Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Jonah and the Whale of a Contract.

Clearly, I need to withdraw my support for Dayton Moore more often.

Twenty-four hours later, judging from the reaction in every part of Royals Nation, I think my incessant drumbeat for this contract to get done – going back to May of last year – has been vindicated. Rarely does a baseball transaction meet with such unanimous support. The only people unhappy with this contract are covetous Yankee fans (which is to say, all of them).

So with the acknowledgment that this is a tremendous coup for the Royals, let’s take a step back for a second and peruse this contract with cold, beady, analytical, little eyes. Greinke signed a 4-year, $38 million contract, which breaks down as:

2009: $3.75 million

2010: $7.25 million

2011: $13.5 million

2012: $13.5 million

The contract evenly splits into two parts: Greinke gets paid $11 million for his two arbitration years, and $27 million to surrender two years of free agency.

Between this year and next, Greinke was almost certain to make at least $11 million in arbitration awards – the midpoint between his offer and the team’s for 2009 was $3.9 million, and as a five-year player next winter he would have been able to use contracts signed by free agents as comparables when arguing before the arbitrator. Assuming he stayed healthy enough to make 30 starts in 2009, he almost certainly would have been awarded $7.1 million in 2010; if he had another year like 2008 in 2009, he probably would have made $8-9 million, and if he had a breakthrough season this year, he could have made a case for eight figures.

The $27 million guaranteed in 2011-12 also seems to be a reasonable discount any way you slice it. Put it this way: if Greinke were a free agent today, even in this economy, does anyone doubt that he’d get at least $13.5 million a year? Derek Lowe just got a four-year, $60 million contract from the Braves, and if you asked 30 GMs who they’d rather have under contract for the next four years, I’d have to think the majority would pick Greinke. Greinke’s ERA+ the last two years are 123 and 127, Lowe’s are 118 and 131. Lowe has proven durability and groundball tendencies, but then, he’s also 11 years older than Zack.

I think 4/$60 is a good ballpark for what Greinke would earn in a free market today, and that’s a baseline – if even two teams think he’s about to blossom as a Cy Young contender, that could easily get pushed into the $18-20 million range. The Royals signed Greinke to, conservatively speaking, a 15% discount for the next four years even factoring in the arbitration awards. That seems a reasonable tradeoff from Greinke in exchange for guaranteeing him enough money to ensure that he’s never forced to work outside of baseball a day in his life.

The only sour note in the contract is the lack of an option year. Even one additional season of potential club control would dramatically alter my perception of the contract, but I don’t think it’s fair to harp on this omission for too much, for the simple reason that I think that Moore and the Royals understood how valuable that option would have been and would have found a way to insert one if they could have. Moore gave a telling quote in the press conference when he said, “It was important for us to be very aggressive and do what we can to sign Zack for as many years as he felt comfortable with.” The key words are, “he felt comfortable with.”

Greinke deserves credit for committing to the Royals into his free agency years, but let’s be frank: this is still a franchise that has one winning season in the last 14 years, and it would neither surprise nor disappoint me if Greinke put his foot down and said, look, I want to stick around, but if we’re still the laughingstock of the league in 2012, I’m out of here, and there’s no way you’re getting me to give up that option. Under those circumstances, Moore did the best he could do, and that was still more than good enough.

The best way to evaluate this contract is to compare it with the ones signed by comparable pitchers, starting with Scott Kazmir, who we’ve used as Greinke’s best comp since Kazmir signed his contract last May. Here’s the two contracts side-by-side:

Year Kazmir Greinke

2009 $6 M $3.75 M

2010 $8 M $7.25 M

2011 $12 M $13.5 M

2012 $13.5 M* $13.5 M

Total $39.5 M $38 M

*: or $2.5 million buyout

Greinke and Kazmir are extremely comparable pitchers not just because of their track records and the fact that both were 2002 first-round picks who are the same age (Greinke is three months older), but also that their service time is almost identical: Greinke has 4 years, 57 days of service, Kazmir is at 4 and 42. Their contracts are structured differently – Greinke’s is more backloaded, and the total compensation is less, but his fourth year is guaranteed, whereas the Rays can walk away from $11 million in the event of a serious injury.

