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Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Long Shot

As many of us thought might happen Allard Baird traded Darrell May this week. He shipped him to San Diego along with Ryan Bukvich in exchange for Terrance Long and Dennis Tankersely. Both Long and Tankersely share the attribute that they were once much more highly regarded than they are now. I can't say I'm at all excited about the deal from the Royals perspective. However, after May's performance last season where he set a team record by giving up 38 homeruns and 105 extra base hits and was becoming a bit of a clubhouse cancer I doubt that Baird could have done much better. I think this is a good deal for the Padres who needed a fifth starter and whose wide open spaces at Petco Park should help May, the quintessential flyball pitcher (.76 GO/AO ratio last season). Ryan Bukvich also still has some upside at 26 years old.

  • Terrance Long. Wisely, Baird still understands that he needs a "corner outfield run-production guy" but as it sits right now Long will compete with Abraham Nunez for the right field job most likely. While Long is an upgrade to Dee Brown (who wouldn't be) because he has more power and is a better defender and runner, at best he's still a fourth outfielder who lacks plate-discipline (3.72 pitches per plate appearance career) as evidenced by his paltry career OBP of .319. He also seems to ground into alot of double plays and doesn't hit left-handed pitchers. That said, last year (.295/.335/.420) was Long's best since his rookie season when he hit 18 homeruns (.288/.336/.452). His VORP in 2004 was 12.3 with an Equivalent Average (EqA) of .268, very much in the middle of the pack for left fielders in the NL. Unfortunately, Long's power numbers and OPS have steadily declined from 1999 until a little rebound last year, something Long blames on trying to hit too many homeruns. He'll be 29 when spring training opens and so he's a long shot to break out. He has more value in the NL because he's left handed and seemed to pinch hit well so I wouldn't be surprised if his career trajectory takes him back in that direction next season. His price tag of $4.7M is about $4M too much for his skills but the Royals did get some cash to compensate in exchange for May's $3.225M 2005 salary. I assume this is a one-year deal. Although the story on the Royals web site mentions his 7 for 18 performance in the 2001 ALDS, overall he's .238/.304/.476 in the postseason in 69 plate appearances.

  • Dennis Tankersely. The upside on Tankersely is that he'll be 26 when spring training opens where Baird says that he'll compete for a 5th starter or long reliever role. Last season the right-hander definitely improved in AAA with a 3.15 ERA with a 1.26 WHIP at Portland. The interesting thing is that he seems to have found some control at the expense of strikeouts. His K/9 and BB/9 ratios the previous two seasons at Portland were 8.86/4.32 and last season they were 6.45/2.78. This probably indicates that he developed a third pitch (he was a 2 pitch pitcher prior to 2004 according to Baseball Prospectus) so his past performance may not be indicative of how he'll perform at the ML level next season if makes the team. Right now the Royals project Zack Greinke, Runylves Hernandez, Kyle Snyder, Brian Anderson, Jimmy Gobble, Denny Bautista, and Miguel Asencio to all compete for starting spots.

In other Royals news Zack Greinke came in 4th in voting for the Rookie of the Year where the A's Bobby Crosby dominated. David DeJesus came in 6th. Greinke and DeJesus did win the Royals pitcher and player of the year however.


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