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Monday, December 10, 2012

USA Today: Nightengale: Royals GM finds trade criticism ‘insulting’

7:40PM EST December 10. 2012 - Kansas City Royals general manager Dayton Moore is furious Monday afternoon, livid at the accusations, and trying to keep a calm demeanor on the telephone.

He pulls off the Royals’ biggest trade in two decades, giving them a shot at their first playoff berth since 1985, and he’s read that he made the blockbuster deal simply to save his job.

“To me, that’s insulting,’’ Moore tells USA TODAY Sports. “That’s very insulting. Very, very insulting.

“I don’t get too bent up about criticism, and I want to take the high road here, but that’s insulting my integrity.

“If something happened, I couldn’t get another job in baseball? Is that what people think?’‘

Moore was reacting specifically to a column by former Toronto Blue Jays executive Keith Law on ESPN.com. Law blasted the Royals’ decision to trade their top prospect, outfielder Wil Myers and three others to the Tampa Bay Rays for starters James Shields and Wade Davis, predicting it will be the end of Moore’s tenure in Kansas City.

“The deal reeks of a GM feeling pressure to improve short-term performance to keep his job,’’ Law wrote, “which is a terrible situation for any executive both personally and for the way it can inhibit his ability to make rational decisions.’‘

Tripon Posted: December 10, 2012 at 09:19 PM | 129 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: rays, royals

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   101. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 11, 2012 at 03:07 PM (#4321977)
Flip

I still don't understand why most people on this board do not value Shields as highly as I have (and still do). He is being compared to guys like Sanchez, Dempster, Jackson, McCarthy, Haren, etc., but:

Last 3 seasons:

Shields 680 IP, 102 ERA+, 30 UER
Sanchez 588 IP, 109 ERA+, 28 UER
Jackson 599 IP, 100 ERA+, 20 UER
Dempster 591 IP, 102 ERA+, 27 UER

Are you seriously saying these pitchers aren't roughly comparable? Shields gives you an extra 30 IP p.a., but that's about it as far as difference goes.

   102. Topher Posted: December 11, 2012 at 03:15 PM (#4321990)
The other potential fun thing is that the Royals now have no outfielders in the minor league system that are likely to be MLB ready until 2015.

I think the team will end up signing Francoeur to another two year contract so it probably is a moot point but otherwise the team is going to have to find a RF in 2014 via free agency. That likely means an "overpay" which probably eats up any of the cost savings you get from Shields' "team friendly contract" instead of signing a FA pitcher.
   103. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 11, 2012 at 03:17 PM (#4321995)

Whatever. I think Shields is a more valuable commodity than he is being given credit for...


I agree. I just don't think the difference between him and the FA mentioned is worth giving up the package of prospects they gave up. That difference would matter if the Royals were projected to be an 86-90 win club and this put them into serious contention. It does not make a difference if they are a 72 win team trying to get to .500.


The other potential fun thing is that the Royals now have no outfielders in the minor league system that are likely to be MLB ready until 2015.


True, but once they sign Jeff Franceour to a four year contract extension this summer, they'll have their entire outfield locked up through 2016.
   104. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 11, 2012 at 03:34 PM (#4322025)
True, but once they sign Jeff Franceour to a four year contract extension this summer, they'll have their entire outfield locked up through 2016.

It's funny, b/c it's probably true.
   105. cmd600 Posted: December 11, 2012 at 03:35 PM (#4322028)
Shields gives you an extra 30 IP p.a.


I think this is being undervalued as well. Not enough that people should see Shields as an "ace", but that's 30 innings that any halfway decent manager should be able to maneuver well enough that he can take it almost directly from his worst pitchers. That still doesn't mean that Shields can't put up a +5.00 ERA even with that Tampa park and defense helping him.
   106. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 11, 2012 at 03:39 PM (#4322037)
I think this is being undervalued as well. Not enough that people should see Shields as an "ace", but that's 30 innings that any halfway decent manager should be able to maneuver well enough that he can take it almost directly from his worst pitchers. That still doesn't mean that Shields can't put up a +5.00 ERA even with that park and defense helping him.

Sure, and his peripherals are shiny. He's better, just not Wil Myers better.
   107. Petunia inquires about ponies Posted: December 11, 2012 at 03:45 PM (#4322050)
My problem here is that the majority of the anti-Moore arguments I've seen on this website in the last couple days wrt the Myers trade beg the question quite elegantly.