From a team standpoint, Greinke’s contract saves you about $2 million over four years, but Kazmir’s contract comes with an $11 million insurance policy. I’m not an actuary, so I have no idea which contract is worth more in the abstract, but I’m sure it’s pretty close. The difference is that Kazmir signed his deal with nearly three years until free agency, whereas Greinke signed his just two years away. For a small-market team trying to get a player to give up years of free agency, time is money – but it would appear that waiting an extra eight months to get this deal done didn’t cost the Royals a dime. Certainly the economy plays a role in that – David Glass continues to weather the recession as well as anyone – but regardless of the economy, the Royals did very well for themselves.

A player that I’ve never used as a comp before, but probably should have, is the Tigers’ Jeremy Bonderman, who two years ago (when, like Greinke, he was two years away from free agency) signed a four-year contract. Bonderman had just come off a 14-8, 4.02 season, 214 innings, 214 hits, 64 walks, 202 Ks – very similar to Greinke’s 202 innings, 202 hits, 56 walks, 183 Ks. Bonderman was actually a year younger than Greinke is today. He got $38 million, exactly what Greinke got, and it was a little more frontloaded ($4.5, $8.5, $12.5, $12.5).

Looking at these numbers, I have to think that Bonderman’s contract was prominently used in these contract negotiations as a standard. The market value for a budding ace in his early 20s had been set, and Greinke was willing to accept that market value without inflation. This tells me that, as much as I would have liked this deal to have been done a lot sooner, the holdup had nothing to do with the money.

So while it’s easy for me to whine that the contract is for “only” four years, the fact is that there is very little precedent for a team going beyond four years with a young pitcher, and in every other way Greinke’s contract compares favorably with those doled out to his peers over the last few seasons. It’s not an A+ move from Moore without an option, but it’s definitely an A.

I can see the argument, as cogently expressed here by Will McDonald, that the Greinke contract is a solid move but not a tour de force by any means. All that the Royals accomplished, in a sense, was the rights to a single player for two additional years, and in return they awarded that player the two largest single-season salaries in franchise history. And in two years, we’ll be right back where we were last week, with Greinke two years away from free agency and another deadline looming.

But I disagree with this assessment, because to me the Royals didn’t just get Zack Greinke to commit to the franchise for the next four years. They got Greinke to commit to the franchise for the next four years and kept open the possibility for an even longer commitment. The sense of urgency that I’ve had this past year to get Greinke signed wasn’t simply out of concern that Greinke’s price tag might increase beyond the Royals’ ability to pay. I wasn’t worried that Greinke would leave in two years because he was too expensive; I was worried that Greinke would leave in two years because he wanted to leave. Period.

We’ve seen this pattern before, and I was becoming increasingly worried that we were seeing it again. The Royals had started to get sorta kinda serious about signing Carlos Beltran to a long-term deal by 2003, but by then Beltran had already made his mind up that he was testing the market come hell or high water. I don’t blame Beltran for this, because there was a time when he was willing to sign an extension that might have bought out a year or two of free agency, and the Royals botched that window badly. But the reality is that once that window had closed, there was no way the Royals could re-open it.

I’ve been saying all along that, on paper, Greinke seems like the kind of player and person that might just be willing to stay in Kansas City for the long term. He is, obviously, a unique person. He may have learned to live with his social anxiety disorder, but it is still a part of who he is, and it’s unlikely that the seductive charms of New York or LA or Boston would appeal to him as much as they do so many other ballplayers. As Greinke said, Kansas City is actually a great town for me. It’s pretty small, but it’s big, too.” Kansas City isn’t big enough for a lot of players; it’s big enough for Greinke. His personality would suggest that he would be happy to trade a little fame and fortune to stay in a comfortable and familiar environment for the rest of his career, and in Kansas City he has that: an organization that has nurtured him since high school, a friendly and small local media contingent, an adoring fan base. On paper, I thought Greinke was a candidate not to just sign a long-term deal with the Royals, but if all went well, to sign several of them.

