Leftridge: Trade Deadline Approaches; Is it Curtains for Broxton, Betancourt and Francoeur?

With a little more than a week left in July and the non-waiver trade deadline fast approaching, Royals’ General Manager Dayton Moore is undoubtedly locked in his office, deep within the cavernous confines of a hidden spot well within the bowels of Kauffman Stadium, a phone glued to his ear, shouting with the manic intensity of a coked-up day trader. He’s probably emailing files and video clips, screaming about WAR and ERA and other three letter phrases that mean nothing to his mother, in a valiant effort to prove that his pile of shit is better than YOUR pile a shit, so you’d do well to listen.

Or, he’s playing Words With Friends on his iPhone and refreshing his email repeatedly, hoping that word has arrived regarding whether or not he won the eBay auction of the 1980 Dukes of Hazzard, still-in-the-package, limited edition General Lee Hot Wheels replica.

Either way, he’s a busy man.

And whether or not it’s a good or bad thing—an argument can be made for both—there isn’t a lot on this team that would mean much to anyone else.

On one hand, you’ve got no young, unaffordable studs who need to be moved in blockbuster deals in an effort to yield prospects; no “Carlos Beltrans circa 2004,” in other words. This is a good thing because the Royals’ track record in these kinds of deals is miserable, at best.

On the other, for a team who’s—wait for it—STILL in a rebuilding mode, they need pitching, goddamnit, lots and lots of starting pitching, and it seems unlikely that anyone on the current roster can be flipped for a high-impact pitcher ready to step into the rotation this year, or even next.

So what’s a high-and-tight girl supposed to do?

Well, the first move was made on Friday, flipping gigantic disappointment Jonathan Sanchez for fellow disappointment Jeremy Guthrie. Guthrie, 33, was a first round draft pick of the Cleveland Indians in 2002, and the STAFF ACE OF THE BALTIMORE ORIOLES in 2008. Like Sanchez, he has flashed moments of brilliance, followed by moments of decency, followed by the sheer terror that has been 2012. Though his “stuff” isn’t as heralded as Sanchez’s… seriously? Who the fuck cares? Hey, NICE STUFF, SANCHEZ.

If there’s a silver lining to the poop-cloud that has been this whole debacle, it’s that Guthrie’s ERA at home with the Colorado Rockies is over 9, but is a respectable  3.67 on the road. Hey—Kansas City is on the road, right?! Kind of? Until it becomes his home? Ah, shit.

So we’ll see what “magic” Guthrie can bring to the table. It certainly can’t be any worse than the awfulness that Sanchez was defecating all over everything each time he took the mound.
Here are some other players who could (and should) be moved.

Jonathan Broxton:

This one seems to be a given, and probably the best option Moore has at getting anything of value in return. Broxton’s stats this season are deceptively appealing. 22 saves in 26 opportunities. A 2.34 ERA. But what they DON’T know, unless they’ve been paying close attention (and okay, I concede that they likely have—they get paid to do this sort of thing), is that his saves are almost always high-wire acts of bowel-clenching absurdity. He’ll hit a batter with nobody out, walk the next two and give up a single run on a ground-ball double play before striking out the next guy and sealing the deal.

Or, he’ll strike out the first two batters, walk the next two on 8 consecutive pitches, and then let the next one take him to the warning track on a frightening fly-ball.

It’s sick. He’s like Roberto Hernandez, but white. And slightly fatter. And he doesn’t end up blowing the save.

That said, he’s still just Jonathan Broxton. He’s a decent closer on an awful team where there’s hardly any pressure on any given night. So WHAT if he blows a save? That means jack-spit to this team. But what if he’s a setup guy on a contender? Or a closer for a team that’s right on the cusp? Whole different story. And unfortunately, I have a sneaking suspicion that other GMs know this.

That’s why the best the Royals can reasonably expect to receive for Man-Mountain is a fairly developed Triple-A pitcher, someone who once had expectations, but has found little success in their professional career.

Enter Yusmeiro Petit, a 27-year-old RHP currently with the Fresno Grizzlies (SF Giants Triple A affiliate). A product of the Mets organization originally, Petit is 4-3 with a 3.37 in 2012. Though his stops in the Majors have been unremarkable to say the least, he could be one of those guys who might benefit greatly from a change of scenery.

And the Giants could be fairly desperate.

Their current closer, Santiago Casilla, is falling apart one blown save at a time. After suffering a knee injury in June, he has dropped five of his last eight save opportunities. He’s probably not healthy, and that sucks for him, but it could be the Royals’ gain.

Bye-bye Broxton. I liked the cut of your gelatinous jib, but you mean nothing to this team moving forward. Have fun in San Fran, buddy!

Jeff Francoeur:

I like Jeff Francoeur. By all accounts, he seems to be a really awesome dude. I’ve never had a baseball player buy me beer, so that instantly makes him a kind of folk-hero. But unless that folk-hero is Roy Hobbs, it doesn’t mean much for a professional baseball team.

He has regressed. And with each passing at-bat, it’s very clear now that he’s nothing more than a fourth outfielder on any decent ballclub. He’s nice punch off the bench and a really excellent late-innings defensive replacement.

