What Were You Thinking, Dayton?

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By
Dayton, I mean Dayton
Moore
, the GM of the Kansas City Royals. 
And by “what were you thinking?”, I was referring to the trade of first
baseman Mike
Jacobs
for right-handed reliever Leo Nunez with
the Florida Marlins. 


mike jacobs.jpg

It’s
not really that Nunez is that much better than Jacobs.  In fact, I’d rank their talent pretty much
even.  However, Mike Jacobs just doesn’t
fit all with the Royals team.  The
Royals are not a very good team, but the have one glaring strength: first-base
depth.  The Royals are stacked with
hard-hitting first basemen like Billy Butler,
Ryan Shealy,
and Kila
Ka’aihue
. 

 

The
Royals simply didn’t need Jacobs.  Although he
doesn’t deserve it, he will be the Royals starting first baseman next year.  That’s the worst part of this whole
deal.  This blocks Shealy, Butler, and
Ka’aihue from the major leagues or will at least force them into a reserve
role, which will be bad for their development. 

 

Ryan Shealy
had a great year in AAA, hitting 22 HR with a .376 OBP in only 400
at-bats.  Billy Butler
struggled in the bigs this year but is extremely young (23), and more
importantly, has been extremely good in the minors.  I still will continue to believe that Butler (below) will develop into one of the best pure hitters until he turns at least 25.

butler.jpg

Ka’aihue
is the most intriguing player in the KC first-base glut.  Kila (not to be confused with his brother Kala)
absolutely destroyed minor league pitching in both AA and AAA this past season,
and held his own in very limited at-bats with the Royals in September (21 at-bats,
.804 OPS).  But it’s those minor league
numbers that have you really wondering why the Royals felt they needed Mike
Jacobs.  Would you want a player
that had a .299 OBP in 2008 to be the reason that the guy who put up
the numbers below doesn’t get

to play?

(Yes, he does in fact hit with his eyes closed)

kaahiue.jpg

Level      G     
OBP      HR      RBI     
SLG      OPS

AA        
91     .463      26      
79       .624     1.086

AAA       33    
.439      11       21       .640     1.079

MLB      12     
.375      1          1        .429      .804

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In case, you would like to visualize Kila better, here’s
the video of his first ML homer.  He
almost has as sweet of a swing of Jacobs. 
Almost.  (If you watch the vid, notice that Billy Butler has fallen victim of the Bazooka Trick.)

 

This
is just one of those deals that
makes so little sense it actually makes you think that the Royals are in the
process of working on another trade that would include either Shealy, Ka’aihue
or Butler being dealt away.  A example
of this type of deal is the Randy Wolf-for-Chad Reineke trade at last year’s
deadline.  It made so little sense for
the Astros, I was convinced Houston was going to trade Wolf to another team
before the deadline ended.  It didn’t
happen.   Yet, it would not surprise me
to see Dayton Moore trade away at least one of the Royals remaining first
baseman.

And
since the Royals made this deal with the Marlins, it’s obvious that they were
not giving up some overpaid veteran for Jacobs.  No, the Royals had to sacrifice a bright, young, already
successful reliever in Leo Nunez.  He
had a 2.98 ERA in 45 games (all in relief), and he’s just 25 years old.  Nunez is a great pick-up for the Marlins,
and I agree that he was a guy they should have asked for from the Royals.  Still, when I heard of the likely probability of Jacobs being dealt, I sort of envisioned more in return than just a guy like Nunez.  If the Royals threw in a guy like

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Gilbert
de la Vara
I’d be a little more happy.  I think I may be overvaluing Jacobs a little becuase of his sweet swing, but what’s pretty is pretty, and when he connects it just looks nice.


leo nunez.jpg

 

Bottom Line

Talent
wise, this trade pretty much evens out for both clubs.  
It made sense for the Marlins to trade Jacobs, but I felt they could have
gotten a little more.  For the Royals though,
it was just completely unnecessary, and leads me to speculate Dayton Moore
is simultaneously working on another deal to trade away another first baseman
from his team.