Until yesterday, that was all a theory. I thought Greinke would be comfortable playing in a medium-sized city where he can have all the anonymity he wants, that he didn’t have a case of wanderlust, that he appreciated how the Royals stood with him in his darkest hours. I thought all that, but I didn’t know. Now I know, and that’s what makes this contract particularly sweet. At the risk of coming off as a na├»ve and sentimental sap, I believe (and have been told this by other sources) what Sam Mellinger said in his column: that this deal got done at least in part because Greinke saw the way that he was received by Royals fans on the caravan, and the way that David Glass treated him in a heart-to-heart, and decided that maybe the grass under his feet was green enough.

My inner fan says that between the Royals Caravan and the FanFest, Greinke felt the love from Royals fans, and decided to reciprocate. (My inner analyst was about to respond, but my inner fan decked him before he could talk, then stomped on his glasses and pocket protector for good measure.)

Now, having signed him once, it ought to be easier to sign Greinke again. For a player about to reach free agency for the first time, two years away seems to be the cutoff – once a player gets into the penultimate year before free agency, he’s too close to the finish line to surrender a taste of the free agent market. But with Zack having already established that he’s willing to re-sign, I don’t think the urgency that we had this winter will be there two years from now. The Royals can probably go into the 2011 season before they need to re-visit the issue of another extension, and possibly even until the 2011-12 off-season, when Greinke enters the final year of his contract.

That gives Moore three seasons to get things right, to put the Royals into contention and persuade Greinke to stick around a while longer. That’s crucial, because while I have very little conviction one way or the other as to how good the Royals will be in 2009, I have a good deal of faith that by 2010 and especially 2011, they should be an above-average major league team.

This is going to be a very interesting season, because the error bars on so many players are just so darn high. From Mike Aviles to Alex Gordon to Billy Butler to Kyle Davies to even Jose Guillen, there are an inordinate number of key Royals who could make the All-Star team or be on the bench by July, and right now you could tell me the Royals will win anywhere from 69 to 89 games and I wouldn’t flinch.

With Greinke unsigned, a season closer to the lower end of that range would have likely spelled the end of his tenure in Kansas City. Instead, the Royals have a built-in margin for error; if 2009 goes poorly, they can regroup next year, without having to worry that they may have lost a part of their future in the process. With Greinke signed, every key member of the Royals is under club control for the next three years. Zack’s signed through 2012; Gil Meche through 2011; David DeJesus has a club option through 2011. Soria is ours through 2014. Should either Davies or Mark Teahen have a breakout year, the Royals can keep them through 2011. Gordon can’t leave until after 2012, Butler until after 2013, Aviles until after 2014.

The year 2011 has long stuck out for me as the year the Royals could really make a statement – not only is every player above under contract, but Mike Moustakas might be ready to join the lineup somewhere, and with a ton of money being freed up after the 2010 season when Guillen’s contract expires (to which we can now add Coco Crisp’s, Kyle Farnsworth’s, and Willie Bloomquist’s), there’s a ripe opportunity for Moore to augment a built-to-win roster with a premium free agent or two.

But that calculus didn’t work so long as Greinke could walk after the 2010 season. With that loophole closed, Moore & Company can focus on building a long-term winner without having to worry that short-term considerations might impede their ability to keep their young nucleus of talent together.

Not that the Royals should stop trying to bind that young core to the team. Since Moore is evidently taking my requests, let me throw the gauntlet down: if you don’t want me to withdraw my support again, Dayton, then you’ll start laying the groundwork for a long-term deal (say, 2010-2013, with a 2014 option) with Alex Gordon now. But first you’ll have to sign Ben Sheets to a contract. Oh, and I want to throw out the first pitch at a game this summer. And my daughters want a pony…

55 comments:

Jeff said...

Pitchers and catchers report in just over two weeks... already feeling the preseason butterflies.

Ryan from DSM said...

Nice post Rany. I'm sure you've already noticed that the bulk of Jonah's contract comes once JG is off the books.

steak said...

Great to see the pragmatic Rany back. I don't care so much about the optimistic Rany as I do the practical one. The Greinke deal is great, and finally fans seem to realize Moore is akin to a Belichick who keeps his cards close to his chest.

As always, fans want transparency and details of the operations, but with Moore I'm not afraid to hand over some blind faith.

