The End of an Era: Mike Jacobs Released

In yet another victory for Kansas City GM Dayton Moore’s “Process,” the Royals released DH/1B Mike Jacobs on Thursday. Mike Jacobs is perhaps most indicative of what has been wrong with many of Dayton Moore’s moves. Jacobs had nearly every telltale sign of being a player to avoid. He was near or at his peak, at age 28 when acquired last year, and was about to receive a relatively large contract in arbitration due to his lofty power numbers. He couldn’t play defense. His fielding percentage was poor, and his UZR was downright atrocious. He couldn’t get on base. Jacobs did one thing well, and that was hit home runs.

Indeed, a player with a .266 ISO can be an interesting player. Perhaps you give up nothing of value, hope you can teach him how to take a walk, and you might have a decent DH on your hands. Possibly. Still, a team in the financial situation of the Royals cannot afford a three million dollar or more reclamation project to sit on their roster, especially when players like Ryan Shealy and Kila Ka’aihue were blocked by this move.

The acquisition of Jacobs is certainly not a franchise crippling move in itself. Leo Nunez, the piece that went to Florida in exchange for Jacobs, is not a good pitcher, despite his upcoming promotion to the closer role upon the departure of Matt Lindstrom. Also, even with a good player in Jacobs’s spot in the lineup, the Royals were not going to reach the playoffs. So why do we make such a big deal out of moves like this one?

The problem is that moves like this, when repeated (Kyle Farnsworth signing for multimillion dollars and multiple years, Jose Guillen’s contract, etc.) are the type of things, that when piled on top of each other, can mire a franchise in mediocrity (or worse) for years. Recently, the Royals have seemed entirely dependent on The Process, as Moore calls it. He has banned bloggers, most prominently Rany Jazayerli, from Kauffman Stadium. Moore seemed to be entirely resistant to any sort of contradictory thoughts to his Process.

This is why the end of the Mike Jacobs era could be significant. By releasing Jacobs, it is an admittance of the mistake of acquiring him in the first place. Is Dayton Moore all of a sudden going to be reading the gospel of The Fielding Bible and quoting UZR and wOBA? Doubtful. But perhaps clearer heads can prevail. If the Royals are ready to admit that what they have done in the past hasn’t worked, it is the first step to finding the correct path in the future.




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28 Responses to “The End of an Era: Mike Jacobs Released”

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  1. NYRoyal says:

    Moore does seem ready to realize mistakes, and then cut his losses and part with a player (See Tomko, Gload, Jacobs, HoRam, etc. but not Guillen). But the problem is that he doesn’t seem to learn from these mistakes. Poor decisions have tended to be repeated and multiplied. He’s completely unaware of fielding metrics. Well, he knows they exist, but doesn’t know what they are. He appears to be uninterested in adding any significant statistical analysis to his front office.

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  2. arch support says:

    Banned bloggers from Kauffman? Who is he, the Pope?

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  3. geo says:

    Moore stated several weeks ago that he realizes that is hasn’t worked:

    “The bottom line,” he (Moore) said, “is it hasn’t worked here. It hasn’t worked.”

    http://www.kansascity.com/sports/royals/story/1554079-p2.html

    But NYRoyal is right, he doesn’t seem to learn from his mistakes.

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  4. @ajwalsh08 says:

    “The problem is that moves like this, when repeated (Kyle Farnsworth signing for multimillion dollars and multiple years, Jose Guillen’s contract, etc.) are the type of things, that when piled on top of each other, can mire a franchise in mediocrity (or worse) for years.”

    John Grabow, Aaron Miles, Bob Howry, Jeromy Burnitz…

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  5. CH says:

    From “The Onion,” today:

    KANSAS CITY, MO—During a Monday conference call with the media, Royals GM Dayton Moore confessed he had “no idea” he was permitted to make player transactions between baseball seasons. “I guess that makes sense. I was always a little surprised when teams came back the next spring with different players,” said Moore, adding that he just assumed most teams made the last of their personnel decisions during Game 7 of the World Series. “I’ve already contacted the agents for Hideki Matsui and John Lackey to try and convince them to play here for free, and I’m working on a trade for Jason Varitek. He’s got something to prove.” Moore said the revelation that he would be working through the winter gave him all the more reason to look forward to his annual October vacation.

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  6. Joser says:

    Yes, realizing you’ve made a mistake is not the same thing as learning not to make it again, as multiply-divorced people will demonstrate (though they may not be able to explain).

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  7. NYRoyal says:

    DM just gave Kendall two guaranteed years. He just keeps making the same mistakes.

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    • JH says:

      No, you see, he’s learning! Last year, the Royals’ catchers gave up too many passed balls. Now, he’s brought in a real-life Crash Davis to make sure that won’t happen! Progress!

      Yes, this is sarcastic. From his comments, though, Moore truly seems to think that catcher defense was the team’s biggest problem last year, not the fact that he spent $10.5 million on mediocre middle relievers last offseason (and that he’s on the hook for $7.75 million to two of them next year, too).

      If Alex Gordon breaks out next year, my heart will bleed for Royals fans. Greinke/Butler/Dejesus/Soria/breakout Gordon would be an enviable core of young, cheap talent for any team. Moore’s complete inability to surround them with solid players means that Royals fans just now getting over the promise of the late-90s/early 00′s squad will get to see yet another group of talented young players fail to contend in KC before moving on to good teams in a few years.

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  8. Basil Ganglia says:

    Dayton is a baseball man with more than 20 years of experience. It’s the same year, repeated more than 20 times.

