Wednesday, November 12, 2008

More on Jacobs.

One thing that characterizes Dayton Moore’s tenure as GM is that he’s not afraid of controversial moves. By “controversial”, I don’t mean that as a euphemism for “everyone disagrees with them” – that would the Allard Baird era – but that there is a legitimate lack of consensus about them. Some people think his moves are brilliant; others think they are terrible.

Gil Meche’s five-year contract was felt by some (Rob Neyer and, to a somewhat lesser extent, myself) to be a criminally risky move, and others (Joe Posnanski) as a bold and inspired decision. Jose Guillen’s three year deal was panned by all three of us as a move that was pointless at best and actively destructive at worst, but there were certainly a lot of Royals fans in the blogosphere who loved Guillen’s power and felt that he would help to fire up the clubhouse.

And now comes the Mike Jacobs trade, and judging from the comments on this site and other Royals sites on the web, most Royals fans seem to have very strong opinions about this trade. It’s just that those opinions run the gamut: many fans share my view that Jacobs’ horrible OBP makes him a borderline everyday player to begin with, and a terrible fit for the Royals; others see Jacobs’ power and feel that Leo Nunez is a small price to play for a player who might be the first Royal in five years to hit 30 homers in a season. There seems to be no in-between.

While there’s extensive disagreement among Royals fans about the trade, I must inform you that there’s almost no disagreement among baseball analysts: they think it was a bad move for Kansas City. From Posnanski to Christina Kahrl to Keith Law, to private emails I’ve received, no one understands why the Royals would trade for Jacobs.

There are many reasons why people have lined up into two disparate camps over the move, but from my standpoint (as someone who thinks the trade was a waste of resources), I think the most significant reason why many Royals fans like the trade is that they’re evaluating Jacobs from the perspective of recent Royals history. Ross Gload was the team’s primary first baseman in 2008 and 2007. In 2006, Doug Mientkiewicz logged a plurality of innings at the position.

In 2005, Matt Stairs and Mike Sweeney got most of the plate appearances, but the Royals also got over 200 at-bats from the combination of Justin Huber, Tony Graffanino, Joe McEwing, Eli Marrero, and Ken Harvey. In 2003 and 2004, Harvey was your primary first baseman, although Mike Sweeney played some first base and was a monster when he did, bringing the overall numbers up. You have to go back to 2002, when Sweeney was ably backed up by Raul Ibanez, to find a year when the Royals had a real asset at first base. Courtesy of baseball-reference.com, here’s a list of the combined numbers from the team’s first basemen going back to 2002:

2002: .320/.390/.588, 44 D, 38 HR, 132 RBI, 67 BB, 21-26 SB

2003: .307/.374/.478, 37 D, 22 HR, 105 RBI, 65 BB, 19-22 SB

2004: .270/.331/.424, 27 D, 24 HR, 86 RBI, 50 BB, 12-17 SB

2005: .285/.333/.414, 39 D, 13 HR, 87 RBI, 44 BB, 6-10 SB

2006: .281/.351/.423, 42 D, 13 HR, 96 RBI, 60 BB, 7-10 SB

2007: .276/.326/.415, 38 D, 12 HR, 80 RBI, 43 BB, 8-9 SB

2008: .277/.324/.396, 26 D, 14 HR, 70 RBI, 38 BB, 6-11 SB

Keep in mind, those numbers represent the totals for the first basemen of every inning of every game all year – so the counting numbers are going to be inflated by the fact that you’re looking at a mythical 162-game first baseman. Even with that inflation, these numbers are terrible for the past five years. The Royals haven’t had a .425 slugging average from first base since 2003, and forget 30 homers – they haven’t had 15 homers from all of their first baseman combined since 2004. And it’s not like they made up for their lack of power with a great command of the strike zone.

So I think many of you look at Jacobs and are mentally comparing him, not to what the Royals could have at first base, but what they have had at first base. There’s no question that Jacobs should be an overall upgrade at the position compared to recent efforts. But that gives the Royals a pass for being foolish enough to rely on guys like Gload, Mientkiewicz, and Harvey to begin with. We’ve been so abused as Royals fans that we start to sympathize with our assailant – we’ve been brainwashed to thinking that it’s normal to play a .280 hitter with 10 homers and 40 walks at first base, so now that we’ve got a guy who will hit .270 with only 30 walks, but might hit 25 homers, we’re somehow impressed.

