and a baserunning nightmare and all that. But good God, he’s 22 years old. He’ll still be 22 on Opening Day next year. And he’s got a world of talent. In an ostensibly disappointing season, he hit .275 with 11 homers, and after the All-Star Break he hit .305/.341/.476. You want someone who was a real hot dog this year? The Rays benched B.J. Upton repeatedly this year when he failed to run out groundballs, costing his team an out on more than one occasion. Upton, who hit just nine homers during the regular season, hit seven in the playoffs and is as responsible as anyone for their World Series appearance.

The Rays took it easy on Upton, deciding that he wasn’t a bad kid so much as young and entitled. And he is just a kid: he’s just 24. Butler’s 22. We won’t have Butler’s PECOTA comparables for a few more weeks, but according to Baseball-Reference.com, the most similar player to Billy Butler at the same age in baseball history is…Keith Hernandez. John Olerud is third. George “Not the Comedian” Burns, who played in the majors for 16 years, is eighth. Kent Hrbek is tenth. (Among his other top comps are 19th-century hurlers Pink Hawley and Bob Caruthers, which I suppose means that if Butler doesn’t turn himself into a Gold Glove-caliber first baseman, he has a future as a pitcher.) And remember: those comps are calculated using Butler’s major league stats only, and Butler’s major league performance has been a disappointment given his minor league numbers.

There are a lot of teams that would love to have Butler, and a lot of teams that would be willing to pay for him. But until he has a year commensurate with his ability, those teams will expect a discount on his potential.

I’m sure that, if the Royals trade for Jacobs, they’ll find a way to spin this as a positive. They got a guy with real power (which may evaporate in Kauffman Stadium.) They are sending a message that they’re not going to keep playing kids that aren’t ready for the majors yet (even if that means burying a guy like Ka’aihue, who probably is ready for the majors).

They’ll also tell you that Jacobs adds some much-needed balance to the lineup, which is true. Jacobs has a pretty massive platoon split – his career line vs. LHP is just .235/.275/.414, but against RHP he’s hit .269/.329/.521 – and the Royals were much weaker against right-handed pitchers than left-handers last year. The only left-handed hitters in the lineup are Gordon, DeJesus, and Teahen, and while Callaspo also adds balance as a switch-hitter, Teahen may not even be a starter next year. I think it’s reasonable to say that Jacobs will help the team win more games in 2009.

But the Royals aren’t playing for 2009. If they are, they shouldn’t be. This team should be focusing on 2010, and by 2010, Ka’aihue is likely to be a better hitter than Jacobs. Ka’aihue will unquestionably be cheaper, and he unquestionably won’t force the Royals to give up talent to acquire him. Ka’aihue, like Jacobs, will provide left-handed pop to the lineup, and unlike Jacobs he doesn’t need a Kevin Seitzer Miracle to learn the strike zone.

There’s nothing wrong with the Royals exploring trade options with the Marlins, who have a ton of arbitration-eligible players they want to move; they’re just focusing on the wrong guy. Jeremy Hermida hasn’t been quite as successful as Jacobs has been in the majors (career line of .267/.342/.436), but he’s three years younger, he plays the outfield (where the Royals have far more need for an everyday player), his minor-league track record suggests there’s still untapped potential in his bat, and he has a much better command of the strike zone. (Actually, Hermida hasn’t been all that patient in the major leagues – about one walk per 10 at-bats – but in the minors he was a walking fool, including a remarkable 111 walks in just 118 games as a 21-year-old in Double-A in 2005. Now there’s a guy that Seitzer should be able to fix.)

If Moore makes this move, he’ll be helping the Royals win in 2009. But he’ll deny the Royals the opportunity to evaluate some very legitimate options at first base, and he very well might be inclined to sell one of the most promising hitters the Royals have ever developed for pennies on the dollar. He’ll add to the payroll, and he’ll trade away a reliever who might have fetched more useful talent in another trade. If he does make the move, I’m sure it will just be the first of many moves he makes this winter. But this winter will be off to a very inauspicious start.

125 comments:

Ryan said...

WTF, indeed.

I've been wearing my Royals hat around Chicago recently. If they trade for Jacobs, I'm gonna have to switch over to my token Cubs hat, and nobody is wearing Cubs hats in Chicago right now.

Obama needs to come out with a good baseball cap....

Dan Holden said...

I'm glad someone confirmed what I was thinking. Jacobs was on one of my fantasy teams and he frustrated me for the entire season.

He hit enough homers that I never unloaded him, but I should have.

Anonymous said...

Dolphin Stadium is bigger than Kauffman Stadium.

Anonymous said...

No it's not.

Anonymous said...

Once again Rany gets it exactly right. Why is it that every Royals fan in the country understands why this is a bad trade, except the one that matters - DM? Why does DM preach the value of young arms and then trade away those arms for a position that is a surplus for the team? Why does DM not understand the importance of OBP? Why does DM overlook a players many weaknesses and focus on their strenghts (see Gathright)? Why, why, why?

KCDC said...

Hmmm....I know this is sacrilege, but Butler had a HUGE platoon split to the tune of a .980 OPS against lefties and a .598 OPS against righties. He's young and hopefully talented enough that he may hit righties as early as next year, but really, if Nunez brings us a guy who can OPS .850-.900 against righties, and we have a 1B platoon with a .900 OPS, I'll take that. Since it looks likely that Teahen won't be around next year, we'll really need someone who crushes righties.

Max said...

Fantastic post. Moore's eye for pitching is fantastic, but it is inverse to his eye for bats. Its almost as if he is deliberately picking up guys with terrible OBAs.

Anonymous said...

And who is Jacobs blocking that can hit 30 HR's in the majors? A bunch of maybes and probably nots, that's who. We are trading an oft injured reliever for position of need. He's not Puljos, but he is a better option than anyone we have. Shealy is not the answer, and KK needs at least some time at AAA. Heck, its not like we are signing this guy to an eight year contract. If he doesn't work or a better option arises we can turn him around for something or cut him. This is a no brainier.

Anonymous said...

Smart Royals fans have been rightly patient with Moore. Heck, they've praised him (rightly) for his good sense of pitching. They've "been patient" with his "questionable" position player moves.

But if thee franchise-crippling, stupid-at-the-time, worse-than-Baird-now Guillen contract wasn't enough, the Jacobs possibility seals the deal: Moore has no clue when it comes to position players. Rany, thank you for ripping Moore for even considering this, and the Butler issue, as well. I have nothing to add to the OBP part except that acquiring Jeff Francoeur to take over Teahen's slot seems like a done deal.

One thing that has gone unmentioned is that Mike Jacobs, by any real defensive metric, is probably the worst defensive 1B in the majors. He was at best -10 runs this year, but most have him around -20. That's right -- even if he's an average hitter for a 1B, he's still about 0.5-1 WINS below replacement level if he's 1Bing full-time.

Don't worry, he's half a win above replacement level if he's DHing. And this wasn't a career year.

It's too bad guys like Josh Phelps, Russ Branyan, and Eric Hinske won't be available cheap on the FA market, huh?

Anonymous said...

