What does that 10-15 win figure include? I figure at 72-90 in 2012, they have to add 10 wins just to break .500 and at least fifteen wins to be talked about as an actual contender in this league. That’s why I didn’t buy the idea of the Royals going for it in 2012. If you include projections of improvement for Hosmer, Giavotella and Moustakas, maybe you can get five extra wins out of that bunch, and then you’re looking at ten more to contend. Is that how you came up with the number?
Still, they’re in a position where Myers and Odorizzi have to combine for seven wins to get them into the playoff hunt–not a pretty picture…
Comment by ThirteenOfTwo — November 20, 2012 @ 1:07 pm
That’s $48M that they have allocated to Santana, Guthrie, Francoeur & Chen moving forward. $48M they could have given to Greinke. Why Moore does this almost routinely, is really as offensive as what Loria does.
So Greinke wants $150M? Fine, give it to him and then do don’t sign anyone else. KC gets a legit ace instead of five #5 starters, and will win more games. If they want to really get good, trade Myers for Hellickson, and boom, there’s an outstanding 1-2 punch with the rest of it rounded out by whoever’s left. KC is going to win a lot of games if they do that. If they don’t, they’re committing to at best, being a 75 win team. At least Loria’s teams look great on paper and he has 2 rings from it. Moore just gets more brutal and nonsensical with every free agent he signs. Surprised he didn’t go after Juan Pierre.
Guthrie’s effect on contact is mitigated by a decent defense (true of everyone, actually), which makes him a decent fit for KC. Consistency at the top of the rotation is a heck of a lot better than the semi-weekly Hochevar meltdowns.
Comment by KCDaveInLA — November 20, 2012 @ 1:30 pm
There was a great post by someone earlier discussing the value of players and pointing out that one top notch 6 WAR guy is better than two 3 WAR players, due to the utility of having an extra spot opened up by playing only one player. This is just another bad gil meche type deal. Pay for one player, preferably a batter, then work the trades. Also, the Royals haven’t developed one quality SP in the last decade that I recall, not a one, except Greinke. No Derek Hollands, Hellicksons, Bucholtz, Felix, etc. I think Moore and the entire minor league pithcing coaches need to be fired asap.
Loria does not have 2 rings. Also, the royals and marlins have made the playoffs the same number of times since 2003. Moore isn’t the comp for Loria anyways, it’s David Glass.
Comment by Antonio bananas — November 20, 2012 @ 1:51 pm
Consistent mediocrity. Also, hochevar vs guthries shouldn’t be the question. There are much better options. Sure a guy like odorizzi or converting crow would put up similar numbers as Guthrie for a lot less.
Comment by Antonio bananas — November 20, 2012 @ 1:54 pm
I think it’s fair to say with the same collection of talent in 2012, they would do better in 2013. Lots of room for growth, especially with their corner infielders.
While this does strike me as an overpay, teams like the Royals often have to kick in a bit more in years and/or dollars to lure free agents, and that appears to be the case here. Guthrie is perhaps the furthest thing from a ‘sexy’ name, but he has started at least 26 games and thrown at least 175 IP in each of the last six seasons – that durability is worth something, right? Particularly to a team like the Royals, which had a total of seven individual pitcher seasons with more than 175 IP from 2009 through 2012.
They did that because they have to pitch 1300 innings next year, and Greinke would pitch maybe 220 of them. With Santana and Guthrie and Chen they can pretty well count on 500+ IP among them. I get that it’s not sexy but you can’t just play every fifth day. Santana has a little upside and if they feel comfortable with Guthrie over some guy that’s maybe $4 million cheaper, then what’s the problem? It’s just some rich asshole’s money.
I’m not arguing that Moore is a good GM when it comes to evaluating pitchers. I think he’s terrible at it. But he still has to give his manager people to throw the baseball every day, and that costs money.
Comment by Eric Cioe — November 20, 2012 @ 3:17 pm
I think you can justify the Santana deal because he does have significant upside. If he does anything close to 2011 (or another of other very good seasons he’s had) he’ll be valuable to the Royals. He maybe more 2012 than 2011 but at least he’s shown he can pitch very well multiple seasons in his career.