I'm excited for this season. Excited to see Coco roam center. Excited to see Greinke pitch with less stress than ever. Excited to see Jacobs hit a Bo-like home run. Excited to see Gordon improve even more. Excited to see Farnsworth throw heat. Excited to see Aviles repeat. Excited to see Bloomquist turn a double play... ok not so much on the last one.

No matter if we go 69 or 89, I think this will be a fun year.

AxDxMx said...

I love your blog Rany, but please retire "Jonah". I'm pretty sure Jonah never signed a 4 year contract for $38.5M.

AxDxMx said...

And I think some of the crappy offseason moves were designed to make the team somewhat better, but also to make Greinke think that we are trying to reach the upper tier. So he signed because he liked this offseason and he sees a bright future here, possibly starting this year. And as much as I hate the offseason moves, I think they can finish with 89 wins and take the division. It's gonna be an exciting year.

Reham said...

Is there a better 1-2 punch in the AL Central than Gil and Zack?

drewfuss said...

I am a big Mark Teahen fan. But trade the poor guy. Send him to San Diego (reportedly looking for LH hitters) or Colorado or something. I think he might hit 20 triples and 40 doubles in either one of those ballparks. 3B-RF-LF-1B-2B? This is just a joke at this point. Send the guy to the National League and I think he will blossom. Meanwhile, we have him stuck in a Jeremy-Affeldt-like limbo that seems to have no end.

kcghost said...

This is just a good deal for the Royals, their fans, and Greinke. As many of us have said this was GMDM's Job #1 for the off-season and he got it done.

The Mad Rabbi said...

Rany, I'm glad you hinted on it... I agree with you that Ben Sheets is the next guy we need to go after. That pushes our pitching staff to the "legitimate" category once and for all if we add him in.

But I doubt Moore & Co has the money to do it. Either way, the Greinke signing is now the pivotal point in this franchises future and I'm glad to have still been a fan to witness it.

NYRoyal said...

drewfuss, this isn't a joke. This is getting the most possible value out of Teahen. You talk about sending him to the NL, well his value in the NL would have a great deal to do with the fact that he can play many positions. If he can manage merely below average defense at second base, then his ability to play that position significantly increases his value.

As it stands now, he's a four corners utility man who could easily get 250-350 AB's for the Royals in 2009. If he can play second base, that goes up to 400+ AB's. So it's not like the Royals aren't going to get much use out of him.

Since when has he been in a "limbo that has no end?" He's been a starter every year of his career with the Royals. In 2009 he appears to be demoted to a super-utility role which should involve a lot of playing time.

If the Royals get a good offer for him, then trade him. If not, then make use of him. And he's quite useful.

Huskergut said...

Rany,
So you wouldn't flinch if somebody said the 09 Royals could win 89 games? Personally, I would flinch, shudder and convulse. I think the team has promise, but there are too many holes in the lineup to be anywhere close to 89 wins.

But here's the thing: I love the fact that even with your analyst glasses on, you can't quite shake the fan part of you that believes deep down this could be our year. God bless you Rany, you cockeyed optimist you.

Anonymous said...

Well, there is as much of a chance that the Royals could be in contention (89 wins) as there is that the season is a complete and total failure (69 wins). Something between 75 and 85 wins is much, much more likely. And a very mediocre 79 wins seems like the most likely outcome at the moment.

Dave said...

Crisp CF
Aviles SS
Dejesus LF
Guillen RF
Jacobs 1B
Butler DH
Gordon 3B
Olivo C
Teahen 2B

That shapes up nicely and has a good left/right balance. If Gordon/Butler take steps forward and Aviles can duplicate last year (which I'm suprised not more people are talking about, I'm thinking he can't) I don't see how 85 wins isn't out of the question.

Shelby said...

Wow, I must say that after looking at the lineup posted (above), it would be the first time in my history as a Royals fan (since 1990) that I would be eager and excited to see EACH batter bat.

Also, Rany....you really want to lock Gordon in? I think, at this point, that's kind of risky. The guy has proven squat.

Shelby said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chance said...

Holes, holes everywhere....still too many low OPS guys, not much power, and I think our best player last year, Mikey Aviles, is due for a bit of a crash landing (not that I hope it happens, because I don't). Starting pitching is still subpar as a whole, and why does anyone think the AL Central is "weak"?