What makes this frustrating is that Rany is far from the only voice in a sea of Royals fans who see this mistake coming. I made some of the same points (though not as eloquently) in my "Mike Jacobs Rant" at Royals Review. My main point with that rant was that this trade signals that Moore and Co. are looking hard for "proven" players, a la the Royals of old. For years the Royals only went the safe route when acquiring players, that is, players who have big league experience and have shown that they can do one thing well. They looked to acquire known quantities--even if there was a younger player out there with a higher ceiling--because known quantities are safer. This is the equivalent of buying bonds instead of stocks (bad analogy in light of the current economic environment). Obtaining Jacobs is like buying a nice, safe bond, or maybe even like stuffing your money in your mattress: there's no unknown upside, no potential to reap the kinds of dividends that would carry a team to the playoffs (otherwise he wouldn't be available to us, not for Leo Nunez at least). Believe it or not, there do exist two Royals acquisitions in our timid recent history that represent stocks with upside: Jermaine Dye and Ryan Shealy. One of them worked out big time, one of them hasn't (yet). I just hate to see Moore departing from risk when one of his uknown quantities didn't pan out the way he wanted (yet). You might add Gathright as another unknown quantity we obtained...perhaps Moore is through with unknown quantities. My advice: keep obtaining potential, you're bound to hit on one of them (See: Carlos Pena).

AxDxMx said...

I'm going nuts here. Basically, if this trade gets pulled off I think I'm done with the Royals. It's just so ridiculously bad that we could give up a guy that has Joakim Soria talent in Ram Ram (he had a better FIP and xFIP last year than Soria), and get less than a Jose Guillen in return, albeit at a much better salary. The ONLY way this trade makes sense for the Royals is to acquire Hanley Ramirez with him, and that isn't going to happen unfortunately. I want to see Ka'aihue play, I want to see Shealy play, and I want to see Butler play. LET THE KIDS PLAY!

SCREW JACOBS!

KevinM said...

If DM believes adding Mike Jacobs is a way to make the Royals a contending team he is mistaken. This will prove to me he is not the GM that is truly going to turn things around for the Royals.

Anonymous said...

All of you end of the worlders are so funny. At worst this is a one year fix for a team that is desperate for power. KK isn't going to rot if he has to spend time at AAA. Moore can, and I'm sure will, improve the OBP in other deals. Kafuman Stadium isn't that much worse than Dolphin Stadium for home runs. I fail to see how this is so horrible. But never let the facts stand in the way of a good emotional argument.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:53, fair enough. Please explain what in DMGM's recent past should make us think he has the ability to identify players with a good OBP and then acquire them?

The Posnanski interview doesn't count.

jay in houston said...

who's to say moore doesn't have plans to move one of our 1B's to OF?

i'm not sure how athletic these guys are, but clearly (see teahen) the royals don't have a problem giving guys a look at a different position.

if shealy or kila can play a corner OF, then we have added power to two positions and patience to 1.

RF guillen
CF dejesus
LF shealy/KK
1B jacobs
2B callaspo
SS aviles
3B gordon
DH butler

right off the bat that's an improved lineup over last year. now, if neither shealy nor KK can play LF then we have a problem.

but if this trade goes through, i expect moore to follow this jacobs deal by dealing shealy for a ML ready reliever.

Anonymous said...

It's now a done deal. Hmmmmm.

Perhaps this is just step one in a series of trades. Could Jacobs be a piece to offer to someone else?

Max said...

We're not shipping Jacobs somewhere else. More likely we're going to trade Shealy and/or Billy Butler. Supposedly DM is not a fan of Butler at all.

Collin said...

I feel like this is a bad trade but that's with these assumptions:

1. KK will now be stuck at Omaha for all of '09.
2. We're going to trade Bam Bam.

If those assumptions aren't true, then it's not as bad as I feel it is. Jacobs is an improvement over Gload and really does have some pop against RHP. If we trade Shealy and then Jacobs and Butler platoon split 1B/DH, I like the move very much. All we had to give up was an oft injured reliever? Sounds good.

Of course, I'm making lots of assumptions here... there's no way to tell if this is good or not at this point.

Anonymous said...

Jacobs certainly has flaws, but, why is everyone pretending that Nunez was untouchable in their eyes at this point last week? The fake disgust over this trade is ridiculous. For the last two years, I've read rant after rant about how awful Ross Gload is. Not to say I disagreed, but, why are those who hated Gload upset that Moore has essentially traded for a guy to take Moore's spot?? Honestly, I think the only reason anyone cares is the love affair with the 'potential' of Kila. As he should, Kila will now start 2009at AAA. Be honest, how many here saw Kila as anything more than a marginal prospect before this season? For all the world, Kila appeared like a guy who's career stalled at AA before this season's meteoric rise. This trade allows for Kila to rightly prove himself at AAA instead of MLB. Sorry, but, I'll take Jacobs over Kila for next year. And, losing an oft-injured, low strikeout swingman/early middle relief pitcher should not be of grave concern to anyone.

Also, the fact that people are pleading to "LET THE KIDS PLAY" and including 29-year old Ryan Shealy in the "kids" department is laughable. Last I checked, most 29-year old "power hitting" first basemen have more than 19 CAREER MLB homers.

Hank said...

Billy Beane has to have Moore on speed dial by now figuring out some pu-pu platter to give up for Butler.

Mike said...

I'm not very excited about Jacobs either, but Nunez is frail and REPLACEABLE.

Speed and Power are tough to find. Relief pitching is not.

Even though Joey didn't work out, the Royals were no worse off because Howell wasn't in the bullpen this year. Nunez will be replaced also and maybe (even though I'm skeptical) Jacobs will be the power bat that is so tough t o find.

Worst Case scenario: Lose a replaceable reliever

Best Case scenario: Find a power bat

I pray you're wrong about Billy. Unless we get a Volquez-like return, it would be a terrible idea to move him.

Chris C said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chris C said...

Rany,

I not so sure that the trade is as bad as you make it out to be. If they utilize Jacobs' platoon split and play him at 1B and DH. So the real rub is who does Jacobs take AB's from. If we see Gload and Shealy exit town, then no loss. If its Butler, then its a big loss. I don't see any problem in starting Kila at AAA.

I truly believe the harder a player must work to crack the big league roster, the more likely you will have players working hard to improve their game in AAA. Its a far cry from the AB years when everyone was called up from AA. I see creating competition now on the roster as a benefit for 2010-2011.

Anonymous said...

Butler's not an idiot. This is undoubtedly a wake-up call of massive proportions to him. I do not think that it means his days are limited, though.

Shealy, on the other hand, I think is on the way out. It'll be interesting to see how this one plays out, but I think we'll all be pleased with how this team ends up looking come April. And for the record, I'm betting the starting lineup will have both Butler and Jacobs in it.

AxDxMx said...

Yes, Kila only had 33 games at AAA, but he had an OPS over 1.000 hit 11 homers and had an OBP way above .400. My opposition came from the guy we lose possibly being Ramon Ramirez, I'm not happy about losing Nunez, but I guess we did get a semi-productive bat against righties. Even if he is barely better than average with his around 100 OPS+. The rest of my opposition comes from Shealy, Butler, and Ka'aihue being given no chance whatsoever. Gload now has to be gone, he's just a wasted roster space otherwise, so that's great, but KK, RS, and BB don't get there shot. Although I bet Kila can play OF better than Adam Dunn and Pat Burrell. I met him at the Royals Futures Autograph signing and his body type isn't so big that he is stuck at 1B. Though by all accounts, Jacobs is horrible at 1B, so the big question for DMGM is "What happened to defense?" That was the WHOLE argument for playing Gload there every goddamn day! And OBP goes out the window for a guy that didn't even get Jose Guillen's OBP this year (.299 to .300).

I'm not happy, but it would have been much worse if we traded Ram Ram. I suppose I can live with Nunez.

Anonymous said...

