On Monday I addressed the Scott Kazmir deal and portrayed the player to be named later someone who probably wouldn’t impact things too much.
I was wrong.
He is Sean Rodriguez, confirmed by a minor league teammate on Twitter yesterday and shortly thereafter an official team press release.
He’s a 24-year-old middle infielder with a ridiculous line of .301/.402/.622 in Triple-A. It comes in a hitters park where the team average line is .273/.342/.434, but Rodriguez still possesses some skills that appear to separate him from a figment of the ballpark. Baseball America had him amongst the top 10 prospects in the Angels system in their 2008 pre-season rankings and didn’t appear on the 2009 list because he received more than 150 plate appearances last season causing him to lose his prospect status.
He has some questions as to his contact rate and where exactly he’ll play. At the same time he’s close to the majors – as in, he’ll make his Rays debut within the next four weeks – and should contribute in a meaningful manner almost immediately.
Who knows where he takes the diamond for the Rays. If I had to guess, I’d peg him for a super utility role to begin 2010. Meaning he’ll play some outfield and a lot of infield in the same manner that Ben Zobrist did this season before becoming Ben Zobrist. This gives the Rays some added roster flexibility with regards to Akinori Iwamura’s pending option and Jason Bartlett who will enter his second year of arbitration off a career year.
Consider this: the Rays turned a few seasons of Victor Zambrano into six years of Scott Kazmir. They’ve now turned two-three seasons of Kazmir into six of Matthew Sweeney, Alexander Torres, and Sean Rodriguez. Obviously there’s a non-zero chance at each of them busting or working out, but that’s quite a haul for a pitcher with a career FIP of 4.95.
Maybe Victor Zambrano could be the gift that keeps on giving for another few years, much like the Mark Langston deal for the Mariners. For those who don’t know, Langston was dealt in May of 1989 for Randy Johnson, Gene Harris, and Brian Holman. Johnson was dealt in 1998 for Freddy Garcia, Carlos Guillen, and John Halama. Garcia was dealt for Miguel Olivo, Jeremy Reed, and Mike Morse. Morse brought back Ryan Langerhans; meanwhile Reed was in a three-team deal that brought back a boat of players that included Aaron Heilman who was dealt for Ronny Cedeno and Garrett Olson. Cedeno was then dealt in a package for Jack Wilson and Ian Snell. That deal was made about 7,405 days ago and still may add branches.
Maybe someone will write about the Zambrano deal in another 7,405 days – sometime in 2029.