What To Expect When You’re Expecting A PTBNL

After the trading deadline this year, the Royals were able to ship Jose Guillen and a boatload of cash to the San Francisco Giants.

So the Royals’ biggest headache of the past three years is gone. What’s in it for us?

The Royals netted a “player to be named later,” one of the most enigmatic phrases in baseball.

The beauty of it is that, like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get. That’s the downside too, though. It’s a crapshoot.

And most of the time, the team on the receiving end of a PTBNL doesn’t hit a jackpot.

But it has happened. Players who were once “to be named later” sometimes become stars. Even superstars.

Former Royal Scott Podsednik was once a PTBNL, as was Coco Crisp (in fact, if you follow the “trading tree” that brought Crisp to Kansas City, you’ll see that he was traded to Boston for Ramon Ramirez; Ramirez had been acquired from Colorado for, you guessed it, a player to be named later, who turned out to be Jorge de la Rosa). Pitchers Jason Schmidt and Jeremy Bonderman were also PTBNLs, as was outfielder Moises Alou.

But perhaps the most successful PTBNL was David Arias.

Arias was a farmhand in the Seattle Mariners system when he became the player to be named later in a trade where the Mariners acquired Dave Hollins from the Minnesota Twins (Hollins, by the way, is probably best known for going on the disabled list for a spider bite).

Arias, a power-hitting first baseman, told his new team that he’d rather go by his other name: David Ortiz.

That’s right. Big Papi, who of course would go on to be a superstar for the Boston Red Sox, was a player to be named later.

So it could happen. It’s not bloody likely, but it could happen.

Here are a few scenarios the Royals could experience when they discover the identity of their player to be named later.

Worst-case scenario: a light-hitting middle infielder with zero power and even less potential.

Reasonable scenario: a bullpen arm who may or may not be able to help the Royals in the long run.

Best-case, fantasy-world scenario: the next Big Papi.

Matt Kelsey is a Royals writer for I-70 Baseball. He can be reached at mattkelsey@i70baseball.com.

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