The Mike Jacobs Trade

Yesterday, the Kansas City Royals acquired Mike Jacobs from the Florida Marlins for reliever Leo Nunez. The Marlins, always in cost-cutting mode, weren’t particularly interested in taking Jacobs to arbitration this winter, and with a team full of bad defenders, opening up first base to hide one of them seems like a pretty good idea. Plus, Nunez’s sparkly 2.98 ERA and 94 MPH fastball have them thinking that he could be a potential late inning reliever. Even though they’re wrong on that count (Nunez’s combination of lots of fly balls and no strikeouts make him a pretty lousy reliever), moving Jacobs before he costs them too much money makes sense for Florida.

But from the other perspective, why on earth does Kansas City want Jacobs? Yes, his power is appealing, and he’s better than his .299 OBP in 2008 would suggest, but even as a .270/.330/.490 guy (which is basically what Marcel has him projected at for 2009), he’s just barely better than a legue average hitter. If we call him +5 runs offensively, then subtract 10 runs for the position adjustment, he’d be a -5 run player if he played league average defense. But he doesn’t – he’s one of the worst defensive first baseman in the game, racking up +/- ratings of -12, -10, and -27 the last three years. Even if we consider 2008 to be an outlier, we’d have to estimate his defensive value at around -10 runs compared to an average first baseman, which we then add to his previous -5 rating, and all of the sudden, Jacobs is about 15 runs worse than a league average first baseman.

That’s replacement level, or just barely above it. Bad defenders who can put up an .800 OPS in the majors are just not that hard to find. All Kansas City had to do was look internally. They already have a similar player in Ryan Shealy, plus Kila Ka’aihue, and Billy Butler, so Jacobs just adds a fourth power hitting DH type to the Royals roster. And, to top it off, he’s going to be the most expensive of the group while potentially being the least productive.

I know the Royals are trying to put a competitive team on the field to draw fans, but this isn’t the way to do it. If Dayton Moore keeps trying to patch the roster with guys like Jacobs and last year’s Jose Guillen signing, he’s just going to prolong the mediocrity. This isn’t how you build a winner.

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Dave is a co-founder of and contributes to the Wall Street Journal.

135 Responses to “The Mike Jacobs Trade”

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  1. bob says:

    You are an idiot. Shealy, Ka’aihue or Butler are not not going to put up 800 OPS. Butler may do it in a year or two, but none would have done it in 09. Plus, Ka’aihue and Butler are no better defensively than Jacobs. Ka’aihue is going to have to spend at least part of the year in AAA. Please learn something about a team before you post on them.

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  2. Dave Cameron says:

    Man, the comments around here have really poor lately. Can the smart people start posting again please?

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  3. Sammy says:

    First of all. Butler will be traded, Jacobs will be DH. Shealy will be at 1B until Kila is ready to play full time. He barely touched AAA last year. Afetr this year or late in the year Kila will take over 1B.

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  4. Jack says:

    Don’t forget about Ross Gload – he can actually field and puts up similar offensive numbers (looking at .wOBA, .338 vs. .339).

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  5. mymrbig says:

    bob, that is one of the funniest comments I have read in a while. Probably the funniest I have ever read on this site. Thanks for the laugh.

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  6. Sammy says:

    There is a good chance Gload will be let go or traded for a bag of beans. He stopped playing 1B after Shealy was called up and he sucks in the OF. KC has 4th OF guys in Maier.

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  7. Sammy says:

    Actually Bob is right, Butler AND Kila are BRUTAL in the field. Shealy is actually very slick around the bag.

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  8. Bob says:

    poor article = poor comments

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  9. Matt says:

    First of all Bob, why couldn’t Shealy put up 800. He’s still pretty untested at the Major League level, and he looked great after being called up this year.

    Second of all, the whole point of this post is that Jacobs is no better than their internal options…defensively or offensively.

    Props on starting out your comment with “You’re an idiot”. You really know how to make people take you seriously.

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  10. Sammy says:

    Jacobs is just fine as a DH, as a 1B, it just isnt happening. Shealy will be the 1B with Kila in AAA. Butler will be traded to a team in need of a young DH/1B like Tampa, Seattle, Baltimore, Texas or even NYY.

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  11. Dave Cameron says:

    Jacobs is a below average DH – if that’s just fine, you’re standards are way too low.

    And really, if your plan is to trade Billy Butler to make room for Mike Jacobs, your plan has all kinds of problems.

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  12. Sammy says:

    How is he a below avg DH? His numbers will go up by leaving FLA. 35-40 hrs from a DH is bad???? His OPS + is 105 for his career and his OBP was low last year, but will go up simply by getting out of that awful stadium in Miami. Look at his home and road splits.

    You dont know how DM feels about Butler do you? He has attitude issues and is lazy. He has a foot out the door, but will land KC a nice return.

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  13. marcello says:

    Why will his numbers go up? He’s going to a tougher league and a tougher park to hit in.

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  14. Sammy says:

    Bottom line is, KC landed a guy that can hit 35 hrs while take pressure off Guillen. Guillen is not the man, and his poor numbers last year were attributed to that. KC will get more, becuase neither of these guys are THE guys either, but they got him for Leo Nunez….KC’s 4th best reliever and a guy that will have arm troubles one day with his frame and torque.

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  15. Sammy says:

    Marcello, look at the numbers. All his Hrs are down the line and Kauffman is more hitter friendly than Pro Player. The line is 15 feet shorter in KC. Tougher league yes.

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  16. Dave Cameron says:

    If games were decided by home run derby, then you might have a good point. In MLB, where not making outs is more important than hitting the ball 450 feet once a week, Jacobs isn’t very good.

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  17. Sammy says:

    No, but you cant win with 9 guys that have have high OBP and no pop. KC needs pop badly. Gordon will post a high OBP, and Guillen and Jacobs OBP will go up, they had career lows last year. New hitting coach too who preaches OBP. Aviles will be in KC a full year will help, no Tony Pena Jr playing will help, and Olivo may be gone will all help the team OBP.

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  18. Dave Cameron says:

    When you stop trying to acquire good players, and start trying to acquire players who are good at a certain thing, you make bad choices.

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  19. Geronimo says:

    Jacobs is not that bad, especially for Nunez. If it was Rosa for Jacobs, I may be more hesitant. I dont see how this is a bad deal for KC.

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  20. Isaac says:

    Sammy, you think Jacobs will jack out 35+ homers? I’ll throw down some fat cash for that one. With the way power has gone down all around baseball and the transition to a new league I would be surprised if he even hits 25.

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  21. Geronimo says:

    Who do you think KC should have gotten for 30 HRS and 3 mil a year? Please do tell. Dunn will cost 15 mil a year. Jacobs in 3 mil. Yes, the OBP is way different, but so is the cost. And to trade for a reliever is just comical. Nunez can be replaced with Rosa who is probably better right now anyways.

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  22. Dave Cameron says:

    You’re missing the entire point – there’s not a roster spot called “30 home run hitter” that Moore had to fill.

    Good teams don’t waste money and playing time on marginal players with no upside. That’s exactly what the Royals have done here. Having Mike Jacobs on the roster is a bad move, regardless of who you gave up for him.

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  23. Sammy says:

    Even if it is 25 hrs…… will be for a reliever who will break down. Jacobs only had 477 ABS last year…….if he gets 600 as DH he will hit 30-35HRS.

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  24. Jason T says:

    “You are an idiot”? F*** sakes, I expect better from people reading Fangraphs.

    I believe Dave’s point (as Matt wrote) is that the Royals really aren’t making a worthwhile improvement here.

