Roster Moves: Buck, Hulett, and Freel


C-John Buck has been activated from the DL.  To make room for him, the Royals have optioned Tug Hulett back to Triple-A Omaha.

Hulett has a grand total of 1 hit in 14 AB over 12 G this year.  Even though he is more versatile than Buck, Tug won’t be missed, except by TPJ and Luis Hernandez.  Neither Hulett or Buck really belongs in the major leagues at this point so this move doesn’t amount to a hill of beans.

Speaking of moves that don’t amount to a hill of beans, today the Royals traded for 33 year old 2B/3B/OF-Ryan Freel who had been designated for assignment by the Chicago Cubs on Thursday of last week.

Great job Dayton, you basically just acquired Willie Bloomquist again, but you forgot to read the fine print.  This version of Wee Willie B can’t play SS, is a year and a half older, and gets hurt all the time.  There is only one Willie Bloomquist and you already signed him to a 2 year contract.  Freel has hit .143/.226/.143 in 28 AB this season while recovering from a concussion and offseason hamstring surgery.  I’m sure the Royals and Dayton Moore would respond that he has been working his way back from injury this season, and also point out that Freel hit .298/.340/.359 in 2008.  It would be a fair but misleading rebuttal.  It would omit that he only had 131 ABs in 2008 in the National League and fail to point out that the .298 BA was a career high.  It would also gloss over 2007 when Freel hit .245/.308/.347 in 277 AB.

To acquire Freel, the Royals gave up the dreaded PTBNL, but will receive some cash from the Cubs to help cover part of the remainder of Freel’s 2009 $4 million salary.  It has been widely reported that Freel will join the team in Detroit on Tuesday and a roster move will have to be made at that time.  Since Freel can’t play SS it seems safe to assume that this trade will not result in my long-awaited release of TPJ.  Although if it did, my feelings on this acquisition would change dramatically.  Realistically this deal probably signals the departure of Mitch Maier from the ML roster, but it could also signal an upcoming trade of Mark Teahen.  The Royals will be the 3rd team Freel has played for in 2009 once he gets into a game.  That fact alone speaks volumes for the player they just acquired.

Trey Hillman, in all his wisdom had this to say according to the AP press release:

"“We can use him at every position other than shortstop, and his history shows that he has the ability to get on base and steal.  He gives us a lot of options when it comes to moving guys around.”"

I, in all my wisdom, respond to this move and Trey’s quotes with a classic from good ‘ol Charlie Brown.  Take it away Chuck:

"“Good grief.”"

Yes Trey, in 2006 he had shown the ability to steal bases when he stole 37 that year.  In 2004 and 2005 he also stole 37 and 36 bases respectively.  Since then however the SB has not been a very big part of Freel’s game.  2007 he had 15 SB and followed that up with a whopping 6 in 2008 and 1 in 2009.  Let’s not forget he is coming off hamstring surgery.  Last time I checked, hamstrings are an integral part in running so I doubt we have the second coming of Rickey Henderson on our hands.

Let’s go back to more Trey Hillman brilliance:

"“I talked to him today, and he says his health is 100 percent”"

Well, now I feel better.  If Trey says a guy is 100 percent than he’s got to be completely healthy doesn’t he?  After all what reason would Ryan Freel have to lie to the manager of the team who just acquired him?

Can I get that one more time Chuck?

"“Good grief.”"

Thanks Chuck.  But wait, there’s more folks!  Ryan Freel has had 2,222 plate appearances in his 8 year ML career.  Guess where in the order 84.2% of those PAs have come?  If you guessed leadoff, you are absolutely correct and you are also clearly a long-suffering Royals fan.  Freel has not gotten more than 100 ABs at any other slot in the batting order.  Apparently Crisp going down for the year wasn’t enough for DeJesus to stay in the leadoff spot for the rest of the season.  Never mind the fact that in 2009 DJ has hit .291/.341/.444 as the Royals leadoff hitter compared to season line of .254/.304/.408.

Your new leadoff hitter Royals fans is none other than Ryan Freel!  What no applause?

Don’t sweat it if this upsets you.  In a week or so Freel will pop his surgically repaired hammy, rest it for a few days, come back to play a couple games, and then be placed on the DL for the rest of the season.  Worst case scenario for the fans is that Freel plays extremely well and the Royals sign him to a 2 year deal in the offseason.  A signing that will no doubt result in above market value pay for Mr. Freel.  I wish I were joking I really do, but I truly see one or the other playing out over the next several months.

I think I’ll bring it home myself and break out one of my own Chuck.  By the way, thanks for the help.

"“Are you freaking kidding me?  Ryan freaking Freel?”"