But if you compare Jacobs, not to what the Royals’ past but to their options in the present, he’s just not that good. Ryan Shealy has had an up-and-down career, but if you look at his overall numbers in 164 career games – basically a full season – he’s hit .271/.335/.429 with 19 homers, 96 RBIs, and 46 BB. Hardly great numbers, but a better performance than the Royals received in four of the last five years. Billy Butler’s career line is almost identical (.282/.334/.420) and he is, of course, just 22 years old. Kila Ka’aihue’s numbers in Northwest Arkansas translate to a .252/.391/.512 performance; his Omaha numbers translate to .284/.403/.569.

The bottom line is that it’s not that hard to find a first baseman who can hit, it’s just that the Royals make it seem that way. The average AL first baseman hit .266/.346/.447 last year, numbers that would be even higher if you took the Royals’ performance out.

So I stand by my position that the Jacobs trade was a mistake. But there are mistakes, and there are Mistakes. This trade was the former. One ex-colleague emailed me after the trade, expressing condolences and urging me to register firedaytonmoore.com. To which I replied, “Oh please, it's not that bad. I suffered through Dye-for-Neifi; I can certainly handle this one. I mean, if the Royals turn around tomorrow and release Jacobs, they're out Leo Nunez. I love Nunez, but he's a middle reliever. We'll get through it.”

Several analysts have made the argument that Jacobs is on the border of being a non-tender candidate, because while he has value, he may not have enough value to justify a $3.5 million (approximate) arbitration figure. But again, even if that’s true and the Royals come to their senses and release Jacobs tomorrow, all they’ve done is throw away a useful middle reliever. That’s not the end of the world.

This trade isn’t remotely as bad as the Jose Guillen signing, for instance. In one instant, they committed $36 million to a hitter who’s barely above replacement level. This time, all they’ve committed is $3.5 million and a useful pre-arbitration reliever. There’s no comparison.

Rich Lederer makes a good case that the Jacobs trade was no worse than the Rangers’ decision to exercise their option on Hank Blalock, a decision that attracted no controversy to speak of. Blalock is no longer a third baseman, he’s making $6.2 million next year, he’s the same age as Jacobs, and when you take the Arlington air out of his numbers, his performance the last few years is no better than Jacobs. I’d rather have Blalock, because his overall numbers are weighed down by his 2005-06 performances that were injury-plagued, but if it’s worth paying $6.2 million to Blalock, then at the very least, paying $3.5 million and a middle reliever to Jacobs isn’t the end of the world. Especially since you’re also getting the option to keep Jacobs at below market value in 2010 and 2011 on the off chance that he has a breakout season next year.

Now that Jacobs is here, the key is to figure out how to extract the most value from him. He’s a terrible defensive player, by many metrics the worst defensive first baseman in the majors, another reason why so many of my analyst friends are down on him. And he can’t hit lefties. The obvious solution here is to platoon him with Ryan Shealy, and to also make liberal use of Shealy – an underrated fielder – as a defensive replacement. Play Butler at DH every day, and let Ka’aihue go to Omaha and prove that 2008 wasn’t a fluke.

The problem with this is that while Jacobs hasn’t shown he can hit left-handed pitching, neither has Shealy. Here are their career splits:

Against LHP:

Jacobs: .235/.275/.414

Shealy: .179/.266/.298

Against RHP:

Jacobs: .269/.329/.521

Shealy: .307/.363/.481

Looking at those numbers, you’d be hard-pressed to figure out who was the left-handed hitter. Shealy’s splits defy explanation. Even last year, when he finally hit LHP (9-for-33 with 3 homers), he still performed worse than he did against RHP (13-for-40 with 4 homers).

There is a strong body of evidence which suggests that platoon splits are fixed; that is to say, over the long run all right-handed hitters will have roughly the same advantage when facing southpaws over right-handers. (With left-handed hitters there is some evidence that a pronounced platoon split may be meaningful.) Shealy has just 169 career plate appearances against left-handers, so it’s possible that his struggles against them are just a fluke. (In Omaha last year, Shealy hit .250/.393/.511 against LHP, .292/.371/.500 against RHP.)