A) Moore sold low on Myers - he could have gotten a better package (despite the fact that he didn't). How do we know? Because he's definitely awesome. How do we know that? He's worth a lot on the trade market. Evidence: Not worth (as) much (as you thought) on the trade market. Rebuttal: That's because Moore is an idiot. He could have done better. How do we know? Etc.

B) Moore could have got a Shields-level pitcher for just money and no prospects (despite the fact that he didn't, and hasn't, and no players with an established talent level comparable to Shields have signed FA contracts with the Royals in years). How do we know? Because they exist. They can be signed. Evidence: No FA's ever sign with the Royals. Rebuttal: That's because Moore is an idiot. He could sign those guys. How do we know? Etc.

Is it the case that reducing Francoeur's role, promoting/playing Myers and Odorizzi, and spending $10m-$15m on an FA SP would have been better than trading Myers, Odorizzi et al. for Shields/Davis, playing Francoeur and paying Shields? Probably. But insisting that Moore is an idiot, prima facie, for not doing these things instead of what he did do, when we don't know that those things were possible, seems to be missing the point to me.

If it wasn't Dayton Moore and the Royals, who everyone in this community is already disinclined to trust, couldn't the lesson from this trade, rather than 'Dayton Moore is now surely proven to be the idiot I always knew he was,' be 'wow, there is a disconnect in the perception of Wil Myers's value between me/some 'experts' and the greater community of actual MLB executives' or 'wow, it really must be hard to sign FA SPs to deals in KC'?
   108. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 11, 2012 at 04:01 PM (#4322071)
B) Moore could have got a Shields-level pitcher for just money and no prospects (despite the fact that he didn't, and hasn't, and no players with an established talent level comparable to Shields have signed FA contracts with the Royals in years). How do we know? Because they exist. They can be signed. Evidence: No FA's ever sign with the Royals. Rebuttal: That's because Moore is an idiot. He could sign those guys. How do we know? Etc.

Do we have any examples of players not taking the significantly better offer from an undesirable team? The Jackson/Pitt thing isn't one; they offered him 3/30, not a market beating deal (i.e. lower AAV than WAS).

I fully admit the Royals have to overpay; probably need to add one year at the same AAV to the best competing contract, or $1-2M more in AAV. I'm just saying I'd rather overpay in money than talent.
   109. cmd600 Posted: December 11, 2012 at 04:05 PM (#4322077)
Sure, and his peripherals are shiny. He's better, just not Wil Myers better.


Absolutely agree. Like I said, not enough to make Shields an "ace", but I think the value over those other guys is enough that we should take notice.
   110. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: December 11, 2012 at 04:08 PM (#4322085)
1) Dempster is a guy who turns 36 in early May, sucked in 2011, had a good half-season with the Cubs, then gets lit up with the Rangers.

I think you're being very unfair in this analysis of Dempster.

Dempster became a starter for the Cubs in 2008. Let's look at 2008-2012 (full season stats):
2008: 206.2 IP, 2.96 ERA, 3.41 FIP, 8.14 K/9, 3.31 BB/9, .280 BABIP.
2009: 200.0 IP, 3.65 ERA, 3.87 FIP, 7.74 K/9, 2.93 BB/9, .302 BABIP.
2010: 215.1 IP, 3.85 ERA, 3.99 FIP, 8.69 K/9, 3.59 BB/9, .294 BABIP.
2011: 202.1 IP, 4.80 ERA, 3.91 FIP, 8.50 K/9, 3.65 BB/9, .324 BABIP.
2012: 173.1 IP, 3.38 ERA, 3.69 FIP, 7.96 K/9, 2.71 BB/9, .277 BABIP.

In other words, his peripherals in 2011 were almost exactly the same as in previous years (and in 2012) - his high ERA in 2012, it seems, was almost completely a function of a high BABIP that year. I used rate stats because I like rate stats more, but if you're into raw numbers, he struck out more players in 2011 than in any of the other years listed except 2010 and walked fewer than he had the previous year. In the rates listed above, his 2011 season, in peripherals, was very similar to the year before, and the absence of continued struggles in 2012 points to this not being some problem of hittability and instead something more along the lines of "luck" (though I hate using that term). As a Cubs fan, I don't recall anything particularly off about Dempster last year beyond that more hits seemed to be falling in, but I also didn't watch very many games in 2011 due to the fact that I was out of the country on a job that summer.