    Jacobs, when all is said and done, will be a wash with whomever the Royals would’ve played from within the system. That’s my opinion of course.

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  25. Geronimo says:

    OK…guess they should have done it like the Seattle Mariners way. That is working well. That team is a damn joke.

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  26. Dave Cameron says:

    Right, because we’ve been nothing but supportive of the moves the Mariners have made over the last few years at USSM.

    Seriously, FanGraphs is better than this. This isn’t third grade, my dad can beat up your dad crap. Be smarter.

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  27. marcello says:

    Sammy, park factors have Kaufmann as a tougher place to hit than Pro Player. The common knowledge may be different, but it’s wrong.

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  28. Sammy says:

    “Jacobs, when all is said and done, will be a wash with whomever the Royals would’ve played from within the system. That’s my opinion of course.”

    1- Butler will be traded. Not a fav of the front office. High upside, but no a DH at 22? Come on.
    2- Kila is not ready yet. He barely played AAA. He may be ready late summer to take over full time at 1B.
    3- Shealy will be playing 1B until Kila is ready. Shealy does well, KC trades Shealy and Kila is at 1B.

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  29. Sammy says:

    “Sammy, park factors have Kaufmann as a tougher place to hit than Pro Player. The common knowledge may be different, but it’s wrong.”

    For righties…..not lefties.

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  30. Ryan says:

    OPS+ exaggerates Jacobs’ value. It downplays his inability to get on base. While the Royals didn’t lose much in Nunez, Jacobs isn’t going to help them become competitive and he will end up blocking players with more potential.

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  31. JacobT says:

    I am not familiar with these teams, but by looking at it, Jacobs seems like a steal for nunez. It is not like Jacobs costs alot of money at all and is locked up for 3 years. he can always be traded down the road.

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  32. sammy says:

    “OPS+ exaggerates Jacobs’ value. It downplays his inability to get on base. While the Royals didn’t lose much in Nunez, Jacobs isn’t going to help them become competitive and he will end up blocking players with more potential”

    Who is it blocking? Hosmer and Moustakas wont be DH. It wont block Kila becuase he isnt ready yet. The FO does not like Butler and he will be shipped out ala Delmon Young did when he was in Tampa. Shealy can tackle 1B and do it well until Kila is ready. If the keep Shealy and Kila, they can deal Jacobs next winter.

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  33. Alex says:

    Wow a comment every 2 minutes. Could this be a record?

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  34. Kevin says:

    How good is Nunez?

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  35. bob says:

    this all makes me laugh

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  36. Ryan says:

    Sammy, you’re saying that trading for Jacobs will allow the Royals deal Butler. I don’t see how this can be construed as a good move, regardless of what the front office thinks of Butler. He is being replaced with a more expensive player who has a much lower ceiling.

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  37. Sammy says:

    “Sammy, you’re saying that trading for Jacobs will allow the Royals deal Butler. I don’t see how this can be construed as a good move, regardless of what the front office thinks of Butler. He is being replaced with a more expensive player who has a much lower ceiling.”

    No, saying he is or was going to be traded no matter what. Just watch. The Jacobs deal seals his fate. Again, you dont follow the team, he is not liked in the clubhouse or FO. Butler can help the team fill in other needs. Kila is just as good as Butler, but he is not ready yet. Neither one of them can really field, but Kila is better than Butler. Butler is a 22 year old bat, with no position and it is a wasted roster spot the way things are in KC. 22 is way to young to just be a DH.

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  38. Alec says:

    can we trade gload i mean someone has to need a backup with great defense and we don’t even know if Ka’aihue is even good yet so come on Butler at first Jacobs DH and lets try to go get some other good guys but I will miss Nunez very much

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  39. Ryan says:

    “Shealy can tackle 1B and do it well until Kila is ready. If the keep Shealy and Kila, they can deal Jacobs next winter.”

    I don’t think the Royals acquired Jacobs to be a one-year stopgap until Kila is ready to DH. If that’s the case and they are able to deal Butler for some good prospects now and unload Jacobs next offseason, then I’d be shocked.

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  40. Sammy says:

    Nunez is good, but Carlos Rosa is better. Julio Pimentel also may be ready soon.

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  41. Alec says:


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  42. TC says:

    I must of missed the season that Ryan Shealy, Kila Ka’aihue and/or BIlly Butler put up 32 HRs 93 RBIs and OPS around .800 or better. Oh wait, no I didn’t. Look, Jacobs isn’t going to be KC’s 1B in 2012, 2013 but he immediately improves their offense(especially their power.) For anyone to not understand the reasons behind this deal and then post the nonsense that this site not only does a dis-service to baseball fans but the site itself. If you’re going to make comments at least do your homework and learn the situations behind the moves. Don’t just say, “this guy isn’t that good compared to this guy, so this team is stupid for picking him up” because that’s foolish. Kila is terrible at 1B right now, Butler is average at best during short stints. They are both DH’s. Back in 2006 KC got Shealy from Colorado, hoping that he would become that guy at 1B with some pop. 2 1/2 years later KC is still hoping. Wow, he had a great September. Only problem with that is he had a decent August and September of 2006 as well. That didn’t help him in 2007 though. He11, he was even hurt some this year again. The guy is not dependable and KC had no dependable, PROVEN guys. THAT’S why they made the trade. That and the fact that they only had to give up a reliever who throws heat, but can’t strike out too many hitters, while also being an injury concern every year. It was a no brainer for KC.

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  43. Base says:

    I love this misconception that the royals suddenly have a log jam at first. When you finish the season two years in a row as the worst or second worst offensive team in the AL- there isn’t a player in the line-up that should be gauranteed or penciled as a starter.

    I’m not sure where the idea that Shealy is a proven MLB talent. he has had spurts and shown flashes, but consistent… far from it. And waiting around for Billy to fulfill his potential is like waiting for some .com stock from the 90′s to finally appreciate in value. it could happen but it very well couldn’t either.

    And teh Royals coudl rush up Kila and see how he is, but they’ve already tried that approach, it was called the Allard Baird era.

    Sure the Royals had a lot of pegs at first base but none I’d want to hang my hat on.

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  44. Alec says:

    thank you TC u rock!

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  45. Alec says:

    except butler can get better than average

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  46. Long Cold Winter says:

    This is just the first of many trades by Dayton Moore in the Hot Stove League. It’s all part of a larger picture that won’t be clear until next March. Look for GMDM to move Billy Butler somewhere… maybe the Yankees OR the Rays (in a package deal with somebody else) for Edwin Jackson since Tampa Bay has David Price ready to enter the rotation. Jackson would be a snice addition to KC’s rotation.

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  47. bob says:

    I’m sorry Matt and Dave, you are both so right. The Royals should have traded Nunez for Prince Fielder, or maybe Ryan Howard. Damned GMDM. I wish the Royals would hire either of you to get off your lazy asses and bring the Royals to greatness with all of your intelligence and such.

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  48. Timmy says:

    Mike Jacobs is not that good. If you wanna play him as an everyday DH then be my guest. This guys back, ankle, calf, thigh always hurts and he CAN’T hit lefties. And this guy pulls everything and its only 330 ft down the RF line (at Dolphin Stadium) so stop saying his numbers will go up playing at Kauffman because it’s the same down the line. This guy is 28 years old and this was his first year of hitting over 30 HR’s. A 25 year old reliever who throws 94 and posts an ERA under 3 in the AL is WAYYYYYYY more valuable than a injury plague 28 year old who pulls everything and can’t hit lefties. Lots of people’s power #’s don’t always translate.

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  49. bob says:

    Dave Cameron, I’ll but my doctoral degree up against your GED any day.

