Tuesday

The trade...

This afternoon, RC Official Hero Allard Baird pulled off another one of those trades that made him our hero in the first place. In exchange for Tony Graffanino, who has been playing over his head all season, Baird managed to get pitcher Juan Cedeno and outfielder Chip Ambres from the Boston Red Sox.

Cedeno, rated as Boston's 17th-best prospect by Baseball America this year, is a lefty with a 96 mph fastball. Recently converted to the bullpen, Cedeno will join AA Wichita. His stats at Wilmington this season aren't great, but the Royals are excited about his arm, as well as his retooled curveball. Cedeno's biggest problem has been the number of hits he surrenders, and the Royals are hopeful that his move to the bullpen, as well as his potentially devastating breaking ball, will help him become less hittable. Unfortunately, RC hasn't seen Wilmington play this season, so we don't have any original information to pass on, but we do think the following quote from BA sums up Cedeno pretty well: "He can be frustrating, but few southpaws can match his sheer arm strength." Sounds to us like a pretty good guy to have.



The Royals insist that Cedeno was the key to the deal, but frankly, RC just might be more excited about Ambres. A first round draft pick in 1998, Ambres struggled with injuries his first few years, while showing good plate discipline and speed. The Marlins dropped him off of their 40-man roster last season to make room for an A-ball pitcher, Logan Kensing, and the Red Sox wisely snapped him up as a minor league free agent. This season -- his first at AAA -- Ambres has been outstanding:

AmbresAgeABAVGOBPSLGHRBBKSBCS
200525279.294.401.495104764195


So what are the ramifications of this trade? Well, the speculation is that Ambres will join the team immediately to take Graffanino's roster spot. If that's true, then further moves will be forthcoming.



RC predicts that Ambres will become the new starting left fielder, but that will require the Royals to make a couple more changes. To solve the crowded outfield situation, either Terrence Long will be traded or released immediately, or Shane Costa will be optioned back to the minors. We also maintain, as we have said all along, that Donnie Murphy is likely to be called up now to share 2B duties with Ruben Gotay, and to serve as the main utility infielder on days when Gotay starts.

The end result is a better Royals ballclub. We can't figure out if we're happier about this trade or the new Supreme Court nominee, John Roberts. It probably depends on who throws the bigger conniption fit: Red Sox fans or Democrats.

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UPDATE: Murphy promoted, Costa sent down

MORNING EDIT (7/20): RC knew something was up when Murphy didn't appear in Wichita's lineup last night. Our suspicions were confirmed this morning, as Allard Baird said on 810 WHB that Murphy would be recalled prior to tonight's game, and Costa will be optioned back to the minors. Expect Murphy to get the start tonight with a lefty on the mound.



This is wonderful news, because Murphy is one of RC's favorite players. We saw him play over half a dozen games last season (including a playoff game in which Murph hit a GW 3-run HR), and we're convinced that he's a much better all around player than Ruben Gotay. We're certain that Murphy will eventually take over the starting job.

8 Comments:

At 7/19/2005 9:34 PM, Blogger DL said...

Dave, I'm curious to hear why you consider Allard Baird to the the Official Hero of your blog.

A lot of people would take exception to classifying Baird as competent, much less a hero. I have mixed feelings about him.

 
At 7/19/2005 10:09 PM, Blogger Dave said...

Allard Baird's RC hero status is beyond question, and the designation is valid thru October 4, 2007.

Baird earned this designation with a series of great trades, some great draft picks, and some great "free" acquisitions he's made since his one colossally bad trade of Jermaine Dye, and the horrible 2001 draft. In particular, we love the way this team profiles out over the next few years.

It is rarely difficult for us to rationalize the moves Baird makes, and it's clear to us that the Royals are lucky to have him at the helm. We are aware that our designation may be controversial now, but we're confident that someday in the near future, Baird will also be the official hero of many other Royals blogs, including, perhaps, the Daily Lancer.

 
At 7/20/2005 12:03 AM, Blogger Kevin said...

I love the deal too, as if that's any surprise. (I'm probably a bigger Allard Baird groupie than Dave is.) AB once again took something that was of minimal value to his ballclub and turned that something into two "maybes," or guys who MIGHT someday contribute to a winning ballclub for multiple seasons.

If neither guy pans out (I'm not holding my breath for big-time breakouts from either player), all KC will have lost is half a season of a reserve infielder making a million bucks. That sounds like a good trade to me.

 
At 7/20/2005 9:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another reason to like the deal is that KC only had to pay $100K of Graf's remaining salary. Usually to get decent prospects, you have to pay a lot more $$.

These are the kinds of deals where Baird shines. His "big name" free agents haven't turned out well, but he is one of the best in the business in making these kinds of deals.

Wisco

 
At 7/20/2005 9:41 AM, Blogger DL said...

I agree that Baird excels in these kinds of deals, because he's a very good scout and understands how to find untapped talent. The Royal drafts have improved since 2001, which is also a plus. But that's just one part of a GMs job, and I think he leaves a lot to be desired when he makes free agent decsions (he's an absolute disaster) and on some other things I won't list here.

Frankly, I think Rob and Rany's take that he's better suited to be an assistant GM is probably wise.

 
At 7/20/2005 9:58 AM, Blogger KO said...

I'm headed to the Wichita/Springfield game tonight, and I'll snap some pics of Cedeno he's joined the club yet. Would you like to see them if I get any?

 
At 7/20/2005 10:42 AM, Blogger Dave said...

Hell yes I would! If you also want to get Huber, Aviles, Murphy (if he's still there -- I think he may have come to KC last night), and anyone else you can think of, I would gladly post those as well.

Have fun at the game!

 
At 7/20/2005 8:19 PM, Blogger DL said...

Man, you got your wish with Murphy. What a smash to dead center! I like Gotay, too, so I think the Royals will have a happy dilemma sorting these two out. Maybe one can shift to SS and they can move Old Man Berroa.

 

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