The Time is Now
I’ll say it again I hate the trade of Wil Myers that has fast forwarded the period to contend for the Royals from 2014-2018 to 2013 to 2014. Â That said though they have made a move, the Tigers have since countered that move by signing Anibal Sanchez leaving the Royals with a decision.
Hold Off – If the Royals hold off on any further moves it says a few things to me. Â This first move was made on the behalf of getting them over .500. Â Ownership doesn’t want to get over $85M. Â The Royals don’t understand how far they are actually behind the Tigers.
A rotation of Shields-Guthrie-Santana(4.9 fWAR) is well below Verlander-Scherzer-Sanchez (12.6 fWAR). Â That isn’t shocking when you toss in Verlander into any rotation it is going to be an uphill battle to catch up but the next two spots continue to grow that gap.
Drew Smyly – 1.7 ’12 fWAR 99 IP 3.99 ERA
Doug Fister – 3.6 ’12 fWAR 161 IP 3.45 ERA
Rick Porcello – 2.9 ’12 WAR 176 IP 4.59 ERA
Luis Mendoza 1.8 ’12 WAR 166 IP 4.23 ERA
Luke Hochevar 1.5 ’12 WAR 185 IP 5.73 ERA
Bruce Chen 1.3 ’12 WAR 191 IP 5.07 ERA
Will Smith 0.7 ’12 WAR 89 IP 5.32 ERA
Wade Davis 1.1 ’12 WAR 70 IP 2.43 ERA (as a reliever)
The Royals face a pretty large deficit in the final two spots unless Mendoza can duplicate his 2012 performance and Wade Davis can carry over much of his ’12 relief results. Â If that doesn’t happen which I highly doubt and the Royals get a lower return it will create a large hurdle in their attempt to catch the Tigers.
The Royals have made the decision that this a year and 2014 is their window to compete with the Tigers which means they shouldn’t just stop at Shields. Â Yes they have possible starters in Felipe Paulino and Danny Duffy coming back midseason but we know that Tommy John rehab doesn’t always go perfect and considering Duffy was an unknown commodity prior to the injury planning on him returning and helping as an upper tier starter feels like fools gold.
Go Strong – No the Royals need to go at it and capture one more solid starter. Â The easy choice would be RA Dickey and his 2013 $5 million salary but considering the Royals lack of an outfield or catcher prospect (Mets targets) at the upper levels and the lack of upper level prospects in general it isn’t likely they have the prospects needed for such a swap. Â Instead they should look to Astros right-handed starter Bud Norris. Â The Stros typically play in an easier park to hit home runs in than the K (2012 tougher) while Bud’s peripheral numbers are pretty strong (nearly 9 K’s per 9 to 3.5 BB/). Â The Royals could also save money with this move by cutting Hoch and his $700K while picking up Bud’s arbitration number in the range of $2.9M.
Other names that may come into play but carry large paychecks are Tim Lincecum, Matt Garza and Ricky Nolasco. Â The Royals wouldn’t likely have to give up much in prospects if they were willing to take on their salaries but I would put those possibilities as very small. Â One name I would like the Royals to go after with a prospect swap would be Juan Nicasio of the Colorado Rockies. Â While I doubt the Rockies would sell low on someone like him they have clearly been left behind in the race for the West and a rebuild is needed.
Now is not the time for reserved action the Royals have a solid lineup if lots of things come together and an outstanding bullpen. Â On top of the rotation upgrade the Tigers have countered their terrible 2012 defense with an upgrade in the outfield by signing Torii Hunter and deepened an already outstanding lineup with the return of Victor Martinez from the DL. Â The Royals need to add starting pitching to not only try to close the gap on the Tigers but to also close the gap on a possible Wild Card run. Â If the team is going to go for it then push all your chips in and go all the way in.
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