MLB Analysis: Should the Kansas City Royals Trade for a Veteran Starter?

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Even with last night’s failed-comeback attempt in Houston, the Royals (29-36) are just a mere five games behind the first-place White Sox (35-32).

Since May 1st, the Royals are 22-20 – a .550 winning percentage. Now, over an entire season, a .550 win% comes out to an 89-73 season. The White Sox current .522 win% paces them at 84-78. If the Royals didn’t have that dreaded 12-game-should-never-be-spoken-of-again-losing streak, we could be talking about being in first place in a weak, weeeaaaak AL Central.

But, it is what it is.


     Team                        Record     Games Back    Last 10 Games

  1. Chicago White Sox            35-32                0                         3-7
  2. Cleveland Indians             34-32                0.5                     4-6
  3. Detroit Tigers                      32-34                2.5                      7-3
  4. Kansas City Royals           29-36              5.0                    5-5
  5. Minnesota Twins                 26-39                8.0                     5-5

The Royals have 19 games to go until the All-Star break: a pair of three-game series’ at home against the Cards (34-33) and the Rays (37-29), a pair four-game series’ in Minnesota (26-39) and Toronto (34-33) , and a three-game series’ in Detroit (32-34).

Now… say the Royals win at least 10 of the 19 games, which would put them at a record of at least 39-45. And say they are still within five games or less of the division lead.

And also say you’re Dayton Moore.

Do you pull the trigger on acquiring a veteran starter/veteran starter in a contract year in exchange for an impact prospect(s)?


Do you stand pat with what you have and promote from within?

Which would you rather do?

(I’m going to be using a lot of unnescessay-nonsensical dashes now, so bear with me.)

Let’s take a look at this. The Royals, realistically, have been building for 2013,’14, and ’15 – when their now-young nucleus should be complete and ready for winning. By then, Hosmer should be an MVP candidate, Moustakas should be one of the top power-hitting 3B in the AL, Gordon and Butler should be battled-tested and grizzled veterans, Escobar should have a few Gold Gloves, Wil Myers should be coming into his own in right field, and Perez should be handling a rotation filled out by Duffy, Odorizzi, Montgomery, Lamb, and enter free agent signing here.

I don’t know about you, but I would love it if this complete pipe-dream of a team were all together at the same time in Kansas City competing for a division title and battling in the post-season come the next three-to-four years. And ideally, they should and will be.

Say you choose this option. In doing-so, you acknowledge that, although your team may be winning and playing average-to-good baseball, you don’t believe that this team is capable of winning a championship right now. The fan-base may be upset and players may regret buying all-in early on in the season just to see their hard-work go unrewarded. Afterall, your minor league wins, numbers, stats, rankings, what have you… don’t mean squat when it comes to winning at the big league level.

In turn, however, you didn’t mortgage your future for unknown and maybe long-shots at winning your division, league, and the World Series.

But what if we have a shot at it now? What if 2012 really is “Our Time”?

Would you kick around the idea of shipping off some of our prized prospects a la (God forbid) Wil Myers or Mike Montgomery for a frontline starter in order to make a playoff push? Or even dealing veterans like Jeff Francoeur, Jonathan Sanchez, Jonathan Broxton, or the increasingly sexy Yuni Betancourt for a mid-rotation starter?

Say you choose this option and you deal one-to-two top prospects for a top-of-the-rotation-type guy. Typically these guys are only available when they are at our nearing the end of their current contract – meaning you’re dealing years of control and potential for a right here, right now, what have you done for me lately pitcher; all the while knowing that you don’t have much more than a snowball’s chance of keeping him long-term (much like how the Brewers got CC Sabathia in 2008). It’s basically an all-or-nothing shot.

You could also, as an alternative, deal a replacable veteran for something less in return. Maybe it’s a mid-rotation starter or a power bullpen arm (like the Royals need another one…). The deal would open a void in your roster which would potentially be filled by the likes of prospects Wil Myers, Jake Odorizzi, Mike Montgomery, Christian Colon, David Lough, Derrick Robinson, etc. – all of which are unproven commodities. There’s no guarantee that any one of these prospects would step right in to their big league role and succeed immediately. A deal like this could possibly net the Royals a loss in terms of production, but a surplus in terms of experience.

So, Mr./Mrs. GMDM, what’s your call? Do you stand pat and keep building? Or do you take a chance and make a deal?

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