(from "It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)," Bringing It All Back Home)
In my last post, I deduced that the Royals would not have a lot of wriggle room in the payroll to make any free-agent signings this offseason. With three moves yesterday, they freed up a good $7 or $8 million. Shows what I know.
The first two moves were releasing Brian Bannister and Brian Anderson. Like any good Royals blogger, I'm quite fond of Banny. But it certainly made sense to cut ties with him. Part of Bannister's appeal was always the sense that he didn't really have outstanding talent (for a major leaguer, of course), but tried to use his intellect to maximize his performance. Unfortunately, he just wasn't able to sustain that and his lack of "extra" ability caught up to him. I'm sure most of us will miss Banny off the field, but we won't miss that 6.34 ERA he put up in 2010. Here's hoping he can catch on with an NL team in a good pitcher's park and have some success.
The Royals then traded David DeJesus to Oakland for pitcher Vin Mazzaro and minor-league pitcher Justin Marks.
I'm so underwhelmed by this trade. It was obvious there was a chance DeJesus would be dealt this winter; he's in the last year of his contract, turning 31 next month, and owed $6 million. Plus, he has been a solid, above-average player for the Royals and was really one of the few trading chips the Royals had at the major league level. Or so I thought.
This trade looks like the Royals basically were trying to cut salary. Mazzaro and Marks both project as middle-of-the-rotation guys. In a telling point about the Royals' 2011 rotation, Mazzaro might be the Number 2 guy, but that's more by default than anything he's done to deserve it. While he's still young and can improve, the facts are he has put up a 4.72 ERA in his career, which is a little more than a season's worth of games over two seasons. He doesn't strike out a lot of hitters and probably walks too many (138 Ks, 89 BBs in his career). So he's likely heavily dependent on his defense, which is a bad idea for any Royals pitcher.
So, yeah. Two guys who might be better than Kyle Davies. Very exciting. I understand the thought process behind this trade, although I still don't like it. My dislike is not so much about the guys the Royals got (although I would have expected a little more in return), but more about the next move the Royals will make...
I think we all know it's coming. Jeff Francoeur, Opening Day 2011 rightfielder. And 2012. And 2013. And we thought Jose Guillen was frustrating. I can't wait to get that .735 lifetime OPS in Royal blue! That's just what this lineup needs, another guy who's OBP barely cracks .300.
Of course, that's a worry for another day. It hasn't happened. Yet.