Well, the offseason is officially upon us with the World Series coming to an end (congratulations all you Phillies fans) and it didn’t take long for the first domino to fall. According to Dick Karegel of mlb.com (click here for the article) the Kansas City Royals have acquired Mike Jacobs from the Florida Marlins in exchange for relief pitcher Leo Nunez.
Honestly, I have no clue why the Royals needed to add Jacobs to the mix. Yes, he is coming off a season where he hit 32 HR and picked up 93 RBI, but with Kila Ka’aihue and Ryan Shealy already on the roster, is he that great of an upgrade? Ka’aihue, in particular, showed a lot of potential at Triple A this season after hitting .314 with 37 HR and 100 RBI between Double & Triple A. Jacobs, by the way, hit just .247 on the season.
Granted, it was no guarantee that Ka’aihue’s numbers would translate to the major league level, but it would have been nice if the Royals actually gave their youngster a chance. Instead, he got just 21 AB for the Royals during a September call-up. With Billy Butler entrenched as the DH, it seems unlikely that there is a position for Ka’aihue to play, unless they think one of these guys might be able to move to the outfield (I doubt it).
As for the Marlins, they pick up a good arm for the pen, as Nunez posted a 2.98 ERA over 48.1 innings this past season. The closers spot is certainly wide open in Florida, so I don’t think it is unthinkable that he competes for that role in Spring Training. That certainly makes him a relief pitcher worth watching. They also have a few young 1B, most notably Gaby Sanchez, who could fill in Jacobs spot. Preseason, Baseball America had Sanchez ranked as the team’s #10 prospect, who then went out and hit .314 with 17 HR, 92 RBI and 17 SB at Double A. He also got a cup of coffee at the major league level, going 3-8 with a pair of doubles. He’s certainly a player worth keeping an eye on as a deep sleeper.
I think it’s pretty obvious that I am not a fan of this trade from the Royals perspective. They had capable players who could fill the 1B position and certainly had more glaring needs. It’ll be interesting to see if they try to use Ka’aihue as a trade chip now, as I’m sure there are plenty of teams that would be interested in a young 1B who has the potential for some pop in his bat.