Goodbye Ryan Freel and Other Moves

Today the Kansas City Royals designated OF-Ryan Freel for assignment effectively ending the brief Royals chapter of his career.  He was acquired from the Cubs for a player to be named later on July 6th.  The end result of the trade is that the Royals got a little bit of cash and 30 days of service from Ryan Freel and gave up a player in the process.  Even if the PTBNL is a nobody, with no shot of ever reaching the majors, this transaction is just another in a series of puzzling moves by Dayton Moore.

Freel wasn’t awful for the Royals, both offensively and defensively, but I’m not at all upset that he was let go.  He appeared in 18 games and hit 0.244/.306/.289 with an OPS+ of 61 in 45 at bats with the team.  In the midst of a lost season, I’d much prefer to see 27 year old Mitch Maier and 26 year old Josh Anderson get playing time over a 33 year old player whose career is quickly coming to an end.  Clearly the organization has come to the same conclusion, but that just makes me wonder why he was acquired in the first place.

Speaking of OF-Josh Anderson, he finally joined the team today after the birth of his son Easton Aaron on Tuesday morning.  The CF bar has been set real low this season so it should be rather easy to impress and play stress-free for the rest of the year.  If he hits a cutoff man, things are moving in the right direction.  If he manages to hit 0.250 the rest of the year, things are moving in the right direction.  Like the acquisition of Betancourt, Anderson makes the team better for this season, but for 2010 and beyond both positions need to be upgraded.  Even if Josh blossoms into a legit starting ML CF, Dayton should still look to add another CF in the offseason to add depth and competition.

Outside of the Royals organization, it was a busy day as roster moves continue to happen across MLB.  Below is a quick recap.

  • The Rangers DFA’d 25 year old RHP-John Bannister who has struggled in the high minors of the Texas system for several years.  In 499.2 minor league innings, he has a 4.74 ERA, 1.519 WHIP, and 1.87 SO/BB.  Interestingly enough, Bannister was DFA’d to make room for former Royal Esteban German.  He’s not worth a look.
  • 33 year old utility player Cody Ransom was DFA’d by the New York Yankees.  In 7 seasons he has managed to accumulate only 262 ML at bats and has hit 0.233/.321/.401 during that time.  He has value to a ML team when used strictly as a pinch hitter, but has no value to the Royals in their current state.
  • The Boston Red Sox DFA’d 29 year old IF-Gil Velazquez who has 10 career ML at bats and an OPS+ of -25.  His OPS+ makes him slightly better than TPJ, but he’s not worth a look.
  • B.J. Ryan was released by the Chicago Cubs today.  Ryan had value and the fleeting title of elite ML closer.  Unfortunately injury has completely derailed his career.  He was throwing in the mid to upper 80s in Triple-A for the Cubs, who acquired him on July 16th after he was released by the Blue Jays on July 8th.  He could be signed to a minor league contract, assigned to Triple-A Omaha, and evaluated for the rest of the season.  It seems doubtful that the velocity will come back completely, but he does have talent and knows how to pitch.  He’s worth a look if he’s willing to sign and head to Omaha.
  • Amazingly enough the New York Yankees signed RHP-Russ Ortiz and assigned him to Triple-A.  He was released by the Astros on July 30th and his signing, coupled with Ho-Ram being claimed by the Nationals when he was DFA’d, proves that even crappy pitching has value.  Sidney Ponson will provide a significant test to my beliefs along those lines.

The signing deadline for 2009 draft picks, August 17th, is just 12 days away.  Signings should start coming in fast and furious in the next week or so.  As things start moving on that front, I’ll do my best to keep everyone updated.

Tags: AL Central Baseball Josh Anderson Kansas City Royals KC MLB Ryan Freel

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