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  50. bob says:

    Timmy, all of the elite pitching has gone from the AL to the NL: Santana, Haren, Sabathia . . . and now Nunez.

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  51. Timmy says:

    Ok so I guess Liriano, Cliff Lee, Justin Verlander (off year still can be dominant), Felix Hernandez (has the stuff), Josh Beckett, Dice-K, Jon Lester, Scott Kazmir, James Shields, Roy Halladay all suck? I would love for you to tell them that.

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  52. dan says:

    As we all know, having a doctorate is the ultimate measure of baseball intelligence. Dave, you better back down, this fight is lost.

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  53. bob says:

    Timmy, please stop trying to put words in my mouth, are aren’t even very good at trying to put them in your own. Those guys are good to great pitchers, but none of them, save maybe Halladay and Beckett in the play-offs, are on par with the three I just mentioned plus Peavy and Webb. And Kazmir? Please.

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  54. mymrbig says:

    bob, you truly are hilarious. Let’s pretend for a second that Jacobs is a slight upgrade over Butler/Kila/Shealy. I don’t think he is for Dave’s aforementioned reasons, but lets pretend he is a slight upgrade overall. Who cares? He isn’t so much of an upgrade that it is worth paying him millions more than the alternatives. Those millions could be better spent. And while Nunez isn’t anything special, I think you can argue that in terms of performance, the difference between Jacobs and the other alternatives is worth pretty close to the difference between Nunez and who ever absorbs his innings in the bullpen.

    So best case scenario, the Royals are going to pay $3 million (or whatever Jacobs makes) to net maybe 1 win. But the win doesn’t matter (because they will suck, regardless) and the money could have been better used.

    I mean, you might have a point if Jacobs had good upside or something, but his upside is kind of league average. So even if he is league average, how does his acquisition help the Royals in any real sense? They still aren’t making the playoffs, they are paying him more than they need, they give up a marginally valuable relief arm, and they might block a younger, cheaper player with similar (or greater) upside.

    Keep it coming though, your comments are good stuff!

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  55. bob says:

    dan , are you and Mr. Cameron the Dan vs. Dave from those 80′s commercials? I loved you guys in those spots, too bad neither of you got the gold . . . I never claimed to be the ultimate baseball intellectual, I just know more about the Royals than your pole vaulting buddy Dave.

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  56. Timmy says:

    AJ Burnett, Joba Chamberlain, John Lackey, John Danks, Matt Garza, Jon Papelbon, Mariano Riveria, Francisco Rodriguez, David Price, Joakim Soria, Jered Weaver, Joe Saunders all these pitchers completely suck.

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  57. bob says:

    Again Timmy, if you are going to attempt to debate me, can you please at least try to talk about the same thing. Please???

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  58. BrettJMiller says:


    Ryan Howard was a below average player in 2008. Bringing him in would merely upgrade 1B from “Terrible” to “Below average”.

    This thread is hilarious. I’m sorry Dave, that you now post in two places with comments of this quality… :( People can’t even think of creative insults–”I’ll put my doctoral degree against your GED any day”


    I fucking hate the internet sometimes.

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  59. Watcher says:

    Unfortunately, the rule of Internet comments is again proven. The quality of your comments is inversely proportional to the popularity of your site. Dave, congratulations, your readership is clearly on the upswing even though the discourse may never be the same.

    Keith Law is also anti-Jacobs is a column today on “Players who make outs in over 70 percent of their plate appearances can’t play every day in a corner spot unless the team’s goal is to score as few runs as possible…he is useless against lefties…Is a terrible defensive first baseman, possibly the worst in baseball.”

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  60. bob says:

    Thank you mymrbig. Jacobs may or may not mean the end of Butler, I don’t pretend the know that and you shouldn’t either (because you don’t). First lets get this out of the way. There was no way KK was going to go anywhere but AAA to start the season, so take him out of your argument. Second, Jacob is A LOT better than Shealy. Shealy is OLDER than Jacobs and hasn’t proven he can do anything consistently. Most players don’t have “potential” at 29, and neither does Shealy. This is not a long term solution, that was just drafted, but he is a stop gap that is an improvement over anything we have that is major league ready.

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  61. Timmy says:

    Ok sorry bob. We can all agree on this. The Royals suck and won’t win or be close to winning their division in 10 years. Have fun with your terrible baseball team

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  62. Marcel says:

    Jacobs has a career OBP of .318. You cannot be a good player with that low of an OBP unless you are Adam Everett. It is simply not possible. I don’t care how many homeruns he hits, it will not help that offense. The Royals only had 5 players with an above-average OBP last season and two of those players appeared in fewer than 100 games. If you really belive that SLG will help this team more than OBP percentage, then think about this. Only two AL teams, OAK and SEA, scored fewer runs than KC last year. Both of those teams hit more homeruns than KC and they were also the only two teams in the league to post a lower OBP. OBP is more important than SLG. That fact simply cannot be stressed enough.

    And as for Moore wanting to dump Butler because of his work-ethic… well, it’s just ridiculous. You don’t just dump a 22-year old with that much hitting talent. You find a way to get him motivated. Bring in a veteran that can help get him on track (no, Jose Guillen does not, in any fucking way, count.) But getting rid of a young, talented, and cheap hitter and replacing him with an older, poorer, and more expensive hitter is not the way to win at baseball.

    Just some food for thought, there was a young pitcher that was loaded with talent, but had a poor work-ethic. He was traded three times before a veteran that he respected took him to task; after which he started working his butt off and turned his talent into results. 18 years later, we’re having debates on whether or not Curt Schilling has quite enough on his resume to make the HoF. You don’t give up on talented 22-year olds. End of story.

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  63. bob says:

    BrettJMiller, are you jealous that Dave has a GED? I’m sorry, but the major league leader in home runs is a far cry from below average. Brett, you may want to actually watch a baseball game now and again instead of simply reading your stat sheets.

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  64. bob says:

    Thank you Timmy. Have fun playing video games in your mom’s basement.

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  65. Marcel says:

    Kazmir has (when his slider is working) three plus pitches, and his fastball is simply one of the best in the game right now. If he could bring his command up from where it currently stand (around 40) up to a 50 or 55, he could be one of the most domiant pitchers in the game. So please, direct your sarcasm to a pitcher more deserving of it.

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  66. Vegas Test says:

    As a Marlins fan let me just tell you that we look at this trade as addition by subtraction. You can try to put as much perfume on a pig as possible but it’s still a pig…

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  67. Ryan says:

    I think it comes down to this:

    A. Butler + Shealy – below average DH/1B combo with good upside.
    B. Jacobs + Shealy – below average DH/1B combo with average upside.

    As it stands like that, I like option A better. The difference is that with option B, Dayton Moore can trade Billy Butler (in a package deal or one-for-one) to fill one of the other needs on the roster (SP, C, OF).

    If Moore can flip Butler for a #3 starter or a legitimate position player, the Royals win this trade. If Moore finds that the market for Butler isn’t as plentiful as he thought, then the Royals lose out in this trade.

    Or… maybe Moore does the totally unexpected and says 1B defense be damned… Butler/Jacobs/Shealy are my 3-headed platoon for 1B/DH: Butler plays 80% of the time and Shealy and Jacobs both play 60% of the time. And Kila fills in (when he’s ready) for whoever is the least productive.

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  68. Base says:

    Well that’s just sexist Vegas….

