Tag:Melky Cabrera
Posted on: September 7, 2011 9:01 pm
Edited on: September 8, 2011 12:41 am
 

Video: Francoeur gets A's rookie at 1st from RF

Jeff FrancoeurBy C. Trent Rosecrans

The story, no doubt, at McAfee Coliseum in Oakland was right-hander Guillermo Moscoso, but there was something else that was more rare than a no-hitter that happened in Wednesday's game -- a 9-3 putout.

Kansas City's Jeff Francoeur threw out Oakland rookie Michael Taylor at first to end the second inning of the A's 7-0 victory over the Royals. It was just the fifth 9-3 putout in the American League since 1974 -- a span that has seen 47 no-hitters in the AL alone. The play is less rare in the National League, where it has been done 31 times since 1974, including once by Francoeur who got Padres pitcher Mat Latos at first.

Since coming up to the big leagues in 2005, Francoeur has 97 outfield assists -- the most in baseball over that span. However, Wednesday was the first time he got a position player.

"I wasn't even thinking about it," Francoeur told the Associated Press. "The ball was just laced at me, with the perfect hop and I just let it go. You kind of feel bad because you do it to a guy who is playing his fourth game in the big leagues, but that was really fun."

See the play here:


"I knew it was going to be a close play," Taylor told MLB.com. "I hit it and knew I hit it right at him. I took off and it hopped right to him, and he made a strong throw. It was a great play. He did everything he was supposed to do, and I did what I was supposed to do, and he came out on top."

Michael TaylorFrancoeur also got Jemile Weeks in the first inning on Coco Crisp's double with a little help from cutoff man Johnny Giavotella.

Kansas City leads the majors this season with 48 outfield assists, 25 of them have come at home plate. While Francoeur now has 15 outfield assists on the season, he's second on the team in the category to left fielder Alex Gordon, who has 20 outfield assists. Center fielder Melky Cabrera has 12 and Mitch Maier has one.

As for the other side of the play, Taylor isn't exactly a Molina brother. The 25-year-old outfielder has 75 stolen bases in his minor-league career and 15 triples and appeared to be running out of the box (there's only so much that gets caught on camera). In the sixth inning, he even added an infield single -- even if he couldn't beat out the hit to the outfield earlier in the game. He added a defensive highlight of his own on the very next play -- catching a foul ball off the bat of Savlador Perez after it popped out of his own glove (see it here). 

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Posted on: August 18, 2011 11:50 am
Edited on: August 18, 2011 1:51 pm
 

Royals extend Francoeur for 2 years

Jeff FrancoeurBy C. Trent Rosecrans

At the trade deadline, Royals general manager insisted he wanted to keep both Jeff Francoeur and Melky Cabrera around -- and few believed him, or at least believed it was a good idea. While the later may still be true, the former can't be doubted for Francoeur at least, as the veteran outfielder signed a two-year extension with the Royals through the 2013 season.

The Royals signed Francoeur to a one-year contract before the season and he's played well for the Royals this season, hitting .278/.328/.465 with 15 home runs and 66 RBI in 119 games. He's also a veteran presence on a team that is loaded with young talent, although much of it is in the infield.

Francoeur has long been a favorite of Royals general manager Dayton Moore, the Royals' general manager who started his career in the Braves system, like Francoeur. And not only that, he's fit in well with the Royals, who have been the darling of many for their talented minor league system, but his eventual replacement, Wil Myers, is still just 20 years old and seen his numbers drop a bit at Double-A Northwest Arkansas. The best-case scenario is Myers coming up sometime in 2013 and Francoeur to be able to serve as the bridge to Myers in right field.

While just 27, Francoeur is a favorite on the internet for backseat GMs, despite putting up a 2.3 WAR this season according to FanGraphs.com and a positive WAR in all but one season in his career. Still, the internet often paints him as the worst player in the history of baseball for his lower-than-average on-base percentage (.312 for his career) and the unforgivable sin of being a nice guy and having writers write about him being a decent human being.