Given GMDM's propensity of finding middle relief, I love this deal. Mike Jacobs gives us the lefty power bat that we lacked. He's certainly an upgrade over last year's starting 1B Ross Gload. For those complaining about KK and Shealy, neither of these guys has proved anything in the bigs. Shealy had 20 good games last year, but hasn't proven he can stay healthy or hit over a 162-game season. KK has some good minor league numbers, but why not force him to prove it again this year? If we're playing for 2010, KK will be a part of that if he can show he wasn't a one-hit wonder. Certainly this team has other needs (SS, OF & SP), but I think 1B was one of them and feel that this is only the beginning of a very busy offseason in KC.

Anonymous said...

Let's give Moore the benefit of the doubt on this one. He has won a lot more trades than he has lost. We need offense, and are not loaded with players that other teams are willing to trade for.
I'd prefer to go ot and throw money at Dunn or Burrell, but that's not realistic.
We fall in love with these so-called prospects, and it's been years since one of them has actually lived up to expectations. Let's at least see what Moore's next moves will be before we say he doesnt know what he is doing.

AxDxMx said...

By the way, here are the stadium dimension comparisons for Royals vs Marlins.

Kauffman Stadium
330 375 410 375 330

Dolphins Stadium
330 385 404 363 345

So the stadiums at least are similarly big. He hit 14 at home last year out of 252 ABs.

Anonymous said...

I enjoy reading your content, but you are way off here. We can find another reliever. WE NEED POWER!! Jacobs will be in the lineup everyday dh or 1b. How is this NOT a good trade. Your a fool rany!

Anonymous said...

Ditto Rany - I don't think its horrible to get Jacobs, esp. if the Royals play to the platoon splits. Obviously there are enough guys to work with at the DH/1B position and Jacobs definitely has power and will give us something similar to what Shealy did all season long - and using those splits to our advantage we could have a 40+ HR 1B composite player.

Anonymous said...

I really don't think we are in much of a position to argue against the acquisition of *any* hitter who is above league average. That said, this would STILL be a pretty weak trade if GMDM pulled the trigger.

DO NOT TRADE FOR NL PLAYERS! STOP IT! STOP!!!!! IT!!!!11!!!!

(FOR JOHN MCCAIN!!!!1!!!)

Anonymous said...

Does this deal get any better if Jacobs does a little catching? not that the royals have a great history of this (Sweeney), but maybe?

Paul S from NC said...

Rany - as a transplanted KC fan, love the blog - keep up the great work. The trade is done. We'll see how it works out.

I do, however, think the following statement from your post is incorrect: "the Royals learned all the wrong things from their world championship team. They learned that offense doesn’t matter...".

Actually, the exact opposite is true.

Schuerholz began blowing up the 85 team almost immediately because he thought they couldn't win consistently with such an anemmic offense, no matter how many good arms they had on the roster (Saberhagen, Jackson, Gubicza) or in the system (Cone).

Over the next couple of years, Schuerholz put a premium on offense over pitching and started trading young, talented arms in exchange for bats. That was the beginning of the end.

Antonio. said...

KK could have spent most, or even all, of this upcoming season in Triple-A without making this deal.

1 Shealy
D Butler
B Gload

Does Jacobs have more long ball potential than Shealy? It could go either way. Shealy definitely has OBP on Jacobs. And ability to play first well.

In Jacobs, the Royals have acquired a Billy Butler type, except with a lot more age, a lot less BA and OBP...and at a higher cost. He doesn't defend well--just like Billy.

Anonymous said...

Last I checked the Royals had KK under control for about six more years! Why all the belly aching about how he isnt getting a chance? The guy had one good year and many people are ready to name him the second coming. I guess years of losing has made some of us crazy. Let him marinate in AAA for a year and see if his season is an abiration.

Those of you stating the AL is so much better than the NL are behind the times. I believe the NL has caught up if not passed the AL over the past year. I can see an argument for a pitchers moving from league to league considering he gets to face another pitcher every time out, but not an offensive player.

I like this trade. Has anyone paid attention lately to how much 32 homeruns from a player would cost on the free agent market (low OBP or not). I gaurantee it would be more than a skinny middle relief pitcher with low K/IP numbers.

However, DO NOT TRADE BILLY BUTLER.

Anonymous said...

I have no idea where anyone here gets the idea Kauffman is worse than Dolphins Stadium.

Dolphins Stadium is a terrible place for anyone with right-center or center field power, such as Jacobs. It KILLS left-handed hitters. Jacobs has MASSIVE power that, even at Kauffman, should be better represented in the numbers. And Royals fans (I'm a Marlin fan), don't be too discouraged. Look at his first half and second half splits; he was a MUCH more patient hitter in the second half (by the numbers, just about TWICE as patient). As long as he's DH'ing more often than not, you guys should be really excited to see his power in the lineup.

And if you think Kauffman is harder to hit homers than Dolphins Stadium, don't look at numbers... It isn't the Marlins fault they knock it out left and right, and the Royals knock it out... once a week.

Anonymous said...

For all of you who think that Shealy might be traded, what would we get in return? They guy had one great month and he's 29 years old! Don't get me wrong, I'm looking forward to what he is going to do this year, but what kind of trade value does he really have?

I would say that if any of the first baseman are going to get traded, it has to be Butler. He's the only one with value. Unless we unload Shealy for some A-ball fringe prospect.

If Nunez is held in such a high regard around the league, why would we deal him for a first baseman? We have plenty of other needs that could be addressed with trading a solid 8th inning reliever.

Anonymous said...

I feel like this was a minor coup. Not that Jacobs is A-list talent, but come on... Nunez' arm is going to fall off sooner or later. The kid is like 5'8" and throws so hard his right hand might detach at the wrist. Not to mention the fact that we got 30+ HR potential for a freaking relief pitcher.

And how, exactly, could Jacobs *possibly* be allowed to reduce Butler's playing time? The only reason Hillman kept playing Gload at first was the fact that he was seen as the only non-embarrassing glove at that position. Jacobs is no Gold Glove, but he is certainly solid enough to displace Gload. ...Right?

Shealy had his chance more than once, and is apparently either a medical train wreck or a head case or both. And while we're all hoping and dreaming for KK to become John Mayberry 2, he cannot be considered anything other than a massive question mark.

The truth of the situation is that while we HOPED we had a large pool of first basemen, we actually had precisely ZERO actual major-league caliber first basemen.

And now we've got one.

Ryan said...

People, Jacobs OBP was .299 last year in the National League.

That's. Horrendous.

Antonio. said...

I'd actually say that the beginning of the end was actually along the lines of JS not maximizing his return on talented pitchers. We traded a lot of interesting to good arms and the only productive piece we got in return was Danny Tartabull.

Anonymous said...

Some of your NL bias is ridiculous. Yeah don't give us Armais Ramirez or Ryan Howard they played in the NL. We're fans of the Royals. The wouldn't win in the NL either, don't let a fluky short sample of interleague play skew you.

Anonymous said...

I hate this trade. Alot.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand all the criticism of this trade. We gave up Leo freakin Nunez, a middle reliever with injury problems. This is almost a freebie. We got a 30 home run bat for almost nothing. So what if he plays first base? Last time I checked, we needed one of those.

Check the splits. He is a solid hitter with 2 outs. Sure, he strikes out a lot, but he strikes out less than our 3b, and he actually hits home runs. I don't think we are in any position to criticize any move that brings us a power bat. I'm sure there are other moves in the near future, but beggars cant be choosers. It's not we'll be trading for Magglio, or signing Dunn, Abreu or Burrell as free agents.

Bob McWilliams said...

