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Breaking down the DeJesus trade

Posted By Colby Higgins On Nov 13 2010 @ 12:40 pm In Kansas City Royals | No Comments

On Wednesday, the Kansas City Royals traded outfielder David DeJesus to Oakland for right hander Vin Mazzaro and lefty Justin Marks.  In DeJesus, the Royals lose their most consistent contributor who has been in their lineup since 2004.  In Mazzaro, the Royals gain a 24 year old who is just breaking into the Big Leagues, compiling a 6-8 record this past year with the A’s, including a 4.27 ERA.  In Marks, they get a pitcher just completing his first full professional season, posting a 3-12 record with a 4.92 ERA in low-A before being promoted to Oakland’s high-A affiliate where he went 3-1 with a 4.58 ERA.

There have been a lot of grumblings from the fan base in Kansas City over this trade, with people thinking the Royals are back to their old ways of shipping out their better players just to cut payroll.  Some fans were hoping the Royals would use the $5.5 million saved in this deal to pursue an outfield bat in free agency, and then even more were disappointed when Dayton Moore said publicly that the Royals will not be aggressive in free agency this offseason.  Despite that fact, the Royals trade of DeJesus WAS the right move, and here’s why:

The Royals are not going to win in 2011, period.  Not if they had David DeJesus.  Not if they used the money they saved from the deal to go get a big name bat.  Not if they kept DeJesus AND got a big name free agent.  The 2011 Royals are going to go through more growing pains than what they did this past year in 2010.  To many fans, this feels eerily similar to what they’ve been experiencing the past 15 to 20 years.  However, they should know that this time is different.  The Royals are actually planning for the future this time.  No more Jose Guillen signings, and no more Juan Gonzalez type signings to make fans believe the Royals are going to spend money to win.

The Royals will have the number one ranked farm system according to Baseball America this offseason.  Every team but one since 1992 has made the playoffs within 4 years of achieving that distinction.  Now that doesn’t mean you should expect the Royals to be making their playoff push in 2011, or even 2012.  But that does mean the Royals need to make sure they aren’t spending more money than they need to on players who aren’t going to be around for that playoff push in 3 to 4 years.  And let’s face it, David DeJesus was not going to be around for that.

DeJesus was set to make $6 million this year before becoming eligible for free agency.  To sign David to an extension, it would’ve taken $8-10 million a year.  While he has been consistent offensively and defensively, he doesn’t hit for power, and he doesn’t steal bases.  That’s a lot of money to spend on a guy who isn’t going to be the star on a good team.  The Yankees have that kind of money, but small market teams like the Royals do not, and can not afford to make those kind of mistakes.

The only thing I question with the trade is that the Royals didn’t really let the market develop.  I would have liked to see what would have been offered to them after a couple free agents were signed, most notably Carl Crawford and Jayson Werth.  Who knows what the teams who lost out on either of those two would’ve been willing to part with in order to get a consistent and reliable contributor in the outfield?  Especially when it was rumored the Red Sox were willing to give up Jacoby Ellsbury for DeJesus last year before David injured his thumb.

The move also gives the Royals a young right hander they see a lot of upside in.  With all of the left handed talent in the Royals’ farm system, the Royals will need a righty to break them up.  And the chances of the Royals having Greinke, Davies, Hochevor or O’Sullivan around when those guys come up is looking slimmer and slimmer every day.  If nothing else, the DeJesus deal will free up money the Royals can and hopefully will earmark for use in later years when they need to resign some of these young prospects.  And in the short run, you can guarantee Mazzaro offers a better alternative to Brian Bannister.

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