Sunday, January 9, 2011

Royals passing on a Soria deal is a mistake

The Royals according to Bill Madden are refusing to deal Joakim Soria to the Yankees for a package of Jesus Montero and Eduardo Nunez. In my opinion that is just crazy to refuse all offers for a closer who is going to have so little effect on the Royals over the next couple years.

Jesus Montero and his bat are rated as the best overall bat in the minors. His power rates up or above that of Moustakas's while his hit tool and patience rates even or better than that of Myers and Hosmer. Yes his defense is suspect at catcher but he is still only 21 years old and could possibly improve and if it doesn't you still have options to move him to DH or OF if he proves the bat is real.

Soria career high is 2.4 WAR according to Fangraphs while a good hitting no glove catcher/DH by the name of Jorge Posada was worth 2.4 WAR in 120 games last season. Posada is definitely on the back half of his career and those numbers were the second worst of his career in a full season. Soria while great is still a reliever which by definition is a high risk position by definition. The Royals are possibly passing on a 4 or more WAR catcher who they would control for 2 more years for significantly less money for a few extra saves.

Eduardo Nunez isn't exciting as he is pretty much a duplicate to Alcides Escobar but I'm sure the Royals could substitute him for a starting RHP if they so desired. Nunez still would offer a decent security blanket if Escobar can't increase his plate discipline or settle down his concentration lapses in the field. A trade for Nunez would turn the organization once barren with SS talent into a talent rich position with the additions of Escobar and the international kids. Adding another asset offers them the flexibility to turn a SS prospect which is always worth something in the majors.

The Royals should be interested in acquiring assets like the Rays as opposed to saving a couple wins here or there. One of the reasons analyst believe the Royals are going to succeed in the future is because of the depth of the system. KC isn't going to bring up 1 or 2 guys like in the past they have 20-25 really talented players and yes some will fail but some will also become average and a couple should become superstars. That being said they shouldn't stop adding assets and allowing themselves flexibility. Picking up Montero allows them the ability to trade others. The 2 or 3 extra wins Soria will save them this season could also cost them two or more draft slots like it did this season.

Depth in the bullpen could be one reason Dayton Moore wants to pass on this deal but the Royals should have a solid pen for a number of years. Robinson Tejeda has put up back to back solid seasons. Blake Wood is learning to throw out of the pen and pitchers are on the way. Louis Coleman, Patrick Keating, Tim Collins, Kevin Chapman, Jeremy Jeffress, Henry Barrera are just some of the plethera of bullpen arms on the way to KC. Some will fail but a starter or two could also add to that bullpen depth. This is not a reason to pass on this trade.

The kid can't defend but he sure can hit. Who am I talking about? Billy Butler of course, why do I talk of Billy Butler? Well my favorite Royal is due a hefty raise and while the Royals have tons and tons of financial flexibility the next couple years Butler as a DH is not a cornerstone type. Montero is ready now and if he proves he can hit on Butler's level the next couple years then the Royals have a tradeable asset in Billy if Hosmer also proves to be major league ready. Montero could slide into that DH spot while the Royals could trade a hopefully better hitting Butler for another asset or two or four.

This move more than the Greinke trade could be a huge game changer. As the Greinke rumors came out the Royals due to Greinke's no trade clause and Dayton's apparent need of middle of the field talent limited the top end of any deal they could have received. This deal however even with the limited number of players involved can have a ripple effect on the organization that even a great closer like Soria can't duplicate for KC.


  1. The Royals are in a good position right now and whichever route they take won't be a negative choice. But if a guy like Jeffress can prove that he can be a viable replacement as a closer, then the Royals could make the deal at the deadline. Then the next deadline or during the offseason if the team is convinced that Hosmer is ready you can move Butler. Ultimately this is how the Royals can expand their window and be competitive for a long time.

    They have to properly evaluate which guys to keep and which to trade and they have to bring back pieces that can contribute.


  2. Very well said my fear however is that once the season starts Montero will play his way into a untradeable piece. Montero hit .351/.396/.684 with 14 HR post All Star game.

  3. I think the problem is the Royals don't see Montero as a catcher and don't need another 1B/DH type but boy what a trio Moose,Hosmer and Montero would make.

  4. Ray,

    You are probably right and I addressed that above. It appears that many don't believe Montero can be a catcher but that shouldn't prevent KC from making a move. One thing I didn't point out above is that Montero or Butler could be a piece that perhaps you can package with others to land Justin Upton or another cornerstone type talent.

  5. I'm starting to get a little numb and apathetic when I hear more rumors of trading our best players for prospects. The pipeline is full of catcher wanna-be types so the DH part may be more realistic. It's just to early to pull this trigger. Continued gutting of this team for prospects will add more pain to an already painful 2011 season.