March 18, 2013
The Hole in the Plan
Royals general manager Dayton Moore spent the first half of the offseason overhauling his rotation—at the cost, in part, of his top prospect, Wil Myers. And although Moore was able to obtain Wade Davis, Ervin Santana, and James Shields, he did little to address the Royals’ offensive concerns, one of which was and is the performance of right fielder Jeff Francoeur.
Were Myers still around, the Royals might have had a ready-made replacement for Francoeur. The 22-year-old could have displaced the veteran with a strong spring, or supplanted him before the All-Star break with an encore at Triple-A Omaha, where he hit .304/.378/.554 in 99 games last year. But Kansas City’s starters ranked 26th in the league with a 5.01 ERA in 2012, and Moore decided that the rotation was a more pressing concern—pressing enough to overlook a short-term need and create a void that he is now scrambling to address.
Royals looking for a platoon partner for Francoeur
With Cain’s fragility in mind, Rosenthal believes that Moore’s preference would be to obtain a lefty outfielder with both the range to handle center and the arm to play right. Brennan Boesch, who was released by the Tigers last week and subsequently signed a one-year, $1.5 million deal with the Yankees, drew interest from the Royals, but met only two-thirds of the job description. With the free-agent market running dry and Opening Day only two weeks away, Moore is “not optimistic” that his search will yield an ideal candidate before the start of the regular season.
On the other hand—even after sending Myers, right-hander Jake Odorizzi, and third baseman Patrick Leonard to the Rays—the Royals have a well-stocked farm system and plenty of controllable bullpen arms, giving Moore an abundance of chips from which to deal. The weight that the eighth-year GM places on filling the position in the next 14 days, and the degree to which he emphasizes his targets’ defensive profiles, will determine the amount of talent that he is willing to dangle and the likelihood that he can meet the deadline.
The list of ideal candidates is short, but (purely speculating) the Cubs’ David DeJesus fits the job description to a tee. DeJesus logged a .293 TAv versus right-handed pitchers last year, nearly matching his .295 career TAv against them, and he can adequately man all three outfield spots. He is entering the last guaranteed year of a two-year, $10 million deal, with a $4.25 million paycheck heading his way in 2013, and another $1.5 million due in a buyout for a $6.5 million club option.