Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Royals remain active

Just a few quick notes for you all in case you missed it.

Tyler Lumsden, the prized left hander in the Mike MacDougal trade with the White Sox, has been traded to the Houston Astros for a player to be named later. Lumsden, 25, injured his elbow shortly after arriving in the organization and hasn't been the same pitcher since. Kansas City recently designated him for assignment which meant they had to trade or release him within 10 days. The Astros are hoping a change of scenery will help get him back on track.

The team also signed former Braves prospect (is this a shock?) Luis Hernandez, a shortstop. I'm a little surprised this guy is still around in the minors. He can't hit a lick, which isn't the problem. He also hasn't had the greatest defensive stats in the world either. This is likely a move to fill space at either AA Northwest Arkansas or AAA Omaha.

MLB.com is reporting that Mark Teahen could be headed to the Cubbies for Mike Fontenot (as I reported earlier) AND 6-foot-7 LHP Sean Marshall. If Marshall, or Rich Hill, for that matter, are included with Fontenot in this deal then I say it's a good move by the Royals. Otherwise, I wouldn't swap Teahen straight up for either player. This could turn out to be a good move for Kansas City, assuming it comes to fruition.

I'll keep you updated as well as I can as things evolve these next few weeks.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Teahen may be a fit with Rangers

With free agency off-and-running the air has only gotten cloudier surrounding Royals outfielder Mark Teahen. Already believed to be on the trading block, Teahen has become all the more pinched roaming left field at Kauffman since the team traded for Red Sox center fielder Coco Crisp this week.

Teahen, who is all the likelier to get shipped out since the aquisition may be more valuable to teams who are seeking an experienced third baseman. One team certainly in need of help at the hot corner is the Texas Rangers.

They seem like the perfect trade partners having a somewhat deep minor league system (especially at AA). The Rangers, as everyone knows by now, are about as stacked at catcher as the Royals are at first base. Incumbent third baseman Hank Blalock - who was recently retained when the team picked up his $6MM option is no longer in shape to play third base. He's had arm troubles that have hampered his throwing for the past two-plus seasons and he is no longer viewed as having the arm strength to make the necessary throws from the position.

Teahen would make a perfect fit for the Rangers at third with Blalock moving into the DH spot this season. Also, he would be a cheap option for the Rangers, though money doesn't seem to be a great issue for them at this time. Any trade, or signing, of a third baseman would allow the Rangers to squash rumors that gold glover Michael Young will have to move to third. Of course, some fans support the idea of Young playing third and rookie Elvis Andrus at short. That isn't likely to happen though. Andrus needs more time to develop in the minors.

All of this is pure speculation, but with Teahen appearing to be a popular topic of discussion between teams this offseason don't be surprised if you start hearing his name tossed about in Arlington.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A great move

Wow! Let me start off by saying this is one trade I did not see coming. Let me add that there IS another one coming VERY SOON involving Mark Teahen.

This morning the Royals and Red Sox finalized a deal to send Ramon Ramirez to BeanTown for speedy outfielder Coco Crisp. The last time we heard about the Royals trading for a speedy outfielder it was J.P. Howell for Joey Gathright, but fear not on this one. Crisp can hit.

After several years in the AL Central with Cleveland, Crisp went over to Boston and has turned in some pretty good numbers over there. There are lots of reasons to like this trade. Yes, we did give up a pretty darned good right handed reliever but Moore - as we all should know by know - has made a promise not to fall in love with relief pitchers.

Crisp is an accomplished base stealer with a career batting average of .280. Also, for a little guy he's got some pop in his bat. To be honest, this guy is much of the same player David DeJesus is only, like I mentioned, he steals bases. We all know how much we love DeJesus when he's hitting, but hate him when he's still standing at first in an obvious stealing situation. To be quite honest, Crisp is going to help this team in a big way.

Obviously, there wasn't room for Crisp in Boston anymore with Jacoby Ellsbury taking over in center. It's not as if other teams around the league didn't want Crisp either. In fact, he was a pretty hot commodity for several teams since Terry Francona designated him to ride the pine. Remember, the Royals gave up a pretty good pitcher in return. There's a reason they did so.

Crisp covers more ground than DeJesus, so he will immediately be penciled in as the everyday starting center fielder. DeJesus is expected to move to left and, yep, Teahen is surely packing his bags as we speak.

This move also shows me that Dayton Moore has a great deal of confidence in pitching coach Bob McClure. This offseason alone the team has traded relievers Leo Nunez and Ramon Ramirez - two of the key figures in the 'pen last season. In years past Moore has dealt Jeremy Affeldt, Mike MacDougal, Andrew Sisco and a score of other relievers. More knows Mac has the knack (rhyme not intended) to place guys where they need to be in the 'pen and help them become successful.

The fact is Moore is building the future of this organization through addition and subtraction in the bullpen. It's certainly not a traditional approach to molding an organization, but the guy is thinking outside the box. I like what he's doing here. So far it's working.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Teahen likely will be traded

Apparently, the Royals are still having plenty of discussions with teams about moving Mark Teahen. Many scouts feel Teahen still has the ability to be an offensive threat, and obviously many teams around the league feel the same way.

The newest team in the mix is the Chicago Cubs. Actually, the two teams have been in discussions for a few weeks (sorry, I know, I'm slacking some) but it is just now getting serious as Ryan Dempster has agreed to terms with the Cubbies on a four year deal. Now that they have locked up Dempster, the Cubs are no longer expected to seriously pursue Jake Peavy.

