All respect due to the NFL’s longest-tenured Appalachian State alum, but I refer to the Kansas City Royals. In the past 24 hours, the Royals have dealt reliever Mike MacDougal to the White Sox for two fairly well regarded prospects; long-reliever/depressing spot-closer Elmer Dessens (above) to the Dodgers for Odalis Perez and two more pitching prospects; and utility fellow Tony Graffanino to the Brewers for lefty swing-man Jorge De La Rosa. Next up to be dealt: anyone not named David DeJesus or Jeff Keppinger.

All this admittedly minor activity might not be much of a story to those of us not weirdly fascinated by the Royals’ desperate futility, but the combination of a slow pre-deadline period and a new GM (former Atlanta assistant Dayton Moore) who is clearly keen to deal has made the Royals a team to keep an eye on. Well, at least for me and mighty exemplars of Royals fan royalty Rob Neyer and Rany Jazayerli. The latter two get it on in their discussion of the MacDougal deal over at

Rany: I had two initial reactions when I read your message and found out that MacDougal was traded. The emotional response was that I’m going to miss the guy. The Royals’ bullpen in the post-(Jeff) Montgomery era (seriously–ed.) has been unfathomably, historically bad — we’ve covered this before — and Mac has probably been our best reliever of the last decade. Sure, he’s wild as sin and has the emotional maturity of a 12-year-old . . . but that was part of his appeal. He’s a good pitcher and a heck of a character. It’s going to be tough seeing him in black.

That was the emotional response. The rational response — before I even read far enough to see who we traded him for — was, “We just got something for a 29-year-old closer who was still rehabbing two weeks ago? Nice.” It’s not an easy move to accept, but it’s the right one.

Rob: In theory, yes. But I have to think that MacDougal has some value in the game, considering his fantastic arm and his (very) recent performance, as he’s looked excellent since coming off the DL. If neither of the guys the Royals got winds up reaching the majors, then this deal doesn’t look so hot because presumably Dayton Moore was offered — or would have been offered — some young pitchers who eventually will reach the majors. But yes, this is a good deal on the face of it. We just need two or three more like it.

Rany: It’s not a slam-dunk move by any means. It’s easy to forget that MacDougal really isn’teven arbitration-eligible yet; he’s making $430,000 this year, and won’t be a free agent until after the 2009 season.

… The very fact that (Moore)’s offering quality to get quality reassures me he has a plan in mind. The best general managers are almost all willing to give up talent in trades, and occasionally they do get burned. They simply trust that if they’re better prepared than the other guy, in the long run they’ll acquire more talent than they give up.

Rob: Right. I have to say, though, I didn’t realize just how cheap MacDougal still is. If he’s healthy — and yes I know that’s one hell of an if — he’s going to make somebody very happy over the next year or two. But Moore apparently understands that one (injury-prone) reliever in the hand is worth less than two starters in the bush(es).

The newish-look Royals beat the Orioles tonight, 7-5 behind two Mark Teahen (above, center) home runs and another solid outing from the undoubtedly soon-to-be-elsewhere Mark Redman. Old/new closer Ambiorix Burgos threw a scoreless ninth for his 15th save, lowering his ERA to 117.73 in the process.