The problem is that even given the small sample size, Ryan Shealy has the most pronounced reverse platoon split of any right-handed hitter in recent history. With the kind of assistance of my BP colleague Bil Burke, here is a list of the right-handed hitters in our database (going back to the mid-1950s) with the biggest reverse platoon split, and a minimum of 150 plate appearances against LHP:

   

Player LHP OPS RHP OPS Diff.

Ryan Shealy .179/.266/.298 564 .307/.363/.481 843 279

Johnny Goryl .163/.250/.233 483 .248/.323/.426 749 266

Earl Wilson .138/.193/.257 450 .219/.294/.417 710 260

Donnie Sadler .155/.214/.202 416 .222/.283/.320 603 187

Steve Renko .170/.205/.214 419 .240/.275/.327 602 182

The fact that two of the five players on this list are pitchers, and they were both better hitters than Donnie Sadler (ex-Royal Donnie Sadler) tells you that the inability to hit left-handed pitching is not a hallmark of a good hitter. Having said that, there is likely a selection bias here: of the top 16 hitters on this list, none of them had so much as 400 career plate appearances against LHP, probably because it’s hard to sustain this kind of a fluke for more than 400 plate appearances. But the only players with so few career plate appearances are either 1) pitchers or 2) really bad hitters. Or 3) active players who haven’t had time for their splits to even out.

I’m still optimistic that Shealy’s performance against lefties has been just a fluke to this point, and that the law of averages is on his side. Frankly, I don’t think the Royals have any choice but to find out, because Mike Jacobs has had a lot more time to prove that he can’t hit them. The bigger question is whether Jacobs should play first base at all, or whether the Royals should just stick him at DH and let Butler play first. Butler hasn’t proven he can play first base, but Jacobs has proven rather definitively that he can’t play first base. If I were the Royals, I’d start Jacobs at DH and Butler at 1B against RHP, using Shealy as a d-rep. Against LHP I’d start Shealy at 1B and Butler at DH. This way, Butler gets reps at 1B, but doesn’t kill the team by playing there every day. Shealy gets a fair amount of playing time, both on the field and at the plate. And Jacobs can concentrate on what he does best – hit baseballs thrown by right-handed pitchers a long way.

Oh, and the city council passes an ordinance banning Ross Gload from coming within 300 feet of Kauffman Stadium. That would be nice.

(Sorry for the delay, guys. Now that the election is over, I’m hoping I can concentrate on other things long enough to write the occasional column. God knows there are a bunch of other topics to write about.)

35 comments:

Luke-a-Duke said...

Dude, I'm just glad you're back. No excuses needed as to the absence - just don't let it happen again (haha).

I for one do see where some people would be concerned by Jacobs lack of OBP (which is amazingly bad), however, I am curious to see if maybe, just maybe Seitzer can help get him better about taking walks. If not, then by all means let him go after next season and hopefully one of our other 900 first basemen will have proven themselves as a decisive, everyday starter.

Chad said...

The best thing about getting Jacobs is that he should help bridge the gap to Moustakas and Hosmer. When those two finally make it up here, there will be a logjam again, with Gordon, Butler, Moustakas, and Hosmer all in the mix.....not to mention Ka'aihue being in the mix. Still, the offense is bad enough that we need game changers, you can't always rely on four batters getting hits in a row.

OJ said...

I've been told more than once in my life that my profuse "Thank Yous" are offputting. But I don't care. Thanks for posting, Rany. I LOVE this blog. I don't care how often you post, I just want you to keep posting!

As for the Jacobs trade, as an unbiased observer, I don't think it's a terrible move as long as it doesn't begin a domino effect of other terrible moves (trading Butler or Kila, Shealy to Omaha again, Jacobs playing 1B everyday etc).

It sucks to root for a team that acquires a player who could be useful, uses him the wrong way, screws better players, and then tells you how smart they are for doing it (Bill Smith said he was very pleased with Livan's 10 wins at some point in early June of 2008).

Thanks again.

/disgruntled Twins fan

OJ said...

Also, I didn't mean to imply that Livan Hernandez could have been useful. That would be silly. I just used it as an example of organizational spin.

Carry on.

Anonymous said...

I don't think this was a good trade, but I agree that it isn't anything to get worked up about either. If trading for Jacobs means I don't have to watch Ross Gload play anymore then it is an improvement. I would rather have seen them trade for a corner outfielder with similar power, but you have to find a willing partner (and that would have required us to give up a lot more than Nunez).

