AL Central Notes: Royals, Hughes, Tigers, Bauer

Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet interviewed Royals GM Dayton Moore about the team's playoff hopes, his offseason moves and the difficulty of making trades. Asked about the tough decision to part with Wil Myers, Moore said the focus in trades has to be on what is acquired rather than what is given up: "If you focus on what you’re losing, you’ll never make a deal. You’ll be paralyzed. You have to focus on what you’re getting in return and that’s what we focused on."

More items pertaining to the Royals and the AL Central…

  • ESPN's Jerry Crasnick also looks at the Royals' high expectations, talking about the team's acquisition of Shields and the heavy emphasis placed on defense. Moore makes it clear to the club's scouts that he wants players with the discipline to focus for nine innings and the ability to continue to prioritize defense even in the midst of slumps at the plate. Shields and manager Ned Yost both spoke about this emphasis. Crasnick also discussed the turnaround of some of the team's young hitters with last year's interim hitting coach and Hall of Famer George Brett.
  • Phil Hughes tells Anthony McCarron of the New York Daily News that he's enjoying his transition to a new team after a "nightmare" season with the Yankees in 2013. Hughes, who has become fast friends with Twins first baseman Joe Mauer, says he enjoys the laid-back atmosphere. Now sporting a beard, Hughes feels that back pain that cost him most of Spring Training last season likely contributed to his struggles. Minnesota, of course, gambled on Hughes' youth and pedigree by signing him to a three-year, $24MM deal this offseason that was far larger than most had expected for the 27-year-old.
  • Chris Iott of answered reader questions and offered his take on the chances of Max Scherzer inking an extension prior to Opening Day. Iott pegs the chances of a long-term deal for the 2013 Cy Young winner at about 10 percent, noting that he simply can't envision it realistically happening.
  • Also of note from Iott is that the Tigers are fully committed to using Drew Smyly as a starter. Iott writes that the club won't be making any last-minute additions of a veteran starter and expect the left-handed Smyly to be in their rotation for a long time.
  • Iott also spoke with manager Brad Ausmus about trade acquisition Robbie Ray. Detroit's new skipper told him that Ray, acquired from the Nationals in the Doug Fister trade, has a deceptive delivery that allows his fastball to play up a couple of miles per hour. Ausmus anticipates Ray getting a lot of foul balls on fastballs up in the zone, believing that hitters will have a tough time keeping up with the pitch.
  • The Tigers announced that non-roster invitee Eduardo Sanchez suffered an olecranon stress fracture of his right elbow and will miss an extended period of time. The former Cardinals setup man inked a minor league deal with Detroit in January and was vying for a spot in their bullpen.
  • Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes that the Indians know Trevor Bauer probably isn't ready for the Majors, which is what prompted their late signing of Aaron Harang to serve as depth. Bauer has altered his delivery somewhat and got mixed results in yesterday's game against the Reds.

37 Responses to AL Central Notes: Royals, Hughes, Tigers, Bauer Leave a Reply

  1. MaineSkin 1 year ago

    Bauer’s delivery is completely different and only timing is off due to 1) it’s spring training and 2) it’s a new delivery. He’s never been hit when throwing strikes and stuff backs up K%. A 1/3 year in AAA to get his timing down for the new delivery and everyone will understand why CLE allowed Ubaldo to walk, but did not backfill.

    • Seamaholic 1 year ago

      I admire your optimism. But examples of pitchers who completely change their delivery after having already made it to MLB, and being successful, are a bit hard to come across. If there are any.

      • MaineSkin 1 year ago

        You are right. My glass is more than 1/2 way filled, but that’s also bc his floor imo is a dominate closer and/or the new era 2IP closer as Chapman will try to invent this year.

      • johnsilver 1 year ago

        Andrew Miller being 1.

      • johnnynewguy 1 year ago

        The only guy I can think of is John Smoltz. He went from an overarm to a 3/4 delivery. But he was also doing that as a reliever and not as a starter.

      • RaysfaninMN 1 year ago

        Roy Halladay

    • gson 1 year ago

      The delivery was fluid and looked effortless. He was pumping FB’s over at 94 +, touching 97.. This was an excellent first outing of the spring. He should progress from here going forward. He has one helluvan arm..

  2. WhoKilledTheRallyMonkey 1 year ago

    I can figure out why the Tigers traded Fister is they didn’t need the money to lock up Scherzer. That trade just gets wackier and wackier.

