Fire Dayton Moore

Fire Dayton Moore
It's time.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Mad money

As you've surely learned by now, the Royals signed Luke Hochevar to a 1-year, $4.56 million deal. Hochevar can also earn up to $100,000 in performance bonuses.

I'm not going to waste many words on how terrible Hochevar has proven to be as a Major League pitcher. His 5.73 ERA and 1.42 WHIP in 2012 and 5.39 ERA and 1.40 WHIP in 771 career innings pitched tell just about all that needs to be told. He's pitched at least 100 innings in five seasons and the only consistent trait Hochevar possesses is his inconsistency.

From game to game and inning to inning, Hochevar has been nothing but a ticking, right-handed time bomb. With his 30th birthday coming in September, there's no reason to believe Hochevar will ever come close to meeting the expectations of the No. 1 draft pick he once was.

But rather than rehash all of the Hochevar factoids that everyone is already aware of, I just wanted to recap the Royals' offseason spending because, in all likelihood, this will be the Royals' last move of consequence before Spring Training. Below is a list of the noteworthy players Dayton Moore has acquired or re-signed this season and the damage done to David Glass' wallet.

  • Wade Davis — $2.8 million in 2013/$4.8 million in 2014/$7 million in 2015/$8 million in 2016/$10 million in 2017 (team options for 2015-17, $2.5 million buyout in 2017)
  • Jeremy Guthrie — $5 million in 2013/$11 million in 2014/$9 million in 2015
  • Luke Hochevar — $4.56 million in 2013 (eligible for $100,000 in performance bonuses)
  • Ervin Santana — $13 million in 2013 ($1 million paid by the Angels)
  • James Shields — $9 million in 2013/$12 million in 2014 (team option for 2014, $1 million buyout)
  • Miguel Tejada — $1.1 million in 2013 (must make Major League roster, eligible for $400,000 in performances bonuses)

So for 2013 alone, the Royals committed $34.36 million and that doesn't incude the money Miguel Tejada could earn. That doesn't take into account the escalating salaries due to Davis, Guthrie and Shields. The Royals are reported to have an opening day payroll of $78 million, and that figure was released before the Hochevar deal. So nearly half of the club's estimated payroll was spent this summer — a hefty investment from Glass as such a payroll is 28 percent higher than the club's 2012 payroll — and this is the crop of players Dayton Moore has to show for it. This is the collection of players expected to push the Royals into playoff contention.

That's it, Kansas City.

By comparison, Oakland and Tampa Bay are estimated to have payrolls around $60 million. Is there any question which of these three teams — eternally connected by the Johnny Damon trade in my mind — are in the best position to compete in 2013?

I'm not going to run down the list of free agent signings that I would have preferred. I'll only compare the Royals' acquisitions to three made by the Cubs to build up their own rotation.

  • Scott Baker — $5.5 million in 2013
  • Scott Feldman — $6 million in 2013
  • Edwin Jackson — $13 million in 2013/$13 million in 2014/$13 million in 2015/$13 million in 2016

Add it up and you're at $24.5 million — nearly one-third of what Moore has spent — with only one long-term commitment and, overall, a comparable pitching trio to that of Shields/Guthrie/Santana without having given up Wil Myers. And the Royals would still have Jake Odorizzi, who many compare to Davis, but wouldn't cost nearly as much over the next five seasons. And if Moore's offseason budget was about $35 million, he'd still could have brought back Hochevar and brought in Tejada and had money left over.

And he'd still have the best outfield prospect in baseball.

Fire Dayton Moore

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