Rosenthal and Morosi report that the Royals are open to trading Gil Meche and David DeJesus, likely waiting until most of the free agents sign, making their market out of the teams who don’t have a chair when the music stops on the Randy Wolfs and Marlon Byrds of the world.
Meche’s season ended early due to some shoulder inflammation. He was 6-10 with a 5.09 ERA in 23
starts after posting a 3.82 ERA through his first two years on his $12m/year deal, which still has two years left on it. DeJesus is useful enough, but way more so if he can play center instead of left, where he transitioned to more or less full time last year.
If I’m the Royals I hold on to Meche for a bit to see if he can rebound from an off year. If so, you have a really useful pitcher to slot in behind Greinke and/or a much more valuable trade chit come June or July.
All spring training there was at least some mild confusion about Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. He played in almost no regular big league spring training games, instead, staying on the back fields, playing in simulated and minor league contests. When that usually happens, it’s because a player is rehabbing or even hiding an injury, but the Nats insisted that was not the case with Zimmerman. Not everyone believed it. I, for one, was skeptical.
The skepticism was unwarranted, as Zimmerman answered the bell for Opening Day and has played all season. As Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal writes today, it was all by design. He skipped spring training because he doesn’t like it and because he thinks it’ll help him avoid late-season injuries and slowdowns, the likes of which he has suffered over the years.
It’s hard to really judge this now, of course. On the one hand Zimmerman has started really slow this season. What’s more, he has started to show signs of warming up only in the past week, after getting almost as many big league, full-speed plate appearances under his belt as a normal spring training would’ve given him. On the other hand, April is his worst month across his entire 14-year career, so one slow April doesn’t really prove anything and, again, Zimmerman and the Nats will consider this a success if he’s healthy and productive in August and September.
It is sort of a missed opportunity, though. Players hate spring training. They really do. if Zimmerman had made a big deal out of skipping it and came out raking this month, I bet a lot more teams would be amenable to letting a veteran or three take it much more easy next spring. Good ideas can be good ideas even if they don’t produce immediately obvious results, but baseball tends to encourage a copycat culture only when someone can point to a stat line or to standings as justification.
Way to ruin it for everyone, Ryan. 😉