Is Francoeur the worst player in baseball? Hardly. Is he the best? Hardly. In all, he's a decent player who has the potential to be above-average and at worst, a good guy to have in the clubhouse -- which we all know doesn't matter on Twitter or in your fantasy league.

With Francoeur and Cabrera (another decent player with expectations that are inflated by having played in New York), the Royals have two above-average type outfielders to go along with Alex Gordon, making a decent outfield -- at least the best Kansas City has had since the days of Johnny Damon, Carlos Beltran and Jermaine Dye in the early 2000s. Cabrera, 27, is arbitration-eligible this season and a free agent after next season. He could be a valuable player at next year's trade deadline and hold a spot for Lorenzo Cain, the center fielder the Royals acquired in the Zack Greinke trade.

So while Twitter may see this as a joke, it's actually a nice move for the Royals who are building for the future well beyond the two years they have Francoeur under contract. The contract is for $13.5 million over the two years, the Kansas City Star's Bob Dutton tweets, probably a bit of an overpayment, but it's hardly cripling for the Royals who have just four other players under contract for next season, it's unlikely Francoeur stretches the budget to any sort of breaking point and he makes the team better now and in the future.

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Posted on: August 1, 2011 4:16 pm
Edited on: August 1, 2011 5:24 pm
 

No moves at deadline is failure for five teams

Upton

By Evan Brunell

On Sunday, the trade deadline concluded with some teams coming away with the biggest pieces on the market (Indians with Ubaldo Jimenez, Phillies with Hunter Pence, Braves with Michael Bourn), some were able to get complementary pieces necessary for contention, and others continued their rebuilding phase by stocking up on prospects.

But there were other teams who bafflingly stood on the sidelines despite a necessity to make moves. That necessity is what excludes the Yankees from this group. While New York could have stood to make some moves, they have the AL's second-best record behind the Red Sox. The Yankees don't have any gaping holes, even if some of the band-aids over these holes may not hold through October.

Let's take a look.

A'sWhat the A's should have done: Traded two of their outfielders.

GM Billy Beane knows his A's aren't going anywhere this season, and he was in prime position to supplement the team over the next couple of years by dealing any of his three starting outfielders in Josh Willingham, Coco Crisp and David DeJesus. Instead, all three stayed and could potentially leave Oakland after the year. In Beane's defense, he told Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal "ultimately, a trade is a bilateral and not a unilateral process.”

What Beane is getting at here is there has to be a second team willing to deal. The new wave of GMs into the game have changed things somewhat, setting prices for players and not budging from them. In other words, trading has gone from a negotiating and bargaining process to one where you peruse the shelves for what's available and have to buy it at sticker price. Still, there were no shortage of outfielders in demand and it's difficult to imagine that Oakland couldn't come to accord with another team for the services of one of the outfielders. Beane did make one deal, sending away reliever Brad Ziegler to Arizona, but that's hardly enough.

In Beane's defense, Willingham currently projects to be a Type-A free agent as MLB Trade Rumors points out, but he's right on the line and could easily slip into Type-B status. Beane may have taken the stance that he needed to do better than the two compensatory picks Willingham would have fetched as a Type-A free agent, but that's far from a lock. DeJesus will be a Type B, which doesn't preclude a trade. Crisp isn't set for any compensation.

AngelsWhat the Angels should have done
: Acquired a bat, possibly starting pitcher

The Angels bizarrely stood pat at the trade deadline, as owner Arte Moreno shut off the spigots for more money... but is still keeping the GM responsible for putting Los Angeles in this position. Tony Reagins is overseeing a broken-down club with Vernon Wells and Torii Hunter manning the outfield corners. Scott Kazmir has finally been mercifully released, but L.A. is still on the hook for money.

Somehow, even though Reagins' decisions the last couple of years have defied logic, they were two games out of first on Sunday. This despite a 69-run differential separating the Angels from the Rangers, who added two top-flight relievers to its team to gear up for the playoffs. For comparison, there are 57 runs separating Philadelphia and Atlanta, with the Braves six games behind. Even if Aramis Ramirez wasn't willing to waive his no-trade, there were other directions L.A. could have gone.

