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Terrerobytes: Royal rebuild could warp AL Central

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Plus: Omar Vizquel is official, Welington Castillo’s defense is divisive, and more

Detroit Tigers v Kansas City Royals Photo by Brian Davidson/Getty Images

Dayton Moore was caught in an impossible situation at the trade deadline this past July. With the Royals hovering just south of .500 and looking just short of a contender, he might have been tempted to trade impending free agents like Eric Hosmer, Lorenzo Cain and Mike Moustakas. But with no team seizing the second wild card and the returns for two-month rentals unlikely to be transformative, Moore decided to see if his two-time American League champions could do it once again.

It didn’t work, but I don’t blame him for trying when watching the response from fans on the last day of the season.

Hosmer, Cain and Moustakas all received qualifying offers, so Kansas City is likely to receive compensation picks after the first round in next year’s draft. That could turn out to be a windfall in a few years, but the seasons in between look rather bare, especially since the Royals’ payroll is still around $120 million.

This being the case, Ken Rosenthal says Moore is considering succumbing to the free-agent hemorrhage and cutting deep now:

In addition to entertaining trades for right-handed starter Jason Hammel and relievers Kelvin Herrera and Joakim Soria, the Royals might consider moving two players under long-term control, second baseman Whit Merrifield and left-handed reliever Scott Alexander, sources say.

This is one of those developments that could warp the AL Central. Come 2019, if more than half the division is rebuilding and the White Sox are considerably more advanced than the others, a couple of lopsided season series could change the perception of a season. The 2015 Twins come to mind as a recent example. White Sox fans saw a juggernaut. Other fans couldn’t understand the big deal.

  • Twins overall: 83-79, 696 runs scored, 700 allowed
  • Twins vs. Sox: 13-6, 108 runs scored, 57 allowed
  • Other games: 70-73, 588 runs scored, 643 allowed

That presumes the White Sox would be talented enough to take advantage of a situation, which isn’t yet the case (although, hey, the Welington Castillo signing gives them top-half projections at catcher). Just keep it in your back pocket should the Sox show a knack for beating teams they should.

Terrerobytes

The move had leaked before, but Omar Vizquel is officially in the fold with the Dash. He replaces Willie Harris, whose work in his first season with the Dash had supposedly been well-regarded, but has moved to a different organization (corrected).

At any rate, it’ll be nice to see Vizquel take up the mentor mantle without a roster spot this time.

The opinions of the Welington Castillo signing come down to how you interpret his work behind the plate. Keith Law says the sudden improvement in Castillo’s framing numbers might be a reflection of the instability of the skill:

Castillo will be replacing replacement-level players, and it won't be hard for him to justify a $7.5 million average annual value (AAV), even with below-average pitch framing. We've seen over the course of the past few years that catchers can improve their framing skills, even at an age when most skills have stopped improving, and that good framing can disappear overnight, which means paying face value for it may not be as smart as it appeared two years ago.

The leading guess is that the poor framers have been weeded out, preventing the best receivers from running up the score like they once did, and leading to more jockeying among OK framers inside the pack. If Castillo reverts to his old form, Christina Kahrl wonders whether the signing will hurt more than it helps:

Baseball Prospectus had consistently rated him among the worst until last season, when he presided over the Orioles' rotation implosion. Given the number of high-end pitching prospects that GM Rick Hahn has acquired, that $15 million could come with a risk to their development if Castillo's long-term struggles follow him to the South Side.

Good news: Jake Peter isn’t one of the more projection-friendly position players who is eligible for the Rule 5 draft. Bad news: Jordan Guerrero is the top lefty.

Grant Brisbee assesses the seven remaining teams based on various categories to detect who might have an edge. It could be the Giants, if you give more weight to areas like “If he wants a team with the most modern facilities/best ballpark,” “If he’s curious, like the rest of us, what Buster Posey is really like in person,” and “If he’s looking for a real estate market that will allow him to live in something the size of the Nippon Ham Fighter dorm he’s currently living in now, for the low, low price of half his annual salary.”

The Marlins have agreed on frameworks for Giancarlo Stanton trades with both the Giants and Cardinals, but Stanton might be flexing his no-trade clause to make a trade to his hometown Dodgers happen.