Royals Outpost

The heart-felt musings of a Kansas City Royals fan who isn't always right, or logical, but does always care.

29.12.05

Roster Changes: Revisited

Since it looks like Allard and his underlings have nothing more than roster filler moves left on their collective agenda, might as well slow things down long enough to have a more thoughtful analysis of what we accomplished this winter, and what it's cost us, in terms of money, players traded, and/or experience lost by prospects behind them, if applicable, then give it a crude ranking. I would have loved to have been able to analyze Victor Santos and Seth Etherton, but they were left unprotected, and were quickly gobbled up in the Rule 5 draft. Bummer, but no use crying over lost talent. As usual, I'm gonna pick a peculiar starting point.

Esteban German: For a few days, Esteban was able to call himself the starting second baseman for the Kansas City Royals. Then Grudzielanek harshed his buzz. As it stands, German's intended role with KC is entirely open to interpretation. He could be a utility-type infielder, mainly backing up second and third base, and a pinch-runner. He could also be destined for Omaha, since his experience at that level could be invaluable to the AAA Royals. At 28, he shouldn't be part of the youth movement, since he still doesn't have sufficient MLB experience, and he'll be easy to bump aside in favor of youth.
Costs: Money - Minor-league contract
Players - Fabio Castro, LHP, reliever (Rule 5 draft pick, 1st overall)
Experience - None
Grade: B-

Paul Bako: I was quick to question the proposed Todd Pratt deal. You can imagine how irked I am by this guy. Defensive backup? Nope, noodle arm and lethargic behind the plate. Pinch-hitter with pop? Heh, have a look at his career numbers. Paul Phillips and Mark Tupman are gonna be big-league bench players anyway, why not expose them to that fact now? It's hard to paint any other face on this: This was subtraction by addition.
Costs: Money - $700,000
Players - None
Experience - Phillips, Mike Tonis, Tupman
Grade: D

Elmer Dessens: Ugh, another move where you wonder what KC management was thinking when they decided to dole out a multi-year pact to an aging finesse right-hander. They even said themselves that he would be the long reliever! Who goes out looking for a long reliever?! He could pick up a few starts, but he'll almost certainly be mediocre if he does.
Costs: Money - $1.55 million, plus 2007 option
Players - None
Experience - Mike Wood, Kyle Snyder, Jeremy Affeldt
Grade: D

Mark Redman: This guy is the embodiment of a journeyman junkballer lefty. Detroit Tigers, Minnesota Twins, Florida Marlins, Oakland Athletics, Pittsburgh Pirates, and now a stop in KC. Despite classic pitcher size (6'5", 240), his fastball tops out at 88mph, and while none of his secondary pitches are out pitches, he mixes his arsenal up enough to stay alive -- just like you'd expect.
Costs: Kansas City assumed all of his 2006 salary, $4.5 million, plus 2007 option
Players - Jonah Bayliss, RHP
Experience - J.P. Howell
Grade: B

Joe Mays: This little contract has been at the center of quite a bit of back and forth bickering. I spoke vaguely about him in a previous post, so allow me to elaborate on my position. I do like Mays as a pitcher without his potential and small pricetag. When I say I like him, I don't mean I think he's a great or even good pitcher, I just think he gets quite a bit out of the skills he was given, and generally knows how to get himself out of trouble without imploding, something that might have rubbed off on him in the sage Minnesota system. Kansas City has much deeper fences than the Metrodome, which will obviously help him avoid several gopherballs, although the converse of that is a spacious outfield being manned by a trio with average footspeed. The big downer about Mays is that, despite the fact that he's a sinkerballer, whether or not he's giving up grounders or flies depends on whether or not he has his good stuff or regular/bad stuff going for him on a particular day. A losing record is all too probable, but he'll have his moments that make us believe Baird wasn't quite daft for bringing him to Kansas City.
Costs: Money - $1 million, additional $1 million in incentives for 35 starts and 225 IP
Players - None
Experience - Jeremy Affeldt
Grade: B-

Doug Mientkiewicz: I gotta admit, I've always been a fan of Doug, regardless of the fact that he's probably never going to top his career-high of 15 home runs. He brings a defensive pedigree to the infield (it really is a joy to watch him play first), and has a very calm eye at the plate, constantly making quality contact and rarely getting himself out. What doesn't he do better than Ken Harvey?
Costs: Money - $1.85 million, additional $700,000 in incentives for games played and plate appearances
Players - None
Experience - None
Grade: B-

Reggie Sanders: This is a deal I don't like, but a player I do like, so I'd say I'm glad to have the opportunity to be conflicted over this move. There's no way Sanders is even going to approach his offensive performance from last year in KC, everything he had going for him in St. Louis is working against him, now. Exposure, age, lineup, he's gonna be fighting an uphill battle across the board. I would take .270 and 25 HR, and 500 plate appearances, but I fear .255, 16 HR and 400 at-bats might be on the way. Let's not forget it's a two-year deal. Hm.
Costs: Money - $5 million each in 2006-'07
Players - None
Experience - Chip Ambres
Grade: C+

Scott Elarton: Man, it's hard for me not to like a guy who's 6'8", but Elarton is hard to get excited about. His shoulder's clock is ticking, his fastball has wound down to the very low 90's, and his breaking ball is a fringe pitch. He's not gonna record a lot of strikeouts, he's gonna give up quite a few homers .. it's an improvement, but much like the questions surrounding the Sanders situation -- was it worth multiple years? Let's hope he holds together.
Costs: Money - $4 million each in 2006-'07
Players - None
Experience - Denny Bautista
Grade: B-

Mark Grudzielanek: A veteran who is adept at hitting the ball sharply to all fields and has a sure glove, I should be more pleased with the Grudzielanek deal than I am. But it was just three years ago that he was on the cusp of disappearing from the baseball world, and for good reason. He doesn't have even average range at his position, despite his NL-leading fieldign percentage, and he's little more than an annoyance for pitchers at the plate. Did anybody get helped out by this weak free agent class (the next-best 2B option was D'Angelo Jimenez, yyyikes) more than Grudz's bank account? This is essentially a two-year deal, after all, since his option for 2007 is very likely to kick in.
Costs: Money - $4 million, before option for 2007 (based on reaching 500 AB in 2006)
Players - None
Experience - Ruben Gotay
Grade: C+

Additions Via Waivers

Bobby Madritsch, Joel Peralta: I spoke of how optimistic I am about Madritsch's possible impact on the team in the latter stages of the season in my maiden post (he'll be out 'til roughly the All-Star Break), but I didn't touch on Peralta. A right-handed reliever with big-league stuff, his career was briefly in question due to injuries, much like Madritsch. He finally made it out of the minors last year and was quite respectable with the Angels, posting 30 strikeouts in 34.2 IP (3.89 ERA). His walk rate might be troublesome, but he should be an effective 7th inning guy. The bullpen gets another bullet. You can't lose much on waiver wire grabs, but you can sure get potential gems like these two.
Grade: A

For the winter thus far, barring an acutely foolish and short-sighted move on Baird's part, I think he's earned a B-/C+ for the winter, depending on your point of view on a couple guys. Sorry to jettison all my information on the new Royals, but I could contain it no longer. Do with it what you will.

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