Exhibit 13.22

Thoughts on the Mike Jacobs Trade

Okay, if you're not a baseball fan in general or a Royals fan in particular, you definitely don't need to read this. Here, read this.

So the Royals made a trade, shipping 25-year-old reliever Leo "The Splinter" Nunez to the Florida Marlins for newly 28-year-old 1B Mike Jacobs (happy birthday, Mike). Other than the fact that Mike needs a nickname (The Vacuum? I joke, I joke), I think it's a respectable trade which puts me at odds with just about everyone in the world whose name doesn't rhyme with Shmayton Shmore. Here's why Royals fans hate this:

*Jacobs profiles as a quick decliner and is unlikely to hit another 32 HR in Kaufman Stadium (even though his old park is worse for power hitters according to KC Star stat guy Bradford Doolittle whose take here I agree with).

*Jacobs also had an absolutely atrocious .299 OBP last year. I'll admit, this is bad--really bad, like Steve Martin's Sgt. Bilko bad--but one way or another he's going to have an .800 OPS. Do you know how many regular Royals had an .800+ OPS last year? Two.

*The original deal had Carlos Rosa going to Florida. I think Royals fans got a little worked up on that one (understandable as Rosa is a better prospect) and decided they hated Mike Jacobs last week. Now that the deal is done and it's much more palatable--if not an outright steal--it's hard to go back to praising Jacobs, even on the poor guy's birthday.

Other reasons I like it:

*Leo Nunez, despite coming in first in gold chains, is the Royals fourth best reliever when he's healthy. That he's often not healthy only seals the deal. Odd that the Marlins supposedly past on Carlos Rosa for health reasons when Nunez seems as bad in this regard, doesn't have much projection left, is closer to arbitration, and is definitely not a starter while you can at least wish on Rosa.

*Mike Jacobs, with 32, HR hit 12 more home runs than any Royal did last season. That's not nothing.

*Ross Gload, the man Jacobs is hopefully relegating to permanent backup duty if not outright release, had an OPS+ 30 points lower than Jacobs, only hit 3 HR, and had an OBP of .317. Why are we supposed to be upset about this again? Ross Gload isn't right for the Royals. I'm sure he's a nice guy. I like to watch how everyone gives him breaks because he's white and then has to awkwardly chalk it up to his "grit." But Ross Gload has no place as anything other than a versatile 1B/OF backup on a contending team. If he's starting, your team is bad. We've learned this.

And that's really the rub here. For the moment I'm seeing this as the Royals upgrading the Ross Gload-Billy Butler 1B/DH combo with a Mike Jacobs-Billy Butler 1B/DH combo (with, god willing, Jacobs playing DH). Or maybe Billy starts the year in Omaha and gets called up when he's ready to take over first. Whatever the case may be, I don't think this trade necessitates a Butler trade or even makes one more likely (if they want to ship Butler out, they will regardless). Nor does it hold back Kila "Hawaiian Punch" Ka'aihue who needs more than the 30 some games he's had above AA before he's ready.

A lot of Royals fans see this as the Royals acquring another mediocre player with a lousy on base percentage, but the truth is that Jacobs would have been the Royals best hitter last year and while he doesn't play a position of defensive value, there's no denying that his one true skill--power--is desperately needed. He's clearly an upgrade over Gload and Shealy and, despite what some are saying, it's not easy to find a guy who hits 30+ home runs (just ask the Royals who haven't had one since...I don't know...Jermaine Dye in 2000?), let alone one who is under team control for another three years and only costs an exceedingly replaceable reliever.

Look, Jacobs clearly isn't Adam Dunn, but he's not a bad substitute at the value he presents. I'm of the opinion that while you'd obviously prefer a guy with a higher OBP, the fact that he doesn't have it isn't going to hurt the Royals as much as a team with a stable of power hitters behind him. Honestly, how many times are the Royals 6-7-8 (or 5-6-7) hitters going to string together enough hits to move the plodding Jacobs around the bases? Yeah, he'll make more than his share of outs, but so did Ross Gload only he brought nothing to the table. Shealy is a mirage (and a full year older than Jacobs). Kila isn't ready. And Butler needs some competition (because it's not as if he's proved anything). What's not to like here?

Well, possibly the next move. If Butler gets shipped out, I reserve the right to feel differently, but for right now I like the Royals lineup quite a bit more than I did this morning. If you feel differently, just repeat after me: Ross Gload played in 122 games last season. Ross Gload played in 122 games last season. Ross Gload played in 122 games last season.


Anonymous said...

is it crappy 90s movie week at s.p.m.? I haven't thought about sgt bilko for at least 10 weeks.

I agree w your take on this trade entirely. why would the royals trade butler?

pete via the centro

A. Peterson said...

Two reason why Royals fans are afraid Dayton Moore might trade Butler, one legitimate the other a little stupid.

Legitimate: Moore may not like Butler. Some evidence here, the biggest piece being that Moore supposedly tried to trade Butler a few years back for a crappy shortstop (which may or may not be true). Butler also has some young guy-related attitude problems (see Guillen, Jose "Bunch of fucking babies." Summer 08) in addition to his problems with conditioning and defense. Basically, Moore may just not like Billy as a player or a person, at least not for this team. The other side of this is that the Royals may just want to give Billy some competition so he doesn't continue to feel so entitled.

Little stupid fear: That Billy has to be traded because the Royals have too many 1B/DH types and he's the only one with real trade value. This is dumb because the Royals started Ross Gload last season. This is dumb because Ryan Shealy is older (and worse) than Jacobs. This is dumb because Ka'aihue is exactly the sort of prospect who needs to prove each level of his development before the Royals write his name in pen. Those are the guys that are supposed to force the Royals into inaction? They don't have too many options, they have four shitty choices and the one good option, Butler, they want to fight for it but can't make him because they only have shitty players.

Here's the thing, Gload and Shealy are terrible (or, if you're fans, not terrible but demonstrably worse than Jacobs) and Kila is going to be in AAA to start the season no matter what. That leaves Butler and Jacobs, and I guess what it comes down to is that a lot of fans don't trust the Royals to make the right call. They hate Gload but would rather have Shealy because they think he'll be terrible and then they get Kila by default. I think the Royals are going a different route--trying to foster competition--and knowing that if Butler and Jacobs don't rise to the top (with Kila behind them) then the team is screwed no matter what.

A. Peterson said...

Thus ends this installment of Adam Peterson wastes his life over analyzing the Royals. Unless someone else comments. Then we're right back to it.