Alberto Callaspo Rumors
Royals GM Dayton Moore told Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star that the club has some "nice pieces" to market this summer. The 27-37 Royals have a number of players who might appeal to contenders and Moore is ready to listen, even though the Royals aren't actively looking to move players at this point.
"We'll evaluate what comes our way if anything does come our way," he said.
It wouldn't be surprising to see an offer or two for David DeJesus come the Royals' way. Dutton reports that clubs are already scouting the outfielder, who is hitting .314/.392/.479. DeJesus makes an affordable $4.7MM salary this year and there's a club option for $6MM in 2011 ($500K buyout).
If the Royals hold onto DeJesus, they could decline his option and offer him arbitration. If he turns down their offer to sign elsewhere, they would obtain at least one draft pick, possibly two. The promise of draft picks makes the Royals hesitant to deal him for a pedestrian return, but there are advantages to dealing now. DeJesus must climb into Type A territory under the Elias rankings system and decline arbitration for them to get two picks. Even if they get the picks, they would have to wait a year and pay each draftee about $1MM.
Let's face it: if the Royals aren't going to give Alex Gordon a chance to play regularly when they are 11-21, 10 games out of first, and weeks shy of Memorial Day, he has fallen out of favor with the club. After just 38 plate appearances, the Royals sent Gordon - the player they once selected him second overall - to Triple-A to make way for... Alberto Callaspo.
But Gordon, still just 26, is a career .320/.433/.577 hitter in the minor leagues. Clearly, some team should take a flier on Gordon as a possible long-term answer at third base. Which teams are best suited to do so, and how much is it likely to cost?
- The Phillies seem like an interesting landing spot for Gordon, though not at first blush. Placido Polanco, after all, is signed through 2012. But Gordon could be an upgrade from Greg Dobbs at the very least. If Gordon fulfills his promise, the Phils could attempt to deal Polanco. More to the point, Gordon seems to fit the Phillies' template- his acquisition would be akin to the buy-low on Jayson Werth- and Philadelphia has depth in the farm system. A couple of their secondary pitching prospects could get it done.
- The Orioles have a combined zero homers from Rhyne Hughes and Garrett Atkins, so Gordon could appeal to them as an option at first. Corner infield prospects Brandon Snyder and Josh Bell lurk in the minors, but with Miguel Tejada locked up for just one year, Gordon would provide the O's with depth and upside.
- The Athletics don't have a ton in the way of a present or future player blocking Gordon. Kevin Kouzmanoff is a decent option, but he hardly has Gordon's upside at this point. With a number of nearly-ready pitching prospects to integrate into a young staff, the Athletics could well deal from pitching depth for Gordon, too.
- The Padres are another possible landing spot, with Chase Headley unlikely to keep up his batting average-fueled start. San Diego has several third base prospects, including James Darnell, who Baseball America ranked as the organization's third-best prospect heading into the season. Still, none of the Padres prospects have even proven themselves at Double-A, so acquiring Gordon and giving him the chance to win the third base job wouldn't impact any of them in the short-term. It would also echo the acquisition of another buy-low, former top draft pick: Adrian Gonzalez. A package of one of the Padres' third base prospects and a pitcher should be enough to pry Gordon loose.
Following a promising 2008 campaign in which he hit .325/.354/.480 and finished fourth in Rookie of the Year voting, Mike Aviles underwent Tommy John surgery last year. Now that he's playing again and working his way toward full health, a note in ESPN.com's Rumor Central (Insider only) speculates that he could become trade bait for Kansas City.
The Royals' incumbent starter at shortstop, a position where Aviles posted a +31.6 UZR/150 in 2008, is Yuniesky Betancourt. Aviles offers more upside than Betancourt, who displayed little value with the bat (.245/.274/.351) or the glove (-23.9 UZR/150) last season. However, Aviles' recovery from arm surgery has necessitated at least a temporary move to second base, where he'll compete for playing time with Alberto Callaspo and Chris Getz.
Presumably, the Royals are hoping Aviles builds up the arm strength needed for throwing across the diamond, taking away some of Betancourt's playing time at shortstop. Even so, the Royals may end up having more middle infield depth than they need, and GM Dayton Moore could consider moving Aviles or perhaps Callaspo, who was the subject of trade rumors earlier in the winter.
