Like many of you, I was a little confused and not very excited about the recent Mike Jacobs talk: particularly when it seemed to be Carlos Rosa headed to Florida. However, with the talks now seeming to near fruition and the Royal headed to the Marlins appears to be reliever Leo Nunez, I am on the other side of the fence.
First off, I operate under these two general assumptions:
- Always trade a relief pitcher for a starting pitcher (with a rare 'elite closer' exception to this rule)
- Always trade a pitcher for a regular player (again with a rare 'top of the line' starter exception)
Based upon those two trading guidelines, exchanging Leo Nunez for Mike Jacobs seems like a deal I would do.
Now, in Jacobs you have a big time power guy with a low on-base percentage who will no doubt be hurt by playing in Kansas City. Mike is a pure, unalduterated hacker, posting less than 40 walks in each of the past two seasons. His minor league on-base percentage was just .344, so they thought that he will become Adam Dunn in the next few years in unlikely. Still, he will knock some balls out of the park - he might have the kind of power that is unaffected by Kaufmann Stadium's spacious confines. If that is the case, Jacobs is better than Jose Guillen..or at least no worse.
The argument can be made that the Royals are crowded at first base already, so why add a low on-base lefty to the mix? Well, ARE they loaded? You have Ross Gload, a part-timer at best who has collected an offensive number of at-bats at first base over the past two years. You have Ryan Shealy, who looked like the real deal....IN SEPTEMBER. You have Kila Kaaihue, who had a monster minor league season in 2008, which means he is either the second coming of Ryan Howard or the second coming of Brandon Berger. In addition, the Royals have Billy Butler, who has yet to hit anywhere near as well as expected and may or may not be able to play the position defensively. The Royals have room for three of those guys, maybe even four if you count Gload as a backup outfielder.
In Nunez, you have a reliever who has had his moments, but has never avoided injury AND been consistent for an entire year. Frankly, Leo was the Royals fourth best reliever last year and, at times, was even further down the pecking order than that.
In my opinion, trading Leo Nunez for Mike Jacobs is a low risk, low cost insurance policy in case the September 2008 Ryan Shealy disappears and Kila Kaaihue hits .228 in Omaha next year. In the end you have two questions to answer:
- Mike Jacobs or Ross Gload?
- Can you replace Leo Nunez in the bullpen?
If the answer is yes to both, then you make the deal. I think we all have an idea as to how Dayton Moore answered those, don't we?