Nathan W said...

Hopefully Zach takes a bit of that cash and invests in a nice diamond for his girlfriend. I'll be happy if she is spending the next 4 years roaming around the K.

Anonymous said...

Teahen in that lineup? Sigh.

Wabbitkiller said...

I'd like to comment on one of Rany's comments:

"As Greinke said, “Kansas City is actually a great town for me. It’s pretty small, but it’s big, too.” Kansas City isn’t big enough for a lot of players; it’s big enough for Greinke. His personality would suggest that he would be happy to trade a little fame and fortune to stay in a comfortable and familiar environment for the rest of his career, and in Kansas City he has that"

Most of the time NONE of that stuff matters, MONEY matters. However, I've always felt that Zack WAS the exception to the rule because of his anxiety disorder, and more importantly, how the Royals looked out for him when he had to leave the game to get it under control. Both of those factors tell us that Zack really DOES want to stay in Kansas City, and is even probably willing to take a little less money to do so than he could get in New York, Boston, or LA.

Zack can live his life in Kansas City without constantly being hounded by the media and fanbase. The fans will love him as long as he puts up decent numbers and isn't a troublemaker off of the field. That's the PERFECT situation for a guy with an anxiety disorder. If the Royals play their cards right they'll have Greinke in their rotation for a long, long time.

Anonymous said...

I think Teahen makes the lineup that much better. I mean, really, do you want Bloomquist or Teahen in there everyday. Bloomquist's only pro is his baserunning and that is Mark's strength as well. I'm really hoping Mark can handle 2B. We are a much better team with Teahen in the game compared to the alternatives.

Nathan said...

Dave,

Normally, linup order isn't that important. Still, it might be better to have Butler and Gordon--guys we hope can put up decent OBPS--batting ahead of Guillen and Jacobs, who will combine for .320 if we're lucky.

Also, I still think it would be a mistake to have Jacobs in the everyday linup. A platoon with Shealy is the obvious move.

drewfuss said...

NYRoyal-
I agree, they should get as much "value" as they can out of Teahen, whether in the lineup everyday at one spot, as a utility/bench player, or in a trade. But I don't think any other team in MLB would be talking about "giving him a try" at 2B a couple weeks before spring training (this is not meant as a compliment). I don't think trying, failing, or succeeding (relatively speaking) at 2B for 3 weeks in spring training is going to prove anything. To me, this is an amateurish move by an organization that seemed to be over this kind of thing with DM at the helm. Maybe Mark can get some work in Suprise as the emergency catcher too! I don't think you do this to big-league players.

Mark is 6'3", 210lbs, long arms and legs, with a strong throwing arm. He's built for the corners of the field, in my estimation.

If the club wants to experiment with something, try drawing some walks! Anyway, hopefully Rany will have some more on Teahen in the near future...

steak said...

Wabbit,

While you make good points about Zack, you could not be more wrong about the impact KC as a city has on bringing in players.

Many major leaguers come from large metro areas and/or South America. Kansas City, is a homogenous, small city (think OKC not Minneapolis) with little to offer a player who grew up in a warm weather climate in a more socially liberal part of the country/world.

I will be the first to say that KC is my true love. I have resided in 5 states and three countries, but still call KC home. Regardless, I am not about to consider KC a more desireable place to be with all things being equal.

KC is the only major league city not to have a single fortune 500 company (three in Overland Park, none of which break the top 150, and one who laid off 8000 people yesterday). We lack a strong mass-transit system, and as I've stated before, we don't have much of a latino fanbase. These are all things one would find in any other major league city.

As much as I love this city, we are at a decided disadvantage when it comes to luring in players. I do agree that money does matter more than any other single factor, but let's please remember that a lot of income for professional athletes comes through endorsements. It's much easier to sell your brand if your face is on the front page of the Times or the Globe as opposed to the Star.

This issue is something I think Dayton realizes and is working to fix by bringing in big name/big money players such as Guillen, Meche, and Crisp. Even if Guillen keeps at his lackluster pace for two more years, at least he puts KC on the map with his name and his salary (bad publicity is still publicity).

steak said...

