Tuesday, July 19, 2005

And So It Begins

Tony Graffanino was the first to be jettisoned in the 2005 trading season, going to the Boston Red Sox for Class A P Juan Cedeno and Class AAA OF Chip Ambres. According to the Boston.com report, the Royals will also receive another player to be named later.

Congratulations to Tony G. on his early parole. I hope he can contribute to a Red Sox run by the Yankees.

Now, what kind of bounty is this? I think we should temper our expectations, because after all, this is Tony Graffanino. But it seems to me the Royals made out pretty well:

Juan Cedeno, 2005 (Wilmington Blue Rocks): 80IP, 85H, 11HR, 37BB, 72K

Just 18 months ago, Cedeno was a hot prospect in the Red Sox (here is a nice diary of his progress/setbacks since late 2003). His 2005 performance hasn't been overwhelming, and perhaps his wildness made him somewhat expendable.

Check out this eerie premonition from BA's Jim Callis in a chat a few months ago:
Jim Callis: Cedeno still has a great arm, throwing 92-96 mph from the left side, but his secondary pitches lag behind his fastball and as a result he just doesn't miss bats. My guess is that he becomes trade bait.

His strikeout pace (8.1K/9) has increased from low A ball last season (5.8K/9), so it seems to me that he IS missing bats. He's also walking more batters (4.2BB/9 from 3.3BB/9), but he's still very young (21). The Red Sox thought enough of him to add him to their 40-man roster in November. Cedeno appears to be a nice haul for a player of Tony Graffanino's caliber even if he were the only player in the deal.

But that's not all!

Chip Ambres, 2005 (Pawtucket Red Sox): .294/.401/.495

Ambres has had an excellent season at AAA, showing excellent plate discipline, modest power and some stolen base ability (19 for 24). (Here's a very recent discussion thread about Ambres with some Red Sox fans, and here's a transcript of an interview with Chip a couple of months ago). He joined the Red Sox organization after spending six years with the Marlins. He was a former 1st round draft pick in 1998, but he never really developed in Florida, floundering for 4 years in A ball before finally showing some signs of life in AA.

Baseball Prospectus' PECOTA projection on Ambres is available for some reason, and its worth checking out (though it doesn't account for his 2005 performance).

He's always demonstrated good plate discipline, but hasn't hit for much power until the last couple of years. His performance in 2005 whiffs of career-type performance, so it appears the Red Sox are selling high here. But Ambres appears to be a good fit for the Royals. He's demonstrated mastery over AAA pitching and he's not going to get a fair shot with Boston as long as they're in contention. He's not young (25), but the Royals don't really have any other OF prospects that close to the majors, so he should get his shot right away with the Royals.

Overall, I think this is a good trade for the Royals. Graffanino is a nice veteran to have on your team, but he's of marginal value on a team destined to lose 100 games. Acquiring one high risk/high ceiling young prospect and a lower ceiling outfield prospect for Tony Graffanino ain't too shabby.

-- Greinke has been great tonight, allowing just 4 hits and 1 walk with 4 strikeouts in 7 shutout innings. The Indians have hit some balls to the warning track, but Greinke's kept them in the park. I've listened to most of the game, and he's had much better command of all his pitches and has shown strong fastball hitting between 93 and 95. Royals up 4-0 heading to the 8th.

All-in-all, a rare good night to be a Royals fan.


At 11:27 PM, Anonymous Brendan said...

I read the Boston Globe report to say that the Red Sox will be receiving the PTBNL.

At 9:34 AM, Blogger DL said...

Good catch, I got greedy.

At 9:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice Babylon 5 reference!

Also...."The avalanche has already begun....it is too late for the pebbles to vote."

At 12:48 PM, Blogger DL said...

Sorry, I don't watch Babylon 5.


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