I was stunned when I saw rumors of this trade. I was angry when I got the email from the Royals that they made this trade. It's not so much giving up Nunez, it's acquiring an expensive mediocrity at a position where they have promising talent. Actually, mediocrity is probably too positive a word. WTF indeed. I had been much less bothered by the trade rumors around Teahan, who may have fetched a promising OF from Cleveland, ended the joey Gathright era, and ensured Gordon stayed at first. The ONLY way I see the Royals improving is to play Gordon every day, play Butler every day and at least give KK an extended shot at the majors. Why on earth does anyone think Jacobs would be an improvement on Shealy????? At a much higher cost. This one just does NOT make ANY sense.

Bob McWilliams said...

Oops, meant to say in last post that trading Teahan meant that Gordon would stay at 3rd.

pjbronco said...

RF guillen
CF dejesus
LF shealy/KK
1B jacobs
2B callaspo
SS aviles
3B gordon
DH butler

right off the bat that's an improved lineup over last year.

And one of the scariest defensive lineups in the history of baseball. What gives anyone the idea that Shealy could ever be an outfielder? Has he ever played there? You can't just create an outfielder, especially at the major league level. I was willing to try it one more season with the 1B's the Royals had in hand, and afraid this is the end of Butler in KC.

KCMO: all day, all night! said...

Everyone is way too quick to get pissy about this trade! This is just the first of many moves. So what if this guy's OBP is low? We all would have KILLED to have this bat in our lineup in KC last year! All it means is that GMDM has to add a guy or two that can get on base more reguarly.

Sure, we all want to build for the future, but we have been waiting TOO LONG already! GMDM is fed up, and knows he has to do something with the stadium getting its Grand re-opening next year.

How many games will it honestly take to win the AL Central next year?

Anonymous said...

I love the logic that apparently the Royals have to find a hitter with power AND a high OBP or it's a worthless move. Because the type of guys who have both are so easily obtainable.

I mean, why didn't Dayton just flip Leo Nunez for Prince Fielder? That should have been a no-brainer.

Casper said...

I'm of two minds on this deal. On one hand, I like adding a proven, left-handed power bat. But on the other hand, I keep wondering what Moore really means when he says that pitching is the currency of baseball. I mean, let's just follow that metaphor for a moment here: Given that pitching is indeed like a currency, we seem to be acting like most of the rest of America and we are not saving any of it. Okay, okay, Nunez was a middle reliever, and one that I've thought for a while had way too small of a frame to throw that hard for a lengthy amount of time in the Bigs (but so was Tom Gordon, and he's had a pretty good career). But look back at most of Moore's trades and it's virtually always about spending our money (pitching) rather than getting more of it back. Personally, I'd like for us to build an actual stockpile of arms and THEN go shopping, instead of sending Affeldt and Bautista for Shealy, or sending J.P. Howell for Gathright. I just want to see us have a plan, rather than make what appear to be contumacious moves (knee-jerk reaction, in other words) to a perceived need.

Anyway, whatever, it's done. Hey, at least we got a guy with an actual, legitimate 30-hr bat. And despite my little rant about giving up pitching, we really did get him for next to nothing. God, let's just hope the guy doesn't come here like Shealy did and then get hurt and never be the same again...oh, and that Nunez never emerges as the heir apparent to the closer role in FL.

Paul White said...

I am stunned by the number of people who think grabbing Jacobs' power is somehow a great thing and that his low OBP is a minor inconvenience. If the guy was a catcher that might be the case. But a first baseman who has the grand total of ONE positive offensive skill is not something the Royals (or anyone else) should be actively seeking, particularly since it involved dealing away an asset that could have been spent elsewhere.

Isaac said...

It's not Jacob's numbers that bother me. It where those numbers will be playing. First base, despite what some here say, is our least needed position. Not including Jacobs, we currently have 3 guys who can play first base.

Who here would have rather seen us stick Nunez into a deal that got us one of the catchers in Texas instead of this deal? It's not that we let Nunez go as much as it is who we let him go for.

While I could have taken his numbers at catcher, I am in disbelief that we went out and picked up another guy who can't post an OBP that is more than totally pathetic at our least needed position. While Kila may not be totally ready for the bigs (I question that) he could roll out of bed with a better OBP than Jacobs. I hear Moore talking but I don't see what he's saying.

AxDxMx said...

Totally agree Paul White. Jacobs had the worst OBP in MLB last year. He was also the worst defender at 1B in MLB last year. Wow. Just Wow.

Anonymous said...

We have three guys who can play first base? We do? Shealy can't stay healthy and has never played 60 games in the same season. And he is 29 years old, so we already know all we need to know baout him. Butler is 22 years old, fat, and is already pigeonholed as a DH for the rest of his career. Kiaahue had one great season in AA ball. He may be the answer in the future, but not now. Jacobs could be a short term answer until Kaaihue is ready, or for a couple years until Hosmer is ready. He is a stopgap. And all we gave up is Nunez.

Antonio. said...

All we gave up was Nunez! Now our we have the best auto-out team in the league! Five currently projected starters with well below league average OBPs. And you do realize that 32 HR is 2 better than PECOTAs projected 90-percentile for Jacobs, right? Chances of him nearing that total in the 2009 season? They have to be quite, quite slim.`

Anonymous said...

Projected starters. The only starters from last year's team who will definitely be starting this year are Gordon, DeJesus, Aviles and Guillen. Every other position should be and probably will be up for grabs. Three of those four had solid obps. Callaspo may start at 2b, and he had a good obp.

I think Royals fans just like to complain.

Anonymous said...

Ok, everyone is freaking out....why? Because we traded away Leo Nunez? Was keeping him going to push us over the top? Is losing him some how going to make us a worse team next year?

If Dayton has proved anything at all he has proven the ability to find middle relief.

So we get a guy who HAS hit 30 HR in a season...so he hit what 13 more then anyone else on the team? Why is that such a bad thing to have? Is he going to make us a contender, most likely not....but neither was Nunez and atleast you now have something you didnt have before......POWER!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Jacobs is not perfect, but he's better than Gload. Baby steps, my peeps.

FJ in OP

Newman said...

Regarding the Teahen activity...

I thought that it was a brilliant move of positioning including the angry response to deny it. I must admit the thought of him high-fiving Grady Sizemore after clinching the division made me sick to my stomach. Even putting him in the same sentence as the Indians OF's helps this winter.

Maybe we could just get Sizemore. That's the ticket!

John Autin said...

A small correction: The 2007 Seattle Mariners (389 walks) should be included on your list of teams who drew less than 395 walks since 1931. Those Mariners won 88 games, though that was a mirage, since they gave up more runs than they scored.

Anonymous said...

The Giants need offense, so what about Billy Butler, Mark Teahen, and Carlos Rosa to the Giants for Matt Cain and one or wo medium level prospects???

Anonymous said...

As a Marlin fan, it was a good deal for both clubs IMO. The Royals undeniably need power, any way they can get it. Jacobs was much more patient in the second half of last season, and is going to actually perform better in the AL IMO. Especially considering he will be in the AL Central, where he can tear apart some teams. He's used to playing in the NL East... Probably the best division in the game outside of the AL East (and it's a close call). He was hitting in one of, if not, baseball's most pitcher dominated park. And another thing... The guy has yet to log 600 plate appearances in a season, and had under 500 AB's last year and still hit 32 bombs and drove in 93 runs. The opportunity to DH and rest will reduce his risk of injury, and hopefully get him to plate much more often. And it isn't like you're getting a guy like Burrell, who barely hits 30 out in Philly and would probably hit in the mid-20's in KC. Jacobs really does have scary power; when he connects, it's a beautiful thing. If he can hit 32 out in Dolphins Stadium in under 500 AB's against NL East pitching, I don't forsee any problems hitting 35+ in 550+ AB's in the AL Central.