    But in all seriousness what should the Royals do:

    Play Butler, have him become the mental midget he became last year, then move on to Shealy;

    Have Shealy tear whatever tendon he has left to tear, bring up Kila;

    Have Kila prove that he is unproven and not ready for the Show, ruin his development and tack on another ruined Royal prospect;

    Move on to plan D and have Gload take the majority of the AB for 1B?

    Been down that road before and 08′s sucked. That scenerio is just as likely as to play out as Jacobs is to increase his OBP and D. And the Royals dealt from thier deepest spot the pen. So it didn’t cost them that much.

    We’ll take your addition by subtraction Marlins because, well, our sum of staying put isn’t that impressive.

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  69. Chris Miller says:

    This thread is ridiculous. Jacobs is close to a replacement level 1B (Offense + Defense) and maybe a 1 WAR DH.

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  70. Mike P says:

    This thread has been a classic.

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  71. YC says:

    This thread is the most ridiculous, hilarious, and most stupid thread in Fangraphs history… all at the the same time.

    Seriously, what happened to this place? I thought this was the last place where people like Bob would come to. What’s next? Casual fans raiding BP and THT?

    I really feel sorry for Dave. Keep up the great work. You know that the people that really matter greatly appreciate what you do.

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  72. Jason T says:

    Bah, it’s the same people who troll USSM. I always imagine it’s Geoff Baker or something.

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  73. Bob says:

    So, YC, people who disagree with your hero Dave don’t matter? That is a really low thing to say.

    What your buddy Dave doesn’t get is that the Royals are looking for stop gap. GMDM is looking to improve the line-up position by position. Jacobs is better than Gload, period. Anyone who thinks that Gload (and this is really who the Royals are replacing) is as good as Jacobs is probably beyond help.

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  74. Clicky says:

    I just wanted to be part of this discussion.

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  75. Jerry says:

    Seriously. Who knew such a low-level trade could incite such a riot.

    This truly is a classic – I think we’ve hit almost every common logical fallacy out there. Sorry this is the response you receive to your work, Dave. But as Watcher pointed out, it simply proves your audience is expanding (for better or worse.)

    Let’s look at some of the highlights of the discussion thus far:

    “You are an idiot.”
    - Always the best way to begin your argument.

    “please stop trying to put words in my mouth, are aren’t even very good at trying to put them in your own.”
    - He may be better at typing them though…

    “you may want to actually watch a baseball game now and again instead of simply reading your stat sheets.”
    “Have fun playing video games in your mom’s basement.”
    -Bam! There it is! I’m actually surprised it took so long to come up. Bob, what are you doing reading Fangraphs anyway?

    Other notable mentions include the obligatory ALLCAPSRUNONPOST, and the proposed confrontation between (assumed) formal schooling completion levels.

    As entertaining as this has been, I do hope that this classic thread is an anomaly. I have come to expect a higher level of discourse from Fangraphs, and hope it will continue.

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  76. Bob says:

    Jerry, I’m sorry I dared question your hero Dave. I do admire your snobbishness and appreciate your holier than thou remarks. I’ll try to remember that only those who agree with Dave are wanted.

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  77. Dave B says:

    I’m a lifelong Royals fan and a baseball coach, and there’s no doubt about it, this is a very good move by the Royals. GMDM has a great eye for talent and value. I suspect there is a good chance Jacobs at 28, becomes a more complete player. I’ll bet many of you, just like almost everyone else, thought Gil Meche was a bad deal too. How’s that workin out?
    The Royals needed LH power. They got some for 3MM a year. While OBP is very important, somebody to drive them in against RHP is kinda important. He will also allow Guillen to move up to the #3 spot, while providing him protection in the #4 spot. If he drives in 100 RBI, and provides more fastballs for Guillen, he’s done his job. His chances are improved for better production in the AL w/o the pitchers spot in the lineup. That’s one more guy OB for him batting 4th.
    I think Butler should go to AAA, with Kila, unless he can be packaged for a LHSP or another LH OF with proven production.
    Shealy goes to 1B, until he either fails or gets hurt. That makes the lineup look like this:
    DeJesus CF
    Aviles SS
    Guillen RF
    Jacobs DH/1B
    Shealy 1B/DH
    Gordon 3B
    Teahen or FA like Bradley/Ibanez
    Buck/Olivo C
    Callaspo 2B

    Teahen is the only weak link in that lineup, and he is likely to both improve, and/or become the 4th OF/backup 1B/3B with a FA signing. He is also a viable 1B defensive replacement for Jacobs with the lead.

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  78. don says:

    Jacobs is a nothing more than a mediocre player who had one season with a decent number of HRs, but that 3% HR/FB rate from Nunez isn’t too likely to repeat either. I don’t know KC’s budget but 3M just isn’t that much to take a flier on a guy for most teams in MLB. It probably won’t help them, but it probably won’t hurt them much either.

    Odds of Jacobs hitting 30 out again next year are in my opinion pretty long… he hit 37 total the two prior seasons with the same amount of playing time and he’s moving to the better league.

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  79. Adam says:

    Okay, Dave B, enough is enough is enough is enough…the concept of Teahen being “the only weak link” in a line-up in which the 3/4/5 hitters are Jose Guillen/Mike Jacobs/Ryan Shealy almost made me spit up my dinner. Are you even moderately aware of the process involved in scoring runs?

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  80. Jerry says:

    Argumentum ad hominem…
    I think I’ve made my point.

    It has nothing to do with disagreeing with Dave – I couldn’t care less.
    It has everything to do with being able to disagree without sounding like an a$$hole.

    FWIW, I don’t think this is a horrible, crippling move. Just that there are certainly better ways to spend the money to build a real contender.

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  81. Austin says:

    I apologize for the other Royals fans on here, but…

    Remember that our first baseman last year was Ross Gload, who had a .244 EQA. Even if Jacob’s below average, he’s still an upgrade from Gload.

    I understand that we could’ve picked up a replacement level 1B from the minors for pennies, and that would’ve been my preference. But Nunez wasn’t anything special at all, and the $3 million or so Jacobs earns in arbitration won’t affect the rest of the Royals’ offseason plans.

    This trade might not have made us better as of today, but it’s a long offseason, and there’ll plenty more movement in Kansas City. I hope Butler stays put – as someone pointed out earlier, you don’t deal 22 year olds with his minor league track record – but if he goes out, he ought to bring in a young starting catcher (Teagarden? Clement?), which could very well make us a better team.

    I don’t know. As a statistically minded Royals fan, I don’t like the trade, but I don’t hate it. I understand why it was made, and I know there are plenty more moves to come. Stay tuned…

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  82. Sammy told Marcello to look at the numbers, that “All his Hrs are down the line”.
    Really? I checked, and they’re not.

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  83. Jason T says:

    Wow, thanks for the link, Harry. Looks like mostly right down the power alley shots.

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  84. Aaron B. says:

    Nunez is probably just an 11th or 12th pitcher on a staff. No argument that the Royals really didn’t give up much. I’d wish they’d give Butler a legit shot at playing, but really, aside from blocking Butler (who should DH anyway), this move’s not going to hurt the Royals that much (unless they send Butler back to the minors again. sorry, off-topic again).

    Austin: Butler’s not bringing either of those two by himself. I don’t think the Royals really have the pieces for Teagarden (unless they do something crazy like Greinke, Moustakas and Butler. and that would be crazy on the Royals’ side), and the Seattle guys seem to want to give Clement a legit chance at becoming an everyday catcher (or player anyway).

    And people please, could we all be a little more cordial? This is just a discussion. Plus this trade’s probably going to swing either team by what, 1.5 wins max?