Instead, its fans will now watch the Angels slide into mediocrity, with not much on the horizon other than Mike Trout for help. With only Joel Pineiro and Fernando Rodney slated to be free agents and some hefty arbitration raises on the way, this team will be stagnant for  some time.

RaysWhat the Rays should have done: Traded B.J. Upton and fungible pieces

GM Andrew Friedman landed in the hospital Saturday for an emergency appendectomy, but said it didn't affect his work at all Sunday. Perhaps he should have pretended it did, because otherwise this is a poor showing for Tampa. Most notably, the Rays had B.J. Upton available, and despite his .224/.306/.394 batting line, was highly coveted. As a 26-year-old under club control through 2012, Upton (pictured atop the article) would have fetched a very nice price.

There were many discussions revolving around Upton, but obviously nothing came to fruition. But maybe it should have. The Rays need to restock for another move forward, and Upton won't be part of the next stretch of dominance. The Rays have some nice high-minors prospects nearing the majors, but there is still plenty of need for more reinforcements, especially given the value the Rays received from the Matt Garza trade in the offseason was mostly tied up in the low minors.

Upton should have been traded. It's hard to imagine his price being the same or higher in the offseason now that there's one less postseason race to handle. Plus, he'll now be looked at as a one-year rental whose contract will probably hit around $6 million. It's not just Upton that could have been dealt, though. While the Rays have a chance to walk away with the wild card if the Yankees collapse, it's the slimmest of chances.

KCWhat the Royals should have done: Traded anyone irrelevant for 2013

The Royals' inactivity at the deadline wasn't surprising only because GM Dayton Moore already indicated he would drive a hard bargain on the pieces he might otherwise be expected to be traded. So Melky Cabrera remains in town. Jeff Francouer, Jeff Francis, Bruce Chen... the list goes on. Moore did trade backup infielder Mike Aviles to Boston for a solid return, but that only underscores how K.C. failed here.

Instead of driving a hard bargain on Cabrera, who would have been in major demand once Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn came off the board, Moore decided to keep Cabrera, which in turn keeps the center fielder of the future in Lorenzo Cain down in Triple-A. It's possible Cabrera can keep up this production and the Royals will make him part of the long-term future once he becomes a free agent after 2012, but possible does not mean probable. The Royals received a replacement backup infielder for Aviles in Yamaico Navarro who has a chance to be more than that, plus a flier on a minor-league arm. Navarro is far more integral to Kansas City's bright future than Aviles is, just like whatever Cabrera or any of these other players might have fetched are more important than the incumbents by default.

Even when the Phillies, Braves and Pirates closed up shopping by dealing for other outfield arms, other teams could have still used upgrades. It's hard to imagine offers weren't there for Cabrera, nor that some teams wouldn't have liked a lefty in the back of the rotation the caliber of Francis or Chen. And Francouer, for all his warts, has a reputation as a fast starter for a new team, plus he can hit left-handers well. But instead, he's going to be in Kansas City sucking up valuable playing time with no clear benefit to the Royals.

RedsWhat the Reds should have done: Improved team

The Reds were a feel-good story last season, winning the division and playing baseball in October in Cincinnati for the first time since 1995. They looked like a team to beat entering 2011, but so far are comfortably in fourth place in the NL Central, winning on Sunday to push their record to 53-55 and edge closer to third and second place.

The Reds, lacking a bona fide ace, refused to part with the assets needed to acquire Ubaldo Jimenez despite no shortage of pitchers that profile as Nos. 3 or 4 starters in the majors and a healthy farm system. Fine, sometimes pitching depth with no discernible top-end talent can still end up a good thing. Injuries always strike, and there's a chance Edinson Volquez figures things out or Homer Bailey reaches his ceiling. But the Reds did absolutely nothing, including refusing to trade catcher Ramon Hernandez to the Giants, who would have been more than willing to send pitching or other help to the Reds. Top prospect Devin Mesoraco is probably ready, right now, to outproduce Hernandez.

