Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Moore Grabs 4 Pitchers for Dessens and Graffanino

Moore continues to deal away the Royals' expendable parts for more young pitching and a veteran starter. Moore traded Elmer Dessens to the Dodgers for Odalis Perez and minor league pitchers Blake Johnson and Julio Pimentel. The Dodgers are reported picking up $8 million of Perez's salary as well as his signing bonus and part of his buyout. The Royals are on the hook for about $3-4 million in salary and part of the buyout for roughly a year and a half of Perez's services. The Royals also traded Tony Graffanino to the Brewers for Jorge De La Rosa.

Odalis Perez will join the Royals' rotation, which will become a six-man rotation until Perez builds up his endurance. Perez has struggled as a starter this season, with a 8.53 ERA in 8 starts and allowing almost two hits an inning. He's pitched much better as a reliever, with a 3.80 ERA in 21 IP with 12 strikeouts to just 2 walks. So, if he fails as a starter, it seems he should be able to duplicate what Elmer Dessens did in the pen. If he succeeds, the Royals get a solid #2/#3 starter. Perez's career numbers are very solid, with a career 4.24 ERA and a very good 2.60 K/BB ratio. His career 1.27WHIP and 6.39 k/9 are solid as well. For $3 million, it's a worthwhile investment to see if Perez can revert back to his previous form. From 2002 to 2005, Perez had two ace quality seasons and two league-average seasons. A change of scene may do Perez some good, as he seemed to be unhappy with his situation in LA. I wouldn't be unhappy with a Perez for Dessens straight-up trade, so the prospects added to the deal make it all the better.

Moore was able to grab two young pitchers in the deal as well. Blake Johnson is a 21-year-old righty who had a 4.92 ERA and a 73/19 K/BB ratio in 106 IP at High A. He's given up a lot of hits (121), but that may be related to the defense behind him. The two previous seasons, he allowed 156 hits in 157 innings. Johnson has pretty average stuff with a fastball in the low 90s and a changeup and good curve to complement it. He has some upside, although probably not much more than a mid-rotation starter. He's most similar to Chris Nicoll in the Royals' organization.

Julio Pimentel also pitched for the Dodgers high A team. Pimentel is a 20 year old with a good power arm, reaching the mid-90s. Pimentel projects more as a reliever because his changeup and breaking stuff isn't very reliable. Pimental has struggled this season. He's walked 17 in 31 innings of relief, so moving him to the bullpen hasn't seemed to help much. He draws a lot of similarities to Luis Cota, who has also struggled at High A as a 20-year-old.

In a smaller deal, Moore acquired lefty Jorge De La Rosa. De La Rosa has great stuff, but has never been able to command it in the major leagues. He's only 25 years old and has a high ceiling if he can improve his command. His command in the minors was pretty good, with a 2.1 K/BB ratio. He's had some nagging injury issues that he must overcome as well. He is most similar to a left-handed Denny Bautista, as he's been traded several times and hasn't put together success at the big league level because of injury problems and command issues.

Overall, Moore has done a great job in the past two days of rebuilding the Royals' pitching depth without giving up much of anything. Lumsden, Cortes, Johnson, Pimentel, and De La Rosa are all still young and project as mid-rotation starters or relievers. Coupled with the progress of Buckner, Nicoll, Christensen, Kniginyzky, Rosa, and Cordier in the low minors, the Royals have some good pitching depth finally in the low minors.


At 6:30 AM, Blogger royalsbeliever said...

If everything goes how I hope it does, our 2008 rotation could be this:

De la Rosa

A lot of potential.

At 12:00 PM, Blogger SoonerRoyal said...

That could be a nice rotation. The Royals finally have some talented arms in the organization from top to bottom. Adding Hochevar and getting Greinke back on track would help solidify the top of the rotation.


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