    • bobbleheadguru 1 year ago

      Three league minimum guys for 16 collective years of service v. Fister’s 2 years of service. They will easily save over $50MM (v. equivalent free agents) if all three are just OK players in the major leagues. Remember that the Fielder deal cost them $30MM in payments to the Rangers.

      Each league minimum guy can be paired with a $15MM guy. 3 under $1MM/season paired with 3 $15MM/season, gives the Tigers 6 guys (1/4 of their roster) with a very reasonable average salary of under $8MM.

      Near league minimum guys like Ray, Lombardozzi and Krol who are good enough to make the team and contribute, are very rare.

      • WhoKilledTheRallyMonkey 1 year ago

        It is high highly unlikely that Ray, Lombardozzi and Krol all become major league regulars on a contending team. Lombardozzi has already proved he’s nothing more than a utility IF, Krol is a relief pitcher so even if he the best in the world hes not saving you 15 MM a year, so that leave Robbie Ray as the one potential MLB regular and scouts are not high on him.

        • bobbleheadguru 1 year ago

          Krol replaces Fister on the roster: That is about a $17MM savings on the roster for the next two years.

          After that, Krol will replace a middle reliever for another 2 years, saving another $10MM.

          Lombardozzi > Santiago… Santiago cost the Tigers $3MM last year. An equivalent free agent would cost more like $4MM in next 3 years. ~3.5MM saved/year * 3 Years = ~$10MM.

          Ray will be a #4 pitcher (realistically). He will replace Porcello. $10MM saved per year * 4 years = $40MM

          $17 + 10 + 10 + 40 = $77MM.

          You could argue that maybe they do not all pan out for all those years. I could provide a counter argument that Fister does not pan out over the next two years and it is better to spread risk over three players.

      • stl_cards16 1 year ago

        That’s a pretty poor way to look at it. There’s more value in getting production out of 1 roster spot than getting the same production out of three.

        • bobbleheadguru 1 year ago

          Well… that is exactly what the Red Sox did last year. They had ZERO $20MM/year players and won the world series against…. trying to remember who they beat??

          The Red Sox had a roster full of moderate paid stars coupled with some young low cost players.

          Tigers approach is different in that they already have Cabrera and Verlander. Do the Tigers need THREE $20MM/year players when the Red Sox won with none?

          More than most any other “non big market” team, they need near league minimum guys who are good enough to make the roster, but not good enough to be paid more than $1MM. It will allow them to keep their window open for several more years and keep Cabrera and Verlander.

        • bobbleheadguru 1 year ago

          Tigers have 2 $20MM/year players and another guy in the high teens (Sanchez). Do they need THREE?

          Red Sox just won the World Series with ZERO $20MM players.

          If they want to keep Verlander and Cabrera until they retire, they have to make moves like this, regardless of what they do with Scherzer.

        • tune-in for baseball 1 year ago

          Sorry, but I don’t see where there is any mention of “production”,just $$$$. Are you saying Fister is,or will be, more productive in the 2 years of control Washington will have him that all three put together for the 4-6 years each that Detroit will have?

          • bobbleheadguru 1 year ago

            Tune in:

            Very good points.

            As Tampa and Oakland know, it is possible to have both cheap and productive players at the bottom of the roster worth a lot more than their salary.

            Look at this this way…
            Tigers are trying to “moneyball” 20 players on their roster, and then act like a big market team with the remaining 5 (Right now those 5 are: Cabrera, Sanchez, Verlander, Hunter, VMART).

            Fister was in between.

          • Spit Ball 1 year ago

            Kinsler as well.

          • stl_cards16 1 year ago

            If championships were handed out for most WAR over 6 year spans, the trade might make sense for the Tigers. They don’t. One 4 WAR season is worth far more that four 1 WAR season.

          • tune-in for baseball 1 year ago

            Yes, but you can’t afford to have 25 4WAR players on you roster. You need to have cost controlled players to be able to afford the few 5+ WAR players you can sign. Unlike your Cards, the Tigers don’t have the Farm System right now to cultivate these cost controlled guys, so we need to trade value.

          • stl_cards16 1 year ago

            If championships were handed out for most WAR over 6 year spans, the trade might make sense for the Tigers. They don’t. One 4 WAR season is worth far more that four 1 WAR season.

        • Sky14 1 year ago

          Not to mention that all three might not even be as productive as Fister. The bar is set pretty low if three cheap warm bodies is desired for a top 30 starter.