Guthrie just doesn’t have the upside. Yes a consistent innings eater is valuable but 3 years at his age? I really don’t think people would feel like it was that bad of a signing if it was 2yrs/16 million but the 3rd year takes it from an overpay/low reward signing to a overcommitment/overpay/low reward that could hamper an already tight budgeted team all the way through 2015. Teams in the Royals situation just can’t make these kinds of signings and be successful if they backfire.
I would actually be okay with this signing for KC if they had/were seeking a true #1/2 and fielded an offense to support it. Mainly League Average pitching from your 2-5 spots and an offense which scores a high amount of Runs will get you plenty of wins. Guthrie might not be an amazing talent, but he is a vet inning eater who you can at least count on to be serviceable and helpful to young arms. And they are close to such an offense now if Hosmer, Moustakas and Myers play up to potential.
The problem? News such as:
“The Royals are listening to offers for Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Alex Gordon, Billy Butler, and even Wil Myers”
So the Royals “plan” is to trade from the core, above-average offensive talents they desperately need to produce yet still search out average-at-best Pitchers they are willing to pay a good chunk to without even attempting to find a #1/2?
I just dont get it.
Comment by blahblahblah — November 20, 2012 @ 3:32 pm
This is similar to the defense of the Meche signing. I can accept that a bad team has to pay more to lure a free agent. The question is whether the free agent is worth luring.
Guthrie gives you innings. Does he give you much else? Not really. If he had real value as a mid-rotation guy, a contending team would have signed him. So what’s the point of the Royals making a substantial commitment in the hopes of getting 200 mediocre innings from him?
Comment by Rich Mahogany — November 20, 2012 @ 3:38 pm
Maybe they are hoping he will be like Meche and retire after the second season.
Comment by Rich Mahogany — November 20, 2012 @ 3:39 pm
Okay, but they are paying Guthrie, Santana and Chen 22.5MM this year for an unbelievably unlikely league average 500+ innings, as that would need an absolute best-case scenario for each of them – and after this year they will pay another 20MM for 2 seasons of maybe 150-200 IP of likely below average Guthrie. Add in Hoch (which Moore’s track record indicates Luke will return) and you are at more then 27MM for 4 starters.
With the best minor league system in the game, you would think they would be able to use internal options for a fraction of the cost and get production at least in the ballpark of that.
Just give the ball (and experience) to Montgomery, Odorizzi and Smith already and use the 27MM for a pair of real upside guys. 2014 seems to be the real target anyway, so why even waste the money now when the experience to the kids is worth more then the likely minor bump in production?
Comment by blahblahblah — November 20, 2012 @ 4:02 pm
Uhm, Guthrie pitched for them last year and all indications point to him personally really wanting to return…
…so explain to me how they needed to overpay to lure a guy already on the club who really didnt want to leave anyway?
Comment by blahblahblah — November 20, 2012 @ 4:10 pm
Santana had a 4.00 FIP and matching 3.93 xFIP in 2011, and that represents the second best season of his career; while its surrounded by 4.3-5.6 marks…
“Upside” seems to be a bit of a stretch, dont you think – especially when said “upside” comes at a cost of 13 Million!
Comment by blahblahblah — November 20, 2012 @ 4:18 pm
He’s averaged about 2.0 WAR per season for his career, which is just about league-average … it isn’t as if the Royals are dramatically overpaying on a per-win basis. This certainly isn’t a bargain, but I don’t think it’s a horrific commitment, either.
And, again, the Royals have had no stability in the rotation for the better part of the past two decades. Who’s to say that they can lure a superior candidate? Or a safer candidate?
Plus it’s not like the production oth Guthrie or Santana couldnt be fairly easily replaced at a much cheaper price. You can’t call up odorizzi at 500k and hope he pitches like Greinke, but I bet he puts up numbers similar to Santana or Guthrie.
Comment by Antonio bananas — November 20, 2012 @ 4:26 pm
I don’t think this is true of guys like Guthrie. Guys like Greinke, Edwin Jackson, yes. However, Guthrie is lucky he has a job. Probably could have held out. I can’t see many good teams bidding up guthries’s price.
Comment by Antonio bananas — November 20, 2012 @ 4:29 pm
They are paying him slightly less in AAV than he earned last season, and $9 MM less in total than he was reportedly looking for … on the heels of his performing quite well (at least at face value) with the Royals. The market also hasn’t really developed yet, so we can’t know for sure that a team wouldn’t have offered him a similar deal if they whiffed on Greinke.