And yet, Hernandez, plus every single other tradeable commodity, remained. The Reds didn't lift a finger to bring in outfield help or to shore up the left side of the infield, never mind decline to go big for an ace pitcher. It's a disappointing result for a team and a fanbase that knows October is possible again and could have used an injection of both talent and the mental optimism that would have come along with a trade.

We only looked at five teams and excluded the Cubs. But never fear, we have more on the Cubs' shocking futility at the trade deadline, plus here is what I wrote about the Cubs' performance at the deadline in the trade deadline winners and losers article:
You will hear much more on Monday [night] about the Cubs' massive failure at the trade deadline thanks to GM Jim Hendry, who really should be fired on the spot. But while we're here, we might as well recap the Cubs' situation. That situation is a 42-65 record, which is just a few losses away from a 100-loss pace. The Cubs are loaded with unseemly contracts, ranging from the obscene (Alfonso Soriano) to the bad (Carlos Zambrano) to the unnecessary (John Grabow).

And yet, not only was Hendry content not to move any pieces but he was fine encouraging Aramis Ramirez to stay in town. He was fine ruling out the trading of a backup platoon infielder in Jeff Baker. (Read that last sentence again.) The only player Hendry parted with was Fukudome, and he never had fans in the front office and was a lock to leave after the season, anyways.

Instead of trying to set the Cubs up for future success, Hendry seemed paralyzed by which direction to go and while choosing to become buyers would have been ludicrous, it would have been a more palatable direction than just staying pat. Of course, the Cubs aren't flush with a deep farm system, especially after trading for Matt Garza. So Hendry's stuck pretending to be a contender for what, at least from this side of things, seems to be nothing more than a desperate attempt to save his job by pretending his team is close to contention and does not need a fire sale -- a fire sale that would have been entirely Hendry's fault.
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Posted on: July 30, 2011 1:53 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Renteria stings old team



By C. Trent Rosecrans

Edgar Renteria, Reds: The reigning World Series MVP stuck it to his old team with an RBI single in the 13th inning, ending Cincinnati's four-game losing skid. Renteria hasn't been very good this year -- hitting .238/.305/.298 -- but he came up big against Giants closer Brian Wilson, lining a single down the right-field line to score Jay Bruce from second for a 4-3 Reds win. It was his second walk-off RBI of the year in extras and he's now 5 for 9 in extra innings. A little extra praise here for Reds reliever Jose Arredondo, who not only picked up the victory, but also singled off Wilson in his first big-league plate appearance after the Reds had run out of position players.

Jeremy Guthrie, Orioles: With several teams scouting Baltimore's right-hander, the 32-year-old impressed, holding the Yankees to just four hits and one run in seven innings. The Cardinals, Tigers, Brewers, Rangers and Red Sox have all expressed interest in Guthrie, who lowered his ERA from 4.33 to 4.18 and improved his record to 5-14.

A.J. Pierzynski, White Sox: In a washing machine, the red socks will overpower the white ones -- but recently it's been the other way around on the baseball field. Pierzynski's two-run homer in the seventh inning led to Chicago's seventh straight victory over Boston and its 14th win in the last 16 battles of the Sox. Both teams managed just three hits, but Pierzynski made his lone hit count, homering off of Tim Wakefield to break a 1-1 tie in the seventh to deny Wakefield his 200th career victory.


Hitting streaks: Florida's Emilio Bonifacio and Boston's Dustin Pedroia both went 0 for 4 on Friday, ending a 26-game hitting streak for Bonifacio and a 25-game hitting streak for Pedroia. Both of their teams also lost while managing just three hits -- the Marlins 5-0 in Atlanta and the Red Sox 3-1 to the White Sox.

Charlie Morton, Pirates: Much has been made of the similarities between Morton and Roy Halladay -- their motions do look awfully similar. But on Friday, the results couldn't be more different. Morton allowed eight runs on nine hits in four innings, while Halladay allowed just a single hit over seven innings in Philadelphia's 10-3 victory over the Pirates.