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  85. steady d says:

    2008 Royals vs RHP .690 OPS (tied for last in AL), 435 Runs Scored (14th in AL)
    2008 Royals vs LHP .774 OPS (6th in AL, Indians are 5th with .775) 256 Runs Scored (2nd in AL)

    Mike Jacobs vs RHP:
    career .269/.329/.521 .850 OPS
    2008 .257/.315/.542 .857 OPS

    Top 2008 Royals vs RHP in 2008 (minimum 75 PA)
    DeJesus .875 OPS
    Gordon .861 OPS
    Aviles .765 OPS
    Teahen .708 OPS

    The Royals already hit LHP fairly well among other AL teams. As they face RHP approximately 70% of the time and are dead last among AL teams Jacobs represents an improvement to the offense in an area that desperately needs it.

    For a team that already hits RHP well it might not make sense but it does make sense for the Royals.

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  86. David Foy says:

    WOW, i have been reading FanGraphs for a long time, this is the most comments I have ever seen on the site and sadly this will go down as the nastiest and silliest treads ever on the site. I hope that the readership hasn’t changed so much that we have lost the ability to use a full range of evidence to support our claims and the intellectual honesty to not cherry pick evidence.

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    • Kurt says:

      Dave doesn’t believe in that, whenever you don’t bow down to his thoughts he censors you. Wait that’s only on U.S.S. Mariner. It’s actually really annoying that he is a Mariner fan, I’d rather Dave was a Yankee fan… It’s like nailing Jessica Biel and then afterwards you realize that Justin Timberlake is still dickin’ her down. It makes you lose the appreciation for what you have. Dave is a egomaniac that thinks his opinion is that of a God and is beyond someone contesting it. For all the people that jump on his nuts, I’m sorry that you’ve grown up to believe that thinking for yourself is a priviledge and not a right. Dave Cameron is not the final word on baseball stat analysis, otherwise his work would be owned by a major league team and he wouldn’t have time to run two sites (badly).

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  87. Professor Jackass says:

    Hi Dave,

    There’s no way to drag this argument more into the crapper than to start focusing on grammar, but there is an error with your mission statment at the end of the article that I think you should fix. A phrase like “well run team” should have a hyphen between the words “well” and “run.” When two words work together as an adjective, we hyphenate them; that is Comp I stuff right there.


    A Concerned Reader

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  88. Jason says:

    Steady D, some things wrong with your argument from my perspective:
    1. OPS improperly weights OBP and SLG as the same, OBP is actually worth quite a bit more than SLG.
    2. Your comparison’s to other position players on the Royals is moot. If you’re worried about those guys’ performance vs RHP, then you should be hoping they upgrade those positions, not 1B.
    3. You sort of cherry picked the arbitrary cut off for comparisons. Shealy fared quite well (granted in a small sample size) vs. RHP. And by quite well I mean better than Jacobs. I’d guess that his overall production is about the same or better than Jacobs in 2009.

    I don’t think this move makes any sense for the Royals. If their goal is to contend in 3-5 years from now, Jacobs is not on their team then. Why not spend that time trying to find guys internally that can possibly help them?

    What’s the possible outcome in that case:
    1. Your internal option(s) works out and you establish some value at little to no cost.
    2. Your internal option(s) is a wash and you get the same level of production at little to no cost.
    3. Your internal option is worse and you get a chance at a better draft pick for the following season at little to no cost.

    I think that most of those options are satisfactory.

    As for those that think Nunez wasn’t worth that much anyway so it doesn’t matter to trade him:
    1. Decent relievers are always valuable if nothing else but to help limit young pitcher’s total IP. There’s no reason to think that Nunez couldn’t have been a 6th inning guy. A position player doesn’t really do that unless you think of it as a platoon situation for a position player that can’t stay healthy.
    2. Blocking a potential replacement in the minor leagues is always a problem. Not saying Jacobs is necessarily doing this, but considering he could POSSIBLY be, I’d say it’s not a good idea.
    3. Never hurts to have another reliever in case some of the other ones fail.

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  89. Brad says:

    I don’t think this move can be evaluated by itself. If acquiring Jacobs allows the Royals to make other moves – such as trading Butler for a LH starter, for instance – that improve the team, the trades have to be evaluated in their entirety. And probably not realistically until 2-4 years down the road.

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  90. Base says:

    Brad, that is a very long-view and intelligent thing to say. There is way too much instant analysis that takes place-everywhere.

    Also if teams were detered by things that might POSSIBLY be doing, well, then nothing would ever happen.

    If at the end of February after the Adam Dunn’s and the Pat Burrel’s and the Manny Ramirez’s signed with other teams and the Royals looking at a 162 games of a Shealy/Gload platoon, then they would be looking at another long season with the majority of people who think this is a bad trade saying, “The Royals really should of addressed thier power shortage.”

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  91. Ryan B says:

    “Brad, that is a very long-view and intelligent thing to say. There is way too much instant analysis that takes place-everywhere.”

    Buying a lottery ticket is a poor use of money. That does not change if you happen to overcome the odds and win. We can analyze it immediately because we (roughly) know the probability of winning. Regardless of the outcome it was a bad buy. Will someone win? Yes, but that doesn’t make each individual purchase of a ticket a smart decision. Saying that someone has to win is not a valid reason to think it might be you.

    Waiting a few years to analyze these moves becomes actually analyzing the results. Will bad buys pay off? Yes, but more often than not, no.

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  92. Sky says:

    Sorry I found this thread so late, Dave. Fangraphs deserves better. Although, how about taking the “all publicity is good publicity” spin? Yeah, maybe not.

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  93. KCLoyal says:

    C’mon guys. Don’t you know Dave Cameron would be a better GM than Dayton Moore? If you don’t believe me, just ask him. He has it all figured out. If he says that Shealy is the same kind of player than Jacobs, then he is. Forget what you hear about Shealy’s decent fielding. It’s simply not true. Why he doesn’t have a Gm posistion is beyond me. If he thinks that just because Ka’aihue had one good year in the minors, then he’s a 30+ HR guy over at first. So not only would he be a great GM, he should also head up the scouting department.


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  94. steady d says:

    Jason I agree that OBP is vastly more valuable than SLG as a component of OPS, however, you can’t acquire these types of players for Leo Nunez. I fully believe that Jacobs represents a significant upgrade over Shealy versus RHP because Shealy’s minor league numbers suggest that given enough MLB plate appearances he will display a platoon split. I would love to get a .350 OBP guy with similar power to Jacobs but those types of players cost you Greinke. This isn’t an optimal move but it does address a need and the price was right.

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  95. Alec says:


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  96. Base says:

    Just curious if there was a thread following the Meche signing? How was that analysis?

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  97. Jason says:

    Steady D,

    Fair point on the platoon split. But don’t you think he should get a chance to find out? If he does have a split you’re not really dropping off that much from Jacobs to Shealy considering defense and salary.

    I agree that you can’t get those players for Nunez, but I don’t think you need to is the main point I think everyone against the trade is trying to make.

    The bottom line from a baseball perspective: By the time the Royals are ready to contend, Jacobs will not be in the team. I don’t see any reason to bring him in if there’s even a remote chance he could block other players in the org.

    The bottom line from a business perspective: Getting Jacobs probably doesn’t bring more fans to the stadium or generate much more money so you’re really just losing money by bringing him in.

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  98. Jason says:

    re: Butler
    As for trading Butler for a LHP or anything like that, I’m not sure what you think you have in Butler. Yeah he’s a promising hitter, but he has little to no defensive value. Everyone keeps citing him as a clubhouse problem (I’ll take your word for it), why would another organization want him then? Put yourself in any of the other team’s shoes, why would you want to give up anything valuable for him? I don’t know many teams that try to TRADE for DHs. If someone wants to describe what the market for him is, I’m all ears.

