Thursday, July 29, 2010

Podsednik to Dodgers, On Lookout for Trolleys

Much to my (and I'd imagine just about every other Royals blogger's) delight, Scott Podsednik has been shipped to the Dodgers in exchange for catcher Lucas May and right handed pitcher Elisaul Pimentel. With a hopeful trade of Jose Guillen right behind it, this could mean that it might finally be Kila Ka'aihue's time to shine (or at least play) in the Majors.

The prospects the Royals got are by most reports fringe prospects, with Lucas May putting up what appear to be solid numbers for the Albuquerque Isotopes and Elisaul Pimentel pitching quite well as a now-22-year-old in low-A ball.

Now I say that May has put up numbers that appear to be solid because his .296/.352/.496 triple-slash is actually slightly below average, as the entire team is hitting .303/.356/.485. Yes, it's nice that he is a catcher that can hit, but the extremely hitter-friendly confines that he has called home for much of this season certainly contribute to his ratios.

May is also a catcher after having been converted from short. As he has not always been a catcher, some of the reviews are mixed on his defensive game.

As for Pimentel, he is exactly the same age as Keaton Hayenga, but unlike the disappointing Hayenga, he has compiled a 9.7 K/9, 3.5 BB/9, 2.77 K/BB, and 1.173 WHIP in the Midwest League. On his career between two-and-a-half rookie ball seasons and this season in low-A, Pimentel has thrown together an 8.1 K/9, 2.8 BB/9, 2.85 K/BB, and 1.228 WHIP. While he may seem slightly old for the level, he has certainly been solid thus far.

Now, what Scott Podsednik's departure means at the Major League level is that Alex Gordon will slide over to left, where the Royals apparently prefer him to play. This should mean he will get to settle into the daily lineup. Bob Dutton tweeted that it appears as though RHP Greg Holland will get the call to fill the open roster spot on the 25-man roster. Why they would go back to a 13-man pitching staff is beyond me, but even with the recent return of Rick Ankiel, one would have to think this move could crack the door open just a little more for Kila Ka'aihue.

If Guillen is shipped to San Francisco as the smoke is hopefully indicating, then The Kila Monster shouldn't just get the call, he should get to start nearly every day. Even if Guillen isn't shipped out, the Royals willingness to throw Guillen out in right regularly should slam that door open for Ka'aihue, although logic does not seem to factor in to what the Royals have done with him thus far in his career.

As for Podsednik, he caught hot at the right time, and this time Dayton Moore pulled the trigger, having possibly learned his lesson from the Ron Mahay Hesitation of 2008. Podsednik wasn't nearly as awful as I thought he'd be, but his place on this roster blocked younger players that should have been getting their shot.

The thing that will be most missed about Scott Podsednik will of course be his Playmate wife. They've surely ordered up their PODS and have a crew packing their shit as a I type this. We'll miss you, Lisa.


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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Royals at the Deadline with Rumors A-flyin'

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 a curse than a blessing, as the perception of success led to hesitation on getting involved as sellers in the trade market. Closing the gap to less than nine games out* gave the Royals what many perceived as a false sense of competitiveness. After that 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 the most Irish player since Troy O'Leary, Sean O'Sullivan, 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 on their minor league career.

Drawing too much from their minor league numbers is not especially useful, as both had the misfortune to have pitched 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 promoted to AAA-Salt Lake this year, so these things should be taken into account when evaluating what the Royals have gotten. He found himself back in AA-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 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 DeJesus could play center, but he is having a career year and is still signed to a club-friendly contract. The return could have been nice.

Oh well.

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's name 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 Kyle Farnsworth is the player you'd most want of a list of six players (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 Oliver 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 are since Hillman got his hands on him, Oliver Perez almost has to have a better shot at success than Meche going forward.

If acquiring Castillo meant that Aviles would be manning short with Betancourt being exiled to Cuba, 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--actually hurts 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'aihuie 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 shitty 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 31st, 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 as 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.