Also, Rany, please.

Pretty please.

Please with sugar and a cherry and whatever confection is your weakness.

Can we move on to a new nickname other than "Jonah?"

Please

Anonymous said...

At least you only asked for one pony for all the daughters ...

I'd like to see Gordon improve his defense and consolidate many of the skills he's shown before I commit to a market-value multi-year deal. (Not that I doubt him, but highly touted prospects have flamed out before and I'd rather not commit to one of the ones that does if I can avoid it.)

I think that Ben Sheets would be a nice fit on a discounted deal, but it would have to be a three-year deal at least (since 2011 is shaping up to be the high-expectation year for the Royals), and that's troublesome; there's too high a chance you end up eating the whole deal for nothing.

I think that the Royals need too much to go well in 2009 to sign Sheets for one year; I think they probably will need significant luck in 2010 to make that worthwhile, and 2011 is too far away.

Ed Venture said...

I Love "The Baseball Jonah". In the Christian, Muslim, and Judaic tradition, Greinke is perfectly matched with Jonah, when you consider that he was, at first unwilling to accept his talent to pitch a baseball and would rather "mow lawns". Of course he got sent home until he came around. Jonah got banished to the inside of a fish until he agreed to perform as God's prophet to Ninevah. Hopefully Zack can do the same for Kansas City.

steak said...

I agree. Greink's recent past is a solid analog to the biblical story of Jonah. That's not the point.

When I think of baseball (and the nicknames that go with it) I don't want to think back to Sunday school or the lexicon of the old testament (for Christians). I want a nickname to conjure up visions of sunshine, peanuts, beer (again, for the christians ;), and whatever other light hearted sentiments come with America's past time.

I have no issue with the religious affiliation nor the validity of the analogy. I am just hoping for something less heavy... especially for someone as fleeting and fickle as Greinke. Something fun and oxymoronic like "The Don" would be great (his first name is actually Donald).

Nathan said...

Steak,

Do you actually think mass transit and Fortune 500 companies are what draw baseball players?

As for the racial makeup of the city, I long for the day when everybody stops caring what race everybody else is; until then, there isn't anything the Royals can do about it, anyway. Same goes for climate.

And socially liberal? Is there a study somewhere that says athletes would rather live in socially liberal places? Or are you making things up?

steak said...

Nathan,

No, I do not think Fortune 500 companies or mass transit matter much if at all. My point is that KC, as much as I love it, is not the same city as Pittsburgh or Minneapolis. We are the smallest of the small markets. We have the highest hill to climb.

As for racial factors, I personally couldn't care less what the racial makeup is. However, a latino who is proud of his heritage might be more inclined to play in Texas, Florida, or Southern Cal over KC because of race. Its not what I care about, its what players care about.

And, lastly, social and moral makeup is quite important. Kansas City has little in the way of night clubs and gluttonous life as compared to most of the rest of the league. It was earlier this year that I saw firsthand David Beckham and Rasheed Wallace at the ONLY 'club/lounge' on the same night in KC. 20-30 year old professional athletes like to go out and have fun. This is not a point that should be under contention.

A player for the Washington Nationals is 30 minutes from Baltimore, 1 hour from NYC, 4 hours from Charlotte, and 45 minutes from Philly.

KC? We are 4 hours from StL and 8 hours from Denver.

Again, I love this town, and love living here. But it offers less than any other major league city. Player DO care about these things.

All of this (plus climate) add up to us, as I said a earlier, having less to offer players outside of whats defined in a contract. Assuming/pretending like we aren't at/near the bottom of the totem pole is only a disservice to ourselves. This is something I'd like all of us to realize and am hoping people like Dayton already realize (and account for).

Antonio. said...

To those of you that put Crisp in the lead off spot, look at his career OBP number from the lead off spot. And then compare it to other spots. Crisp would be best batting elsewhere. And if you want to argue in favor of putting him there because he's fast, look at his SB%. He'll be in that spot, but it's not the best of ideas.

Also, Gordon played much better offensively last year than he did his first year. I'd say at worst, he'll be average. If you can sign him to enough of a team friendly contract, do it immediately. And he's done enough to show that he still has a ton of room to grow.