Also, I think it is a good thing that Kila starts the season in AAA. It sends a message to the players in the system that you have to earn your way to the roster by playing well year after year.

Worst case, if Jacobs/Shealy sucks and Kila is knocking the cover off the ball in AAA, then we can always bring him up midseason.

Best case, Jacobs/Shealy/Kila play well and we have the option to trade one of them for a better player than Nunez at midseason.

I would like to get your thoughts on a different topic. Based on the free agent offers we made last winter, I thought David Glass finally showed a willingness to open his wallet and field a $70,000,000 team. This year we are hearing that we don't have the money to make any significant free agent signings. Do you think this represents a shift in David Glass's thinking that we shuold be concerned about, or is it just that there are no free agents that we think are worth signing to a big contract? I understand the logic behind not signing a free agent starting pitcher, because we have some good pitching prospects working their way through the minors. I don't understand where we plan on finding that corner outfielder with power, because I don't see that player in the minors right now. Am I missing something?

Also, in light of the article in the Star today about Greinke being unwilling to sign a long term deal, I think we need to trade him for players that project to be here through the 2011 season. I don't think we have to do it now, but I do think we have to do it before the July trade deadline because he won't be as valuable with only one year remaining before he is a free agent.

-Clay

Anonymous said...

Good article. It's worth noting that over a fully season, Sean "CHONE" Smith has Jacobs being worth more thah a win less than Shealy based on defense alone. Indeed, he has Jacobs as 4 runs worse than Billy Butler.

However, as I wrote in response to Lederer: is it really a defense of the Jacobs acquisition that he's comparable to the dessicated remains of Hank Blalock?

Anonymous said...

Good post, Rany - and your description of how the Royals SHOULD deploy their firstbaseman candidates id dead-on.

Of course, this being the Royals, I don't think ANY of us would be surprised if they played Gload at 1B vs righties, Shealy at 1B vs lefties, Shealy at 1B vs righties, Jacobs DH vs righties, and simply sent Billy Butler to the minors to battle Kila for 1B playing time.

(Yeah - I think that little of their evaluative powers)

AxDxMx said...

Quote:"Also, I think it is a good thing that Kila starts the season in AAA. It sends a message to the players in the system that you have to earn your way to the roster by playing well year after year."

It also sends the message that even if you are the best player in the minors with the bat, we don't want you and we'll trade for someone else's leftovers just to stick you back in the hole you tried to crawl out of.

I just don't understand the "Make Kila prove it" crowd. Homers and OBP for Kila by year:

2002 3 .376
2003 11 .348
2004 15 .352
2005 20 .428
2006 6 .303 <----injury riddled year
2007 21 .359
-----------------
2008 26 .463 = AA
2008 11 .439 = AAA
2008 1 .375 = AAAA
--------------------

Yes, 2008 was a breakout, but there was steady improvement there all along. If he mashes for a month in Omaha he deserves to come back and start. I just get the feeling he can't possibly do anything to change GMDM's mind unless he decides to have an OBP of around .300 while only hitting 30 homers. Then maybe a spot will open up for him. Obviously DMGM pays lip service to OBP, but doesn't really believe in it.

Btw, trading Greinke isn't necessary. If he doesn't want to sign now, that's fine. It just saves us money while leaving our future a little more uncertain. Locking him up is great, but if you only buy out 1 of his free agent years, are you really saving any money over his arbitration costs? The Kazmir deal doesn't make sense to me still unless they believe he'll be a $20M a year pitcher at his 1st year of free agency. But hey, if we can get the right players for Grienke, go ahead and do it. We could use a corner OF, and some young prospects.

Anonymous said...

Gload is signed through 2009, so it makes you wonder what they intend to do with him. There have to be some other trades coming along, right?

Ryan said...

Glad to have you back. There had got to be a better way for Dayton to use his resources than to acquire a 1B who can't field or take a base. The two positives I can see out of this is that it forces Kila (who Dayton obviously isn't impressed by) to prove he can hit consistently in Omaha and it takes away more AB's from Ross Gload.

Collin said...

axdxmx --

KK broke out while in his 3rd year in AA, and previous to this great season, he never batted all that well with the exception of his season in High A ball.