The deal could hinge around the willingness of the Cubs to part with either Felix Pie or Rich Hill. Pie, a highly regarded outfield prospect, hasn't really hit in his limited time in the major leagues though he should hit with more at-bats. Hill was expected to be one of the anchors of the Chicago rotation last season, but he hit a wall for some reason and spent a great portion of the season at Triple-A Iowa.

With that in mind, they instead are turning their attention to the lefty bat they are seeking in the outfield to replace Kosuke Fukodome - who was abysmal last season at the plate. It's obvious Teahen is the primary trade chip in Dayton Moore's jar. It's beginning to look very doubtful he will be back with the team next season, though not impossible.

The Royals could also change their stance on keeping David DeJesus and deal him to a team like the Cubs. It is more likely that he will not be moved. Teahen would fit in very nicely with the Cubs, though it is not known what they are offering in return.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

In this, the year of the lopsided trade, GMDM...go make something happen

So, um...WHAT IN THE NAME OF CALIFORNIA WATER ARE THE GM's IN BASEBALL THINKING!!! Since returning from their mini meetings in Cali there have been some really lopsided, and potentially outlandish, trades in the MLB the past couple of days.

I get a call from a good buddy of mine yesterday. Here's a little exerpt of how our conversation started:

Him: "Did you see the trade?"

Me: "Huh? Uuuuhhhh. Nope, I've been running my legs off and haven't heard anything."

Him: **"It's a good move for one team. The other, I was a little bit shocked."

**Right there you have it. I was shocked. My reaction was idiotic. From his statement I should have been warned of what I was about to hear.

Then, last night I get another call.

Him: "Did you see the trade?"

Me: "Huh? Uuuuhhhh. Nope, I've been running my legs off and haven't heard anything."

Him: "It's a good move.....***

***You see where this is going.

From the time I heard that the Rockies were about to send Matt Holliday to the Oakland Athletics for Greg Smith, Carlos Gonzalez, Ryan Sweeney and another prospect, I immediately said Billy Beane is an idiot. Then, when my friend called again this morning and said the deal is Smith, Gonzalez and HUSTON STREET, I totally went off the deep end. I will explain further down in the column.

Then, last night I got the news that the Marlins, who posted a yard sale sign just outside of Dolphin Stadium, made another head scratching move. Apparently, with his job on the line, D.C.'s Jim Bowden came calling and pulled off one of the most lopsided deals since Jermaine Dye for Neifi Perez; sending light hitting (2B) Emilio Bonifacio, soft throwing (RHP) P.J. Dean and (SS) Jake Smolinski (who is two weeks removed from major knee surgery to repair torn ACL and MCL ligaments) to the fish for Josh Willingham and Scott Olsen.

"HOLY CRAP!," I said in oblivion to my idiocy. "What on God's earth is going on???"

From Billy Beane's perspective, I know why he did this deal. The A's are getting a brand new stadium, and, after their punchless offense kept them from going to the playoffs last year, Beane knows his team needs a hitter with some sock. There are plenty of bills to pay, so they have to fill seats next season. Plus, Street hasn't been as dominant as he once was. So they get Holliday, one of the most sought after hitters on everyone's Christmas list. All is good, right?

If your an A's fan the answer is a great big Miguel Olivo HELL NO! Holliday, who is represented by Scott Boras, is going to command BIG BUCK$$$$ as a free agent after the 2009 season. Beane, who tends to refrain from over spending on players, will shock me if he signs Holliday long term. Therefore, your looking at a trade for a rental player: I would expect them to trade Holliday mid-way through the year.

So, after trading away a solid starting pitcher and setup man/closer are the A's expected to contend this year? No. What if Holliday gets hurt leading up to the trade deadline? Will Beane be able to get in return what he gave up to get him? Maybe not.

Had it been the Diamondbacks, Yankees, Dodgers, Angels, etc. that made this deal it would be a smart move. Those are organizations with big enough budgets to support an addition like Holliday and are annualy expected to be in the playoffs. Hell, if it was 1989 this would be a great deal for the A's. Not in 2009.

The Rockies and Nationals just got much better. The A's and Marlins need to call Kauffman Stadium and ask to speak to the front office. I hear K.C. has a box of Scrubbing Bubbles, a pack of dried bologna and one of those yellow Wal-Mart smiley face stickers that they would be willing to package for Mark Ellis or Dan Uggla.

Trust me. The *Scrubbing Bubbles is a brand new box and that crap works excellent.

*Now that I think of it, doesn't "Scrubbing Bubbles" sound like the title of a low budget porno?

As for the Nationals, Jim Bowden may have just saved his job with this trade. As for the Marlins, you get three what-if's that Bowden drafted. Wasn't there some sort of alarm on the telephone screaming, "Warning! Warning!: I wouldn't answer that if I were you," when Bowden's number showed up on the caller ID?

I completely understand why so many teams are looking to wheel and deal this offseason. There is little out there on the free agent market that is worth the millions of headaches you would spend to employ them. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if this winter produced the most trades in MLB history. Then again, I wouldn't be a bit surprised if it doesn't produce many more than what we've already seen.

More and more teams seem to be getting away from the Free Agent Frenzy that happens every offseason and are instead focusing on growing their own talent and adding pieces through trades. This is what Kansas City has decided to do and, like it or not, has already managed to bag a slugger for very little in return from that garage sale I mentioned in Miami.

Meanwhile, Mike Sweeney needs a job.

So, I guess, instead of stupid, overpriced, messed up free agent signings this year I guess we'll start seeing stupid, overpriced, messed up trades. Isn't this a wonderful world we live in?