Regardless, the takeaway from any list of Ryan Dempster stats is not that he's some half-season wonder or recently sucky pitcher, which was the implication of your statement. He's been a very good, consistent pitcher for some time and, personally, I'm disappointed he won't be around in the future in Chicago.

EDIT: which is not to say that he isn't quite old or that he is as durable as Shields, only that he's probably better than you gave him credit for being.
   111. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: December 11, 2012 at 04:09 PM (#4322087)
30 extra IP per year is a lot.
   112. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: December 11, 2012 at 04:11 PM (#4322093)
Evidence: No FA's ever sign with the Royals.

I don't know if this is an appropriate statement of the point being made: in the last two threads on this topic, I can recall having read Gil Meche's name several times as an example of a good free agent pitcher who went to the Royals due to the amount which they paid him.
   113. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: December 11, 2012 at 04:22 PM (#4322117)
I think the 30 extra IPs a season is very valuable. It is roughly the equivalent of an extra inning per start. Generally, we are talking about him getting you through the 7th inning more often than almost any pitcher in baseball. Think about who is usually pitching the 6th or 7th inning, if it is not your starting pitcher - it is probably, at best, your third-best relief pitcher.

To me, the difference between James Shields and those 30 IP being thrown by, generally, somebody who is 3rd-best reliever (at best) is huge.

The correct metric is not the delta between 30 IPs of Shields versus a lesser starting pitcher - it is the delta described above. Their top five relievers in 2012 threw a combined 285 innings in 2012. They were actually pretty good as a group - but if you can take about 30 innings off of that group, doesn't that give you a real chance of making them better than they will otherwise be?
   114. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: December 11, 2012 at 04:31 PM (#4322134)
I fully admit the Royals have to overpay; probably need to add one year at the same AAV to the best competing contract, or $1-2M more in AAV. I'm just saying I'd rather overpay in money than talent.


I think you're complete in the right on this overall point. Maybe Moore had some bad meetings with representatives from the most suitable free-agents, but other than that I can't see why he's want to part with a valuable trading chip like Myers AND other prospects for the privilege of paying Shields for two years, even if I do think Shields is a better bet as a pitcher for 2013 than, say, Edwin Jackson or Rich Harden.

Of course if this trade portends a serious focus on success in 2013, as I hope it does, I notice the Royals have a strapping young 3B and are severely deficient in Curtis Grandersons.
   115. Petunia inquires about ponies Posted: December 11, 2012 at 04:40 PM (#4322154)
[112] I can recall having read Gil Meche's name several times as an example of a good free agent pitcher who went to the Royals due to the amount which they paid him.

Exactly. Gil Meche is the ideal 'exception that proves the rule' in this case. Gil Meche, who had a 55-44 record, ERA+ well under 100, WHIP over 1.4, and K/BB under 2 in ~820 IP (all partial career #s eyeballed) when he signed with KC six years ago Thursday, is constantly cited as evidence that a 'top' free agent starting pitcher can in fact be had by the Royals.

Shields has almost double the IP, a comparable W/L and is otherwise substantially better in every conceivable way (although he is ~3 yrs older, not inherently a demerit).
Anibal Sanchez, despite being overrated by almost everyone this offseason, has slightly more innings, a sub-.500 W/L, and is otherwise slightly better than Meche in every conceivable way.
Edwin Jackson has about 150% the IP, 1 game under .500 W/L, ERA+ a hair under 100 and is otherwise slightly to substantially better than Meche in every conceivable way.

Furthermore, Meche quite clearly didn't follow the beat of the drum that the overwhelming majority of MLB FA players do; he retired voluntarily, forfeiting his final year's worth of salary (something on the order of $13m iirc). CLEARLY an action indicative of a player whose economic decision-making process cannot in any way be seen as comparable to the general attitude of the MLB FA market.

[108] Do we have any examples of players not taking the significantly better offer from an undesirable team?

Beats me. And you. And everyone who's posted in any of the recent threads to say that Moore is a moron who is less unfamiliar with the market value of MLB commodities than they are. Over the last 2-3 years there has been public attention paid to some A's claims that they had offered more to players who signed elsewhere. The idea is commonly advanced and debated. This offseason the Yankees have claimed that they have offered more to players who have signed elsewhere. It's said about the Pirates and many other sub-competitive teams every year.

