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  1. It’s definitely fun to be a Royals fan right now… I’m just crossing my fingers that the overwhelming amount of talent and potential in the system starts translating into wins in the near future.

    Comment by Daniel — August 15, 2011 @ 2:04 pm

  2. I wonder what kind of a play they might make within the free agent market. I would wait another year, but a surprise singing would be nice and beneficial.

    Comment by baty — August 15, 2011 @ 2:12 pm

  3. Just so everyone is aware–Gordon’s BABIP, while a likely candidate for regression, has also been accompanied by a revamped hitting approach this season. As Royals fans know, he spent most of the offseason working adamantly with Kevin Seitzer. His new swing has leveled off a little, basically allowing him to make better contact. While the BABIP may be unsustainable, he still has his plate discipline and power. I’d say you could put him down for 40-45 doubles and 18-20 HR–which is perfectly fine.

    Comment by hawkinscm — August 15, 2011 @ 2:33 pm

  4. GMDM ought to look into resigning Francouer and or Melky, then packaging them to the Rockies, a team with two LH OF(Smith, Gonzalez) and two young LH CF(Wheeler, Blackmon) for Iannetta or Fowler.

    A Smith/Francouer RF Platoon would be pretty nice upgrade for COL, and management seems to be less than in love with the two cost controlled up the middle players with above average defense and BB%.

    Comment by Mr. wOBAto — August 15, 2011 @ 2:35 pm

  5. I think the Royals should only keep Gordon. His BABIP isn’t too far afield from his 20% LD%. And it’s close to his career average too. I’d be willing to bet the other two are complete flukes.

    Comment by Oasis — August 15, 2011 @ 2:35 pm

  6. “Every team needs some kind of veteran presence”

    Care to provide any evidence of this? I’ve seen none and will continue to consider that cliche manager/commentator speak until I am shown to the contrary. What exactly do veterans provide that young players can’t? I get that the arguement isn’t quantifyable, but baseball is one of the most individual team sports there is – and having certain people around doesn’t make a given player any better IMO.

    Comment by RK — August 15, 2011 @ 2:40 pm

  7. *spit take*

    That’s so stupid on so many levels. O’Dowd might do something like after after a high speed car crash with a severe concussion but nobody is THAT dumb. The clock is ticking on Francoeur and it’s almost midnight.

    Comment by Oasis — August 15, 2011 @ 2:46 pm

  8. I think that statement is specific to the Royals situation. You can’t have a roster that almost entirely relies on the projection of 20-25 year olds. It’s not that they need a veteran presence specifically, but they need presence of stable production/expectation to balance things out.

    Comment by baty — August 15, 2011 @ 2:51 pm

  9. …which more likely occurs with experience

    Comment by baty — August 15, 2011 @ 2:53 pm

  10. Why wouldn’t the Rockies just cut out the middle man and sign Francouer themselves? The scenario you laid out makes a little more sense for Melky, though the Royals would clearly have to add a substantial piece or two to go from Melky to either Iannetta or Fowler.

    P.S. Iannetta’s defense is in no way, shape, or form above average. He’s a good hitter for the position, but his defensive abilities leave much to be desired.

    Comment by Sean O'Neill — August 15, 2011 @ 2:54 pm

  11. There’s some evidence to the contrary. Just looking at Francoeur, the article above fails to mention he’s walking at a 6.4% clip this year compared to a 5.1% clip for his career. It’s bumped his OBP up near average levels. So now he doesn’t have to crush the ball to compensate, he can get by with what power he has.

    The knock on the guy was never his physical attributes, it was his approach. He’s been more patient for almost a year, it’s time to start considering he’s turned a corner.

    Comment by Deadpool — August 15, 2011 @ 3:04 pm

  12. With limited financial resources, the Royals should pick one of the three (I would vote Gordo) and sign him this off-season.
    If Gordon repeats his production next year, and he’s only one year from free agency, his price increases dramatically. If the Royals think his season is legit, it’s a worthwhile risk to commit to him now.
    I think the “wait and see” approach would be correct for a team with more resources, but if the Royals wait and see his price tag go up, it’s just less money they have to fill other holes (like that awful rotation).