Antonio. said...

I worked for H&R Block, headquartered in Kansas City and a Fortune 500 company.

Antonio. said...

"Hopefully Zack can do the same for Kansas City."

We need Zack to be God's (or Kansas City's) prophet?

Anonymous said...

I would like your thougths on if it is possible to still sign a FA like Sheets. Seems there are alot of FA who are yet to be signed and would be available for less dollars. I know Sheets has injury concerns, but the Royals could design his contract with 'x' amount of starts = 'x' amount more money. would be good incentive for Sheets as well as the Royals. Even if it took trading John Buck and Ross Gload (and saving about 4.8m in salary) to free up payroll to sign Sheets. IMHO we would have arguably the best rotation in the Central with Meche-Greinke-Sheets-Davies of Sept. and your choice of Bannister, Hochevar or Ho Ram. Could you see Moore doing this or are we through spending this off season?

steak said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
steak said...

Anthony,

H&R Block: 544 (not in the fortune 500)

http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune500/2008/states/MO.html

And for those who care the eight largest companies in Missouri are all in St. Louis.

rey rey said...

Steak, you should ask recent players like Dye and Carter they continued to live in KC after they were traded. I guess for some it works well.

NYRoyal said...

Drewfuss, you couldn't be more wrong. This organization doesn't do many unconventional, unorthodox or outside-the-box things, but this is one of them and that is a very good thing. You don't think any other team would try a guy like Teahen at second base during spring training? First, spring training is exactly when you try such a thing. Players in Teahen's situation get tried out at new positions in every spring training. There's no risk in giving it a try there and see how he looks. And organizations like the A's and Red Sox would definitely try something like this, as a way to get a bat like Teahen's into a position where it would be above average.

You don't think how he fields at 2B in spring training proves anything? Either he's got the skills to handle the position or not. Seeing him play there for weeks will tell them that.

To call this "an amateurish move by an organization that seemed to be over this kind of thing with DM at the helm" proves that you just don't get it. This is the Royals finally doing something which isn't entirely wedded to traditional baseball orthodoxy. This is actually a progressive, forward-thinking move. Assuming that a player of a certain body type can't possibly handle a position and therefore not even trying a zero-risk spring training experiment is rigid, close-minded baseball thinking. I'm glad that at least in this way, Moore is beyond that. I wish he were more progressive with regard to many other things.

BTW, are you the "drewfuss" who said on a BP chat after the Royals drafted Giavotella: "Apparently they have already given up after 2 picks, and I should have given up years ago... sound about right?"

You sound like just another knee-jerk negative fan who wants to bash the organization at every turn. That makes for some very weak analysis.

Dave said...

I would not hand Gordon and Butler any spot in the 3, 4, 5, hole until they show they can handle it. Remember how horrible Gordon was when penciled in as the 3 hitter automatically? Granted he is better now than he was a couple years ago, but he needs to earn hitting in the heart of the order. Besides, Hillman likes his speed in the 7th hole. I'm cool with a Jacobs/Shealy split, but I guarantee Jacobs will start more initially as the Royals will want to play with their new "toy". The Royals are way to starved for power to bat their 2 biggest bats 6th and 7th in their lineup. No way Guillen and Jacobs fall that far. As far as Crisp, he may not be the ideal leadoff man, but he is the best we have at this time. DeJesus is better served batting 2nd or 3rd and Aviles doesn't have near the speed.

drewfuss said...

So.... you are keeping a running history of my chat questions for nearly the last year??? And from different websites? Wow. I am going to run away and hide now, as I no longer feel safe on these internets. I think/thought/thunk Giavatella was a bit of reach there (based mostly on Baseball America pre-draft coverage and his size), but gladly they had the guts to take Melville in the 4th. I'm actually pretty optimistic when it comes to "my" team. Thanks for caring.

Anonymous said...

I, for one, am sick of those who think that Greinke's contract is backloaded because of Guillen's contract. That has very little to do with it.

He got his first two salaries based on what he could be projected to get in his last two arbitration years. The last two are based on the fact that he was giving up his first two years of free agency! It has absolutely nothing to do with Guillen's contract, and anyone who thinks so is just an idiot.

