Friday, December 4, 2009

Will the Royals Trade Gil Meche?

With 2 years/$24 million dollars remaining on his contract, it's no surprise that the Royals are looking into trading Gil Meche. That said, will the Royals actually be able to move Meche?
"Once the major free agents sign, the Royals expect left fielder David DeJesus and possibly right-hander Gil Meche to draw significant trade interest.

Both players are under club control for two more years. DeJesus will earn $4.7 million next season, and his contract includes a $6 million club option for 2011. Meche is owed $24 million over that period.

For the Royals, the idea of trading either or both players would be to reduce payroll and increase their inventory of young talent."
So the only way the Royals are going to move Meche is if it accomplished one (or hopefully both) of these two goals:
  • reduce payroll
  • increase inventory of young talent
If the Royals truly intend to reduce payroll by trading away Gil Meche, then they are presenting themselves with a variety of obstacles:

1. What team in their right mind would take on all of Gil Meche's contract?
Under most circumstances...none

2. Is Gil Meche's value right now anywhere close to $12 million annually?

3. Is there a market out there for Gil Meche right now?
Teams aren't exactly knocking down the Royals' doors to inquire about Gil Meche...

4. Can the Royals expect to get any top talent back in return for Meche?
Probably not. Meche is coming off an injury plagued season and is owed a ton of money, which makes it doubtful that teams will give up anything of value for him unless the Royals pick up lots of Meche's contract.

5. If the Royals trade Meche straight up for prospects, they almost certainly would have to pick up a portion of his contract, which they should be hesitant to do if they want to save money.

How can the Royals avoid paying any of Meche's salary and get some prospects back at the same time? Simple! Trade Meche for a bad contract! But remember, the Royals can't just look for any bad contract because the Royals goal is to save money.

What the Royals should in turn look to do is look to acquire players on the decline, who are owed lots of money for just one season. This way the Royals would save a chunk of money over time, not have to pick up a lick of Meche's salary, and hopefully get a few prospects back in return as well. Here are some good options for the Royals:
  • Jeff Suppan
  • Nate Robertson
  • Eric Byrnes
The idea is that the the team the Royals are trading with would be benefiting by acquiring the far superior player in Meche, but the Royals would benefit with salary relief after 2010. All three of those teams would become much better in the short term with Meche on board.

As for the Royals, sure they would suffer in the short term, but does anyone actually expect the Royals to be good in 2010? Nope. In addition, the Royals are not expected to be active in the free agent market this winter, so the payroll flexibility would be more valuable to them next winter when they might actually try to spend some of it. The focus has to be on the future and this type of deal would be benefiting the Royals in the long term.


Anonymous said...

Why not keep Meche? He had an off year last year due to injury, but before that, he was a workhorse with a good record on a medicore Royals team. If Gil is back from injury, his salary could be if not a bargain, could be a norm. 15 wins if he's healthy this year....He was signed to be an integral part of a building rotation, don't give up on him yet!

Unknown said...

The Brewers might be open to a Suppan/Meche swap straight up. Suppan would get killed in the AL, but the Royals would keep handing him the ball.

Jorge Says No! said...

If the Royals want to conserve payroll and continue to build towards the future, then trading Meche is a good option. The problem is that right now he doesnt have much value, so if they are really set on trading him, a trade like this would be the best way to go.

Anonymous said...

Or, if you want to make even more sense... Don't trade him now while his value is about as low as it can get. Seriously, those health concerns will disappear by late May... unless you really think some permanent damage has been done to his health, you wait to trade Gil.

Of course, Moore has signed Kendall and Podsednik this offseason, so your scenario may happen: but that doesn't make it a smart move.