The point is, we don't know. Since the premise to begin with is that we are better MLB GMs than Dayton Moore, evidence is a secondary concern. Because we already know that we could have done better, the only evidence we need to support the claim is to see Moore do more poorly than we had imagined we would have done. QED - Moore is an idiot - his actual performance falls short of our imaginary alternatives.

I fully admit the Royals have to overpay; probably need to add one year at the same AAV to the best competing contract, or $1-2M more in AAV.

On what basis do you derive these numbers? Is it equally as possible that many players have instructed their agents to tell the Royals to #### off as it is that precisely one additional year or $2m additional salary evens up the difference? I'd argue that it is. Is it equally possible that in fact it would take 2+ additional years or $5m additional salary p.a. to even up the difference? I'd argue that it is.

I'm just saying I'd rather overpay in money than talent.

No doubt.


ETA:
[114] I can't see why he's want to part with a valuable trading chip like Myers AND other prospects for the privilege of paying Shields for two years

My contention is that the logic beginning from this statement and concluding with 'thus Moore is an idiot,' which is based on alternatives that we do not know were even possible, is less plausible than the logic beginning from this statement and concluding with 'perhaps our understanding of the market is flawed.'
   116. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: December 11, 2012 at 04:51 PM (#4322172)
My contention is that the logic beginning from this statement and concluding with 'thus Moore is an idiot,' which is based on alternatives that we do not know were even possible, is less plausible than the logic beginning from this statement and concluding with 'perhaps our understanding of the market is flawed.'


Please note my rather specific caveat in the same post, immediately prior to your excerpt: "Maybe Moore had some bad meetings with representatives from the most suitable free-agents" which I believe encompasses your reply.
   117. Petunia inquires about ponies Posted: December 11, 2012 at 05:01 PM (#4322192)
No doubt. I meant to clarify my broader point, not necessarily rebut your specific statement.
   118. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: December 11, 2012 at 05:13 PM (#4322214)
Think about who is usually pitching the 6th or 7th inning, if it is not your starting pitcher - it is probably, at best, your third-best relief pitcher.


That said, a 102 ERA+ from a right-handed short reliever is nothing special. There are guys like that available as NRIs every year.
   119. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: December 11, 2012 at 05:15 PM (#4322218)
I'd be very curious to know to what extent Moore presented offers or otherwise seriously engaged the agents for Dempster, E. Jackson, Harden, et al. prior to consummating this deal. Maybe they just loved Shields?
   120. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 11, 2012 at 05:27 PM (#4322241)
I think the 30 extra IPs a season is very valuable. It is roughly the equivalent of an extra inning per start. Generally, we are talking about him getting you through the 7th inning more often than almost any pitcher in baseball. Think about who is usually pitching the 6th or 7th inning, if it is not your starting pitcher - it is probably, at best, your third-best relief pitcher.

To me, the difference between James Shields and those 30 IP being thrown by, generally, somebody who is 3rd-best reliever (at best) is huge.


don't get me wrong, it's nice. But, it shouldn't be too hard to find 1/2 a RP who can match Shield's performance the 3rd and even 4th time through the order.

As Vlad said, I'd expect you top-5 RPs to be better than a 102 ERA+. Plus, KC has a very good pen.
   121. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 11, 2012 at 05:29 PM (#4322243)
Reports are they offered Dempster 2/26, but balked at 3 years. I don't think they were linked to Jackson or Haren (or Rich Harden). Supposedly they inquired about Anibal Sanchez, Kyle Lohse and Brandno McCarthy but there were never any rumors beyond that.

Another possibility that never seemed to go anywhere was Shaun Marcum, who I think could be a good value, and is a Kansas City native to boot.
   122. calhounite Posted: December 11, 2012 at 05:30 PM (#4322244)
1. Team sucks. Replacing one rotten fish out of 5 doesn't do much for the smell.
2. Francour sucks. And now no replacement.
3. Shields not a true year in, year out ace.

But mainly because of Myers. Have no freakin idea how good Myers is. Never played in the bigs. Great pedigree, phenomenal stats. You've got to have some idea. Even if he was overwhelmed with first exposure, can always get this deal. But at least you've got some idea of future potential.