Carlos Carrasco, Indians: After giving up his third homer of the game -- a fourth-inning grand slam by Melky Cabrera (that Cabrera admired for way too long) -- the Indians right-hander threw at the head of Royals DH Billy Butler, who had homered in the first. Carrasco was immediately ejected by home plate umpire Scott Barry. Butler was restrained by Indians catcher Lou Marson and both dugouts and benches cleared. Not to be outdone, Carrasco yelled back at Royals players as he exited the field. Carrasco took his ninth loss of the season and allowed seven runs on seven hits in 3 1/3 innings. Butler added his second homer later in the game.

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Posted on: July 21, 2011 4:43 pm
Edited on: July 21, 2011 5:07 pm
 

Trade Deadline Primer: NL East

By Eye on Baseball team

Leading up to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, the National League East has an actual race -- as well as a team with a bloated payroll and no hope -- which leads to a great chance of some pretty interesting trades to and from the division. Here's a look at the five teams in the NL Eeast:

Philadelphia Phillies

Status: Buyers

Needs: Bullpen, RH bat

Notes: Manager Charlie Manuel said he'd love a right-handed bat (Philadelphia Daily News), probably in the outfield, but this is the Phillies and expect the team to focus on pitching -- at least that's what history tells us. And because their rotation is pretty good (you may have heard about some of these guys), they focus on relievers, likely ending a streak of five years of adding a starter midseason. The team is likely one of the many suitors for Padres closer Heath Bell, although some suggest the Phillies prefer Mike Adams. Padres owner Jeff Moorad has reportedly told Adams he won't be traded. However, according to Tom Krasovic of Inside the Padres, the Phillies are willing to give up Class A first baseman/left fielder Jonathan Singleton in return for Adams.

Another bullpen trade partner could be the Orioles, CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler said. The Phillies could be interested in Jim Johnson or Koji Uehara.

MLB Trade Deadline

As for the right-handed bats, the Phillies are in on the same folks everyone's chasing -- Ryan Ludwick, Carlos Beltran, Hunter Pence and maybe Jeff Francouer. The biggest hurdle of all for the Phillies is money, as in they've already spent it and they're worried about the luxury tax. The team has just between $2 and $3 million to spend and avoid the luxury tax.

According to Jon Paul Morosi of FoxSports.com, the Phillies and Royals have already exchanged names in a possible Melky Cabrera trade. Cabrera is a cheaper, younger switch hitter for those who fall short in the Carlos Beltran sweepstakes.

Now, if they're going big and bold, Buster Olney of ESPN.com, tweeted the Phillies could go for Pence, centering the deal around right-hander Vance Worley.

Atlanta Braves

Status: Bargain shoppers

Needs: Right-handed bat

Notes: The Braves need a right-handed bat like Roy Halladay needs air conditioning. Atlanta looks like the front-runner for the National League wild card, but don't have much money to spend. The biggest issue right now for Atlanta is its inability to hit left-handed pitchers. Braves hitters are hitting just .211/.285/.337 against lefties, with Jason Heyward, Nate McLouth and Jordan Schafer all below the Mendoza line against southpaws. That's why Jon Paul Morosi's report of the Reds' Jonny Gomes drawing the interest of the Braves makes sense, Gomes kills lefties to the tune of a .340/.446/.547 slash line this season and .281/..377/.510 in his career. There's also the regular names such as Ludwick and Beltran.

To make room for more payroll, the team could trade right-hander Derek Lowe, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's David O'Brien wrote. The Tigers could be interested in Lowe, but would have to take up the rest of the $20 million he's owed through 2012.

New York Mets

Status: One-stop shopping

Needs: Young talent under team control; pitching

Notes: Outfielder Carlos Beltran is the top position player on the market, but his future is clouded by the number of teams that could use an upgrade in the outfield and the fact that he's not for sale, he's for rent. Whatever team gets him won't even get compensation picks if he leaves as a free agent after the season.