He is also a good clubhouse presence, like Dayton Moore noted. He was very vocal in Florida's clubhouse, and in the media. He is a fun player to watch, and you guys will love this trade when he represents KC in the All-Star game come July.

And like some are pointing out, you gave up Leo Nunez. Not a huge loss. You shouldn't have any trouble unloading someone involved in that logjam over at first base.

Kevin said...

I tend to think they should put Butler at first and just keep playing him there. Shealy was good in September but I guess I'm doubtful it will continue and whether he can hold up all year. Put Jacobs at DH and leave him there.

Many people are suspecting this means Butler is gone, maybe so. If so, discussion question here. If we were to target getting a real catcher by trading Butler would we be able to and who, realistically, could it be?

Antonio. said...

Callaspo is replacing one of those that had an OBP above league average.

I just don't see why some of you people are thrilled with the automatic outs.

And if you really think that there's going to be a huge turnover, how do you think it's going to occur? There's only so much that'll be available to us on the free agent market. We don't have the trade pieces. So how will it occur?

And yes, he is a "solid" hitter with two outs at .264/.316/.592--with yet again only his slugging being his saving grace. But com'on, that only happened 187 times in the whole season. And overall, he's still questionable as a hitter due to not being able to tell the difference between a ball and a strike. And he's not good on defense.

RickMcKC said...

Know what's cool? That we actually have a big-deal trade to talk about and that we fans are starting to believe it matters who we trade for. As one who has suffered the Royals for 20+ years, that's big, big change.

Keep it coming, DMGM!

Old Man Duggan said...

One thing that's been largely ignored is the fact that Jacobs posted a BABIP of .264 last season, which dragged down his percentages that everyone seems to be unfairly cherry picking from.

Last year was his only season in which he posted one below .299 and not coincidentally his only season with an average below .260 and an on-base below .317. His career numbers are .262/.318/.498, which are slightly better than his 2008 numbers by themselves. Those numbers still aren't great, but they are a little more palatable.

I'm not saying I agree with the trade necessarily (mostly because of the logjam it creates at 1B/DH, and the fear that the Butler trade that seems to be looming won't yield enough return), but Nunez isn't a particularly costly loss.

sneaky pete said...

To anyone advocating moving Shealy or Ka'aihue to LF,

First, Shealy has the footspeed of a two legged cat. That's a negative.

Second, Ka'aihue. See Shealy.

Neither of these guys are built to play a corner OF spot. Shealy's glove is most valuable at 1B. Ka'aihue's glove is most valuable at Omaha. Or DH. Moving on.

As a Royals fan, I want Ka'aihue to pan out. But I look at him and I see Bob Hamlin. We all loved the Hammer for his one season. Last I checked he was selling used tires in Tacoma, Washington. I fear that 2007 was Ka'aihue's "Bob Hamlin Season."

There are a few things working in Kila's favor. He turns 25 at the start of the '09 season. Hawaiin players tend to be late bloomers. (Lack of High School competition?) See Shane Victorino. He's 27. He may look 23, but he's not.

The final piece to my rambling comment: Let's lay off Dayton Moore. Our organization is headed in a very positive direction. We might not like every deal that he makes. But I can assure you there is sound reasoning behind it. Give this time. Keep those token Cubs hats in the closet. Back off the ledge. Don't jump. Unless you also like the Yankees or Red Sox. Then you should jump.

And remember, pitchers and catchers report in 4.5 months.

Anonymous said...

Of course it "matters" that we have a glut of First Basemen, and that Jacobs OBP is embarrassing, but I think the thing to remember and what REALLY matters in my opinion, is that Jacobs power is more valuable (and harder to develop) than what Nunez provides in the 6th or 7th inning.

Antonio. said...

Not really unfair...his BABIP dropped more than his BA/OBP did. Actually, they dropped half as much as the BABIP. But even if it goes up to his career norms, he's still a hitter with a lousy OBP.

Antonio. said...

"Of course it "matters" that we have a glut of First Basemen, and that Jacobs OBP is embarrassing, but I think the thing to remember and what REALLY matters in my opinion, is that Jacobs power is more valuable (and harder to develop) than what Nunez provides in the 6th or 7th inning."

That's true--but that's looking at it only in terms of the trade. But when you look at it in the terms of what it means to the team, you do have to question is. Does Jacobs power offset all of the outs the CURRENT team is likely to make? Does it offset his defense (not a defense kind of guy, but it has to make you wonder why they ran Gload out there so many times)? Does it mean Billy Butler is gone? There seems to be no coherent plan with what they say--this acquisition makes no sense based on their OBP ramblings--and what they do...as in one thing never leads to the next (ie, how can you go from one extreme first baseman with no power and a nice glove to the other extreme no glove and nice power but even worse OBP skill than the first guy)

Andrew said...

This is when we can officially start calling for GMDM's job. He just traded something of value for something that not only does not have value, but decreases the value of several other players on our roster. For the first time since GMDM was hired, I no longer believe that we will be a legitimate contending franchise within the next ten years.

Antonio. said...

Definitely not in 2010. I had been thinking 2011, but if this is the way this man's offensive philosophy looks, I think it might need to be backed up even more.

chuck said...

To all of you opposed to this trade, realistically, what would you do?
It's easy to sit back and criticize moves, so I am interested in what you guys would do to improve the offense and get better in 2009.

By realistically, I do not mean go out and sign Teixeira or Dunn, because that isn't happening.

We need offense. What do you do?

Antonio. said...

Play Callaspo and Shealy will help by a decent margin. Hope Gordon improves even more his third year than he did his second. Hope Butler's second half is more of an indicator than his first half. Trade/Acquire talent that can get on base.

And actually, I don't really care about improving the offense all that much in 2009. We shouldn't be looking for that in 2009. We should be aiming strictly for a year where we can compete.

Moore is a fool if he thinks we're not still building. A fool.

chuck said...

Callaspo should start at 2b.
Gordon will improve and be as good as people claim he is.

Shealy has never played 60 games in a season in the majors and is 29 years old. I like him as much as the next guy, but why is he all of a sudden going to be an everyday when he hasn't been able to hack it yet? Even if Jacobs platoons at 1b or DH with Shealy or Butler, I think it's worth it considering who we gave up.

Antonio. said...

Not to mention that if Kaaihue has officially broken out, then you'd have to imagine that he'd be ready by June, July at the latest.

But he can't play. It wouldn't be fair to Mikey. Mikey doesn't deserve that.

Anonymous said...

None of our current first basemen have any value, except for Butler and Ka'ahuie. If you trade Butler, there is no way you'll get fair value for what he is capable of because of his underperformance last year.

Trading KK makes the most sense, because his value may never be higher than it is right now. He was nothing more than average up until last year. Find a team that believes what he did last year wasn't a fluke, and unload him for something of value. He's the only one of that group that will bring something of value.

Old Man Duggan said...

"Not really unfair...his BABIP dropped more than his BA/OBP did. Actually, they dropped half as much as the BABIP. But even if it goes up to his career norms, he's still a hitter with a lousy OBP."

That BABIP is more-or-less directly responsible for the fact that last year was the one year in which his BA wasn't in the .260 range and his OBP wasn't in the .320 range which is exactly what the Royals horrible OBP was last year. I'm not saying it's great, but things could be a lot worse, and he's actually got power, which the Royals need, too.

