David Riske Rumors
There's seemingly some sentiment that the Royals don't want to break up their bullpen by trading anyone. I think that's kind of silly, given the volatility of relievers and the Royals' chances at contending in 2008. Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star names four relievers on which Dayton Moore is getting phone calls:
Octavio Dotel - Dotel was a $5MM gamble, and he's been decent so far. He can earn another few hundred thousand in incentives and also has a $5.5MM player option for '08. If he exercises that, the team can still void it. After a late start he's got eight saves, a 3.50 ERA, and an 11.0 K/9. However, he's hit a bit of a rough stretch recently. I don't see him fetching much in the way of compensatory draft picks if he changes teams via free agency this winter, so trading him is a good idea. The Indians and Rockies have interest, and don't forget that the Red Sox made him an offer in December.
David Riske - The Royals also tossed $2.25MM at Riske for '07 and added a $2.85MM club option for '08. Riske has his strikeout rate up somewhat but his 2.21 ERA doesn't match up with the amount of baserunners allowed. If I was running the team I'd trade both he and Dotel and pat myself on the back for signing them in the first place. However I'm guessing the Royals will want to keep one of these guys.
Jimmy Gobble - Gobble is more than just a hilarious name; he owns a nifty 2.70 ERA. He's walking a tightrope though, allowing 1.67 baserunners per inning. He'd make a decent lefty specialist and there's no reason the Royals need to be paying him a million bucks next year. Gobble is quite far from free agency but will get a raise in arbitration.
Zack Greinke - Despite a 3.57 ERA and 9.9 K/9 in relief, you get the feeling Greinke will end up a successful starter one day. He's easily the most coveted of the four mentioned here, as he's 23 and quite talented. The Royals may try him as their closer this year if they hang on to him; he's got the stuff for it. Greinke seems past last year's anxiety issues thankfully. I'm not sure what the Royals could get in return for him that would be better than just keeping and developing him.
The Royals just added to their pen actually, picking up righty Roman Colon from Detroit for a player to be named later. Despite a clubhouse scuffle that earned him a felonious assault charge, Moore said today that he'd trust Colon in his house with his family. He goes way back with Colon as both worked for the Braves.
Springer turned 38 recently, while Riske turned 30. Springer has been tough to hit in recent seasons out of the Astro pen, but has been prone to the gopher ball. Riske's always been very difficult to hit, despite a significant strikeout rate decline starting in 2005.
It seems likely that if one of these relievers is signed, he would become Tampa Bay's new closer. Fantasy leaguers, take note.
Topkin also mentions that Rocco Baldelli is drawing interest from the Braves, Orioles, White Sox, and Tigers, but no deal is close.