    From the Royals perspective I have to think that these are the possible outcomes for Butler.
    1. He learns how to hit well. In this scenario you want to keep him as he’s a good hitter under a really cheap contract, which would be great value.
    2. He learns how to hit mediocrely. In this scenario you want to keep him as he’s cheap, which would be appropriate value.
    3. He doesn’t learn how to hit. In this scenario you want to trade him. In order to do so, you have to convince the other team that he will learn how to hit, in order to get a better player in return.

    In possible outcome 3, what team might be convinced? It has to be an AL team because Butler has to DH. Of them the only ones I think that could possibly be in the market for a DH would be:
    TB – If they don’t want to use Baldelli/Aybar platoon in that role.
    Minne – If they think Kubel can play in the OF full time
    LAA – If they think Vlad can play in the outfield.
    Oak – They’re always looking for guys to fill in, although Cust seems to be an okay option.
    Sea – Maybe? Who knows what the new GM will think.

    Of those teams, which would want to give up anything of value for Butler? I’d be willing to hear cases.

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  99. Clicky says:


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  100. PaulDeReno says:

    Professor J.

    Wouldn’t it be “deeper into the crapper?” rather than “more into the crapper?”

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  101. Will says:

    I don’t know which is worse, the pointlessness of this trade or the inability of the large majority of Royals fans to objectively analyze this trade, more so than just “Jacobs HITS HOMERZ!!!!”.

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  102. steady d says:

    Jason I do think think that Shealy deserves a chance to see what he can do… I just think that the best time would have been 2008. Moore made a huge mistake in letting Gload get 400+ PA’s this year instead of fully evaluating Shealy. I think that is something we can all agree on.

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  103. Joe says:

    First of all, the entire agrument that what the Royal’s currently have on their roster at the 1B/DH position (ie., Gload, Butler & Shealy) is equal to or equivalent of Jacobs is laughable at best. The arguement made by Dave Cameron is that the output of the existing parties wouldn’t be significantly different from Jacobs PROVEN output. I think it’s reasonable given three major league season’s performance that Jacobs will hit approx. 265/320/480 with 25/75. Now, if anyone can cite an example of any of the three aforementioned Royal’s producing at anywhere close to this level over a 162 game schedule they will be riding the crazy train. It just hasn’t happened, and it’s that simple. The Royal’s improved by investing in a proven commodity instead of wishing and hoping that x or y player will put up whatever numbers pundits or baseballreference projections say they might. Furthermore, it is validation of Moore’s stated intent that he will no longer except potential as an excuse for keeping a medicore player in a pivitol role on the club. Arguments are varied as to Butler’s performance this year, but IMHO, after his hot second half moving him for a young catcher/pitcher/of would be a definite step in the right direction. Further validation for this move comes from the fact that Dayton has stated previously that he is willing to sacrifice OBP for power. Reading into his comments and his running of the club I believe he views the top three and bottom three as obp spots in the lineup with the middle three being primarily focused on driving in runs. Great move by the Royals, and I look forward to watching the remainder of the offseason as GMDM builds the Royals franchise one proverbial brick at a time.

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    • joser says:

      And for the record, Jacob’s PROVEN output in 2009: .228/.297/.401, with 19/61

      And, despite claims to the contrary, it’s 2010 and Butler is still with Royals. And so are guys like Yuniesky Betancourt. Those are indeed bricks you’ve got there. Unfortunately, you need fewer bricks and more actual players.

      Man, what an epic thread.

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  104. Milendriel says:

    Joe–Dave sugggests Jacobs to hit even better than you think: .270/.330/.490, but even with that line, he’s still ~replacement-level because of the position adjustment and awful defense. You simply don’t pay replacement-level players actual money, nor give up assets for them in trade. By definition, you can get Jacobs’ production for free.

    I also don’t understand the clamor to trade Butler. If he’s so awful, why should people expect to get a useful major-leaguer or prospect for him? And if he could command that sort of return, doesn’t that mean he’s good? So why not just, you know, play the guy? I mean, is anyone going to argue that KC has some edge on the rest of the league in player valuation that would allow them to turn Butler into something better? Far more likely they’re just punting away talent… just like when they traded for Jacobs.

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  105. Jason says:

    Steady D, definitely can agree on that one.


    Is your argument as follows?
    1. No one from Shealy/Kila/Butler has hit .265/.320/.480 over one 162 game season.
    2. Since they haven’t, they are at risk of not doing it.
    3. Thus, Mike Jacobs is a better option since he has less risk.
    If you really feel that way, then I guess this is a good trade from your perspective. I personally think the other kids deserve a SHOT at proving it as they have never been asked to play 162 games in a season before so of course they haven’t done it. I mean, if that attitude was a good one, then I don’t see how any rookie would deserve a shot in the league.

    In addition you also contend:
    1. Moore is willing to sacrifice OBP for SLG.
    2. Moore thinks the top 3 and bottom 3 of the lineup is for OBP.
    3. Moore thinks the middle 3 is for SLG.
    4. This is a great move because it satisfies the middle 3.
    If 2/3s of your lineup is for OBP, wouldn’t he be saying that OBP is important for most of my lineup, thus I’m not willing to sacrifice OBP for SLG. It’s not like the Royals had a bunch of OBP guys on their team, they were 26th in OBP.

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  106. Roman says:

    If I am not mistaken, the whole point of this is to hone all aspects of a baseball player that is quantifiable and determine who really is valuable, in terms of both offense and defense. The fact that anybody will post without mentioning defense goes to show that people are still forgetting to realize that baseball is at least two faceted.

    Granted, I often feel that Dave and others on Fangraphs give too much value to defense (I have no proof). There was one argument, that Randy Winn and Manny Ramirez are a wash talent wise, that I just can’t accept, but that includes the consideration that Winn’s defense adds to his value and Ramirez’s defense subtracts from his, I just don’t think it is sufficient.

    Yes the Royals didn’t give up much, but why pay a player that doesn’t improve your team? Especially a low budget team that is trying to start spending some money.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but don’t we know that OBA is more correlated to scoring runs than SLG? Good teams spend wisely, they don’t just buy homeruns. Remember, 15 runs below the average first baseman is replacement level.

    …Really, I’m just surprised there are so many Royals fans.

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  107. ball in play says:

    jacobs also catches. he adds corner infield, bench and dh depth at the least, for an offensivly challenged club, at the price of a reliever. ownership could just as easily pocketed jacobs salary from their revenue sharing funds received. they reinvested in their club, regardless of outcome, i appreciate their effort.

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  108. Rick says:

    First time on here, your posts are hilarious. “Bob” may be the most pathetic loser to ever surf the internet.

