I realize that I'm a bit late to the party when it comes to offering my thoughts on the trade deadline, but here I am anyway and I have something to say. People need chill out with the horrible deadline talk.
To be clear I want to see Lorenzo Cain in centerfield for the Royals. But we need to keep in mind that he isn't an elite guy. Not the kind of player that you have to clear a spot for at least. For that reason the Royals shouldn't just ship off an outfielder for scraps in order to make room for the man.
Melky Cabrera and Jeff Francoeur are both having great years. Cabrera can, without a doubt, be brought back next season simply by offering him arbitration, which he will be required to accept. Jeff Franceur has a mutual option and I expect both sides to exercise it.
So both players should be back next season and should be key components in Mission 2012. I realize that entering the season neither played a role for the Mission, but make no mistake both are deserving of spots now. If the Royals are lucky enough next season to not have an outfielder go down with injury and the outfield performs like it has in 2011, then Lorenzo Cain spends the season as a fourth outfielder in Kansas City or the everyday centerfielder in Omaha and in 2013 the job is his.
If Cabrera or Francoeur regress or go down with injury, Cain assumes the role as the everyday centerfielder and the Royals don't miss a beat. Given that neither Cabrera or Francoeur would be under contract after the season the problem would work itself out. If both perform well and the Royals don't contend, well they'll have another deadline to try and make a deal.
It seems as though the fanbase has widely accepted the youth movement and bought into the farm system so much that they are missing the point in this case. The point of having a great farm system is to turn the crop of young talent into a competitive team. The point isn't to fill the roster with the hot prospect every time he declares himself ready, not when you already have a contributor in place at the Major League level.
The Royals have found a good starting centerfielder in Melky Cabrera. Jeff Francoeur has also put together an excellent season, though many Royals' fans are still unwilling to admit it. If the goal is to win a division in 2012, then why would you sell off a proven commodity for scraps just so that you can give an unproven commodity a chance? Not to mention the predicament you get yourself in should an outfielder get hurt or not perform.
Now we don't know what Dayton Moore was offered for either of his outfielders. But what we do know is that the market quickly became saturated with quality guys. Colby Rasmus, Carlos Beltran, Hunter Pence, and Michael Bourn were all dealt, not to mention B.J. Upton appeared to be on the block for the week leading to the deadline.
What the Royals needed was a mid rotation starter to make a deal worthwhile. Francoeur was never going to net that and with the outfield depth on the market we knew that Cabrera wouldn't either. The Royals made the right decision to hold on to the outfielders. Some fans just won't accept it.
As for the pitching side of things, the Royals didn't make any trades either. The market for back rotation starters was almost nonexistent so Dayton Moore held on to his two elderly lefties. Both of which are here are on one year deals and will be gone at the end of the season. I don't advocate resigning either.
Right now Chen may be able to net the Royals a Supplemental pick in the Rule IV draft, but he will need a strong finish to the season and even then a team would have to sign him to a Major League deal for 2012.
Jeff Francis, on the other hand, has been a good innings eater for the Royals but he is no better than a back end guy at this point in his career. The way I see it the Royals rotation for 2012 goes like this: Paulino, Duffy, Hochevar, Montgomery or Crow, plus a free agent signing. Either the Royals bring in a back end guy like Francis, or they go for a front of the rotation guy. They have the money, so if they want to contend in 2012 a front end guy is what we need.
It would have been nice to grab a high upside low level prospect for Francis, but I am not sure that it was even possible. Like I said the market was virtually nonexistent so I can't blame Dayton Moore for holding on to an innings eater in an attempt to take some stress off of the pen for the last two months of the season.
Had we dealt Francis it would have meant a stint in the rotation by Vin Mazzaro, given Davies shoulder inflammation. Even without the trade, I'm sure point we'll see Mazzaro again, but him going four innings a start isn't what our bullpen needs after a taxing season. Hopefully the next time we see him will just be as a spot start and nothing more.
Obviously it would have been great if the Royals could have fleeced a desperate team and brought in a near Major League ready starter with front end potential. But it didn't happen. The Royals did an excellent job in free agency last winter and found two quality outfielders. Now they are going to hang on to them and hopefully they can perform to the same standard in 2012. If they can then the signings in themselves pushed contention forward and that has always been the goal.