But, what tha -. Dang, man. Trout put up stats no better than these. In a likewise favorable environment. The guy could pull a Trout.
   123. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: December 11, 2012 at 05:38 PM (#4322253)
Trout isn't comparable in any way. He hit .326/.414/.544 with a 45/76 BB/K ratio as a *19* year old in AA, and .403/.467/.623 in 100 PAs as a 20 year old in AAA. And he's a good CF.
   124. cmd600 Posted: December 11, 2012 at 06:27 PM (#4322301)
That said, a 102 ERA+ from a right-handed short reliever is nothing special. There are guys like that available as NRIs every year.


But you can save that reliever for the 5th inning when your 85 ERA+ starter is starting to struggle again. I don't think it's as simple as replacing innings with your 3rd best reliever. Of course, if your GM can't assemble a pen properly to adjust for your workhorse, or your manager can't organize a bullpen, that advantage is lost.
   125. Willie Mayspedester Posted: December 11, 2012 at 07:15 PM (#4322339)
I read somewhere that Shields was open to signing an extension with the Royals, would that make this trade better? I think so.

It seems that there is usually a point where teams need to change their reputation in order to get free agents to sign with them. Is Shields enough?

This trade also serves notice to Butler, Gordon, Hosmer and Moose Tacos that they are the core and management is trying to build a pitching staff to go with them. Guthrie, Santana and Davis should be upgrades to the rest of the starters to go with Chen and whoever was their best starter last year right? The Royals had some terrible guys dragging their ERA on the bad end of the pitching staff and Shields and his high IP totals pushes that even further.
   126. vivaelpujols Posted: December 11, 2012 at 10:12 PM (#4322485)
To me, the difference between James Shields and those 30 IP being thrown by, generally, somebody who is 3rd-best reliever (at best) is huge.


Really? Because the Royals 3rd best reliever last year had a 2.96 FIP. That's better than Shields and much better than Shields the third time through the order. The value of extra innings is overstated - it's only really valuable if you're talking about Verlander or Halladay or some other guy who is actually better than your typical reliever. Most starting pitchers are worse than the typical 3rd best reliever in the 7th inning.
   127. ...and Toronto selects: Troy Tulowitzki Posted: December 12, 2012 at 03:43 AM (#4322702)

From the article:

He pulls off the Royals’ biggest trade in two decades, giving them a shot at their first playoff berth since 1985, and he’s read that he made the blockbuster deal simply to save his job.

“To me, that’s insulting,’’ Moore tells USA TODAY Sports. “That’s very insulting. Very, very insulting.


And from John Perrotto of USA Today/Baseball America/Prospectus in the hour after the trade, via Twitter:

"This from a #Royals person in Nashville last week: "We need to win NOW. There is no more time for waiting." Translated: Jobs on the line."

Dayton Moore should direct his indignation at his own staff/organization, rather than at boogeyman journalists.
   128. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: December 12, 2012 at 04:43 AM (#4322707)
And from John Perrotto of USA Today/Baseball America/Prospectus in the hour after the trade, via Twitter:

"This from a #Royals person in Nashville last week: "We need to win NOW. There is no more time for waiting." Translated: Jobs on the line."


Dayton Moore should direct his indignation at his own staff/organization, rather than at boogeyman journalists.

I basically agree with you, but Moore might say that yes, he is under pressure to win, as he and everyone else should be, but it had no bearing on the deal he made, which would be a good deal whether he had a 1 year contract or a 100 year contract.
   129. Dan Posted: December 12, 2012 at 05:10 AM (#4322713)
I'm surprised that no one has mentioned Shields's home/road splits. Over his career he has been far worse outside of Tropicana Field:

Career splits:
Home: 3.33 ERA, .248/.292/.389 opponent batting line
Road: 4.54 ERA, .268/.318/.454

2012 splits;
Home: 3.25 ERA, .240/.287/.365 opponent line
Road: 3.83 ERA, .238/.304/.404

So at least in 2012 his splits were a bit less extreme than in the past, but I would still have serious reservations about trading for him with his history of being mediocre outside of the Trop. This is a guy who has allowed a cumulative .454 slugging average on the road in his career. At least the Royals' home field suppresses homers a bit, which have typically been Shields's Achilles heel.
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