Comment by Antonio bananas — November 20, 2012 @ 4:30 pm
Arroyo is a poor example to use. His results dropped in 2011 due to getting Rocky Mountain fever in spring training. He lost about 3 mph on his fastball and was basically throwing batting practice. Plus, he hurt his back and refused to miss any starts. His poor 2011 was not the result of luck correction. He was physically diminished.
Guthrie has value. The signing becomes bad when placed in context.
As Cameron observes, the marginal value of the wins Guthrie may provide is very low. They will not lift the Royals into contention.
The signing might be smart if combined with other signings that would allow the Royals to compete. Does anyone think Guthrie is the prelude to additional quality signings?
If he isn’t, then he will provide his 2 WAR each season (maybe – he is in his decline years) and do little to change the odds of the team making the playoffs.
There are ways to get a young team into contention. Allocating significant amounts of payroll to mediocre players isn’t one of them. Stabilizing the rotation gets you nothing if your pitchers are all average or worse.
Comment by Rich Mahogany — November 20, 2012 @ 4:52 pm
Everyone is complaining “That’s money that could have been used on Greinke or Sanchez”. The Royals are not an ace away from contending. They are an ace and some solid starters behind that ace away from contending. If they spend all their available money on the two aforementioned starters, the you have to pray that Odorizzi is going to successful, make Bruce Chen your #4 behind Mendoza, and then sacrifice a top level prospect or two in a trade to get another solid starter behind Greinke or Sanchez. Small market teams like the Royals cannot afford long term, $20/mil a year contracts – especially for a pitcher. They can’t buy their way out of an injury.
You’re right. But that’s the thing, how many teams get into the playoffs with two really good legit starters and a Korean league castoff for 40 starts here and there? The answer is pretty much all of them. NOT ONE team has made the playoffs since the humidor was installed who just ran a bunch of fifth starters out there.
It really is sad that in a city filled with passionate sports fans, both major franchises are owned by cheap clowns who allow their respective franchises to be run by people whose qualifications were unmatched at the time of hiring, but who have both failed spectacularly.
But it’s worse. One of those owners succeeded in business by understanding value and efficiency like no one else; the other was brought up at Goldman Sachs, and his oil man father: the notion that whatever you do, stiff “the help” is completely ingrained. These two franchises know that they can be lousy and still make plenty of money, and public pronouncements to the contrary, their actions speak for themselves.
On the other hand, we are incredibly lucky to have icons like Bill Snyder and Bill Self in these parts. To many of us, the KSU football story and KU basketball are going to be our focus going forward, the Royals and Chiefs are hopeless and dead to us. I feel bad for guys like George Brett and Frank White who would have given every penny they ever earned for this franchise to at least not be run like an autumn carnival.
“The Royals are not an ace away from contending. They are an ace and some solid starters behind that ace away from contending.”
So why not then go after the needed Ace and let the kids your future relies on start getting the experience so they themselves can become the “solid starters” which are needed in your target years?
How is 13MM to Santana, 4.5MM to Chan and an average of 8.3MM/per over 3 to Guthrie, (plus likely 4-5MM to Hocheva) going to help this club one single bit in 2014? It merely (very marginally) increases 2013 production over internal options that desperately need the experience/look anyway…
So put it this way, compare these two 2014 rotations:
Smith (with 1.5 years worth of ML experience)
Montgomery (with full years worth of ML experience)
Odorizzi (with full years worth of ML experience)
Smith (possibly 1.5 years of experience if Hoch is somehow let go, which is probably unlikely)
Ororizzi (likely only spot-filler experience in 2013, so basically rookie)
The cash spent between the two seasons is basically a wash because of the 2013 money the team would be saving ~ with maybe 20-ish going to Greinke/Sanchez instead of 28+MM in 2013 salary going to Santana/Guthrie/Chen/LuckH you get 8+MM saved in 2013 which cancels out the 2014 Guthrie (11MM) to Ace (20MM) difference
…so which 2014 rotation looks more likely to win games? The one with the Aging, Average-at-best starter and a bunch of rookies, or the Ace and the young kids you are going to depend on anyway who then have at least some experience under their belts?
