Myself and many Royals fans were waiting with baited breath, in desperate hopes that they would move some of the unnecessary veterans on this team for some younger talent. Moving Callaspo and Podsednik earlier was a nice start, but with guys like Guillen, Ankiel and Farnsworth on the team there was still lots of potential moves out there. Very few rumors had been floated at all today and I felt that portended no activity. However at the very last moment, it was announced that the Royals traded Kyle Farnsworth and Rick Ankiel to the Braves for Gregor Blanco, Jessie Chavez and Tim Collins. With the absolute dearth of information out there prior to this going down, I think we can safely assume that Dayton picked up his theories on loose lips from his old organization.
Other than keeping Guillen*, I think Dayton handled this trading deadline masterfully. He clearly realized that there was a long list of players on this team who have no future with this team, so getting something, anything for them at this point in time was a net benefit to the organization. Not only that, but it allows younger guys like Getz, Aviles, Gordon, Maier and dear God I hope Kila Ka’aihue to get some playing time.
*Guillen will likely be put through waivers in an attempt to trade him after the deadline, so he isn’t quite here to stay just yet.
So, what did the Royals get in this latest deal?
Chavez is a 26 year old relief pitcher who hasn’t been particularly effective. He will probably move into the bullpen immediately to replace Farnsworth. He has a good K/9 of 7.0 and also a good BB/9 of 3.33 in his 119 innings of work in the majors. However he is a big-time flyball pitcher with 43% of the hits being of that variety. That might play well at spacious Kauffman Stadium, but it remains to be seen. Right now he is just a bullpen guy who is cheaper than Farnsworth and under team control for longer.
Blanco is a 26 year old lefty outfielder. He has a higher carrer OBP .361 than Scott Podsednik .341. He has never shown the ability to hit with power, but seems to be a leadoff type of guy. His numbers show some speed and he has started more games at the leadoff spot than any other slot in the lineup. My guess is that he will take the place of Ankiel on the MLB roster, and will be a filler or 4th outfielder type.
Collins is clearly the most intriguing part of this trade. He is listed at 5’7 155, but word on the street is that he is more likely 5’5. So in a word, he is short. But what he lacks in height he makes up for in stuff. He has a 2.29 ERA this year in 51 IP, with 87 strikeouts to 19 walks. He can hit 93mph on the radar gun and has a nice curveball and changeup. He projects as a potential setup man in the majors. This is the guy who is most important in this whole trade. He has the highest ceiling and the best chance at being an impact major leaguer. Beyond that, can you imagine what kind of fan favorite a 5’5 fireballer out of the pen would be? At the risk of blowing the papers headline pre-emptively, I see something like “Tiny Tim Saves The Day”. For a good article about Collins read this.
All in all, I am completely happy with the return for a couple of months of Ankiel and Farnsworth. However, it’s the big picture that is of more importance. The Royals have added 7 players to their organization in return for Alberto Callaspo and 2 months of Podsednik, Farnsworth and Ankiel. There has been lots of talk about the Royals youth movement (for a decade now), but this team was actually kind of old. Jettisoning these veterans, giving younger guys a chance to prove themselves and continuing to stock the minors is the true beginning of this youth movement.
In an additional move, which suprised me, the Royals signed Ned Yost through 2012. I was beginning to believe that the Royals wouldn’t sign Ned Yost, but I also couldn’t imagine that they would want to go through a manager search in the offseason. I like Ned Yost more than Trey Hillman. He has some things that annoy me (Kendall batting 2nd), but overall he is a fine manager in my eyes. I don’t believe the manager does much in the way of strategy anyway, so how he handles the clubhouse is probably of the most importance. I can’t pretend that I have any clue as to how he does at that job, but my guess is that Dayton does and signing him through 2012 should tell you what he thinks.
Busy day for the Royals, what do you think of the moves?