Last night during the Royals-Yankees game, David DeJesus sprained his right thumb after running into the fence (video). The complete extent of the injury is not known, but reports are saying that he could be back in two weeks or out for the entire season. This injury could not have come at a worse time for the Royals.
David was having a career year this season hitting .318/.384/.443. The batting average and on-base percentage were each career highs. Among all right fielders, he is 8th this season in WAR with 2.5. After Billy Butler, David was the second best hitter on the Royals.
The real value for the Royals wasn’t the production they expected to get from David on the field. Instead it was his trade value. David currently has 1.5 years left on his contract with less then $2.3 million owed to him this season and $6 million owed to him next season. David projects to be around a 3 WAR player, so his salary is team friendly.
Some of the of the teams interested in trading for David are the Giants and Nationals, though some other teams, Red Sox, A’s, Braves and Padres, may have been possibilities because of holes in their outfields .
With David’s earliest DL return date being after the trade deadline, the Royals lost one of their best trading chips to help build a team for a run at the division in 2012. Now the Royals must decided if they are going to trade him this offseason or keep him until the end of his contract.
Alex Gordon was called up from AAA Omaha to take David’s place. To say that Gordon’s career has been a disappointment would be an understatement. After missing most of last season with a hip injury and having a bad start to this season, he was demoted to AAA and moved to right field.
Gordon’s stats are not exactly what teams are looking for from a right fielder. With so few outfield prospects currently in the Royals system, he would not have much competition from the minors. The major league club should not give him much competition either, but we are dealing with the Royals. Just yesterday Rick AnKKKKKKiel was taken off the DL. Rick has been close to horrible in his minor league rehab starts by striking out 19 times while taking only one walk in 68 plate appearances. He did not let the Royal faithful down last night by going 0-3 with 3 Ks when he replaced David DeJesus.
So looking at the current roster, it seems like the following players will be splitting time in the outfield: Scott Podsednik, Mitch Maier, Willie Bloomquist, Rick Ankiel, Alex Gordon and Jose Guillen. Personally I would like to see Posednick in LF, Maier in CF and Gordon in RF. I would like to watch a younger player get a chance, versus watching a declining veteran struggle. Knowing Ned Yost, we will probably be seeing Podsednik in LF, Ankiel in CF and Bloomquist in RF.
Truthfully, I have no idea what is going to happen with the Royals outfield. One thing I will say with 100% confidence is that Alex Gordon will not see any regular playing time unless someone else gets hurt or traded. In that case, the Royals are already looking into another outfielder. Just when I thought it couldn’t get worse as a Royals fan, it seems it might.