Anonymous said...

Well Chuck, there are a number of moves I would make and most of them involve not playing Teahen, Gload, and Gathright, so by implication, I would focus on signing a corner outfielder that can hit for power and get on base. The one thing I wouldn't do is trade one of our more promising bullpen arms for a one-trick pony
1B that can't field his position and bloks two promising kids (Butler and KK) from developing.

Ben F said...

Good article, but I would second-guess the logic that the Royals can improve easier by adding BBs rather than power. It's hard to coerce walks when the only threat you have is a string of singles. Pitchers just throw strike after strike because the only threat is a single.
Maybe there's a chicken/egg problem here where you need the threat of power to make pitchers worried about giving up hits/walks. A power bat in the 5 spot leads to higher pitch counts in the other spots in the lineup.

Antonio. said...

Ben F, not when they know that the alleged power bat in the 5 hole is going to spend most of the time getting himself out. I could use some help on finding more hitters like Jacobs because everyone that comes to mind can at least walk. If Jacobs was surrounded by a team that gets on at an extremely high rate, it wouldn't be so bad at all...but he isn't. He surrounded by a bunch of guys that are marginally better than he is at it. Right now, our 4 and 5 hitters are automatic outs.

Considering the fluctuation of his slugging in his career and that his BA/OBP went down this year while his HR skyrocketed and went above PECOTA'S 90-percentile, you'd have to imagine that he completely changed his approach from '06-'07 to swing for the fence everytime in 2008. He doesn't have the power to do that. I have a hard time imagining him hitting over 25.

I don't have a problem with trading Leo. But I dont' like trading Leo for a player that doesn't fit the team's needs.

Anonymous said...

A lineup of

...
3. Butler
4. Gordon
5. Guillen
6. Jacobs
...

would be great IF AND ONLY IF Butler and Gordon fulfill their lofty hype. Otherwise, the phrase "too many outs" comes to mind.

keith jersey said...

How can you claim the 4 and 5 hitters are automatic outs when they drove in a combined 190 runs last year?

Think of it this way. We only gave up a middle relief guy. DM doesn't care about middle relief guys cause they fluctuate wildly from one yeat to next and you can find cheap alternatives. How much better would the 2008 royals have been with Jacobs over Gload?

Why is it that every alternative plan proposed here uses words like "hope". GM's can't always rely on hope. Especially when the franchise has shown little ability to develop hitter well enough to justify that hope. This is a good trade. Jacobs is cheap. If KK is ready this summer, he will be up. No doubt about it.

Antonio. said...

And where will he play? Will he sit to learn infinite wisdom from Trey Hillman?

Do you know what ON-BASE PERCENTAGE means? Are you aware that HR, though you don't remain on base, is calculated into OBP? Do you know what the numbers .300 and .299 represent? They get out more than what is an acceptable rate. The league average OBP in the AL was .336. It was .331 in the NL. They're both well under that mark. That makes them automatic outs. You do know that RBI isn't an individual's statistic, right? You can't argue an invidual's worth based on a statistic that is highly depended on other people being on base.

chuck said...

"I would focus on signing a corner outfielder that can hit for power and get on base."

Well, no shit. I think that is also in the plans. GMDM isn't an idiot. I'm sure he knows we need a corner OF with power.



"The one thing I wouldn't do is trade one of our more promising bullpen arms for a one-trick pony
1B that can't field his position and bloks two promising kids (Butler and KK) from developing."

Bullpen arms are a dime a dozen. GMDM can put together a bullpen in his sleep. And Nunez isn't even that great. He's ok when he isnt hurt, but middle relievers are no big deal, which is I like the trade. Butler can develop, as a DH, and KK can develop in AAA. Jacobs plays 2009, and maybe he doesn't even get offered arbitration for 2010. So, he'd be a one year replacement for KK, who will be a two year replacement for Hosmer.

Anonymous said...

"GMDM isn't an idiot."

Really??? So far every baseball pundit that has looked at this trade has said, "Moore is an idiot." Joe Po, Neyer, Bill James and every other relevant baseball website seems to see this as a lopsided trade.



"Bullpen arms are a dime a dozen."
Is that why relievers (and yes I include 7th and 8th inning guys in that category) are generally the most sought after players at the trade deadline every year?


"And Nunez isn't even that great. He's ok when he isnt hurt, but middle relievers are no big deal, which is I like the trade."

Yeah, I can see where you are coming from. A 24 year old kid with 2/3 plus pitches who could eventually close or start has very little upside when compared to the worst fielding 1B with one of the lowest OBP in baseball!


"Jacobs plays 2009, and maybe he doesn't even get offered arbitration for 2010. So, he'd be a one year replacement for KK, who will be a two year replacement for Hosmer."

Brilliant! I hope DM has a better plan than yours. If we're trading away 24 year old pitchers for 1 year rentals we are indeed doomed as much as I suspect.

Antonio. said...

Word is that Olivo's option's been picked up. Please someone tell Dayton that you only get 27 outs and Jacobs has already spoken for three of them. Now we have Olivo. Hey, maybe we can get the Sox to send Uribe our way. Maybe we can talk the Dodgers out of Pierre. And we can get Podsednik out of retirement! That'll be the biggest get ever!

Anonymous said...

Wow, so, either Leo Nunez is a stud, or easily replaceable. And Jacobs adds nothing of value in most people's estimations.

Anyone saying Jacobs will suffer moving to spacious Kauffman stadium is retarded. Sorry guys, but you are. Dolphin stadium, for left handed hitters, is a deeper ballpark than Kauffman is. If anything, Jacobs may hit MORE home runs than he did last year.

Is Jacobs the best first baseman ever? Not at all, but he is a lot better than any other alternative we currently have.

Shealy is older and hasn't done a whole lot except for a couple September call ups.

KK was average before blossoming in AA last year. I agree with giving him a half-to-full year at AAA to develop.

Butler hasn't done a whole lot with the time he's had yet. I do think the potential is there, but I'm sick of waiting on potential. We, as Royals fans, have waited long enough on potential.

Ross Gload is, well, Ross Gload. If he gets more than 200 at bats a year, your team will not be a contender.

Lets look at Nunez. He's listed at 6'1", 175 lbs. If he's that big, I'm Santa Claus. Every time he pitches, I'm afraid his arm is going to snap off. And on top of that, he's not all that good! He has a career ERA of 4.92, a career K rate of 5.77, and a career BAA of .284. All except his K rate were significantly better last year than any other year of his career, which points to a fluke year.

This was nothing more than a salary dump by the Marlins, and they would take whatever they could get in return. The Royals jumped on the chance to actually add a guy who has shown he can hit 30+ homers in a spacious park. And he's replacing Ross-Freaking-Gload, not Albert Pujols. The Royals got, at minimum, 3-5 games better with this deal.

Anonymous said...

I am fully aware of the values of OBP and all it entails. However, its getting a bit over rated when an OBP of .300 is called an automatic out when compared to .331. A difference of .030 amounts to getting on base 3 more times over 100 at bats, or roughly once more every 7 games.

Legitimate power threat for injury prone middle relief = good trade

jd

Antonio. said...

.300 is a very pathetic OBP. It's that simple. And yeah, it's only a few more hits when spread out over the at bats, but what it really points to is a lack of patience, an inability to control the strike zone, and that's really the name of the game in offensive baseball.

