Great Lakes Royals

July 31, 2010 4:52 PM

Trade Deadline Recap: Royals Unload Four Players, Receive Pitching

July 23, 2010 - Arlington, TEXAS, UNITED STATES - epa02259209 Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim third baseman Alberto Callaspo on the field in the fourth inning against the Texas Rangers at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington in Arlington, Texas, USA, 23 July 2010.

  • Royals trade Alberto Callaspo to Angels for RHP Sean O'Sullivan, LHP Will Smith
  • Royals trade Scott Podsednik to Dodgers for C Lucas May, RHP Elisaul Pimentel
  • Royals trade OF Rick Ankiel, RHP Kyle Farnsworth to Braves for OF Gregor Blanco, RHP Jesse Chavez, and LHP Tim Collins
That -- above -- is the entirety of the deadline moves made by the Royals in the year 2009.  This was a year where the buyers really dominated the sellers, at least when we apply a historical standard to the deals.  The lack of excess money caused a lot of extra salary-eating by clubs trying to relieve themselves of salary.

When you look at the sellers in this trade deadline -- the Astros, the Cubs, the Diamondbacks, the Mariners (if you include the Lee trade), the Indians, Blue Jays, and Orioles, nobody here got meaningful prospects in return.  The Royals did, albeit all on the pitching end.

The three gems in the deals targeted by the Royals are Will Smith, Elisaul Pimentel, and Tim Collins.  All three players project as relievers in the majors.  Sean O'Sullivan, who is filling in as the Royals' 5th starter right now, is probably a swingman on future Royals clubs.  But Smith, Pimentel, and Collins should all reach the majors for some team, if not the Royals, and pitch well when they are there.

Podsednik, Ankiel, and Farnsworth were all in the last year of their contracts here.  The Royals receive about $1.8 million of salary relief in these trades, which is about 50%.  About $0.4 million of that is going to go towards minimum salary prorations for players who will take up spots on the roster.  Essentially, the Royals are covering all of Farnsworth's salary for the rest of the year, and receiving relief on Ankiel in the Braves trade.  The Callaspo and Podsednik trades are without cash considerations.  The bottom line receives little effect, but the farm system gets a boost that can't possibly hurt.

If Lucas May ever becomes a contributor at the major league level, I think the Royals will consider themselves lucky.  They have a plan for Gregor Blanco at the major league level, obviously as a centerfielder and lead-off man.  Blanco is a pretty good on-base guy with a very impressive walk rate, but brings absolutely no power to the table.  He's a much better offensive player than Mitch Maier, and a far worse defensive player.  His service clock is more or less in the same place as Maier's -- I don't believe he will be arbitration eligible (i.e. a "super two") next year.  He's a poor team's leadoff man, which is essentially who the Royals are.

The problem with the Blanco acquisition is that there's no spot for he and Maier on the same team.  Both are ideal fourth outfielders.  Technically, they can split the role of starting CF and utility outfielder evenly, but it's clear that Blanco is being acquired so that the Royals don't have to start non-leadoff men in the leadoff spot.  Darn.

The Royals currently have two spots on the roster available, both on offense (they were carrying 13 pitchers before dealing Farnsworth).  One of those spots is going to Blanco.  The other one -- I know people are going to want it to go to Kila Ka'aihue, but I think Jesse Chavez is going to take it in the short term.  Kila is going to be the 13th player on the offensive roster when the Royals get to that point.

That point won't be this weekend, I don't think.  I think the next step is to pass Jose Guillen and Willie Bloomquist through waivers.  No team is going to touch those contracts, so Guillen is still bound to be dealt, probably to the Giants who failed to acquire a much needed bat for their lineup.

Of course, in the immediate moment, Guillen is going to play some right field with just three other outfielders on the roster, and Alex Gordon being left in left field to develop into whatever he can.  Whenever Guillen does leave the roster, Kila should be expected to replace him.  If that happens promptly, the Royals might just decide to hold on to Bloomquist who will help them field a team at any number of positions.


Predictably, Ned Yost was extended as manager through the 2012 season.  Boring, but sound, and probably the right move.

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