I must start on a sad note. As many of you heard, David DeJesus was traded away to Oakland this week for Vin Mazzaro and Justin Marks. While a lot of people will wonder who the winner/loser of this deal is, I think we’ll have to wait and see.
Dayton is usually hit or miss on these things. He hit on Brian Bannister, trading an inconsistent Ambiorix Burgos (who only pitched 23 innings after being traded) to the Mets for him.
Dayton won that trade, as he got a consistent starter in return (though he may be gone to, as he is now a free agent).
But he’s also missed, missing on Mike Jacobs (now in the Blue Jays AAA) while giving up a good reliever in Leo Nunez (3.76 ERA in 133.2 IP).
This trade will be important, but nevertheless it does give the Royals pitching more depth for when the explosion of talent hits in 2012.
But here we are, once again seeing how how being a small market team kills us. DeJesus was never and probably won’t ever be great or amazing, but he is a very solid and good player.
More importantly, it’s a leader in the clubhouse that’s going to be missed. Which makes me think about the 2009 off-season.
Remember back to 2009. That was the year that the Royals were supposed to be one of the “surprise” teams to make some noise in the AL, with even some picking them to win the division.
Man have times have changed, and so has our roster. Take a look at the Opening Day Lineup for that year:
1) CF: Coco Crisp
2) LF: David DeJesus
3) 2B: Mark Teahen
4) RF: Jose Guillen
5) 1B: Mike Jacobs
6) DH: Billy Butler
7) 3B: Alex Gordon
8) C: Miguel Olivo
9) SS: Mike Aviles
      P: Gil Meche
The team that was supposed to bring back hope and prosperity to the Royals. Good defense with promising pitching expected to take the next step (Greinke did with a Cy Young to show for it), and Trey’s “small ball” philosophy was supposed to take effect.
I can still remember watching Mike Jacobs aim consistently at the party porch. Sadly, Mike Jacobs is now Royal-less (and in the Blue Jays minor leagues/free agent) as are many of the players that started Opening Day 2009.
In fact, if we were to start our season tomorrow, the 2011 Royals opening day lineup would maybe look something like this:
1) CF: Gregor Blanco (.348 OBP with 10 SB in 85 Games with KC last year)
2)  C: Jason Kendall (.256 AVG, but only 45 K’s, can move runners over)
3) 2B: Mike Aviles (Hit .304 last year, but primarily hit singles, 27 of 129 hits were extra base-hits)
4) DH: Billy Butler (Still managed to hit 45 doubles and .318 in a weak lineup)
5) 3B: Wilson Betemit (Hit .297 last year on a minor league deal, but only .253 in September/October)
6) LF: Alex Gordon (Will be on his last chance after hitting only .215 last year, looked comfortable at OF though)
7) 1B: Kila Ka’aihue (Hit .274 with 6 HR’s and 18 RBI’s in September/October. Possibly some playing time coming?)
8) SS: Yuniesky Betancourt (Had 16 HR’s with 78 RBI’s last year. He’ll have a job if he continues that)
9) RF: Mitch Maier (Hit .263 last year in 373 AB’s playing Center….oh and those 2 innings at 1B in Texas).
    SP: Zack Greinke (Still the Ace with a down year, posting an 4.17 ERA)
See, the one thing that David DeJesus could bring to this team that no-body else on this team could bring is leadership. He’s been here on bad teams since 2004, going out every day and doing his job and doing it well.
Now there are veterans on this team who can provide leadership and have been around the block, such as an Jason Kendall. Other than Kendall, there isn’t a true leader on this team, or someone who can hit .318.
Which brings me to the rumors of Jeff Francoeur possibly becoming a Royal. If we had some legitimate power sources, I could understand bringing in a guy like Francoeur.
But you don’t. So with that said, there are other options that GMDM needs to look at before considering a reunion with another former Atlanta Brave:

  • Adam Dunn 1B/OF/DH (.260 AVG, .360 OBP, 36 Doubles, 38 HR’s, 103 RBI’s with Washington): Now I know he’s a top free agent and is looking for a pretty lucrative contract, but lets consider all things:
    – You were paying Jose Guillen a $13 million salary (Dunn made $12 million last year, $8 million the year before that). Why not allocate that money (with a little more length with it) to a guy who has proven he can provide offense?
    – Speaking of offense and though he strikes out a lot (199 K’s last year) he does hit at the plate
        – At least 38 HR’s per year his past 6 years
        – At least 100 RBI’s 6 out of his last 7 years (92 RBI’s in the one year he didn’t)
    – Though he strikes out, he does get on base (Career .381 OBP.)

  • Vladimir Guerrero DH/OF (.300 AVG, 29 HR, 115 RBI with
    Texas): Vlad held an revival last year, and I was really hoping that the Royals would have made a push at Vlad last year while he could of been signed for cheaper than he’ll cost this year. Not only that, if Vlad were to put up a good first half for the Royals, then he could have been great trade bait. Well, thankfully the Royals have another chance again to sign Vlad. Yes he’s 36 next year, but it’s clear that he can still hit and can provide veteran leadership for the Royals that could pay dividends now and down the road, whether its via a trade involving him or him mentoring other players. The fact is this, he’s not a long-term answer, but he is someone who can provide good protection for Billy Butler in the middle of the order. Would you rather face Butler with Guerrero hitting behind him or with Betemit? I don’t think paying him $11 million would be overpaying Vlad for two years.

There are plenty of others out there, such as an Aubrey Huff, Adam LaRoche, or Nick Johnson that would be better options than Francoeur. He was a talented player early on in Atlanta, but he hasn’t been able to regain his stroke since leaving there.

He only had 65 RBIs in 503 Plate Appearances last year with Texas and New York. I don’t see any of those numbers getting better in Kansas City where there’s a lineup that is similar to New York’s. The Royals need Power, but not just power.

They need power that can either have plate discipline (can get on base via walks, work the count) or that can also hit for average (be a good contact hitter with two strikes, can hit the ball the other way). Basically the opposite of an Jose Guillen or Mike Jacobs.

I don’t expect the Royals to get either Dunn or Vlad, even if they tried. But what I want to see is Dayton try. Make an reasonable offer to one of them, show us that he’s committed to improving our team now as well.

We know that he’s committed to the future, and he’s made it clear the minors are the most important. I agree with Moore, that you need to develop from within to be a consistent contender.

But at some point you need to address what is the reality, a poor lineup that needs a real tune-up for next year.

Make an effort this off-season Dayton. That’s all I ask this off-season. Not at an Rick Ankiel, but at a proven, legitimate middle-of-the-order hitter.

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