With the trade taken on its own, it is most certainly a win, but when you put him into the line-up with a lot of other players with poor discipline, it's really hard to see where our baserunners are going to come from. If you're going to be a home run hitter without patience, then you have to hit a lot more than 30 to make up for the lack of patience.

And beating PECOTA's 90-percentile is no small thing. It's an unlikely feat. I don't expect him to regress in HR simply because of a move to the K (and it's not just stadium dimensions that determines how it's going to play), but also because of a move to the American League and (mostly) because I think 32 HR was a lot more than what one can reasonably expect
from Mike Jacobs.

Just curious, but how many more hits do you need to turn a .350 BA into a .400 BA? Not many, yet so many .350 hitters fail. As much as you fail in baseball, the small percentages can and DO make a large difference.

skeptic said...

What are the chances of the Royals getting Mike Arbuckle?

jay in houston said...

what about micah hoffpauir from the cubs? somebody mentioned him on here. i think he plays OF and seems to be ready for a ryan ludwick-style breakout. i wonder if we've looked into him.

also the cards are possibly shopping an OF'er. probably ankiel, who is in a contract year. that might be precisely the type of player we need. i wonder what the asking price is for ankiel and if we'd have enough pieces to move for him.

his OBP was just under .340 but he's only been hitting for a couple of years. there's definitely potential for improvement. i wouldn't be surprised if we at least inquire about him. the only drawback i see is that he hits lefthanded (if that's even a drawback).

Undertaker said...

For everybody having a heart attack about Jacobs and his OBP, what are you going to do when they trade for Francoeur and his .294 OBP? Or trade for Yuniesky and his .300 OBP? One of the two, if not both, is going to happen. I just hope they don't overpay for Francoeur. They bigger issue I'm not hearing discussed: Greinke hasn't been extended. Translation: Bye, Bye Zack. I put the odds he goes at 75%. Are you going to be crying when he brings back some hitters that have the a good OBP and the POTENTIAL to do great things but have never proven anything in the majors? This seems to be what I'm hearing everybody wants.

Anonymous said...

this quote from mlbtraderumors pretty much sums it up for me:

"Looking at 2008's bottom ten in OBP...Moore signed Jose Guillen (.300), acquired Mike Jacobs (.299), and has been linked in trade talks to Francoeur (.294) and Yuniesky Betancourt (.300). And don't forget Willy Taveras (.308)."

I'll join Raney - WTF!!!!

Anonymous said...

You're right Antonio, park dimensions aren't the only factor in hitting home runs. Weather factors in too, mainly humidity. I know it gets hot an humid here in KC, but that's nothing compared to Miami.

Jacobs is the first 30 homer bat we've had on this team since Jermaine Dye. Beltran never hit that many here, although he has since. Jacobs is just hitting his prime. He's got a couple solid years of prime production left, and I'm glad he'll be doing it in Royal blue!

Antonio. said...

It's not just humidity--I know it's more humid in Miami--but also the way the wind blows into a stadium. There are MANY factors into home runs being hit. Not just park size, not just humidity, not just wind.

Jacobs doesn't hit enough hr to make up for everything else he does poorly.

Bob McWilliams said...

Even though I loved reading about most of the election results in today's paper, I almost became ill when I turned to the sports page to read about DM supposedly trying to acquire two more OBP sinkholes (Franceour, Betancourt). And supposedly offering Butler for Betancourt. ARRRGHGGHG.

This proves, beyond a shadow of the doubt, that all the Royals talk about the importance of OBP is total, absolute, bs. They may talk the talk, but they sure as hell don't walk the walk.

Hoping they don't actually go down this path!

Antonio. said...

I'm wondering if he was doing the talking head bit, knowing that KC has so many writers/readers that are huge fans of statistics...he was just shutting up the "statheads" for a bit.

Anonymous said...

As far as park factors go, neither stadium was easy to hit one out of in 2008. Dolphin Stadium ranked 27th, while Kauffman ranked 29th. Not a huge difference.

My question is when did someone appoint Antonio judge of whether 32 homers is enough to offset a career OBP of .320ish? I would love to know how you determined that.

Shelby said...

I think Rany's waiting for comment no. 100 to post anew.

So here's 99.


Beisbol!!

Antonio. said...

Why does anyone have to appoint me anything? Your opinion is the exact same as mine--important only to you and anyone who agrees with you. I'd say the other numbers give my argument a strong base.

Banderas said...

I say Antonio should just kill himself.....

Anonymous said...

That's just uncalled for banderas.

Jacobs made a good point when asked about his OBP. He basically stated he doesn't walk a lot because he feels when you're put in the middle of the lineup, it's to knock in runs and do damage, not draw walks. He thinks he can hit .270 or .280 most years, which would put his OBP about .320.

He's not the guy that's supposed to get on base, he's the guy that's supposed to knock them guys in. David Dejesus and Mike Aviles are projected to be our top two hitters, and they have good OBP's. Gordon doesn't have a great average, but he does draw walks and has power, which would make him an ideal #3 hitter, if he improves. We now have two decent run producers in the middle with Jacobs and Guillen, and two other guys who will hopefully improve and be two more in Gordon and Butler. We'll see how the rest of the offseason shakes out to know exactly what we'll have next year.

Antonio. said...

You know...any opportunity to drive in a run other than a sacrifice fly leads to a higher on base percentage. So even if his job is to cause damage by knocking in runs, if his OBP is .299, he's not doing his job often enough. Walks lead to high pitch counts. High pitch counts leads to the bullpen. Getting to a bullpen as quickly as possible is a good thing.

He's one-dimensional. And 32 home runs, which may or may not have been a fluke, isn't very many if that's all you're doing. If he had a .280/.350/.475 line with those 32 HR, he'd be many positive things to contribute to winning. .262/.299/.510 is making too many outs.

Think of it this way. Do you want your pitcher to walk guys? What ever you don't want your pitcher doing is the EXACT thing you want your hitter to do.

Now, someone find me a rope, please.

Nathan said...

I'm not entirely convinced this is a bad trade. First of all, let's remember what we're giving up for Jacobs: Leo Nunez and $2.5-3 million. Not chump change, but not huge in MLB terms either. Secondly, Jacobs may contribute to the 2009-10 club. Let's assume Butler is locked in at DH, and Kila is ticketed for Omaha (which is perfectly reasonable for a prospect who has never spent a season at AAA). That would leave Shealy and Gload to fight for playing time. Not a pretty picture. Adding Jacobs to the mix, we now have the possibility of a Jacobs/Shealy platoon. Jacobs does most of his damage against RHPs, and Shealy also enjoys a platoon split. This could work much better. If Shealy earns a chance to play every day, Jacobs is likely tradable. We might even get more than Nunez back.

Yes, this blocks Kila, and it relegates Butler to DHing. I don't think either of those is a bad thing. Butler is a born DH, and there's no utility in pretending otherwise. Somebody has to DH, why not him? And Kila, like most prospects, should benefit from AAA. If this trade does nothing but save us from the spectacle of yet another one of our prospects "developing" at the major league level, it'll be worth it.

Finally, we need to keep some perspective on the trifecta of Butler, Shealy and Kila. Fans are acting like we need to have room on the roster for all three of these, but the reality is that it's highly unlikely that more than one or two of them will develop into quality hitters. Kila's development last year was exciting, but it's too soon to pencil him into the 2010 starting linup. Jacobs has already shown the ability to hit for power in the majors, and that's more than any of those three can say (though I remain optimistic about Butler).

This may turn out to be a bad trade, but I think at the least a case can be made for it. In any case, it's a marginal move, nowhere near deserving the ridicule heaped on GMDM in this post.