Comment by blahblahblah — November 20, 2012 @ 6:07 pm
Greinke was never going to resign with the Royals. Live with it. And Myers for Hellickson? No way
He had 2.2 fWAR in 2011 and 1.5 fWAR in his half-season stint with the Royals last year. His awful performance with the Rockies was disconcerting, to be sure, but Coors Field seems to be regressing back to its halcyon days. I don’t think it’s a stretch to think he can maintain that level for a few more years.
The Royals are banking on improvements from their young offensive players in order to contend, which is a fairly risky proposition. I think adding a relatively stable pitcher to the rotation has a great deal of value.
Sure he had a 1.5 WAR in half a season with KC last year, but it came almost exclusively because of a fluke 1.88 BB/9 – a fluke which is canceled out when you call it regression to the norm and factor it in with the fluke BB/9 he had in Col to start the season.
Over the last three (typo above), he has averaged 1.8 WAR with 5.3 K/9, 2.5 BB/9 a 41% GB% and 1.2 HR/9. He isnt getting younger over the next 3 though, and those numbers would represent an absolute peak expectation moving forward ~ but he needs to better them to reach your mark…
Comment by blahblahblah — November 20, 2012 @ 7:00 pm
To do what, tread water?
Guthrie/Santana/Chen & Hochevar (likely to come back, based off Moore’s track record) will cost 27-28MM in 2013 and keep all the kids in the minors not getting ML experience.
In 2014, the rotation with be 35YO Guthrie making 11MM and likely 4 guys who will pretty much be rookies
How will such a staff be expected to compete either season?
At least not having any of Guthrie/Santana/Chen/Hoch and instead spending the same exact 2 year salary total on the first 2 years of an Ace gives you an Ace and your kids you will be relying on anyway the experience they will need to actually get better.
As is, the Royals are just pissing money out the window in 2013 in an effort to marginally improve over what internals could produce and ideally become about a .500 club (if the roster improves), before going to a full rookie + Guthrie rotation in what should be the start of their peak years…
Comment by blahblahblah — November 20, 2012 @ 7:13 pm
Forget playoff appearances… The Royals haven’t had a winning season since 2003.
Comment by Helicopter Sunday — November 20, 2012 @ 8:41 pm
and, they had a run of bad luck with pitchers going out early needing tommy john surgery. Soria, of course is the big name of the bunch. But, three? others of the anticipated rotation also joined him on the shelf, if memory serves.
Ya know, KC and Tampa need to get together and compare notes.
KC can find hitters and put a lil polish on them quite well. Alot of their recent/current hopes are tied to the hitters. But, they cant find a pitcher even if it bit them in the ass.
Tampa on the other hand, can develop pretty much any arm they see into a quality pitcher.. but, seems to have issues with the hitters.
If they were to get together, compare notes, we might get two teams that can develop full teams, instead of just half of one. Granted, Tampa has more to show for their success, but… good pitching has had a way of nullifying good hitting (or so goes the old adage).
At this point, you can’t really count on Monty to be ready to go in ’14, much less ’13. Rushing prospects, which is what you’re suggesting, is also something the Royals have plenty of experience. Santana/Guthrie/Hoche/Mendoza/Odorizzi isn’t pretty, but they did finish at 72-90 with atrocious pitching. Two average guys isn’t much, but it does improve the pitching greatly nonetheless. And it’s not like those five guys are going to combine for 150 starts. Duffy is going to come back, Paulino is going to come back. The Royals might be done shopping, but by no means should they be done shopping…and, going by reports, they’re still looking around, so surely that has to mean something.
Something I’d like to see more of in these sorts of posts is a counterfactual. Give me a reasonable alternative free agent contract that makes the Royals better for less money, or argue they shouldn’t be in the free agent market at all. Are there cheaper, better starters out there than Guthrie? You wrote in the free agent trade value series that Villaneuva would have value at 2/15, but he’s certainly not as useful a pitcher as Guthrie (right now, at least).
Fine, spending their money like this doesn’t move them to contention, but the sad truth of the matter is that it was simply impossible for the Royals to become even close to contenders this offseason through free agency. Does that mean they just shouldn’t spend? No. Winning is valuable in and of itself, there was a post about that a couple days ago.