    Comment by MoreHR's&LesNorman — August 15, 2011 @ 3:12 pm

  13. If anything, I would think the opposite is true of the Royal’s situation. Think of it like a stock market challenge, the winner is the one who buys the riskiest stocks and gets lucks. Buying bonds (if you can call any of those OFs safe or stable) will likely land you in the middle) and that’s if everyone starts with the same amount of money. The Royals have to take more risks than anyone if they intend to seriously contend long term given their competitive disadvantage in terms of money.

    I do understand that predictability is worth something and teams want to pick their spots to take risks, but the “veteran presence” arguement is never framed like that – in this article or elsewhere – it’s always that the team needs some old guys around to tell the young guys how to play better which I believe has little to no meaningfull impact on performance.

    Comment by RK — August 15, 2011 @ 3:17 pm

  14. How do you think this will affect Wil Myers’ ETA? I know it was originally predicted to be mid-2012, but with his struggles combined with the Royals’ OF productivity, I wonder if it will hold him down longer.

    Comment by Ben — August 15, 2011 @ 3:31 pm

  15. The Royals have the “luxury” of being patient with guys like Myers and Christian Colon now that they’re evaluating their current nucleus at the ML level. I’d say the current odds are 85% that Colon repeats AA and 60% that Myers does the same.

    Comment by Daniel — August 15, 2011 @ 4:06 pm

  16. While most on Fangraphs may like to, you cannot ignore the psychological limitations and needs of human beings.

    What a “veteran presence” (of course one who actually can play too) could do for a young team is to provide experience on the life of being a major leaguer. Tolerating failure, being comfortable with the exposure you get, instilling confidence, encouragement are all things a MLB player needs to learn in addition to hitting, catching and throwing.

    Sure there are probably some young players that could provide that, but the likelihood is (especially these days) that a bunch of young 20’s kids have a great deal of personal immaturity. It’s more likely an older 30’s-ish player may have better insight into managing what’s between the ears. These guys serve to keep the younger guys “in line” and could at as an extension of a teams coaching staff.

    Having a workplace filled with guys who generally get along and strive to pick each other up during bad days is very helpful to overall production. This could be a factory, a sales floor, or a baseball team. Players with more experience have more validity than younger players because they have been through more as players and as people. This adds a net value to a team provided said veteran still has usable on-field skills.

    While players perform individually at the plate, no one knows whats going on inside them. I know Ive had jobs where Ive hit the wall, gotten discouraged and had performance suffer as a result. I’ve also had people try and help. Some can, some only makes matters worse. I’m sure we’ve all experienced this to some extent. My point- Sometimes all it takes for a young player to click is to have the right encouragement and support. It’s always easier to do better while mostly content and comfortable.

    Comment by fothead — August 15, 2011 @ 4:44 pm

  17. Because the royals have a team option with francouer

    Comment by William — August 15, 2011 @ 4:46 pm

  18. sorry mutual option. I bet the royals pick it up, don’t know about francouer

    Comment by William — August 15, 2011 @ 4:47 pm

  19. You guys forget that many a very good ballplayer never saw much major league time until they were 27 years old. It is very likely that all three of these players were just brought to the majors to soon and are just now becoming who they are meant to be. If I was the Royals GM, I would try to sign Frenchy to a decent team deal with 3-4 years and give the others a year to prove they are legit. But, an outfield of these three guys could be a playoff teams outfield easily if this year is not a fluke and it seems somewhat likely to me it isn’t. 27 is not old by any measure!

    Comment by kick me in the GO NATS — August 15, 2011 @ 5:56 pm

  20. Same story for Frenchy and Melky. Gordon gets a lot of press for the change, but he’d actually made most of those changes last September. Frenchy was still struggling with the changes Seitzer made with him the last week of ST. Melky got into great shape in the offseason. He reminds me so much of Johnny Damon now that he’s filled out and works on his conditioning.

    That has become a scary all-around outfield in the context of their ballpark.

