I feel like we’re beating a dead horse with the Royals needs this off-season as we talk about pitching, pitching, pitching and maybe even a little more pitching. And they’ve begun to address the rotation by acquiring Ervin Santana and even taking some flyers on guys like Guillermo Moscoso, but if they’re done, I think we can all agree that simply isn’t enough. The rotation was such an atrocity for the Royals that in spite of a ridiculously underperforming offense, the biggest need for this winter remains starting pitching. And as I’ve said a few times recently and am growing more and more understanding of this distinct possibility, the best way the Royals are going to go about acquiring pitching is through trades rather than free agency. In a year when Jeremy Affeldt gets $6 million per year to throw 60-70 innings, I just don’t see how the Royals can be in on guys like Anibal Sanchez, Zack Greinke and maybe even Jeremy Guthrie.
I’m not going to talk about trade targets, but rather who could go in trades and, in turn, who could replace them to not weaken other aspects of the team. That’s generally the argument people have when you bring up trading someone from the offense’s core is that you’d be creating a new weakness to address a previous one. My first reaction is that I think this offense has enough potential to withstand the loss of one of the key performers. Of course, there’s every chance that guys like Hosmer and Moustakas never pan out and guys like Butler and Gordon continue to be the presences in the batting order.
The guys who come up in both legitimate rumors and those thought up by fans in conversation are usually Gordon, Butler, Hosmer and Moustakas. I listed those in what I like to call “no no no” order from the guy who most people say things like, “no no no don’t trade him” to the guy who people seem to be the most comfortable letting go. It’s amazing what two years will do to the perception of a player because it would have been pretty close to reversed as recently as 2010. But still, other than some random scenarios thrown out involving Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar and even Salvador Perez, these are the four who seem to come up most often, and I think all of them can be big parts of deals to bring back a guy who can slot in the front end of a big league rotation.
But the question comes of where to turn if any of these guys are traded. While I’m not convinced the losses of any of these players couldn’t at least come close to being overcome internally. Still, it might be nice for the Royals to look to replace any of these players with some who are a little more proven than prospects because I think we’ve all seen that expecting anything from prospects can leave you wanting in the end. Obviously not every prospect struggles, but very few organizations can speak to the fact that you can’t count on them early as well as the Royals can. My hope is that the Royals have done their due diligence and already have looked into potential replacements for these guys if one is traded for what the Royals need. Here are some replacements that I think could be had using trades or free agency
Logan Morrison -Â The Marlins have traded off so much of their roster already and have pretty much said that Morrison is available now as well. You may know Morrison as a guy who’s a little outspoken on Twitter and as someone who had a rough 2012, but I think he’s a player the Royals could pick up and he could become a very good player in Kansas City. He wears number five for the Marlins in honor of his dad’s favorite player. You may have heard of the player. It’s this George Brett guy. Why was George Brett his father’s favorite player? Well it may have something to do with Logan being born in Kansas City. Being a Kansas City native isn’t a reason to acquire someone, but it’s a nice side story. In the first two years of his career, Morrison hit .259/.351/.460 in 185 games with 25 homers and 90 runs batted in. Defensively, Morrison is pretty good at first and pretty bad in the outfield, but he can play out there. Maybe I’m off here, but I don’t think it would take a haul to get him.
Brennan Boesch -Â Boesch most certainly has his warts, and wouldn’t be worth it if the Tigers were asking for anything of note for him, but he seems to be out of the picture in Detroit with the signing of Torii Hunter. He doesn’t have much of a platoon split. If anything he’s been better against lefties throughout his career. And the important thing in terms of what to give up is he’s coming off the worst year of his career. Combine that with him being the odd man out and I think the Royals might be able to get him for not too much.
Melky Cabrera -Â Remember him? Because of that pesky little suspension, he might be able to be had for a bargain this off-season. The question, of course, is how much of his career renaissance came from chemical enhancements, but if the Royals are looking for a guy who could potentially replace someone like Gordon and more, this is the place to turn if Cabrera’s willing to come back to Kansas City. In Cabrera, the Royals could get a guy to give them a .300/.350/.450 season. Or they could get pre-2011 Cabrera. Might be worth the risk if they have a hole.
Jeff Keppinger -Â I’m not going to talk too much about Keppinger because I’ve mentioned him before, but in a weak market for free agent third basemen, Keppinger could be a guy to replace Moustakas in the short term. My guess is if the Royals traded Moose, they’d just give third base to Wil Myers, but if they weren’t comfortable with that, they’d need a stopgap.
Some other guys who could fill roles on the 2013 Royals if trades arise are Juan Rivera, Scott Hairston (look at that OBP, DM would love him!) or even a Lance Berkman type if he doesn’t want to go back to Houston to DH. Again, these are guys who could fill a hole, some better than others, but who could do it if one of the core offensive talents is traded. Who knows if any of this will happen, but it’s certainly fun to speculate.
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