The Mets would reportedly rather pay Beltran's salary and get a good young player or top prospect in return. They could unload him to a team willing to pay the roughly $8 million left on his contract, but then they wouldn't get much in return. The Mets would prefer big-league ready pitching talent. New York seems confident it can re-sign Jose Reyes, meaning they're not ready to throw in the towel and go full-on rebuilding anytime soon. 

Beltran, however, does have a no-trade clause. According to Tim Brown of Yahoo!, Sandy Alderson gave Beltran a short list of teams interested -- the Phillies, Red Sox, Braves, Giants, Brewers and maybe the Yankees -- and Beltran hasn't ruled any of them out.

It's pretty certain now that the Mets won't deal Reyes, but it appears they may be holding on to Jason Isringhausen, too, Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman tweets.

Washington Nationals

Status: Listening to all offers

Needs: Leadoff man/center fielder of the future

Notes: The Nationals have pieces to deal -- from catcher Ivan Rodriguez to relievers Tyler Clippard, Drew Storen, Todd Coffey and Sean Burnett, plus starters Jason Marquis, Livan Hernandez and Tom Gorzelanny. In short, they're open for business, with GM Mike Rizzo saying no player is "untouchable" -- but then following that up with "we're not going to touch our core." That means, "after a while, they don't ask for [Danny] Espinosa," Rizzo told the Washington Post's Adam Kilgore. Ryan Zimmerman is also likely untouchable, as well as catcher Wilson Ramos.

One name to watch is shortstop Ian Desmond, but that would take quite the return for the team to move the 25-year-old.

More likely to go are some of the team's relievers. The Nats are deep in the bullpen and it's a position that's always in demand. The top tier would be Clippard or even Storen, but that would require Washington receiving a leadoff-hitting center fielder in return, someone like B.J. Upton, Michael Bourn, Colby Rasmus or Denard Span, FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal writes.

Florida Marlins

Status: Sellers

Needs: Third baseman, starting pitchers

Notes: The Marlins have starting pitchers that would interest many teams, but they may not part with them. Next year they rename themselves the Miami Marlins when they move into a new stadium and ownership would like a competitive team on the field when that happens.

Ricky Nolasco is the top starter to be had, but Knobler says they'd have to get a younger, cheaper starter in return for the 28-year-old right-hander.

The one the team may part with is Javier Vazquez, but it's not really their decision. Vazquez has a full no-trade clause and isn't in any hurry to leave South Florida. There are few places he'd accept a trade.

Sure to be gone is closer Leo Nunez. The Phillies are interested in Nunez. The other teams desperate for bullpen help -- like the Cardinals and Rangers -- are likely to at least inquire what it may take to get him.

Randy Choate has been verbal this week about his problems with current manager Jack McKeon and could get shipped off for not being a good soldier.

Also on the block are free-agents-to-be Greg Dobbs and Omar Infante. Infante's value is a lot less than it was a year ago.

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Posted on: July 18, 2011 9:30 pm
Edited on: July 18, 2011 9:36 pm
 

Angels GM says he can add payroll

Tony ReaginsBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Angels general manager Tony Reagins says he's hasn't been given orders not to spend money at the trade deadline, as had been reported recently.

"I haven't been limited in any way," Reagins told Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register. "I've never had a conversation of that sort with Arte [Moreno] and any writer who writes something like that is misinformed."

However, the Angels currently have a $140 million payroll with approximately $28 million going to Scott Kazmir, Kendrys Morales and Gary Matthews Jr. That doesn't even take into offseason additions of Vernon Wells, Hisanori Takahashi and Scott Downs -- none of whom came cheap.

The Angels have come up in rumors about Mets outfielder Carlos Beltran and Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez. Another name that's popped up is Kansas City's Wilson Betemit and Melky Cabrera. There's also San Diego relievers Heath Bell and Mike Adams, who are the top relievers available.

Anaheim is entered Monday four games behind Texas in the American League West and could use some help in the bullpen and on offense. 

"You always look to upgrade if you can. If the right situation comes along, we'll be open to it," Reagins said. ""But the biggest improvement is going to come from within.