 

Grades

Marlins –    B

Royals –     D+

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16 comments

  1. PAUL

    Dunno if I’d give it a D+ right off the bat; Jacobs is what he is and he’ll hit his 25 homers. The Marlins know talent, so I’d say they’ll get something out of Nunez, but with Jacobs, he’s never really been given a chance to play every day and that’s something for the Royals to think about for at least the first half of next year. Critics say how terrible his splits are, but he’s never really been given a chance to bat against lefties regularly; how can a pigeonholed guy like Jacobs get any better against lefties, if he never HITS against lefties? And his splits aren’t so bad that he shouldn’t hit against lefties under any circumstances. Here are the splits:
    http://www.baseball-reference.com/pi/bsplit.cgi?n1=jacobmi02
    If he starts hitting lefties with just a basic competence, the deal could end up being a winner.
    http://paullebowitz.mlblogs.com/

  2. districtboy

    Yes, Jacobs can only get better against lefties if he hits against them more often. But, like I said, talent wise the deal evened up. So, if Jacobs can hit better against southpaws, he could definitely become a more valuable player than Nunez. However, when you factor in the damage this is causing to worthier, younger players (Ka’ahiue going back to AAA), the deal just seams pointless. And for all that, a rebuilding team gave away a talented young pitcher. That’s a no-no.

  3. districtboy

    Wow, thanks! Obviously this has never happened to me before. Today has been really cool. First I get my blog into the link list of one of the best writer on this site, and then I get quoted on mlb.com’s home page. I know you have been quoted there at least three times.

    Aaron

  4. gregb123

    How come I never heard of this guy Ka’aihue? (Oh right, he plays in Kansas City.) But how could I have missed a guy from Hawaii with such a sweet swing? This is why I read your blog.

    How have you been, dude? Suffering from any withdrawls yet? Planning for ’09 yet? Want me to shut up yet?

  5. districtboy

    You have never heard of Ka’aihue? And you call yourself a baseball fan!

    What have I been doing? Blogging in between doing homework, playing “N”, listening to Coldplay, planning for 2009 (hoping to go to Minneapolis), reading team’s mailbags, and of course following Zack’s blog.

    Oh yeah, my blog quoted again on mlb.com’s homepage, and the Red Sox are coming to Washington next year. NNOOOOO! (Okay, it’s a little bit cool). Y tu? Excited for Citi Field? Stupid question.

  6. gregb123

    Cool, cool. I too am working on getting to the Metrodome next year. I hear it sucks, but I have to go there before it closes. I’m also trying to work out a trip to the WBC in Miami, with a sidetrip to Ft. Lauderdale for Orioles ST. (How cool would it be if I got a World Baseball Classic commemorative ball?)

    Citi Field should be interesting. Or it could completely blow, depending on fan turnout. (I might need to spend a lot of time at Nationals Park and Camden Yards — like, every Saturday until mid-May.) I mean, it couldn’t be worse than Shea, but Shea had so many little nooks and crannies that no real ballpark would ever have, and those design flaws often provided snagging opportunites that I’ll never have again. I’m not sure how to feel about the new ballpark, and I probably won’t until I’ve been inside it for a full BP.

    The Red Sox also come to Queens next season, but it’s just one of those “on-deck” series a few days before the season. Not sure how that’ll affect me.

    Hope to see you sometime next season!

  7. districtboy

    I’m giddy about visiting Citi Field next year, although it most likely will only be once. Have you seen the Nats new tacky unis? Fuuggly. It’s like what they sell at a souvenir stand inside a mall. Anyway, I need 211 more balls for 500, and if all goes right I can reach it next year.

    Getting a WBC commemorative ball would be sort of cool…I guess, sort of. 🙂

  8. gregb123

    Yeah, the stars-n-stripes unis are awful, but I kind of like the road greys with the script “Washington” featuring the curly W.

    Good luck on 211 next year. You can do it!

  9. dmb5354

    Great job and your blog is really well done. I totally agree with you about this Jacobs-Nunez trade. Unless the Royals have something up their sleeve, the trade made no sense for them. A much more suitable player would have been Willingham (if he didn’t get injured so often).

  10. districtboy

    Yeah, Willingham is right on. The Nats need to trade him now anyways. I am waiting for Moore to make a trade but alas none so far. I can feel it coming, though. The Mariners, Nationals, and Giants will probably be inquiring…

    I’m glad you enjoyed my blog. So far I have not met (or read) a single baseball fan who liked this deal for both sides.

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