29 Trades With 29 Teams: Kansas City Royals

The Royals and Orioles are two teams that are rebuilding. In a year where it seems that every Orioles prospect was injured or regressed badly, the Royals experienced the opposite having good or promising years from their youngsters.

Since we already know about the Orioles, lets take a quick glance at the Royals (based on current roster):

Outfield: Alex Gordon (LF), Jeff Francoeur (RF), and Lorenzo Cain (CF). Cain is the question mark here as he has only played in 49 MLB games but posted decent numbers in those games.

Infield: Eric Hosmer (1B), Mike Moustakas (3B), Alcides Escobar (SS), Johnny Giavotella (2B), and Salvador Perez (C). Hosmer and Moustakas aren't getting traded. Both played well as rookies last year. The clear weakness here is up the middle at 2B and SS.

Pitching: Luke Hochevar, Bruce Chen, and Jonathan Sanchez are the top 3 starters, but frankly, the Orioles cannot afford to give up any pitching depth.

Enough of this, what's the damn trade?

Looking at current major league rosters and upcoming minor league prospects, I believe a simple trade for minor league players is the best for both teams.

Jake Odorizzi (RHP) for Jonathan Schoop (2B/SS).

Jake Odorizzi:

Odorizzi was the first round pick (#32 overall) of the Milwaukee Brewers in 2008. He was sent to the Kansas City Royals as part of the Zach Greinke trade. He is currently 21 years old.

John Sickels ranks Odorizzi as the #4 prospect and top pitching prospect in the Royals organization with a B+ grade. Odorizzi split last year evenly between high A and AA ball. His performance in the Carolina League was quite good with an ERA of 2.87, HR/9 0.5, BB/9 2.5, K/9 11.8, and BABIP of .360.

It seems he faltered a bit after being promoted to AA. ERA of 4.72, HR/9 1.7, BB/9 2.9, K/9 7.1 and BABIP of .260. I couldn't find a site that had his FIP so, using the basic calculation of FIP, Odorizzi had a -1.13 FIP (a result of lots of strikeouts with few HR's and BB) in high A and a 1.86 FIP in AA. An indication he still pitched well after being promoted. He also pitched a total of 146.3 innings over 27 starts extending his previous IP total by about 25 innings.

Jonathon Schoop:

Schoop was signed as a non-drafted FA by the Orioles in 2008. He is currently 20 years old.

Schoop is ranked by Sickles as the #3 prospect and #2 infield prospect in the Orioles organization. He split last season between A and high A ball. His OBP/SLG/OPS in Delmarva was .376/.514/.890. He was then promoted to Frederick mid-season and posted a .329/.375/.704.

He has played all over the infield but primarily played SS when Manny Machado was injured and was moved to 2B almost exclusively once Machado got better and Jason Esposito and Nick Delmonico were drafted as 3B prospects. The uncertainty of Brian Roberts return from those pesky concussions made the move to 2B the most sensible solution as well.

Why this works:

The simple answer is the Orioles need more pitching depth and the Royals need middle infield help. With the addition of Ryan Flaherty, Schoop has become more expendable with Ryan Adams and Robert Andino in the mix. The potential gain at pitching is bigger than the potential loss at 2B. I don' t think a return of Brian Roberts has much long term impact as Schoop is still a few years away from the MLB level.

The Orioles depth at pitching is atrocious at best. The loss of a starter means we get to see more guys like Jo-Jo Reyes on the mound. Odorizzi provides the good kind of depth the O's need and may be ready for the majors within 2 years.

Why it doesn't:

Jonathan Schoop is the best infield prospect the O's have behind Machado. The two of them could potentially shore up the middle infield for a long time. If by chance the Orioles young pitching turns it around next year, the need for pitching depth is not as bad as it looks now. A rotation of Britton/Arrieta/Matusz/Bundy/Tillman/Guts (in some form) would be the ideal situation and make Odorizzi less valuable than Schoop.


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