The Royals, who defined the term “seller” at the 2010 trade deadline, made one more deal before baseball’s waiver trade deadline was enforced. The Royals send outfielder Rick Ankiel and pitcher Kyle Farnsworth to the Atlanta Braves in exchange for pitcher Jesse Chavez, outfielder Gregor Blanco and pitcher Tim Collins.
The story of Rick Ankiel has been told countless times, but it may need to include the underlying theme of injuries. A promising young pitcher that reinvented himself as an outfielder, Ankiel has struggled ever since to stay healthy. A change of scenery was supposed to revitalize the career of the lifetime Cardinal but an early season injury sidelined him. The trade deadline brought deals to the Royals and an injury to David DeJesus. Rick Ankiel suddenly found himself back in center field, recovered from injury and contributing to the team. Now, he finds himself traded for the first time and on his way to Atlanta.
Farnsworth is a twelve year veteran of major league baseball, having spent time with the Cubs, Tigers, Braves, Yankees, and Royals. A reliever who is enjoying a solid year for the Royals, he looks to join a Braves bullpen that can utilize him down the stretch run of a playoff caliber season. Farnsworth has pitched in 44 2/3 innings over 37 games this season. His earned run average checks in at 2.42 with only 12 walks and 36 strikeouts. He joins the Braves for the second time in his career halfway through a season. In 2005, Farnsworth went to the Braves in a July trade that sent Roman Colon and Zach Miner to the Tigers in exchange for him. He would go on to finish 18 games and save 10 for the Braves in 2005.
Jesse Chavez is no stranger to the trade game in baseball. The often dealt player has found himself traded four times and has spent
three years in major league baseball. Most recently, in November of 2009, Chavez was traded by the Pirates to the Rays for Akinori Iwamura then dealt just over a month later by the Rays to the Braves for Rafael Soriano. This season in Atlanta, he has posted a high earned run average of 5.89, but kept a low walks per nine innings at 2.9 and a fairly high strikeouts per nine innings at 7.1. Six home runs over 36 innings does not add to a lot of confidence.
Gregor Blanco may have come to the Royals in a trade for Rick Ankiel, but his purpose may be to replace Scott Posednik. A speedy outfielder with a good batting eye, Blanco has posted a .310 batting average in Atlanta in 36 games in 2010. He has also drawn eight walks and posted an on base percentage of .394. Don’t expect power from Blanco, but he will provide a solid bat and find himself on base more times than not.
Minor league pitcher Tim Collins finds himself in his second trade this month. Collins was sent to the Braves from Toronto in the deal that put Yunel Escobar in a Blue Jays uniform. The young relief pitcher has been in the minor leagues since 2007 and has shown dominant stuff at times. In 2010, he has totaled 11 saves in 41 appearances over 51 innings pitched. In those 51 innings, he has struck out 87 and walked only nineteen. That calculates to a 15.4 strikeouts per nine innings for the young reliever. With a WHIP under one at .980, Collins may find himself competing for a major league job in Royals spring training in 2011.
Overall, this trade made some sense for the club. They were two players that were not in the long term plans for a club that is rebuilding and they landed two guys with major league experience and one with significant upside.