"Each situation [in the past, such as Mark Teixeira in 2008, Scott Kazmir in 2009 and Dan Haren last season] was trying to put the club in position to win a championship. … If that situation presents itself at this deadline, we'll be ready to act."

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Posted on: July 15, 2011 1:34 am
Edited on: July 15, 2011 1:34 am
 

Francoeur wants to stay in KC

Jeff Francoeur

By C. Trent Rosecrans


If you're a Royals player and not really cheap and under team control for several more years, you know that come July there will be trade talk.

With a loss to the Twins on Thursday, Kansas City is now 37-56 and 12 games behind the Indians in the American League Central. That means someone's not going to be wearing royal blue for long.

Last year the Royals dealt Kyle Farnsworth, Rick Ankiel, Alberto Callaspo and Scott Podsednik before the July 31 deadline. This year, they could move several players, including outfielder Jeff Francoeur, lefty Jeff Francis and outfielder Melky Cabrera.

The one thing that's different this year is that Francoeur doesn't want to go. Francoeur has a mutual option for $4 million next season.

"People keep asking me about it," Francoeur told the Kansas City Star's Bob Dutton. "And what I say is I'm sure if a team came to the Royals and overwhelmed them [with an offer] for me or Melky, they'd probably have to do it. But you know what? I think a lot of us will be here."

Francoeur has been traded during each of the last two seasons -- from the Braves to the Mets in 2009 and from the Mets to the Rangers last season.

"Let's say you trade me and Melky, you're just starting over," Francoeur said. "If you're trying to build something to go to the next level, at some point you've got to make a stand and keep guys."

That said, are Francoeur and Cabrera really the guys you keep around? Neither player is the long-term solution. When the Royals talk about their future and their possible contention in 2013 or 2014, it's not Francouer or Cabrera that is expected to be in right field, it's 20-year-old Wil Myers, currently in Double-A, who should be manning right at Kauffman Stadium.

Francoeur is a talented player, but he's hardly a first-division starter. This year he's hitting .265/.308/.443 with 12 home runs and 56 RBI, pretty much typical Francoeur numbers (he's a career.268/.310/.427 hitter). Cabrera is hitting .293/.332/.455 with 11 home runs and 51 RBI, nearing career-best numbers all-around. Cabrera is just 26 and under team control through next season.

The team may want to keep one of the two around to play right with Alex Gordon in left and Lorenzo Cain in center field next season. That said, if there's a decent offer, neither Francoeur or Cabrera is irreplaceable -- they're both in Kansas City for a reason.

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Posted on: July 11, 2011 12:38 pm
Edited on: July 11, 2011 1:05 pm
 

Verlander fronts AL Central All-Stars

By Matt Snyder

2011 All-Star Game
SEE THE OTHER DIVISION ALL-STARS: AL East | AL West | NL East | NL Central | NL West

The AL Central has been the most upside-down of all divisions in baseball this year, at least according to preseason expectations. Thus, the team doesn't much look like one we'd expect. Let's dive in.

C Alex Avila, Tigers: Very easy choice here, as the AL All-Star starter resides in this division. It's just that if you read that phrase at the start of the season it would have been very obvious we were talking about Joe Mauer. And if Mauer went down with an injury for a while -- as he did -- the next in line would have likely been Carlos Santana. Nope, it's instead Avila. With a .370 on-base percentage, 10 homers and 46 RBI, he's the man. It's been that kind of year in the Central.

1B Miguel Cabrera, Tigers: This was a very tough call over Paul Konerko. The two are so comparable across the board that it's hard to make a distinction. We'll give the nod to Cabrera based upon the 40-point lead in on-base percentage, but this is really a dead-heat. The fans certainly got the AL "Final Vote" right when electing Konerko.