That said, I think it’s a touch of an overpay too!
Montgomery is now 23, with 3 years and 360 IP at AA/AAA – 242 innings of which are over nearly 2 seasons at AAA. (where he was projected for years by basically everyone to have likely tasted the majors by now in at least a 2012 call-up)
Sure, he has completely tanked since making the jump to the advanced levels, but growth, experience and coaching wise he is ready for the move to further training with ML coaches. And really, that is ideally what he needs to go from his current stalled-out, Hochevar-like issues to the mid-rotation guy he will likely settle in at. Its a change that is unlikely to come by merely repeating AAA for the rest of his career though. (ML promotion, experience and training is exactly what some young flailing prospects need to put it together; see Gio Gonzalez or John Danks for instance…)
As far as adding more guys in… uhm, Santana, Guthrie, Chen, Hoch, Mendoza, Smith, Odorizzi, Montgomery, Duffy coming back mid-way, Paulino possibly offered Arb and coming back mid-way… The last thing they need is to sign MORE starting pitching; they have too much as it is, which is the problem. How are all these currently ML ready kids ever going to get the experience they need when they are buried behind what is now a boatload of no-upside, Average in a best-case-scenario fillers who are doing little more then eat up large chunks of salary?
I mean, the team is supposed to be in compete mode in 2014-2015 (before Butler and Gordon start leaving), yet the 2013 scrub rotation they are assembling means none of the starters they were supposed to have on the mound for said run (Duffy, Crow, Montgomery, Odorizzi, Smith, Arguelles) will have much of any ML Starts under their belt come 2014, and possibly even 2015.
The kids are ready now and need to play! Wasting money in an attempt to run in place is merely moving the team backwards at this point…
Comment by blahblahblah — November 21, 2012 @ 2:36 am
They are supposed to be competing in 2014/2015. They are off schedule because their starting pitching is not developing like they hoped it was. So now instead of advancing as they should, they are basically throwing in the towel with no-future, costly rotation filler who will result in no actual advancement for the team what so ever (I mean, does it really matter if they finish 78-84 with their new 30MM+ rotation of veteran scrubs?)
Guthrie would probably be fine if it were only Guthrie (plus maybe an Ace) and he was helping a rotation of Kids advance. Guthrie after the idiotic Santana move though? When they’ll still give 5MM-ish guys Chen and Hochevar their 200-ish of Innings? Its the same never-ending, never-advancing rotation of stop-gaps the Royals seem to have used forever…
Comment by blahblahblah — November 21, 2012 @ 2:52 am
Myers for Hellickson?
And this is coming from someone who would love to see the Royals sign Greinke.
There’s always this possible argument as well: if either of these guys puts up a good half year and the Royals are out of it, they’d make good trade bait to bring in prospects. In a way, it’s not a bad idea for small market to sign bounce-back candidates to short contracts — if you contend, great, if not, it’s almost like buying extra draft picks. Given the new CBA, this can be valuable.
Comment by Brandon T — November 21, 2012 @ 7:57 am
Makes sense to me. Santana and Chen go away after next year, leaving Guthrie the steady, average #3-type guy for the last two years of his deal. It’s a little risky, but as you point out he’s been very consistent up to this point, and the Royals have more than a single offseason’s worth of work to do. (Plus, if inflation does show up at some point, it begins to look cheap.) This is an entirely reasonable move if their goal is to get through 2013’s innings while setting up to improve the top end of the rotation next offseason.
It’s fun to say Royals could of done better, but you always forget. These are real players with families and preferences to play in certain cites. The Royals are not a good team and no high profile free agent will sign with them until they get better. Guthrie and Santana are players that were signed to get them headed in that direction. Get your head out of the clouds for once and try to understand how the leauge actually works!
The change in velocity was from ’10 to ’11. Thanks for paying attention.
The reason for his poor ’11 was not a rise in babip as you alluded to in the article. His babip increased again from ’11 to ’12, but he performed quite fine. In ’11 it was the horrific jump in HR rate. He averaged 2 HR/9! That is not a case of the ball bouncing the wrong way.
He adjusted for his loss in velocity and had a good ’12. I think my theory is still in play.
