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Royals Sign Mays, Sanders

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Reggie Sanders signed a two-year deal for $10 million with the Kansas City Royals. Not a bad move, but it is hardly going to make them contenders. Last year had 11 Win Shares (WS) in 93 games. For 162 games, it would be about 19, just below the all-star level of 20. But he is 38 and also only played 130 and 135 games in the previous two seasons. His WS totals for the last 3 years are 18-14-11.

The Cubs signed Jacque Jones, also an outfielder, to a 3-year deal for about $16 million. His WS totals the last 3 years were 14-13-13. He will only be 31 when the season starts. Maybe veteran, average to slightly better than aveage outfielders are going for about $5 million a year.

Bill James projects Sanders to play in 109 games in 2006 with a .324 OBP and a .479 SLG. I assumne that was based on playing in St. Louis, perhahps in the now flattened Busch Stadium. Kaufmann stadium in KC is probably a worse hitting park, so Sanders might do even worse than that.

Joe Mays is 30 and is mainly used as a starter. But he has only made 17, 21 and 26 starts the last three seasons averaging just about 6 innings per start (that goes back to 2002-he did not pitch at all in 2004). His ERAs were 5.38, 6.30, and 5.65. James projected him to pitch 140 innings with a 4.86 ERA. His numbers might improve since, as mentioned above, he will be in a poor hitter's park. But he does not pitch well on the road. His last 3 full season road ERAs have been 6.75, 5.45, and 7.46. That may be a good indicator of his true quality. He gave up 33 HRs in 173 IP on the road the last 3 seasons. His career strikeout to walk ratio is 1.61 while the league average is 1.89.

The Royals signed him to a 1 year deal for $1 million. He can get a bonus if he makes enough starts. According to the Yahoo report, the Royals think he will pitch well since this will be his second year after Tommy John surgery because pitchers finally bounce back in that second year. They say he is a sinker ball pitcher and will do well with the Royals improved infield defense. I never heard of that before about the Tommy John surgery. But it seems like wishful thinking since Mays has had only one good season in his career.

Overall, it is hard to see what the Royals are trying to accomplish. They won only 56 games last year and these moves are not likely to add many wins. Even if they added 10 wins, they only go up to 66, a total that will not generate much excitement among the fans. They signed two veterans, so they are not building for the future.