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  109. Joe says:

    Milendriel & Jason,
    On this issue of Butler, I don’t necessarily think it’s an issue where the Royal’s/GMDM don’t believe he will produce if given the chance. It’s more an issue of no longer playing the what if game with young players and hoping on minor league production to turn into Major league results. For the past ten years there have been a variety of Billy Butler types called up after putting up monster numbers at the MiLB level, and fester on our roster for years as we waited and waited for them to produce (Dee Brown and Mark Quinn come to mind immediately).
    I know that seems foolish given the nature of the Royals’ payroll and the need to build from within. This takes me to the second point and that is the organizational/GMDM standpoint on building the Royals into a contender. A couple things to take into consideration when evaluating moves by the Royal’s Brass. Firstly, the Royals are opening a newly renovated stadium in ’09, and it would go a long way towards building the fan base if GMDM is able to improve (even marginally) in the eyes of the fans. Please let me take a moment to say that this is not the way to build a perrenial contender, and I understand that, but it brings me to my second point. GMDM is a disciple of Schurholz (Previous GM of both the Royals and more notably the Braves, but curiously he won only one championship with each). If you look back at the pattern of Schurholz in both instances he placed an immediate emphasis on building from within the minor leagues with pitching. Dayton has done that, the Royals have improved dramatically in the lower levels with many notable arms (ie., Duffy, Montgomery, Cortes, Holland, Melville, etc). At the same time GMJS bolstered the performance of the major league club by signing lower cost veterans to short term deals to increase the competativeness of the major league club in the interim. In the instances of Guillen, Olivo and now Jacobs I believe that is what you are seeing. It’s a stop gap solution to put a competative team on the field, so that younger players who do come up move into a competative enviroment with an expectation of winning and producing. This is something GMDM has preached from the first day, and I’ve seen it slowly but surely begin to take hold within the orginization.

    Finally, to touch on some of the items Jason brought to the forefront …

    To your first three points; yes I do believe that repeated performance over time (ie., 3 seasons) can be a strong indicator what a player will do over the coming season factoring out league & park influence. Also, to Jacobs advantage he is entering what I consider to be the prime of his career (ages 28-32), and as evidenced by his numbers has become a consistantly more impactful player with age. As to the ability of either Shealy, Butler, KK or Gload to put up similar or better numbers…

    Gload – you gotta be fricking kidding me
    Shealy – Has been given multiple opportunities to excel on the major league level, and with the exception of one month at the end of ’08 has been what you classify as a replacement player.
    Butler – As with Shealy, he has been given multiple opportunities to excel and in the course of two seasons has had to make two trips back to Omaha to get his swing back in order. Not to mention that he literally has shown no overwhelming interest to learn any defensive position.
    Kila – One great season in AA/AAA is no longer enough to warrant an automatic spot on our roster, and I think that’s a good thing.

    Back to Butler for a moment, the kid undoubtely has been gifted with the prowess of a veteran at the plate and the hands of a brick layer in the field. I don’t think the orginization would be looking to move him if would show the intestinal fortitude necessary to admit he’s not a good defensive player, spend whatever amount of time necessary to improve and become competent in the field. IMHO, that coupled with his lack of personal fitness are the two issues that most irk GMDM when it comes to Butters.

    As to your second point, I don’t necessarily contend that the items I mentioned and you detailed are in anyway correct or justified, only that from my viewpoint and from GMDM & Hillman’s words that’s their plan. Ideally, you’d like to get above average OPS from each spot in your lineup, but we’re not there yet, and it may be a few years before we are. I think the top three (Dejesus, Aviles, Gordon) are going to produce at or above their numbers from last year, and starting Callaspo, Jacobs and Olivo over Pena, Gload and Buck should be an improvement even if marginally. What should be interesting to see is what happens in the middle (Guillen, Jacobs, Teahan?/Trade/FA/Dejesus if we sign a SS/2b {Furcal/Cabrera/Hudson/Castillo}) If we can get 60+ HR’s & 250+ RBI’s with a ~.330 OBP out of the middle of our lineup we’ll be in good position.

    Just let me be on the record as saying I hope that unless the Royal’s are overwhelmed by someone (ie., Elvis Andrus from the Rangers or a Jeff Clement from the Mariners) I hope we keep Butler, give him another year to get into shape and let him work with Seitzer to see if the common denominator was Barnett (ex hitting coach) or Butler.

    Long live the Royals.

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  110. George says:

    I don’t understand why you Royals’ fans are hating on Billy Butler so much. A 22-year old that has posted a career OPS+ of 99 in 772 career ABs isn’t exactly someone you simply toss aside. I know he had an ugly stretch early in ’08, but Butler’s upside is tremendous.

    By the way Joe, I believe it has been proven by Baseball Prospectus that a player’s prime is his 26-28 years. The Royals now have Jacobs under contract for his Age 28, Age 29, and Age 30 years. Players like Jacobs (Kevin Maas immediately comes to mind) do not age well at all. You can’t expect Jacobs to play much better than league average (which is below-average at first base) next year. What about 2010 and 2011? I have a strong feeling that Royals fans will either hate the contract by 2011 or Jacobs will be cut.

    So, while you’re paying Mike Jacobs $3 MM per year to play replacement-level first base, you could have had a guy like Kila Ka’aihue give you replacement-level play (or possibly better than that) at first base, at a small fraction of Jacobs’ cost. I honestly feel that this was a major oversight on Moore’s part. He already had people in the organization who could have given him replacement-level production (Shealy/Gload platoon, Kila). This $3 MM/per year could have been better spent on player development or scouting.

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  111. Zach says:

    I’m just surprised it took so long for someone to suggest they move him to catcher, which is I think the most hilarious argument of all!

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  112. steady d says:

    I am fine with the Jacobs deal simply because he brings such a high SLG% that he makes up (to some degree) for his mediocre career OBP. I have seen estimates that 1 point of OBP is worth 1.8 points of SLG. If so then Jacobs high SLG offsets his OBP somewhat:

    Jacobs career OBP: .318
    League OBP 2004-2008: .337

    Jacobs deficit: .019 OBP or 19 points of OBP

    Jacobs career SLG%: .498
    League SLG% 2004-2008: .424

    Jacobs surplus: .074 SLG or 74 points of SLG%

    Jacobs OBP deficit of .019 X 1.8 (to adjust for conversion to SLG) is .034 meaning it would require 34 points of SLG% above league average to compensate for the lower OBP. 34 points above league average SLG is .458 and Jacobs has a career SLG of .498 for 40 points of additional SLG after accounting for his low OBP. On the other hand I hear that his defense is less than stellar so I am guessing that he is a league average player or slightly above.

    If this conversion is worthless, wrong-headed, inaccurate, etc… perhaps one of the more SABR savy posters could look into this and see what the results would be. Just how much more does a player have to SLG to make up for below average OBP?

    If the 1.8 conversion is correct then Jacobs is similar to a .337 OBP/.464 SLG for a .801 OPS total.

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  113. Jason says:


    re: Stopgap
    What you’re saying I believe is that Moore is trying to find a stopgap in order to let his young kids have time to develop. What I think most people are trying to say is that this “stopgap” is preventing kids from developing. You don’t get to be a good major league player by staying in the minors. You need reps in the majors. Every rookie will go through adjustments unless they’re Tim Lincecum or some crazy phenom like that.

    re: Butler comparison to Mark Quinn and Dee Brown
    Billy Butler
    21: .292 .347 .447 in 329AB
    22: .275 .324 .400 in 446
    Mark Quinn
    25: .333 .385 .733 in 60
    26: .294 .342 .488 in 500
    27: .269 .298 .459 in 453
    28: .237 .301 .368 in 76
    Dee Brown
    23: .245 .286 .350 in 380
    24: .235 .291 .392 in 51
    25: .227 .280 .326 in 132
    26: .251 .293 .349 in 195
    Mike Jacobs
    24: .310 .375 .710 in 100
    25: .262 .325 .473 in 469
    26: .265 .317 .458 in 426
    27: .247 .299 .514 in 477
    David Ortiz (just for fun)
    22: .277 .371 .446 in 278
    23: .000 .200 .000 in 20
    24: .282 .364 .446 in 415
    25: .234 .324 .475 in 303
    26: .272 .339 .500 in 412