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  9. DWrek says:

    Hate to say I told you so… Why? Because EVERYONE was first guessing this trade from day 1.

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  10. BrettFan1 says:

    Jacobs actually got a raw deal in this situation. It’s not his fault that he was the wrong answer to the situation that Moore put him in. Looking at his splits from last year and 2008, he did about what should have been expected. He hit RHP for pretty good power and that was about it. His numbers against RHP were down from 2008, but that should have been expected with him moving to the tougher league. It’s not his fault that Hillman insisted on putting him in the lineup against LHP early in the year and then began using him so sporadically that there was no way for him to be consistent. Through it all, he remained professional and by all media accounts had a great attitude in the clubhouse. I would imagine that if someone used him in a strict platoon situation (or picked him up as a DH in a division without many LHP starters) his numbers would come back into line with his previous years.

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  11. JH says:

    Curious how many of the people who blasted Dave Cameron for calling Jacobs a worthless acquisition are still hanging around the Fangraphs forums. Anybody out there?

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    • Jason T says:

      Yeah, I was expecting a cascade of commentators from the clusterf*** of a thread back when Moore signed Jacobs apologizing to Herr Cameron for their behavior. Kudos to Dave for not pointing out them, ‘I f***ing told you so’ as some people love to do with him.

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  12. Ed Nelson says:

    Jason Kendall. 6 Million over TWO years! Wow. One good move in letting Jacobs go, had to be followed by this.

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    • CircleChange11 says:

      I’m just jumping in here as it’s as good a place as any.

      The problem with signings such as these, is even if Kendall puts up 2-3 WAR seasons, the Royals are still far behind 1st place and it doesn;t make much of a difference. For example, Jacobs could have hit 35 HRs, and it’s not a difference maker.

      Someone else in this thread made comments that they would be better off throwing money at international scouting and signings, as well as, high draft picks, and I agree with that.

      Unfortunately for the teams like the Royals, you don;t need 1 or 2 good value veteran signings, what you need for real and lastings improvement is 6-10 very good young players signings/drafts, where they develop, come up together, and make an impact at the same time. That’s easier said than done for certain.

      I feel for the Royals fans. I started following the Royals when Kevin Seitzer made his debut in a great rookie season (87) … Seitzer if from my HS, and his younger brother (Brad) led our legion team to the 87 National Championship, also in 87 (A good year for the Seitzer family, no?). I was on the freshman team at the team.

      Anyway, Royals fans, on average, seem to be very knowledgable fans, and situations such as Alex Gordon have to be extremely frustrating since he was to be THE guy that would make them forget about losing Dye, Beltran, and Damon, etc.

      It has to be frustrating because there just aren’t 1-3 REALLY good FA signings or trades that KCR can make that will “turn it all around”. I don;t envy their GM at all, not that his moves don;t deserve criticism.

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  13. ugen64 says:

    It should be noted that Farnsworth had a pretty good FIP last season, for what it’s worth.

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    • Wolfie says:

      It should be noted that Fransworth could have pitched as well as Mariano and the Royals still would have missed the playoffs by a good 25+ games. Relievers aren’t what the Royals need, and I don’t feel like an argument could be made that Kyle Farnsworth put butts in the seats. You could argue that they need to keep their “stars”, because they keep fans, but Farnsworth is not drawing fans for you.

      Take the 4 million made to him and throw it at some top notch international free agents. Bust the cap on your draft. Take an extra Rule 5 Pick, grab some reliever who might have a shot and stash him in Farnsworth’s roster spot.

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    • JoeIQ says:

      Yes, his tra was also pretty good. Farnsworth isn’t doing a bad job.
      Cruz still has the potential to get it turned around

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      • petejohn says:

        My roommate is a Royals fan, and as such I watched a fair number of their games last season. The odd thing about Farnsworth is that he seemed to pitch horribly when he went in in a close game. If it was a two-run cushion either way, you could pretty much figure he was going to screw something up.

        Now, in a lopsided game? Well that usually went much better.

        Poz looked at it on June 11th on his blog:

        http://joeposnanski.com/JoeBlog/2009/06/11/farnsworth-facts/

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      • CircleChange11 says:

        That’s a very interesting situation/article.

        I followed a rookie reliever this season because he’s from my town (Happ is also from our area), and I noticed something very similar.

        When pitching when his team was trailing or with a big league, it was 1-2-3 innings like clockwork. That got him the opp to pitch in close-game situations where he was initially really successful from then ran into a week where he gave up game losing hits to offensive juggernauts Angel Pagan (Grand Slam) and Nick Stanihovia (3-run HR, after getting Pujols out earlier in the inning). Then he went back to just pitching in games where the outcome was already decided, and then got more opps to pitch in close game situations and did fairly well.

        Talking with the young man, he is still hyped/nervous/anxious in about every situation, since he feels that he is basically one implosion from being sent back to AA. I only bring this up because he did talk about one of the hardest things to learn, “How to control one’s emotions when everything is on the line” (He also talked about developing more than one ‘out pitch’, because unless that pitch is of super quality, teams adjust quickly). I bring this up because it relates to the closer thread/discussion going on here, as well.

        There is something to be said for guys that perform well in these “game deciding” situations, rather than just looking at their total season stats which include everything from a 1 IP save when leading by 3 runs, and those games where a guy is brought in ahead by 1, runners on base and less than 2-outs. Very different situations.

        I think this is valid point in cases such as Lyons in HOU, where he has pitched well as a setup man or other short relief situation, but not as well when given the role of ‘closer’.

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