Moore’s Free Agent Signings Playing Well So Far

There are lots of reasons to be excited for the future of the Royals and one of them will make his Major League debut tonight: Eric Hosmer. The first base prospect will join a team that’s been surprisingly good so far in 2011 (they’re 17-14), one that appears poised to become a playoff contender once its highly-touted prospects become Major Leaguers.

It’s never all about the future, even with rebuilding teams like the Royals. Managers need players to pencil into the lineup and fans need something to cheer for, so general managers sign stop-gap players to represent the big league club while prospects develop. 

So far, the four veterans GM Dayton Moore signed this offseason are more than earning their keep. Jeff Francoeur has eight homers and a .305/.346/.602 line (it’s not BABIP-inflated, either) and Melky Cabrera has a .293/.317/.466 line after yesterday’s three-hit game. They've both been pleasant surprises for the league's best offense.

On the pitching side, Jeff Francis has a 5.45 ERA (3.73 xFIP) in 29 2/3 innings with a strong 21K/8BB ratio. Fellow southpaw Bruce Chen has a 3.59 ERA (4.54 xFIP) through 42 2/3 innings with a 24K/14BB ratio. Neither pitcher replaces Zack Greinke atop the rotation, but they’re healthy and productive at the very least. The quartet of Francis, Chen, Francoeur and Cabrera has been worth a combined 2.5 wins above replacement so far, yet another indication that they're producing.

Moore signed the four players for a total of $7.75MM and didn’t give up a single draft pick in the process. It’s a promising development for Royals fans since every homegrown team needs to supplement its core players with free agents at times. Moore’s track record on the free agent market includes its share of blemishes – Jose Guillen for example – but this year his approach has produced strong results for minimal cost.

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6 Comments on "Moore’s Free Agent Signings Playing Well So Far"

4 years 3 months ago

The cubs should fire Jim Hendry and hire Dayton moore.

This guy is a baseball genious.
He is a guy that can build a good team from a very little money market and a lower budget all while drafting great.
I know that he picked in the top 5 every year but he has done well with what he has to work with.

4 years 3 months ago

Well, Dayton Moore took a lot of flak for his placeholder teams. He should have; they were bad and no fun to watch. But picking in the top 5 and picking well in the top five is only the first step. A lot has to go right with the players and people charged with developing them.

I will give the Royals credit for having the right kind of manager for a developmental organization. Ned Yost cut his teeth in the Braves organization that has a long history of delivering their prospects to the majors; then he went to the Brewers and was in charge when Braun, Hart, Hardy, Fielder, Weeks, Gallardo, were promoted. I think he did a good job with them too.

Great farm system bursting at the seams, relatively weak division, and a manager that’s been good with these types of players-first time major leaguers. You ought to feel good if you’re a Royals fan about now.

Just a comment on Francouer-he has had good months/parts of seasons before; his new manager and general manager knows him and his play from way back when they were in the Braves organization. It’s just possible that they had an idea of how to get him turned around before they even acquired him. I’ll give Jeff credit for not giving up on himself. Almost everyone else did.
I hope he keeps it up.

4 years 3 months ago

Even a blind squirrel will find a nut occasionally. The test will come when Moore has an opportunity to move these free agents for something of future value; coinciding with the teams expected resurgence. Will he trade them or will he offer them extended contracts?

4 years 3 months ago

Agreed. All indications are they will spend the money. Our payroll this year is 36M. It was 72M last year.

The prospects will come one by one. Some won’t pan out, some will. What he does in terms of free agent signings when they’re here, and then what he does with them when they’re going to become free agents.

4 years 3 months ago

You’re also forgetting
last year:
Kyle Farnsworth (2 Years, 3.42 ERA, Got Tim Collins, Gregor Blanco, and Jesse Chavez for him and Rick Ankiel (and saved 1M in their salaries)

Even Rick Ankiel had a solid 784 OPS as a Royal.

Scott Podsednick 310/353/400 with 30SBs..then traded him for Lucas May and Elisaul Pimentel.

Noel Arguelles was signed for a large amount (7M), so he’s not a stop-gap, but he was also signed, and currently he is one of the best pitchers in Minor League Baseball, going into Thursdays game, he had a 1.02 ERA with 1BB and 15 Ks in 17.2 Innings.

He’s made some bad signings, obviously, but solid signings over the last two years combined with some great drafts he’s been a really solid GM, and almost incredible over the last two or three years.

4 years 3 months ago

I’m generally sick of the near-constant whining and complaining I hear from my fellow Royals fans. I can’t wait until Moore has to deal some of these prospects he’s stock-piled for ML talent to make a run and the ensuing cry from the prairie: “You promised us he would play here!!!!!!” “Horrible trade” “DM and Glasshole are only in it for the money.”

For some reason KC fans seem to think DM is the only GM to make bad FA signings ever. It’s just pathetic listening to some of these people.