    I don’t think it’s really fair to compare a 22 year old to any of these guys, but I do want to note that Butler is hitting in his early 20s what most of these guys are doing in their mid to late 20s. Interestingly enough Mike Jacobs and Mark Quinn’s careers seem to stack up nicely. Ortiz is another DH that couldn’t field and supposedly angered GMs with his conditioning. I’d say his numbers aren’t that much better than Butler’s if you consider a lost age 23 season. He turned out pretty okay. I would have expected Quinn and Brown to not be very good as they both tore up the minor leagues at very old ages. That’s to be expected of even marginal prospects.

    re: Shealy as a replacement player
    Shealy costs as much as Jacobs and for all the hubbub of Jacob’s offensive prowess (debatable), the defense is not, and it’s very subpar, making his overall contribution replacement level. I’m not saying Shealy isn’t a replacement level player, I’m just saying Jacobs is as well so you might as well use Shealy as he doesn’t cost more money and a reliever.

    re: Butler in the field
    I think everyone assumes Butler is a DH at this point. I personally don’t want to see him in the field, but the difference between his defense and Mike Jacobs at 1B is probably 10 runs at most (not trivial). I would say that his bat, however, does provide a lot more upside than Jacobs.

    re: Middle production. 60 HR, 250RBI, .330 OBP
    I don’t see it. You’re not chasing after FAs like Furcal and Hudson most likely because they’re probably out of your budget, so most of the guys that are cheap right now are guys like Jacobs who don’t OBP at all, and guys that are defensive specialists, who don’t SLG at all. .330 OBP would be a huge step up as your team OBP last year was .320. Guillen and Jacobs, which I think you are classifying as your power hitters, both were .300 or below in OBP. I think getting them to .330 would be a miracle. As for the 250 RBI, I don’t really like such a poor measure of a statistic, but I will say it’s hard to get any RBIs when no one’s on base.

    Steady D, I’ll try to see if I can get time to comment on your stuff later, but basically I don’t think the 1.8 (I’m going to trust your number) applies at the extreme ends of OBP (and to a lesser extend, AVG).

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  114. Inciteful says:

    I really think that all of these blog cites that arm-chair quarterback front office trades and signing are really obnoxious. Bob Costas was right about you!

    We don’t know what other maneuvers and considerations GMDM might have brewing, or going on in his personal life.

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  115. Chris says:

    steady d,

    It would be more useful to compare Jacobs to the rest of the players at his position:

    League OBP for 1B 2004-2008: .356
    League SLG% for 1B 2004-2008: .470

    Jacobs career OBP: .318
    Jacobs career SLG%: .498

    Now Jacobs loses 38 points of OBP for only a 28 point gain in SLG.

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  116. Jason says:

    “I really think that all of these blog cites that arm-chair quarterback front office trades and signing are really obnoxious. Bob Costas was right about you!”

    No offense or anything, but I really have no idea what this even means. As FJM would say, “F#$% the heck?”

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  117. John Paul Getty, Jr. says:

    “I really think that all of these blog sites that act as armchair quarterbacks regarding front office transactions are really obnoxious. Bob Costas was not wrong about you!”

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  118. Jason says:

    JPG, Jr.

    Thanks, that helps clear it up. It’s interesting to me that people are so blindly willing to accept whatever decision by an “authority” with a “Well, I’m not an expert and they are so they must know what they are doing” attitude.

    re: Maneuvers/Considerations. Unless his maneuver is to flip Mike Jacobs for a better player than what they paid for him, I don’t see how other maneuvers or considerations play into this decision. Unless his considerations were that Mike Jacobs is secretly having photos of DM in compromising positions, I don’t see how other considerations matter.

    re: Personal Life. If DM’s personal life is affecting his baseball decisions, I think it’s entirely fair to criticize him. I certainly wouldn’t want my broker or boss or co-workers bringing their ‘C’ game because of their personal life. I don’t see why someone would accept that for a guy that’s in charge of player’s careers and livelihood, the whims and emotions of fans, and the very large sum of money from their owner.

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  119. The Black Jesus says:

    Wow, racist much?

    Anyway, Mike Jacobs is a below average player by any defensive metric. His offensive production is also nothing special, putting him slightly above average. He is in short, a bad player. This cannot be considered a good trade for the Royals, and if you want to base the argument on the fact that Jacobs hits HR’s and will drive in a lot of RBI’s you are missing the point on what Fangraphs is trying to do. It is trying to educate baseball fans on the fact that some statistics do not bear meaning on how good a player actually is.

    Mike Jacobs gets out 70% of the time he faces a pitcher. Even if a few times he does hit a HR, that does not counter balance the fact that he is a sub par player. The Royals essentially added dead weight to the roster, even if they did not really lose anything in Nunez. A poor trade, a very poor trade, and if you cannot see that then I do not know what to say.

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  120. Carson says:

    Wow, this really is the worst comment thread in the history of baseball blogs.

    Someone please tell this isn’t a good representation of how FanGraphs usually is.

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  121. Fnarf says:

    Wow! Not only did we get “you may want to actually watch a baseball game now and again instead of simply reading your stat sheets”, which is one of the all-time great Golden Oldies, but we got the classic Grammar Correction Containing a Spelling Error of Its Own (“statment”). Dave, you should frame this and put it on the wall.

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  122. Teej says:

    Carson, it’s not. There is usually some healthy skepticism, but nothing like this parade of unabashed ignorance and name-calling.

    My guess is that a Royals blog or message board caught wind of this and everyone came over to flame Dave. Judging by the use of homers and RBIs alone to determine a player’s value — and the full disregard of defense and positional value — they don’t appear to be regular Fangraphs readers. If they are, I would ask them why they hang around here.

    (Of course I should point out that there were also well-behaved people in this thread who disagreed with Dave without being complete asses.)

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  123. Dave Clapper says:

    What I learned reading this thread: Royals fans have, for years now, gotten exactly the team they deserve.

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  124. Pray for the Mariners says:

    Never though an article on a respected site claiming giving a replacement player more money than replacement value (*GASP*) could cause such hate-zors. At least this was memorable. (so the next big signing at the GM level is going to come from the doctorate pool… right? Guys?)

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  125. WardP says:

    I felt much better about the comment spam I have to prune off of my own blog once I read this thread.

    I forget who said, “we can disagree without being disagreeable,” but that’s what comes to mind here. That the first sentence of the first comment is the age-old harbinger of openmindedness, “you are an idiot,” is jarring and sad and funny and.. well, just classic.

    Thanks to you, Dave (and the other writers here and at USSM) for putting yourselves out there this way. I haven’t had such a good laugh in awhile, and I needed one today.

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  126. Joof says:

    Whoo! The Royals, doing things the Mariner way!

    This move reminds me of all the terrible moves the Mariners made through the Bavasi years which made them terrible. I’m sorry Royals fans. =(

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  127. werzer says:

    Where’s Bob? I miss him… He was so FUNNY!

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  128. Phil Mackey says:

    At this point, now that we’re nearly to the end of July, I think it’s safe to say…

    LOL @ ignorant Royals fans.

    How’s Mike Jacobs working out for you?

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    • Havoc says:

      Man you beat me to it Hahahah

      I’d like to read from Sammy who expected Jacobs to hit 30-35 HRs

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      • Joe R says:

        I kind of feel bad for Jacobs because by all accounts he’s a nice guy who’s tried to improve his fatal flaw as a hitter.

        TECHNICALLY his walk rate is 9.36% in 2009, up from 6.94% in 2008. Doesn’t help much when everything else hits the crapper, though.

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  129. Havoc says:

    His LD% has been declining every year, while his FB % rises

    Not good with FB% rises but HR/FB does not….Not to mention a 20% IFFB…..that’s horrendous

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