In a move announced just after the trading deadline passed this afternoon, the Royals traded outfielder Rick Ankiel, reliever Kyle Farnsworth and cash to the Braves for outfielder Gregor Blanco, reliever Jesse Chavez and minor league left-handed reliever Tim Collins.
According to Bob Dutton, the Royals picked up all but $1 million of the combined salaries of Ankiel and Farnsworth. With a third of the season remaining, the Royals owed Ankiel just over a million dollars and Farnsworth 1.5 million so basically they threw in Ankiel for free.
In return, the Royals got two players who’ve been on Atlanta’s major league roster in Blanco and Chavez, and a high-upside lefty in Collins.
Blanco is similar to a younger Scott Podsednik – left handed, average basestealing ablity, little power. At 25 years old and with four years of team control after 2010, he’s not bad to have around for major league depth, though he’s never been much of a hitter at the minor league level (career .269 batting average in the minor leagues). What Blanco does provide is ability to play all three outfield positions, some speed, and a strong walkrate at every level of professional baseball. In the minor leagues, Blanco walked 12.8% of the time. At the major league level, he’s walked in 13.6% of plate appearances. League average is 8.6%.
Jesse Chavez is a right handed reliever who hasn’t been very effective in three major league seasons.
|162 Game Avg.||2||4||4.92||68||70||40||38||11||25||54||1.445||9.8||1.4||3.3||7.0||2.14|
|PIT (2 yrs)||1||5||4.48||88||82.1||44||41||13||31||63||1.457||9.7||1.4||3.4||6.9||2.03|
|ATL (1 yr)||3||2||5.89||28||36.2||24||24||6||12||29||1.418||9.8||1.5||2.9||7.1||2.42|
He did have a decent season in 2009 with the Pirates, and his 92/43 K/BB ratio isn’t awful, though he’s given up 1.4 homeruns per nine innings in his career, and that’s just too high. His groundball to flyball ratios have decreased with every season in the big leagues, too, so that trend may not improve unless he makes adjustments.
Chavez throws a fastball that touches the mid-90s and also has a changeup and slider. He’s most likely a 6th/7th inning guy.
The intriguing acquisition in the deal, though, is lefty Tim Collins.
|AA (2 seasons)||3||3||2.97||50||63.2||22||21||6||26||104||1.084||6.1||0.8||3.7||14.7||4.00|
|A (1 season)||4||2||1.58||39||68.1||13||12||3||32||98||0.995||4.7||0.4||4.2||12.9||3.06|
|Rk (1 season)||0||0||4.50||7||6.0||3||3||0||2||7||1.333||9.0||0.0||3.0||10.5||3.50|
|A+ (1 season)||7||4||2.37||40||64.2||21||17||2||28||99||1.160||6.5||0.3||3.9||13.8||3.54|
At a mere 5’7″ and 155 pounds, Collins won’t strike fear in the hearts of batters, but he should, judging by his career minor league strikeout rate of 13.7 batters per nine innings. Ranked 19th in the Blue Jays system by Baseball America earlier in the year, he was included as part of the Yunel Escobar/Alex Gonzalez trade. Now, the 20 year old (21 in three weeks) will report to Omaha.
Though he’s even smaller than Billy Wagner, the two are somewhat comparable (not to say that the Royals just got the next Billy Wagner, though, that’d be nice). Both are small left handed relievers and both strike out batters by the handful. Collins has a similar walkrate and better strikeout rate than Wagner had in the minors and could be a complementary player (or the replacement for) Dusty Hughes for the big league club.
The scouting gives Collins a fastball around 93 mph and a true 12-to-6 curveball that he combines with a quirky delivery, leg kick and arm slot to be effective. Despite his first few appearances in rookie ball (at age 17) and 12.2 innings at Double A New Hampshire, nobody’s figured Collins out yet, so his assignment to Omaha will be a huge test for him for the rest of 2010.
Overall, the biggest benefit to the team came from moving two players whose contracts were nearly expired and getting something for them. There aren’t any particular outfield prospects that are screaming for a promotion, though it’d be nice to see David Lough or Jordan Parraz or Derrick Robinson or Paulo Orlando (if Dayton Moore wanted to skip a level on those last two) get some playing time with the Royals in 2010. Blanco might platoon with Willie Bloomquist, hopefully giving Mitch Maier everyday action in the outfield. Alex Gordon will be the everyday left-fielder.
And if nothing else, the Royals have cut some payroll while adding players to their minor league system and the big league club who are under team control for a number of years.