Yes, it blocks Kila.

Antonio. said...

Kila should have already been blocked. Shealy's Royal career has definitely been lacking, but compared to what we've seen with Gload in the last two years, doesn't his September warrant at least the two or three months we'd need to have Kila in Omaha? You can't really bank on a Shealy/Jacobs platoon because I can't imagine a scenario that Moore gives that to Shealy. I can see a Gload/Jacobs platoon, whether that works or not...and the reason I can see that is simply because I cannot fathom (at this point) the idea that Moore is going to be able to move two of Gload/Teahen/Gathright, because that's what is going to have to be done. And you have to be careful about platooning because we know the Royals lack creativity, so they'll have a 13-12 hitter/pitcher split.

1. Gordon
2. Jacobs
3. Guillen
4. Olivo
5. Aviles
6. DDJ
7. Shealy
8. Butler
9. Callaspo
10. Gload
11. Gathright
12. Teahen
13. Pena

That's four outfielders, not counting Gload. That's three first basemen counting Gload AND a DH. That's one catcher. That's only one back up infielder. That doesn't take into account for Buck and German. What can you really see Moore doing with this? Either Shealy or Butler won't be breaking camp. Given what we know about Moore's history through his words, trade attempts and Butler's usage, the likelihood is that Butler goes to Omaha. Is destroying Triple-A again really what he needs? Can they not just come out and say, "Okay, we rushed Tubbs just a li'l bit"?

And the team is completely loaded with guys who love to make outs.

Jacobs for Nunez makes sense. Adding .299 to .300 and .278 and .313 doesn't. Getting on base is not a small thing. It's hard to string together any kind of offense when you make a plethora of outs and little in between.

Carl Willingham said...

The whole "I'm aggresive and it's my job to drive in runs" line kills me. These guys do not understand that you only get 27 outs in a game and points out why you don't change a mature hitters approach. If you try and they go 0-4 they will go back to the approach that made the team want them and pay them millions. Moore is full of crap, and JOPO at the star has some great blog entries and articles explaining why. Don't listen to the guy, judge him by his actions.

Big Jack said...

Everyone needs to settle down. KK will benefit from having the extra year in AAA. Absolute worst case Jacobs will be traded at the deadline bringing back something more valuable than Nunez and opening up a spot for KK to come up. It's not a risky move when you can flip him in July and pick up better parts. Like the Dotel deal and like we should have down with Mahay.....

Antonio. said...

I think the only way we get anything out of Jacobs is if an injury bug affects a team pretty severely. Most teams are now smart enough to know that OBP matters a lot. He'll have to have a huge rebound year. Considering how he almost double his previous HR total and we saw a drop in both his BA/OBP, it is should be pretty obvious that he spent a lot of time swinging for the long ball. He'll have to stop doing that. His value might actually increase if his power decreases.

Shelby said...

I think anybody with an .809 OBPS is worth trading for.

Anonymous said...

I think Rany needs to write a new column....

Antonio. said...

I call fools gold in the HR department. And he doesn't have an .809 OPS. It's higher. I think he reverts more towards 2007. I would want him to attain at least a 1:2 BB:K, but I doubt that happens.

Anonymous said...

Jacobs has a career .816 OPS. Last year he had an OPS of .813. OPS is a more important stat than OBP because it measures a more overall game than OBP does.

Ross Gload has a career OPS of .737 and last season was at .665. Clearly, Jacobs is a pretty good upgrade.

Anonymous said...

And lets be honest Antonio, the Royals lack a lot of things offensively. They lack the ability to get on base, except for a couple guys, and they lack power. This trade at least addresses one of those shortcomings. Lets see what the rest of the offseason brings before we completely lambast this trade.

Nathan said...

A lot of the criticism of this trade is based on the assumption that the Royals will now mishandle the roster because of it. That's quite a conclusion to jump to, with a management team all of a year old. If acquiring Jacobs actually results in sending Butler to Omaha, we've got bigger problems. But maybe we should wait to criticize opening day roster choices until, you know, after they're made? Bottom line, this trade brought in as much long term value as it lost, and we shouldn't base our evaluation of the trade on the assumption that the talent gained will be misused.

kevin b said...

Actually, the bigger things that bother me than this trade are that we continue to list Teahen, Buck, Gathright, Gload, Gobble, Pena Jr as still on this team. It is truly time to cut bait on these guys.

Anonymous said...

Actually Kevin, a couple of those guys are useful pieces, especially Teahen. While Teahen should not be a starter by any means, he does make a valuable backup cause he can play so many positions. He's also versatile and while he isn't a consistent hitter, has a lot of baseball skills and instincts. And John Buck would be a better backup catcher than almost everyone else in the majors has. Gobble was injured most of last year, so throw that season out. He's not a great pitcher by any means, but he's not something you just throw away either, especially considering how cheaply he comes.

Anonymous said...

I don't think I'd let Pena roof my house let alone take up a spot on the 40 man.....

Antonio. said...

By no means am I going to say I'd rather have Gload. But what I'm saying is that when added to a team that collectively makes too many outs, his power isn't dominating enough to make up for him hurting the team's biggest weakness. Of the trio stats, OBP is easily the most important.

And I can give you OPS+ because it is comparative. But not OPS because by itself, without the comparason, it's not a good metric. It equates OBP and slugging and they are not equals. Some want to balance it towards OBP by 1.4, but I think it's more important than slugging than 1.4 times.

Anonymous said...

Can we please get a new article?? This site has become antonio.com!! I'm sick of reading garbage. Post!!!!!

Jay in Houston said...

Somehow, despite losing 100 games 2 of the last 3 years and decades more of abysmal records, many Royals fans have seem to have a sense of entitlement. It's preposterous. I really can't believe people are actually complaining that we traded for a guy who went deep 32 times last year.

Have you all already forgotten the days of Tony Graffanino, Terrence Long, Michael Tucker, Desi Relaford, Emil Brown and Ruben Mateo hitting 3rd and/or cleanup? Calvin Pickering anyone? Perhaps the infamous Ken Harvey?

We have some combination of Gordon, Guillen, Jacobs likely hitting 3, 4, 5.

That's far and away the best middle-of-the-order we've had since Beltran, Sweeney, Dye. Anyone remember when we had Beltran/Sweeney/Dye?

2001!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yes, it's been THAT long.

jay in houston said...

Excuse me for the factual error. We've lost 100 games 3 out of the last 5 years.

That makes it much better.

Jacobs was a great addition to the team. Anyone who says otherwise just has a short-term memory.

jay in houston said...

And one last thing...if this team can go above .500, then our 2009 roster can go undefeated:

http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/KCR/2003.shtml

Darrell May...the prototypical ace.

Nathan said...

"Some want to balance it towards OBP by 1.4, but I think it's more important than slugging than 1.4 times."

Why do you think this? Is it just a gut feeling or do you have numbers?

Anyway, everyone, let's remember that we just got a 30-hr hitter (though not a great one) for a relief pitcher (though not a bad one). There may be arguments on both sides as to whether it was a good idea. But if you really think trading away Leo Nunez is a black mark against GMDM, you really need to get some perspective. Or read up on the durability of relief pitchers.

Antonio. said...

Well, to use the example in Moneyball, you can have your lead off man go deep and then have the 2-4 hitters make outs and have a 1.000 slugging. To get a 1.000 OBP, you have to make no outs. They're definitely not equal.

Antonio. said...

You're comparing decent (at best) to crap. That's not really much of a comparison.

It's not about entitlement. It's about not making outs at a crippling pace.