Are there any teams you see as a possible match for Kansas City? If you're a Royals fan, how would you like to see the club handle their potential middle infield surplus?
On Christmas Day way back in 2001, Hideki Matsui became the highest paid player in Japanese baseball history, agreeing to a one-year contract worth $4.7MM with the Yomiuri Giants. In his seven-year (and counting) Major League Baseball career, Matsui has never earned less than $6MM annually.
Let's see what's being written around the blogosphere...
- River Ave. Blues takes a look at the economic impact of Matsui leaving the World Champs for the Angels.
- U.S.S. Mariner runs down some potential first base options for the Mariners, covering players available through trades, free agency, and those already in-house.
- It's About The Money, Stupid! compares Nick Johnson and Curtis Granderson to the two guys they're replacing, Johnny Damon and Matsui.
- South Side Sox provides some thoughts on Kenny Williams' busy offseason.
- Royals Authority says Kansas City needs an outfielder, and proposes a few deals centered around Alberto Callaspo.
- Viva El Birdos has some concerns about signing Matt Holliday to a long-term contract.
THURSDAY, 3:17pm: Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports says the Royals are making progress on a two-year deal with Kendall, perhaps worth more than $4MM.
WEDNESDAY, 4:20pm: Another catcher gets a two-year offer - Kendall - courtesy of the Royals (Dutton reporting).
TUESDAY, 7:31pm: The Royals don't appear likely to spend more than about $2MM on a catcher, according to Dutton. GM Dayton Moore says the Royals would consider a multi-year deal under the right circumstances.
10:39am: Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star tweets that the Royals will "look at" Jose Molina as a possible starting option.
8:09am: Kendall is said to be "focusing on a possible contract with Kansas City," writes Tracy Ringolsby of FOX Sports. Kendall likes the opportunity but they have to find a middle ground on the money.
3:41am: The Kansas City Star's Bob Dutton reports that the Royals are shifting their focus to veterans Jason Kendall and Rod Barajas to fill their catching needs. The Royals, previously reported to have interest in Ivan Rodriguez, stood by and watched as Pudge inked a two-year deal with Washington.
Having found few appealing scenarios through the trade market, the Royals will now look to Kendall and Barajas. Kendall, 35, posted a line of .241/.331/.305 while earning $5MM. Barajas, 34, hit .226/.258/.403 while earning $2.5MM.
The Royals don't have the dollars to match Kendall's 2009 salary, but it's hard to imagine anyone giving him $5MM anyway. The Royals could offer Barajas a similar salary, and as Dutton points out, both players could be attracted to Kansas City because of an increased opportunity for playing time.
Which option would you prefer for your club?
Other quick hits from the article:
- Clubs are asking about Gil Meche, but Dayton Moore isn't inclined to move him unless he receives a strong offer.
- Chris Getz is the favorite over Alberto Callaspo as the starting second baseman due to defensive reasons. Callaspo is still being dangled as a trade chip.
- Just 17 days after removing him from their 40-man roster, the Royals grabbed Julio Pimentel on a minor-league deal.
On this date two years ago, the Tigers acquired Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis for six players including Cameron Maybin and Andrew Miller. Only one of the other four players, Burke Badenhop has yet to see significant playing time at the big league level. With this year's winter meetings set to begin next week more big players could be on the move. Let's take a look at what is being written in the Blogosphere...
- Jorge Says No! wonders if the smart move for Adrian Belte is to accept arbitration from the Mariners now that the Phillies no longer need a third baseman.
- Around the Majors explains why the Dodgers made a mistake in not offering arbitration to Randy Wolf.
- The Baseball Opinion looks back at how each team did with their '04 free agency compensation draft picks.
- Royals Authority makes a case for trading Alberto Callaspo.
- River Ave Blues wonders who could play left field for the Yankees if they don't land Johnny Damon, Matt Holliday or Mike Cameron.
- UmpBump looks at what the Astros need this off-season.
- MLB Notebook believes Justin Duchscherer would be a good fit for the Pirates.
- Bucco Fans previews the right-handed pitchers in the upcoming Rule 5 draft with Aneury Rodriguez of the Rays listed as one of the top options overall.
- DRaysBay looks at some relief pitchers that are available in the Rule 5 draft.