He has to be moved, and the Royals, unfortunately, will be forced to eat some money, something that they’re typically disinclined to do.

Furthermore, it’s unlikely that they’ll be able to get anything of substantiated value for Frenchy. Again, he’s a part-time player for a contender at best, and you don’t often procure orgasmically enticing prospects for bench players, no matter their level of occasional pop, regardless of their defensive prowess in late, close ballgames.

At this point, Francoeur would fit beautifully on the Yankees, and unless Dayton finger-bangs some wizardry against NY GM Brian Cashman, we’ll probably get a low-level pitching prospect in return. A-ball, MAYBE Double-A. Something unsexy that will be but a distant, faded memory five years from now.

Maybe Francoeur will do that power move where he takes out a full-page ad in the KC Star thanking the fans for his time here. Wouldn’t that be weird? I can totally see it, though. Even after a year and a half. He seems like that kind of guy. Wait… do they still run ads in the Star? I seriously haven’t looked at that birdcage liner in five years. I’m assuming it’s still a thing, right?

Yuniesky Betancourt:

Oh, Yuni… dear, sweet Yuni. What to do, what to do?

Obviously, there’s not much of a place for Yuni on the roster these days—what, with the recent reemergence of Chris Getz—so he’s highly expendable.

The problem is, Betancourt has been slipping at the exact wrong time. He’s batting .196 in the month of July and has driven in a grand total of three runs in that stretch. Gone are June’s heroics, walk-off shots and game tying blasts that could have made him imminently more attractive to potential suitors. In their place is the real Yuni—the .230-.250 hitter with a teensy bit of power and sad defense.

The good news is, EVERY team can use a Yuni. It’s a fact. The bad news is, nobody will willingly give up much for someone of his ilk. And who can blame them?

If Dayton were wise, he’d move Getz. He’s younger, considerably better on defense, and is sporting a batting average that’s 60 points higher (though in an admittedly smaller sample size). Getz would bring more in return, no doubt, but I just don’t see this happening.

The more likely case is that Betancourt is jettisoned for a very low-level prospect, a “low-risk, high-reward project player” who won’t make a big-league impact for years, at best.

And then, of course, they’ll go out and re-sign Betancourt in the offseason, just to squeeze the balls of the Royals’ fanboys, one more time. Dayton Moore has a very strange sense of humor, apparently.

Rex Hudler:

Can we get anything for this guy? Anything at all? Jesus? Are you up there?

So there it is, the three players and one “broadcaster” who could (or in the case of Hudler, SHOULD) be out of there by the end of next week. And while it’s not a very exciting bunch, they don’t exactly have a lot of enticing pieces to move right now—you know, unless Day-Day gets stupid and starts dealing the youngsters.

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8 Responses to Leftridge: Trade Deadline Approaches; Is it Curtains for Broxton, Betancourt and Francoeur?

  1. Big Bob says:

    I see my service of providing ass kissing posts is doing well. Send another $100 Hearne.

    • Brandon Leftridge says:

      Wait… you’re making more than me for just COMMENTING on my piece? Sounds like I need to have a talk with Hearne. Thanks for the heads up, Bob.

      • Big Bob says:

        If he is paying you more the burger coupons then he is changing his past history. Why do you think he keeps having to get new writers? Most don’t want to work for any length of time for a bag of chips.

        HC: That’s true, Grumpy. Most of the writers here are working for the good of mankind and to provide news and entertainment for the more than quarter million unique visitors the site attracts each month. Including you!

        • Brandon Leftridge says:

          Yeah, I’ve been here almost a year now. Not sure what that says about my drive, ambition, or intelligence.

  2. smartman says:

    Billy Butler to the Pirates for a couple of shitty pitchers.

    Lefty, I’ve watched the last several episodes of Louis. Pretty bad. He did make some HUGE BANK with his online ticket sales though. Fucking P.T. Barnum hit the nail on the head again.

    • Brandon Leftridge says:

      I hope you’re wrong about the Butler thing, but I wouldn’t put anything past this regime. I can see us dealing him, I just hope it’s for something more than “a couple of shitty pitchers.”

      Yeah, I don’t know… this season has been a little hit or miss so far. He really seems stuck on pushing the awkward nuances that were previously less pronounced. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Personally, I thought the subtle, uncomfortable bar scene between Louis and the Cuban lifeguard in the “Miami” episode was great. They both denied being gay for a good three minutes of dialogue without coming out and saying it once. Good writing, lots of awkward laughs. 

      I’m glad you’re checking it out, though. The first few seasons are available on Netflix. I’d suggest checking out a few random episodes. You still might dig it. 

  3. rkcal says:

    The Royals have to get some sack and part with a frontline player for a legitimate arm. There is no other way to get better. Gotta give some to get some.

    • Brandon Leftridge says:

      You’re right, and I agree. Butler seems like a pretty good candidate. Lots of teams could use his bat. The problem is, I don’t know that I trust Moore to get anything of value in return. The Greinke trade is panning out– looking better by the day– but then you look at the Melky/Sanchez deal. No GM is perfect, to be sure, but Moore’s track record is fairly iffy.