What's the harm in letting him prove that last year wasn't a fluke? Why should we all the sudden think he's our best player just because he had one good year out of the last three (all in AA)?

If he proves GMDM wrong, then good for him... but he's certainly not rotting away in Omaha at this point... he's being forced to play his way on to the roster as opposed to being instantly over valued and rewarded for ONE good year.

Besides, doesn't putting him on the 40 man roster imply that the Royals at least might think he's a decent player? Handing a 25 year old who was stuck in AA until last year the starting 1B job is a little too much to ask, i think.

Anonymous said...

If The Royals follow Rany's suggestion, and assuming they carry 11 pitchers, here's what their bench looks like:

Shealy/ Jacobs (assuming Butler starts every day at 1B or DH
Reserve OF (must be able to play CF)
Reserve IF (must be able to play 2B and SS)
Reserve C
Gload

This still doesn't add up. There are more moves left to be made, and you have to hope one of them involves Gload, who might be a niche contributor on another team, but really doesn't help the Royals at all.

Anonymous said...

'By “controversial”, I don’t mean that as a euphemism for “everyone disagrees with them” – that would the Allard Baird era – but that there is a legitimate lack of consensus about them."

commas go before quotes, dude.

Anonymous said...

Now that the Royals have an excess of 1B, what are the chances that my Orioles can convince DM to give us Butler for Cabrera and Penn?

kevin said...

Hey now, c'mon guys, let's be fair, Gload's got GRIT. But, serioulsy, they really need to get rid of Gload. If he is available he will be too much of a temptation for Hillman to trot out there somewhere, anywhere.

I think, sadly, the answer to anonymous' (12:58) question regarding glASS is that glASS noticed that Tampa did much better than most teams out there with a payroll currently LESS than the Royals'. LESS THAN THE ROYALS.

Yes, WE all know this was due to better talent evaluation and development than the Royals ever will have (under this owner), very crafty trading, and timing, and luck, and luck. BUT, you see, glASS does NOT know this, he does NOT see this. He suddenly thinks we can do the same and shut down the money spigot. He simply saw an excuse to be a cheapass again.

Sorry to ruin your day, but DM's big talk about big changes don't look like they're going to happen. Something happened, something changed.

tim_grotheer said...

The thing that I never see discussed about this trade, or the Meche trade when it was made, is does the move make the team better? I think this move improves the team which makes it a good trade.

AxDxMx said...

The power with Kila is important, but the OBP is the most important factor, and it has never been a fluke. He has never had an OBP less than .348, and most years it has been way above that. That tells me he is a little more discerning than the average minor leaguer that can hit 15-20 home runs on mistake pitches by guys that will never reach MLB. That is pretty much why I think the Jacobs trade can be summed up in 2 words.

EPIC FAIL

Isaac said...

My main issue is not that we had a player currently on the roster that could have played first. It's that we had 3 players currently on the roster that could have played first. I suspect that all of the players currently on the roster would have done as well or better than Jacobs.

Another issue is that we weakened what was already our weakest area on the team by bringing in a guy who had an OBP of .299 last year.

Finally, we took a guy with trade value and picked up a guy we are now pressed to find playing time for instead of picking up someone we actually needed. For instance, we could have picked up a catcher instead of picking up the option on Olivo's contract.

I hear what DM says about OBP but I sure don't see it.

Reuben said...

This is my first time leaving a comment, but I check your website everyday. Glad you are writing again. Any thoughts on if the Royals should sign Greinke long term and if so, will he sign? His comments after winning the Joe Burke award reminded me of Johnny Damon's comments when the Royals were trying to sign him long term. If it looks unrealistic that he will not sign, I would love to see trading him for 2 or 3 top prospects. Dayton hasn't had the opportunity to do a Carlos Beltran type trade and I would like to see what he could get when trading something of such high value as Greinke.

Douglas said...