- We Should Be GMs examines the free agent market for relief pitchers and who might be a good fit for the Phillies.
- The Pinstriper looks back at what might have happened had the Yankees not re-signed Alex Rodriguez in '07.
WEDNESDAY, 2:46pm: Royals GM Dayton Moore told Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star that the Royals aren't actively pushing any of their players, but they're open-minded with all of them. It seems like Moore will at least listen on Callaspo.
TUESDAY, 10:15pm: The A's and Royals held talks for infielder Alberto Callaspo at the GM Meetings, according to Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. The A's would've used Callaspo at third base, but "talks failed to progress."
The takeaway is that the Royals appear willing to discuss Callaspo now that they've acquired Chris Getz from the White Sox. Callaspo, 27 in April, hit .300/.356/.457 in 634 plate appearances this year while playing second and third base. His second base defense graded below average using UZR/150, but it's only a 1240-inning sample from 2009. Callaspo is a valuable player, and he's not even arbitration-eligible yet. He's under team control through 2013. Getz appears to be the inferior player, so maybe the Royals should hang on to Callaspo.
A few Thursday evening links to browse through....
- MLB.com's Brian McTaggart reports that the Houston Astros will decrease their spending in 2010, after the team's payroll exceeded $100MM the first time in 2009.
- Filing for free agency may have just been a formality for Jason Schmidt, according to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com. The 36-year-old righty looks headed for retirement.
- Dick Kaegel of MLB.com hasn't heard anything that substantiates rumors of an Alberto Callaspo-A.J. Ellis swap between the Royals and Dodgers.
- Evan Brunell of The Hardball Times is "horrified" that the Phillies are considering Placido Polanco for their third base opening.
- Jenifer Langosch at MLB.com fields Pirates-related questions from readers. Most of them react to Pittsburgh's recent acquisition of Akinori Iwamura.
Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star dishes on the Royals...
- Dayton Moore...step away from the free agent market. The Royals are moving toward trades, with an eye on the long-term. Owner David Glass says the plan is to "turn over some of the club." Moore already made a nice move in flipping Mark Teahen for Josh Fields and Chris Getz.
- Dutton again mentions the talks between the Dodgers and Royals on a possible A.J. Ellis for Alberto Callaspo deal. Ellis, 29 in April, posted OBPs over .436 in Triple A for 2008-09.
- The Royals are probably stuck with Jose Guillen, but David DeJesus and Gil Meche could be trade chips. Dutton says the Royals prefer to keep Meche though.
- Dutton says the Royals are more likely to trade for a center fielder than to re-sign Coco Crisp.
- Via Twitter, Dutton says lefty Lenny DiNardo and reliever Yasuhiko Yabuta elected free agency.
After declining their 2010 option for Miguel Olivo, the Royals are searching for a catcher according to Bob Dutton of The KC Star. Dutton mentions that it would be best for the team to fill their hole behind the plate prior to December 12th, allowing them to non-tender the incumbent John Buck.
“We led all of baseball (last season) in passed balls and wild pitches,” general manager Dayton Moore said. “That will be fixed in 2010. Our defense in general is our main objective to fix before next season.
“And it starts behind the plate.”
The team has indicated that they aren't ready to hand the starting job over to Brayan Pena, even though he made "significant defensive strides last season."
Dutton mentions one interesting rumor to watch, a "deal sending second baseman Alberto Callaspo to the Los Angeles Dodgers for catcher A.J. Ellis." Callaspo, who hit .300/.356/.457 in 2009, would help fill the Dodgers' second base vacancy, while the 28-year-old Ellis would give KC a defensive standout behind the plate. Ellis also has a career .398 OBP in the minors, with more walks than strikeouts in nearly 1,800 plate appearances.
Even though there are plenty of catching options in free agency, Moore acknowledged that his team prefers to improve their club through trades.
“Our free-agent pursuit will not be as aggressive as in the past,” he said. “We’re going to focus on trades first. We’re going to exhaust every opportunity to make trades.
“In the previous two offseasons, we’ve been more likely to pop a free agent or two early on. I look for us to exhaust every possible trade scenario this offseason before we enter into the free-agent market.”
Tim previewed the trade market for catchers back in October. See any fits?