    Comment by Paul — August 15, 2011 @ 9:48 pm

  21. Right. I don’t think Frenchy is a fluke, but I also would not sign him long-term because he’s just a guy on a championship team – although his defense is so good that you deal with his problems against righthanders.

    Melky is a different story. I can’t believe if anybody has watched him this year they’d think what he’s doing is fluky. He regularly takes pitchers pitches and just hammers them. I actually think this is his jumping off point. He’s arb eligible and a likely type A FA after next season. Extremely valuable.

    Comment by Paul — August 15, 2011 @ 9:52 pm

  22. Not sure how Lorenzo Cain and Wil Myers get overlooked here. Cain in particular gives them the luxury of letting Frenchy take his option or just letting him walk. Not only is Cain just as good, he’s more athletic and he has a cannon for an arm. They can just plug him in and let Melky increase his value staying in CF on a dirt cheap salary out of his last arb year. The Royals would be absolute, damn fools to even entertain the notion of long term deals for Frenchy and Melky. In 2013 the OF is Gordon-Cain-Myers.

    Comment by Paul — August 15, 2011 @ 9:55 pm

  23. O’Dowd is not a fan of either Fowler or Iannetta he has sent them both to AAA in the last year(Fowler twice) for basically being who they are, elite BB%, K too much and don’t hit for high average. Melky definitely makes more sense but Alex Gordon(especially if he can play an average 3B) makes the most sense.

    Comment by Mr. wOBAto — August 16, 2011 @ 1:23 am

  24. Mutual option = no option. Mutual options are never picked up by both sides.

    Comment by marlu — August 16, 2011 @ 11:05 am

  25. There’s no reason for sign-and-trades in baseball. When you sign a free agent, he usually has zero marginal value since you just paid full price for him. The only reason you see this in other sports is because of salary cap rules.

    Comment by marlu — August 16, 2011 @ 11:08 am

  26. What a “veteran presence” (of course one who actually can play too) could do for a young team is to provide experience on the life of being a major leaguer. Tolerating failure, being comfortable with the exposure you get, instilling confidence, encouragement are all things a MLB player needs to learn in addition to hitting, catching and throwing.

    Knowing where to eat in each city, knowing what bars (strip clubs, etc) to avoid, knowing what time you need to leave the hotel to get to the stadium in time, etc.

    Veteran players know a whole lot of stuff, about the game and each city, that young players would benefit from knowing … rather than everyone having to learn the hard way.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — August 16, 2011 @ 12:02 pm

  27. Be careful about drawing a conclusion like that based on percentages. That 1.3% off his career norms amounts to just 6.5 more walks this season over the course of his 505 PA. Certainly not enough to discount random variation. And actually, if you disregard his his first full season and his abysmal 2009 he’s walking at a rate right in line with the rest of his career.

    It’s pretty clear though looking at the plate discipline stats that he’s changed his approach. He’s taking more strikes than he ever has before, while at the same time seeing far fewer strikes than he has in years past. The major spike it would seem though is the amount of contact he’s making with pitches outside the strike zone. I may’ve done the math wrong here with only a couple minutes to do it on my lunch break, but his new approach seems to have increased the number of pitches he sees per AB by about .25.

    Comment by saucypony — August 16, 2011 @ 1:44 pm

  28. I know they have a bright future, but if my team had an entire OF having career seasons, I would hope they could do better than last place in a bad division. That young pitching better arrive, and soon, if they are going to start contending.

    Comment by test — August 16, 2011 @ 2:54 pm

  29. Joe,
    Here’s your comment on Francoeur I want to remind you of and to state how inaccurate your perspective is. Boggers are simply people with opinions and no real link into the executive management suites of sports. Lets see you take your blogging game to a higher level. Thoam

    The Royals clearly like Francoeur, but even they’d have a tough time giving him a substantial three-year deal. If he’ll accept sitting against righties frequently, perhaps the two sides can agree on something like $10 million over two years. Anything more would be out of line with his projectable value.

    Comment by Thoam — August 18, 2011 @ 10:50 am

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