Edwin Jackson was worth 2.9WAR last year in 31starts, Guthrie was worth 1.5 WAR in 14 starts for KC a 3.3WAR/31GS pace and is making 5 million in 2013 now if you want argue that they should have spent the Santana+Hochevar+Volstad money(20 million) on acquiring Jackson I would agree but this deal is solid for a staff that needs quality innings.
Does “5 additional wins” mean 5 additional wins above replacement, or 5 wins above what the Royals threw out there in 2012?
There’s a big difference between “replacement” and Jon Sanchez and Vinny Mazzaro. If it’s 5 wins above replacement, that’s got to be 8-10 wins above the Royals other options, right?
Comment by MoreHR's&LesNorman — November 21, 2012 @ 12:07 pm
As starters, the Royals produced a total of 7.6 WAR as starters last season (162 starts from Mendoza +1.7, Guthrie +1.5, Houchevar +1.5, Chen +1.3, Paulino +.9, Smith +.7, Mazzaro +.5, Duffy +.4, Adcock +0, Odorizzi +0, Verdugo -.1, Teaford -.2 and Sanchez -.6)
So 2012 Royals = 7.6 WAR
(pitching approx 890 IP)
The last 3 seasons, this is what the current starters have averaged
Santana – 1.40 WAR
Guthrie – 1.87 WAR
Chen – 1.40 WAR
Hochevar – 1.83 WAR
Mendoza – 1.80 WAR (in only season as starter last year)
We’ll be generous and downplay 2012 with a bump for Santana & Guthrie up to a 2WAR average
Current Rotation = 9.0 WAR
(with an expectation of about 930 IP if they all stay healthy)
Now most of the Royals starters greatly underperformed their stats (common for inexperienced pitchers, but it was to the tune of 5.0 ERA from 4.5 FIP/xFIP ~ or about 50 Runs over 900 IP) so an actual 5-6 wins on top of 2012 performance is probably about realistic (Hoch will still under-perform in 2013)
Congratulations, the Royals are now about a 77-85 club with their new 30MM Rotation
Comment by blahblahblah — November 21, 2012 @ 1:45 pm
That said, yes, the Yankees can overspend for average-at-best and come out ahead because they are already a base-line winning club. (Hughes and Nova combined for a bit below average, but also managed 28 Wins. Compare that to the similar production from Mendoza and Chen resulting in 18 wins for the Royals in 2012)
The real hard fact is, Average-at-best will mean next to nothing for the Royals – well, other even then even less experience for the Kids who need to play eventually; especially since they are the keys to the 2014/2015 seasons
Comment by blahblahblah — November 21, 2012 @ 1:59 pm
David Glass only because Bill Bavasi would be too offensive.
Got a question for you guys. If you were either a free agent, or an agent for one, that just cant quite find work this year, aside from two teams, with identical offers, which do you take the job with? The teams, KC Royals, or Miami Marlins. One or the other is your team for the year.
No, it isn’t. Why would you bother even pointing out his SSS in 2013. At his best he was a 2.6 WAR pitcher. He’s worse now. And getting older. And the Royals DESPERATELY need high quality arms, not more Bruce Chens. Dayton completely wiffed on this and the Royals and their fans will suffer immensely.
Comment by The Ghost of Todd Burns — November 23, 2012 @ 8:12 pm
Comment by The Ghost of Todd Burns — November 23, 2012 @ 8:12 pm
Jeremy Guthrie wouldn’t crack the rotations of any of the teams that made the playoffs. So if your goal is to not make the playoffs, then yeah…Great Signing.
Comment by The Ghost of Todd Burns — November 24, 2012 @ 2:41 pm
Greinke/Hellickson would be pretty far from outstanding.
Rany Jazayerli likes this signing a whole lot more than Cameron does.
At least Jazayerli had the wherewithal to point out the high flyball/home run rate occurred when Guthrie was pitching in Colorado, which Cameron fails to note.
If all one knew about Guthrie came from Cameron’s article, they wouldn’t even know that it was a tale of two seasons for Guthrie. During the first half in Colorado, his ERA was 7.22, but in KC it was 3.77.
I thought the whole point of analysis is supposed to enlighten people, rather than obscure the facts.
Comment by Dodger300 — November 25, 2012 @ 9:37 am
I thought this was an article to be commented on, not two sources to be critiqued.