Welcome back, Rany, I always look for your comments. Your observation that this move isn't the end fo the world is apt, but it's the kind of killing with a thousand cuts bloodlet that we've seen for the past decade+ that has destroyed the franchise. No, it's not the Neifi/Dye blunder, but for an organization that used to pride itself on squeezing the most out of deals made in the margins, it's a setback (even if in inches). Also, with teams like the A's continually bettering themselves with crystal ball acquisitions, the Royals, I fear, will be overrun yet another year in the chase for above replacement level talent. What bothers me is that the Jacobs trade, the first volley of the off-season for any team, focusses on an area the Royals don't need to concentrate on. It makes me wonder if there isn't a larger plan or some deeper scouting insights that Moore is using. My gut feeling is that to view this trade as a one-off deal is short-sighted. I'm still of the belief that fans need to step back, if only a little, to see what other moves follow and then judge Moore's entire off-season dealings. I just don't think it's as simple as "Jacobs=32 Hr's" and well, the Royals had to have him. I think there may be more plusses than originally thought, especially if Jacobs' arrival pushes both Shealy and Kila and possibly turns a graveyard position for the Royals into a bountiful surplus. I'm going to withhold judgment, but only for now.

Nathan said...

It's hard to blame Royals fans for ingrained pessimism, but the comments about Glass/Moore being no better than previous management are a little off the mark. This team is as good or better today than it has been at any point since the mid-nineties, and is showing steady improvement. No, we're probably not going to rocket into the playoffs like Tampa Bay anytime soon, but neither are the Royals the laughingstock of baseball. This is a .500-ish team with a shot at getting better over the next couple of years. That's not nothing.

I think trading Grienke would amount to prematurely pulling the plug on a potentially competitive team in 2010. Why is the instinct of Royals fans always to trade our best players for prospects? At some point, you have to actually keep players around for their primes if you want to win. Grienke is durable, and even more talented than the numbers so far show. I could see trading him if competing anytime soon were totally hopeless--but it's not.

Anonymous said...

Ryan Shealy's career high in AB's in a MLB season is 202; he's 29, has 19 career homers, and not the answer in KC.

And Kila deserves to start in AAA. He tore up AA in his THIRD go round, he has A LOT more to prove.

kcghost said...

This trade just frosts my hide. It isn't that we gave up a lot, but we did give up something. And for what?? Something we have in ample abundance. For Nunez and $3M we should have been able to get something we be able to use in a coherent fashion.

What are the odds Jacobs really hits 30 HR's?? Not good. He has only hit more than 20 HR's in one season of his three seasons in the Bigs. His OBP has declined for two straight years.

The only way this trade can be beneficial to the Royals is if Kila flops.

This is at least three times GMDM has went out of his way to get a low OBP guy (Gathright, Guillen, and Jacobs). It is becoming abundantly clear that he is only giving lip service to this essential skill.

KC Sports Fan said...

Glad to have you back Rany

Wabbitkiller said...

I'm among those that think trading for Jacobs was a mistake, mainly because the Royals already have a logjam at 1B, combined with the fact that Jacobs isn't all THAT great. So the Royals now ahve a 1st basemen that has some pop, but has a bad OBP and sucks with the glove. Color me unimpressed. Rany's right when he says that giving up Nunez to get him isn't that big of a deal though, especially because DM has proven he can pull middle relievers out of his hat anyway. Even if the Royals cut Jocobs tomorrow, it really IS no great loss.

Anonymous said...

Great Blog, Here is one thing I noticed about GMDM. Power, he really, really wants power. Consider his draft choices Moustakas and Hosmer, both of those guys were perceived to have more power then other players they may have considered with those draft picks. I assume he thinks Kauffman stadium and royal ineptitude will make it difficult to buy power so he is drafting and trading for hopefully, cheap power. I don't know that I agree with that but there is a game plan. Just disappointed, that he chooses to try to improve first base when there seemed to be more pressing concerns.

Anonymous said...

Great Blog, Here is one thing I noticed about GMDM. Power, he really, really wants power. Consider his draft choices Moustakas and Hosmer, both of those guys were perceived to have more power then other players they may have considered with those draft picks. I assume he thinks Kauffman stadium and royal ineptitude will make it difficult to buy power so he is drafting and trading for hopefully, cheap power. I don't know that I agree with that but there is a game plan. Just disappointed, that he chooses to try to improve first base when there seemed to be more pressing concerns.

Anonymous said...

Assuming Bob Dutton has good sources at the K, this is troubling (from Friday's KC Star)...

"Club officials saw only four free agents as a definitively better fit than Jacobs in terms of adding midlineup muscle: Mark Teixeira, Manny Ramirez, Bobby Abreu and IbaƱez. They saw little or no chance of being able to afford — let alone interest — the first three.