Lineup
No. Name Team Pos
1 Alex Gordon KC LF
2 Asdrubal Cabrera CLE SS
3 Miguel Cabrera DET 1B
4 Carlos Quentin CWS RF
5 Travis Hafner CLE DH
6 Jhonny Peralta DET 3B
7 Melky Cabrera KC CF
8 Alex Avila DET C
9 Gordon Beckham CWS 2B
2B Gordon Beckham, White Sox: This is a choice between the undeserving. Orlando Cabrera, Chris Getz, Alexi Casilla, Ryan Raburn. Yeah, those are the other choices. Beckham has at least shown flashes of being productive and -- at this point in their respective careers -- easily has the most potential. Unfortunately, that's what we have to go on here.

SS Asdrubal Cabrera, Indians: Unlike second base, we're loaded here, with Cabrera, Jhonny Peralta and Alexei Ramirez. Alcides Escobar is a defensive stud, too. Cabrera, though, is hitting .293/.387/.489 with 14 homers, 51 RBI, 55 runs and 12 steals. Ramirez is our runner-up here, because we're doing something else with Peralta ...

3B Jhonny Peralta, Tigers: There was no other choice. I had to cheat and move Peralta back to third. Otherwise we were looking at Danny Valencia, Brent Morel, Mark Teahan, Jack Hannahan or the stuggled yet promising Mike Moustakas. Or some other players who aren't even close to All-Stars at this point, yet have been seeing time at third in this division. So we're using Peralta and his .312 average, 14 homers and 50 RBI.

LF Alex Gordon, Royals: After years of waiting, here is the Alex Gordon many were thinking would show his face in 2007. He's put up good numbers -- 11 homers, 50 runs, 50 RBI, 24 doubles, six steals -- and been a steady force in the lineup for the Royals. Even atop the lineup, which we didn't think we'd see when he arrived on the scene. This was a tough call over Brennan Boesch, but we're giving Gordon the nod.

CF Melky Cabrera, Royals: Grady Sizemore missed a lot of games due to injury, Austin Jackson has taken a step backward, Denard Span has missed a lot of games and Alex Rios has been awful. Who's that leave? Yep, Cabrera. Apparently it's the best last name to sport in this division, as 33 percent of the starting lineup has it. Melky has hit for average, hit for power, run well and been a leader for the young Royals. It's shocking to say it, but he's the easy choice here (again, it's backwards).

RF Carlos Quentin, White Sox: Once again, Boesch gets passed over. Quentin has 17 home runs, 51 RBI, a solid OBP due to walks and hit-by-pitches and plays solid defense in right for the White Sox. Plus, Konerko and Quentin have had to pick up some serious slack in the power department with the disappearance of Rios and Adam Dunn. This is actually a pretty loaded position, too, with Jeff Francoeur having a good year, Shin-Soo Choo's talent (when healthy), Michael Cuddyer and Boesch.

DH Travis Hafner, Indians: Sure, he's missed a small chunk of games, but Pronk has shown much more power than Victor Martinez, and that's what we want in a DH. Hafner has eight home runs and a .528 slugging percentage in 51 games, while Martinez has only hit six homers in 77 games with a .457 slugging percentage. Billy Butler also gets squeezed out here with having a bit less power than Martinez.

SP Justin Verlander, Tigers: Guys like Justin Masterson and Scott Baker are having pretty good seasons, but there's really no reason to even expand on the discussion. Verlander is starting to come up with Roy Halladay in the best-pitcher-in-baseball discussions.

RP Al Alburquerque, Tigers: The rookie has been a Godsend for the Tigers' bullpen, as he's taken over the setup role Joel Zumaya can never stay healthy enough to hold down. Plus, big-money free agent signee Joaquin Benoit faltered early in the season. Alburquerque stepped up and struck out 47 hitters in just 29 innings. Rafael Perez is the runner-up here, but Alburquerque gets the nod.

CL Chris Perez, Indians: Too bad Joakim Soria wasn't quite himself early in the season, because this could have been easy. Instead, we've got a three-way race with no right answer. No matter how many ways you look at Chris Perez, Sergio Santos and Jose Valverde, there's no real way to argue and ironclad case as one man emerging as the absolute best of the three. We'll go with Perez, but it's a coin-flip.

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