Leftridge: MLB Winter Meetings Come, Go; Royals Refuse to Even Let Other Teams Feel Them Up

In my dreams, the Royals won the Winter Meetings. General Manager Dayton Moore, acutely aware of the importance this particular off season brings, fleeced his colleagues with hidden snake-oil tactics and slick talking. After the dust settled, and the Royals were quantifiably better than they were the previous week, everyone threw Moore atop their shoulders and paraded him out of the conference room, across the lobby and into a waiting limousine where he was given a fine champagne and a big hug from owner David Glass, who wasn’t such an asshole after all, unlike what we all thought all along.

 None of this happened, of course.

Glass might be a bigger eagle-faced dick than any of us had ever imagined and Moore, well, Moore mostly stood pat during the proceedings. He sat at his nice table in his swanky suit, his flattop perfectly even atop his tanned head, he sipped his mineral water from the nice glass and he nodded and smiled and looked stoic when appropriate, and he walked away having accomplished nothing.

R.A. Dickey

 Oh sure, there were talks. Lots of them. And some of them, maybe, by some definition, may have been a success. Seeds were planted and ideas were shared. The Mighty Royals made the baseball world take notice that “GODDAMNIT, WE’RE SERIOUS ABOUT (talking about maybe) ACQUIRING IMPACT PLAYERS NOW!”

The hot stove bubbled with the rumor that they were one of the three primary teams interested in New York Met and 2012 Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey. The Royals were going to trade for him, then ink him to an extension.

Ditto Tamp Bay Ray starting pitcher James Shields. They were all up IN that shit, “a very possible and likely landing spot,” for the 31-year-old not-quite-ace (you can’t be an ace when David Price is at the front of your rotation—you just CAN’T).

The problem with both of these moves, according to most sources, is that the Mets and the Rays were both asking for SUPER-STUD-JESUS-IN-CLEATS-PROSPECT outfielder Wil Myers.

The Royals were loath to part with the young man, and rightfully so.

Dickey is 38 and, while I get that he can pitch to AARP age because he’s a knuckleballer, you’ve gotta play the averages that say sooner rather than later, despite an indefatigable rubber arm, he will no longer be able to pitch at a major league level. It’s science, plain and simple.

 

James Shields

As for Shields, he would have only provided a very temporary respite to a team desperate for long-term, wallet-friendly solutions. (Look– that’s science, too. They’ll never be in on the “Greinke-style” free agents. But they don’t have to be. Look at the aforementioned Rays, who have built a perennial contender despite similar fiscal limitations.)

Contrast Shields with Myers, a very low-risk, as sure-as-sure-can-get prospect who is ONLY 21 (22 on Monday—Happy B-day, punkin’!) and under Royals’ control for at LEAST the next 6 years.

 I wouldn’t have made either one of these moves, either.

But one needn’t trade away the future to build a better tomorrow. There were free agents to be had, too, and the Winter Meetings is prime-time for wheeling and dealing.

Pitcher Dan Haren went to the Washington Nationals on a one year, $13mil deal.

Free agent befuddlement (always decent numbers, seemingly no off field issues, doesn’t have anyone who wants to keep him) Edwin Jackson is still kicking around, and could likely be had for something akin to last year’s one year, $12mil deal. Sources have indicated that he might be responsive to something like the three year, $27mil deal the San Diego Padres offered him last year.

The Royals were even in on pitcher Ryan Dempster, it seemed, but were unwilling to go higher than the two year, $26mil they reportedly offered, OR offer a third year at a similar price.

They were also reportedly reluctant to go five years on a $70mil deal for pitcher Anibal Sanchez, which, hey, remember Gil Meche? The biggest free agent pitcher in Royals’ history was inked to a very similar contract in 2006, was driven into the ground through improper handling and fizzled before the deal finished. If, however, the Royals avoiding  this deal because of THAT deal, I have lost all faith in this club.

 And I might have, anyway, so maybe it doesn’t even matter.

Perhaps the most disheartening development to come out of the entire offseason was the report from Bangin’ Bob Dutton that the Royals’ purse-strings were actually drawn tighter than initially thought. The “$70 million soft ceiling” that Moore had previously spoken about? Oh, right—that was for EVERYTHING—the 40-man roster, draft signings, international development. SORRY GUYZ, WE MISSPOKE. LOLZ. TTYL! LYLAS!

After the no-fucking-shit-what-did-you-expect uproar, Glass—or whatever fucking puppets pull the strings of his decrepit brain—clarified. “OMG, PEEPZ. CHILLAX- I MEANT THAT THE $70 MILLY WAS 4 THA 40 MAN ROSTER. WE GOOD.”

 

Thanks, Gil Meche, for making the organization live in fear

But that’s still NOT good because that STILL means the team is currently at-budget. And though this flies in the face of the talks they were supposedly having with Dempster, and the interest they’re allegedly showing in Sanchez, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least because if there’s one SINGLE thing I’ve learned after 30 years of supporting this team, it’s that nothing is as it seems.

They are master manipulators and absolute deceivers, swindlers that would make even the seediest door-to-door custom bible salesman blush. In short, David Glass doesn’t give two squirts of piss about winning. He is a ruthless businessman who built his legacy and wealth using cheap labor and shrewd practices; to expect him to run his ballclub any differently makes all of us idiots.

Oh, to live the sorrowful life of a Royals fan.

 

Come commiserate with me on Twitter, @StanfordWhistle.