Shelby said...

Gordon has yet to show that he's capable of reaching even Joe Crede-type numbers.

Lock him down? That's ridiculous.

Frank said...

Any grown man that calls himself drewfuss probably sticks out a little bit....

Anonymous said...

Sports (and winning) is about so much more than statistics. Yes, statistical analysis can offer some insight into possible, perhaps even probable future performance. But team sports have such a great unquantifiable (is that a word?) element. Call it momentum or teamwork or attitude or enthusiasm or desire or whatever you want. C'mon, there's no reason for the Arizona Cardinals to be playing this Sunday. But they are. Winning begets winning. Believing you are going to win , in my opinion, increases the chances of winning exponentially. I am so pumped for this season. Folks, the light clicked on for this team last September. The Royals were 17-8 in September. 14-4 over their last 18 games. 14 of those games were against the Twins, Indians, White Sox and Tigers. The 2009 Royals can be a playoff team. I am drinking the blue Koolaide and it is good!

Lou

Anonymous said...

drewfuss = busted

drewfuss said...

My apologies on offering an opinion on Teahen at 2B that you disagree with. I look forward to Rany's take and seeing how long the experiment lasts.

Antonio. said...

Yeah, didn't it say that was a global ranking?

Antonio.

Antonio. said...

Carter never played for the Royals. I'm not sure what his ties to the area would be, but something suits him quite fine.

Antonio. said...

Leading off should be, foremost, about getting on the bag. A guy with a career .312 OBP out of the lead off spot isn't that guy. And if he's getting himself out trying to get to the bag that frequently and getting himself out at second when trying to steal that frequently, the man is causing too many outs to get the most at bats.

Antonio. said...

If they think the likelihood of him being a strong player is still very high and if they think they can sign him for less than the value of the player they are sure he's going to be, then yes, they should sign Alex Gordon for the long term. Would you rather wait for him to hit 25-35 HR and have his total deal go up by 20-25 million dollars? In Gordon's first season, he OPS+'d at 87. That went up 23 percent to 110. That's a pretty good improvement. In 29 fewer plate appearances, he hit one more HR, one less double, made 47 fewer outs--which is a good increase--6 fewer hits, more runs, and 25 more walks. The plate discipline is starting to show up. He's still going to be a good player. The risk of him flopping is much less than the 20-25 million or so we'll have to pay him by waiting for him to bust out. The pedigree is too good to not reward.

Also, for the other poster, check out other seasons and realize that there's no noticeable carry over effect from one season to the next. And realize that this team has changed significantly in personnel that even if we start off as hot as we finished, the correlation isn't there.

NYRoyal said...

My last word on the Teahen at second base experiment is that even if it doesn't work (and it probably won't), it was still worth a try. And there's no risk or downside to giving it a shot in spring training.

And the possible upside is perhaps a better starting second baseman. Or maybe it could pave the way for some kind of semi-platoon between Callaspo and Teahen at 2B. Or maybe it just means that if Teahen pinch hits for Callaspo late in a game, he can stay in the game at that position. If Teahen can handle the position at all, it would increase his flexibility, and thus his utility to the Royals

Nathan said...

"But team sports have such a great unquantifiable (is that a word?) element."

If it is unquantifiable, how do you know it is great?

Nathan said...

"I would not hand Gordon and Butler any spot in the 3, 4, 5, hole until they show they can handle it."

So you think Jacobs and Guillen have shown they can handle it? Jacobs has a career OPS of .818. Guillen's is .769. Neither one of them has earned the cleanup slot. They've been in MLB longer, but is service time really an important consideration in linup construction?

I agree Jacobs and Guillen may be our "biggest bats" in terms of home run power (though I hope Gordon surpasses them in 2009), but they aren't our two best hitters. It just doesn't make any sense to have your .320/520 hitter batting ahead of your .370/.470 hitter.

Anonymous said...

Get Rich Hill, Dayton!

Anonymous said...

Sadly, no Rich Hill for us. He was dealt to the Orioles for the PTBNL

Todd said...

Ben Sheets? No!!! For half the price you can just put me on the DL instead. Whats the difference?