Well, it's been a while, hasn't it? Since my last post, I've gone out of town twice, bought a new car, worked nearly every day in between (pulling doubles three days a week), and have begun to prepare for a move to a new apartment.
This has left little time for blogging and little time for the Royals. Under new manager Ned Yost, the Royals are playing roughly .500 ball. This has been more of a curse than a blessing, as the perception of success has led to hesitation in getting involved as sellers on the trade market.
Closing the gap to fewer than nine games out* gave the Royals what many perceived as a false sense of competitiveness. After the sweep and the subsequent middling play on the field, the Royals have been hovering around a dozen games out with the Indians jockeying for fourth place in the Central.
*I've been distracted, obviously, but it was either 7.5 or 8.5 games before the White Sox series heading into the break.
With reality having set in, the Royals have waded into the trade market as sellers, trading Alberto Callaspo to the Angels for Sean O'Sullivan—the most Irish player since Troy O'Leary—and Will Smith.
O'Sullivan is probably about as good as any of the mediocre starters currently in the Royals' rotation not named Donald Zackary Greinke, which doesn't exactly say much. Both he and Smith have uninspiring minor league track records that would seem to be a better fit for the Twins than the Royals. Neither have impressive K-rates, but both have had BB/9 under 2.5 in their minor league careers.
Drawing too much from their minor league numbers is not especially useful, as both had the misfortune of pitching for the Salt Lake Bees.
The then-highly-touted Nick Adenhart put up an ugly 5.76 ERA and a 1.70 WHIP in Salt Lake the season before he made the opening day rotation, and Smith skipped Double-A when he was promoted to Triple-A Salt Lake this year, so these things should be taken into account when evaluating what the Royals have gotten.
Smith found himself back in Double-A Arkansas before the trade, but he definitely hasn't been impressive since the initial promotion this season.
So for Alberto Callaspo, Dayton Moore netted two prototypical Twins pitchers. I can't say that is particularly exciting. Then again, neither is Bert Calypso.
Now, since the Royals were initially so reticent to get into the trading game, their most enticing piece to trade is now out for the year. Timing is everything, and David DeJesus suffered a complete ligament tear in his right thumb while running into the wall at Yankee Stadium.
Now, one could certainly argue that the time to trade DeJesus and maximize the return was when there was still the perception that he could play center field, but he is having a career year and is still signed to a club-friendly contract. The return could have been nice.
At least this means the Royals had to call up Alex Gordon. Maybe he'll even get to play...
As sellers, the Royals do still appear to be looking to ship off their high-dollar guys. According to Ken Rosenthal, they are in talks with the Mets. Obviously (and unfortunately), Jeff Francoeur has been bandied about. Apparently, so have Gil Meche, Jose Guillen, Kyle Farnsworth, Oliver Perez, and Luis Castillo.
If you had a hard time getting excited about Sean O'Sullivan and Will Smith, how about that mountain of crap the Royals could be picking from?
When Farnsworth is the player you'd most want out of this list (I've always had an irrational disdain for Luis Castillo), you are dealing with some undesirable pieces.
Oddly, since Oliver Perez and Gil Meche are both due $12 million next year, it might be useful to look at who could have the most upside in 2011. Sadly, that is probably Perez, as his left-handedness could at the very least mean that Dayton Moore won't waste his energy turning over every rock on earth to find such southpawed garbage as Horacio Ramirez and Sidney Ponson.
Oh, right, and there's also the fact that Gil Meche's arm might actually fall off of his body the next time he steps on the mound. Given the ticking time bomb that Meche and his contract have been since Trey Hillman got his hands on him, Perez almost has to have a better shot of success than Meche does going forward.
If acquiring Castillo meant that Mike Aviles would be manning short with Yuniesky Betancourt being exiled to Cuba, then the addition of Castillo to the Royals would be palatable. Sadly, common sense is not something the Royals are blessed with, and Aviles would likely be riding the pine while the Yunicorn continued to infuriate the fanbase.
Frenchy for Farnsworth (their contracts match up)—and I can't believe I'm saying this—would actually hurt the Royals. Farnsworth has been decent this year. He isn't far from projecting as a Type B Free Agent according to the Elias Rankings at MLB Trade Rumors. Francoeur is abysmal. Furthermore, his presence would likely hinder other Royals who should be playing, namely Alex Gordon and Mitch Maier.
Apparently, it would take Guillen getting traded for the Royals to want to take on Francoeur, but this would just seem create the same problem that currently exists as a result of having Guillen on the roster: The Royals can't find out what they've got in Kila Ka'aihue with Guillen taking all of the playing time.
There are conflicting reports that indicate that the Royals are not interested in Perez or Francoeur at all, but if last year's acquisition of Yuniesky Betancourt has proven anything, it is that Dayton Moore always gets his man, no matter how crappy that man may be.
Now, in addition to Jose Guillen being on the block, it also appears as though Scott Podsednik's recent hot streak has raised eyebrows, especially in the NL West. Both Guillen and Podsednik seem like perfect fits for San Francisco, what with Brian Sabean's penchant for taking on over-the-hill veterans with little-to-no upside. If either of these guys can go anywhere, I'm for it. Hell, the Royals should pay someone else to take them.
If neither gets traded, then this is reminiscent of two years ago, when Ron Mahay's value was at its peak on July 31, and he promptly injured himself in his first August game. It was all downhill from there, but it seemed like everyone and their sister needed a left-handed reliever that year, yet Mahay was a Royal come 2009.
Players like Mahay, Guillen, and Podsednik have little value on a team like the Royals. Amongst the two current Royals in that trio, each has been blocking younger players for the greater part of the season. It took a season-ending injury to David DeJesus for Alex Gordon to finally get another shot again. This is unacceptable.
With Kila waiting in the wings, Jose Guillen needs to be dealt.
Now while we would all love to see Jason Kendall, Yuniesky Betancourt, and Rick Ankiel go, too, those three have zero value to other teams. That is sad because they also have no value to the Royals.
Given that teams actually appear to be interested in Guillen and Podsednik, and that Dayton Moore reportedly turned down a trade proposal from the Yankees that included Jesus Montero, I might actually be excited to see what happens come the weekend. If Guillen and Podsednik are suiting up elsewhere, I'll be pretty happy.
I would like to thank the fellas over at MLB Trade Rumors. Their hard work makes following all this possible.