          • bobbleheadguru 1 year ago


            Being as productive as Fister is not the point. Allowing the Tigers to sign 2-3 mid-level free agents (each paid about ~$15MM/yr) because of the deal and extending their “playoff window” is…

            I would challenge you to find three trade-able players on one team that:

            1. Are good enough to make the Tigers roster AND be contributors for 4+ years (much more than just “warm bodies”).

            2. Are cheap enough to have a salary under $1MM/year for 4+ years.

            It is a lot harder than you might think.

      • tune-in for baseball 1 year ago

        Now if you look at it from a position by position comparison you get Fister making $7mill in ’14 plus a projection of at least $8-10mill in’15. In free agency he should get at least a 4/$60mill deal in 2016 dollars. His replacement in the rotation, from a $$$ standpoint,is Smyly who is controlled until 2019. He will make maybe $7-15 mill total between now and then. Thats $75mill vs. $10-15 mill just for the starting pitcher position. Now relief pitcher Krol and utility man Lombardozzi are both controlled for the next 4-6 years for at least $1-2 mill less per year than who they will replace. That’s another $5-10 Mill saved in future payroll.

  3. Maxxx Depth 1 year ago

    when i see him, i can’t help but think of Henry from Rookie Of The Year.

  4. bobbleheadguru 1 year ago

    There is little value in signing Scherzer right now.

    If he is great this year, he will expect Kershaw money next year… which is not much more than he expects this year… AND he will give the Tigers $30MM of value for only $15MM in 2014. Tigers can get value in 2014, a good draft pick and $25MM/year to spend on 2 players (see the Red Sox model for building up via middle tier players).

    If he is not great, then his price will go down.

    Either way, it seems likely that he will offer the Tigers somewhat of a “courtesy match” opportunity in free agency.

    • WhoKilledTheRallyMonkey 1 year ago

      Even if Scherzer duplicates his 2013 season hes not getting Kershaw money. Kershaw is 3 year younger, has a more consistent track record and is significantly better.

      • bobbleheadguru 1 year ago

        Kershaw was also NOT a free agent.

        Two Cy Young years in a row will get Scherzer a AAV number that matches Kershaw (maybe fewer years). He is already likely asking for 90% of that number now… which is why it makes perfect sense that the Tigers are waiting.

        • WhoKilledTheRallyMonkey 1 year ago

          Kershaw also signed with the DODGERS. Im sure Scherzer will ask for Kershaw type money but that doesn’t mean he will get it. Feliz/Verlander AAV is possible with another cy young caliber season but I’d still say Kershaw’s AAV is out of reach.

  5. Ron Loreski 1 year ago

    I’ll be shocked if Bauer is ever a successful major league pitcher.

  6. Sufferfortribe 1 year ago

    What Bauer needs to do is QUIT WALKING BATTERS. The guy has great stuff, but has a hard time staying consistent. Now, Harang looked real good. Nice to have options like him and Tomlin. Go Tribe!!

    • Jake13 1 year ago

      Asking a guy to quit walking batters is ridiculous, it is very rare that a guy suddenly gets great control.

      • Sufferfortribe 1 year ago

        I wasn’t asking him to quit walking batters—I was TELLING him! 😉

  7. johnsilver 1 year ago

    Odd makers aren’t high on KC. Here is one listing from ESPN Boston they posted today. They are shown as middle of the pack in wins:

    15. Royals: 81.5

    14. Pirates: 83.5

    13. Reds: 84.5

    12. Giants: 86.5

    11. Angels: 86.5

    Top teams may be surprising also:

    5. Rays: 88.5

    4. A’s: 88.5

    3. Tigers: 89.5

    2. Cardinals: 90.5

    1. Dodgers: 92.5

    • Tigers72 1 year ago

      Those are all a little low.

      • johnsilver 1 year ago

        They were interesting were they not? LAD, top winning team with just 92.5 wins.

        Story was a good read. I can understand LA winning a bunch of games with little competition in the NL West and understand where you are coming from as a Tigers fan and that front 4 rotation.

        Yankees were listed 10th, with 86.5W and Boston not much higher at 7th and 87.5W.

        Maybe MLBTR will post a story here as to how oddsmakers look at the upcoming season pretty soon.

    • Tigers72 1 year ago

      Those are all a little low.

    • Red_Line_9 1 year ago

      Odds makers trying to create action on either side. Interesting…. showing a major Angels rebound.

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