Rick Ankiel and Kyle Farnsworth represented exactly why so many in the sabermetric community constantly deride Dayton Moore and the front office in Kansas City. “Trusting the process” meant bringing in players like Ankiel and Farnsworth and paying them way too much money, given Kansas City’s lack of big-time Major League talent outside of Zack Greinke and Joakim Soria. Contracts like those given to this pair of players are why the Royals franchise has been stagnant for my entire lifetime, and why another sub-.500, fourth or fifth place season is inevitable in Kansas City.
It’s not that Ankiel and Farnsworth are terrible players – Ankiel has good power and can play solid defense in a corner spot. Farnsworth throws hard enough to get strikeouts, and his control is better than perceived, making him a good, but not great relief pitcher. Both players are decent pieces on playoff teams, but aren’t going to do anything for a rebuilding franchise. Throw in the fact that these two players make a combined 7.25M this season (including option buyouts) and there was no reason that the Royals shouldn’t try and move the pair at the deadline, even if it was just for salary relief.
The Royals brought in more than salary relief in their deal with Atlanta, as Gregor Blanco, Tim Collins, and Jesse Chavez will join the Royals organization. This isn’t exactly a big time haul, but there is a discernible amount of talent present here. Blanco, 26, isn’t exactly much of a prospect any more. He has a decent eye at the plate and good speed, but no power to speak of and average contact skills. ZiPS projects a .305 wOBA with a 11% walk rate, which will make for an okay role player if he can handle center field, but not much more.
Bryan Smith covered Tim Collins earlier, as he was part of the package Atlanta brought in for Yunel Escobar.
In terms of pedigree, it’s outrageous to think that 5-foot-7, 155-pound Tim Collins could rank ahead of Reyes, a big-bodied former second-round pick. This is the type of thinking that Collins has long been susceptible to, and the thinking he’s consistently outpaced. In 130 games at the minor league level over four years, Collins has a 2.40 ERA, 13.6 K/9 ratio and 5.9 H/9 ratio. He lives in the strike zone, and brings deception and sneaky velocity everytime he touches the mound… It’s hard to think that Collins has a long career ahead of him, but naysaying this guy has essentially become pointless.
Jesse Chavez is a replacement level, super fly-ball reliever who misses enough bats to draw strikeouts but just can’t keep the ball in the park. His presence in this deal is negligible.
Overall, this isn’t exactly a huge win for Kansas City, and the players that the Braves are bringing in will certainly help them in their stretch run. However, this deal is a step in the right direction by the KC front office, as they managed to dump some salary and bring back some potential value in the process. It won’t matter if they continue to make the same mistakes in the free agent market that they have in the past. Still, it’s hard to argue with the process employed by Dayton Moore and the rest of his front office here.
Jack Moore's work can be seen at VICE Sports and anywhere else you're willing to pay him to write. Buy his e-book.