The Royals believe Jacobs can match or exceed Adam Dunn or Pat Burrell in production at a far lower cost. Burrell made $14 million last season; Dunn made $13 million. Jacobs figures to make about $3 million through arbitration."

The point about salaries is obviously important, but if the above is true, it appears management really doesn't get what makes a middle-of-the-order bat valuable (hint - it's NOT exclusively home runs).

jay in houston said...

You spin me right round Rany right round like a record Rany right round round round.

As do many of the other commentors. This trade makes the team better. It improves the middle of our lineup. I really think we can score some runs with DeJesus and Aviles hitting 1-2 and Gordon getting on base in front of Jacobs and Guillen. I would much prefer Jacobs hitting 4 or 5 than Shealy.

The fact that there was a team willing to trade for Jacobs--even though it was our own Royals--says something about the value of Jacobs compared to that of Shealy.

Let's just speculate that Dayton's phone isn't ringing off the hook with offers from GMs drooling over Shealy's September call-up, Gload's defensive efficiency, or Butler's DH prowress.

Clearly Jacobs is better than anyone on our roster or we would have at least read rumors about the other guys.

I haven't even heard a peep about any of our other guys garnering interest, but mlbtraderumors.com is flush with mentions of stalwarts Ty Wigginton, Aaron Boone and former Royals' great Jeremy Affeldt it Tingle.

C'mon guys. This was a good trade.

If not for Jacobs hitting 4 or 5, we'd have Butler (and still might if he improves), Teahen or Shealy.

Better lineup. Quit complaining.

jay in houston said...

by the way, i have a tradition of naming my fantasy baseball team after a current or historic royals' player. if it's a former royal, they have to be retired, so no damon/beltran/sweeney. and i'd prefer it not be named after a player already on the list. i'd love to get some ideas for next year's team name. here are some past examples:

Affeldt it Tingle
Jedi LightSaberhagen
Teahen Crumpets
Butler Service
Gobble Gobble Gobble
Shealyum Balloon
K. Seitzer Orchestra
Sweet Tartabull
Go Greinke Go
Gang Greinke
Cleaning up my Meche
Soria I'm Beating Ur Asses
Just Joakim With Ya
Sisco Systems
Gload Sweat
Trophy on the Bannister
Dye You Bastards

Paul said...

Rany, do you think there is a chance that the Royals may actually turn around and deal Jacobs to another team? GMs sometimes get nervous during spring training when someone isn't producing, and Jacobs might look good to a team playing in a smaller ballpark. Like you wrote, Nunez was a small price to pay. There still might be more movement.

Anonymous said...

I'm sick of the argument that "they already had 3 first basemen so they didn't even need Jacobs" argument. Newsflash! They had all those first basemen last year too, and yet we still got way too much of Ross Gload over there! Any move that relegates Gload to a backup role (or off the team) is a good move in my book!

Chris C said...

I absolutely agree with your suggestion on how to distribute AB's among Shealy-Butler-Jacobs.

I favor the trade, likely based on where the Royals are coming from at 1b as opposed to the great talents of Jacobs. However, it is relevant to look at where the Royals have been at 1b. It is clear to me that Jacobs is a proven upgrade. Often we overrate potential and come to quick judgements that Shealy could be just as good as Jacobs. However, Shealy failed in his attempts to secure the 1b job.

I like the security of having someone who has proven to be at least league average (in SLOB) over the last three seasons as opposed to relying on potential. With Jacobs around, we are in a much better situation at 1b if Shealy fails again because we have an option with Kila in AAA. On the flip side if Shealy breaks out, then maybe Jacobs steals some AB's in the short run. In the long run, if Shealy were to prove himself like Aviles did last year, he will gain the justified AB's. Same goes for Butler.

Finally, from a competitive standpoint, having Jacobs around sets the bar higher for Shealy, Butler, and Ka'aihue. With Gload as the main competition, guys like Butler could cruise control on ability. Now the standard to stay in the lineup is higher and free riding on ability is not an option.

bloombla said...

Just wanting to say keep it up love the way you break it down.

Tom said...

I got a kick out of the "mythical 162-game first baseman" line, because Justin Morneau played 163 games last season.

...not that Mike Jacobs is anywhere even close to on par with Morneau.