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16 Responses to Leftridge: MLB Winter Meetings Come, Go; Royals Refuse to Even Let Other Teams Feel Them Up

  1. Rick Nichols says:

    I’m glad that the Royals seem unwilling to part with Wil Myers in order to get a big name pitcher because I’m convinced that these big name pitchers being talked about have had their best years already and won’t give the KC rotation the boost everyone hopes they will. In short, they will be a bust here. But by all means, Dayton Moore, keep shopping. Maybe a good bargain will yet turn up. Moving right along, MLB desperately needs a salary cap so that deals like the one Greinke just landed will be a thing of the past. And guess who ultimately picks up the tab for these huge contracts? That’s right, you and me, the consumers of the products and services being advertised on TV and radio during the broadcasting of the games. When will the insanity end?

    • Well said. I’d be much more intrigued by anyone else in Tampa Bay’s rotation, actually. Hellickson, Moore and certainly Price. Shields is just a little too old for my blood, especially if you’re talking about giving up Myers to get him.

      And yeah, that Greinke deal is RIDICULOUS. Never in a million years would I have ever thought our little Zack would land the richest contract for a right handed pitcher ever. Baseball economics are insane.

  2. Harry Balczak says:

    Um…….

  3. Rick Nichols says:

    I guess I spoke too soon.

  4. Reggin Tnuc says:

    This is a Viagra trade for the Royals. It may provide immediate results but does not address the underlying problems in the organization.

  5. b12 says:

    At least Dayton pulled the trigger on a trade involving name players.

    At least something happened…rather than some babble about 2014 and everyone being ready now.

    It’s a gamble…but I like it…and I’ll bet he’s not done.

  6. Markus Aurelius says:

    The underlying premise that dictated this kind of a trade is what has me the most disheartened as a life-long Royals fan.

    This trade should serve as Exhibit A when making the case to show how David Glass has hamstrung Dayton Moore financially and thereby forced him to make moves like this. This move make NO sense if you don’t have a cheap-skate owner that is unwilling to spend to win. However, it makes a LOT of sense if you are a GM that truly wants to win and you know you’re working with half a stack of chips. Given Glass’ tightwad-ery Moore’s only chips to throw on the table are our prospects. Based on Dutton’s article about payroll, Moore has no leeway to keep our farm system and top prospects in tact while spending money to acquire big-league talent. I don’t have a problem with Moore trading Myers, JO or MM but I think the skewed risk/reward balance in this particular transaction is evidence that Moore had no real choice in the matter.

    We HAVE to have better starting pitching and Moore knew that if the owner won’t buy it then he’s going to have to give up a lot in prospects to get even the hope of better pitching. Stat geeks will tell you, and I tend to agree, that both Shields and Davis ought to have better numbers in KC given (1) going from 81 games in a batter-friendly park to 81 games in a pitcher-friendly park, and (2) playing against the AL Central instead of the AL East. However, my concern is that we have Shields for only 2 years. Assuming he plays like we need him to play it’s unlikely that he’ll stick around. Perhaps our midwestern hospitality will grow on his family during that time and we’ll have some success and he’ll want to continue to be a part of that but I’m not holding my breath.

    • Brandon Leftridge says:

      Very well said, Mr. Aurelius, and you’ve echoed all of my concerns with the move.

      It’s competely apparent that it’s now or never. Moore has decided that, for better or worse, his legacy will be determined within the next two years.

      I’ve gotta say, as much as I hate losing Myers (and the other involved parties) I think Shields has a chance to be really great, if only for the next two years. Davis is an intriguing piece, as well.

      Rebuilding time is over. It’s refreshing to know that the cards are finally on the table. It’s also going to be REALLY interesting heading into a season with only the 5th starter’s spot to figure out. Very, VERY different than in years past.

      Now if they could just figure out an alternative in RF…

    • Markus Aurelius says:

      Probably should make my batter-friendly/pitcher-friendly comparison more clear by saying that the K is a more pitcher-friendly park than the Trop, rather than saying the Trop is batter-friendly. Going from 315’/364’/404′ to 330’/375’/410′ will help both Shields and Davis.

      • Brandon Leftridge says:

        I knew what you meant. Someone shared this on Twitter, and it was the first thing that made me really happy since hearing about the trade late last night:

        Shields and Greinke last 2 years: Greinke 31-11 3.63 401K 384IP .247 opp avg. Shields 31-22 3.15 477IP 448 K .228 opp avg

        Granted, two yr sample size, but those are really solid stats. Gotta find the gold somewhere. He’s also got 14 complete games in that span, most in the majors over that period. Royals need that, desperately.

  7. Rodney Jameson says:

    Worst case scenario, the royals can flip james shields in a year and a half at the trade deadline. (will myers, please be rocco baldelli and not mike trout). But what I really like about this trade is that joe maddon called james shields’ best trait “competitiveness.” A good group of guys who enjoy hanging out makes for nothing more than good hunting trips, thrilling campfire stories, and awkward homoerotic moments. Happy to hear we have someone moving in who might put a little fire in the belly of our clubhouse. And, Wade Davis actually has the stats to prove he might be a better starter than anyone the Royals threw out there last year with the exception of maybe, maybe felipe paulino. Odorizzi’s upside is wade davis. Montgomery turned into a minor league second coming of john rocker/chuck knoblach, and who the hell is patrick leohnard? Shield’s metrics yielded him being ranked the 15th best pitcher in baseball since the 2010 season. If Meyers becomes a top 15 position player, he would be near his ceiling even with his enormous potential. Bring back DeJesus, fuck Frenchie’s Quarter, and can someone please pass the damn dinner rolls!

  8. Rodney Jameson says:

    my comment is awaiting moderation. figures, i aint never been on the side of moderate

    • Brandon Leftridge says:

      Haha. I approved you. It was the ol’ “eff-word.”

      You make good points and I like your optimism.

      Oh, and I’ve actually heard good stuff about Leonard, but we all know how projects go…

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