Category: Alert!

Royals Claim Pedro Ciriaco

The Royals have claimed 27-year old infielder/utility-man Pedro Ciriaco off of waivers from the San Diego Padres.

With this claim, Ciriaco will be a part of his third organization this season.

Photo Credit:  Denis Poroy/Getty Images North America

Photo Credit: Denis Poroy/Getty Images North America

Originally from the Pirates system, Ciriaco made his mark in 2012 as a member of the Boston Red Sox. In 76 games, he hit .293 with 2 HR, 15 doubles, 19 RBI, and was 16-for-19 in stolen bases while getting significant playing time at third base, second base, and shortstop. He also spent seven games in the outfield.

After hitting just .216 in 28 games for the Red Sox this season, he was dealt to the Padres in June for a PTNBL or cash. While in San Diego, he didn’t fare much better – hitting .238 in 23 games. Thus, he was designated for assignment by the club.

Prior to making his big league debut, Ciriaco was regarded as a prospect who had quick feet and soft hands, but would need his bat to come around if he was going to one day factor into a major league lineup.

Here are his career numbers:

4 years (158 games): .279/.310/.388, 21 doubles, 6 triples, 4 HR, 34 RBI, 26-for-31 in stolen bases, K:BB ratio of 4.3:1.

Being that he is only 27 and offers plenty of defensive versatility, Ciriaco figures to get a decent look at being a utility player from the bench.

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Royals Represented By Solid Duo

The Royals will be represented by two players at this year’s All-Star game at Citi Field in New York.

Left fielder Alex Gordon and catcher Salvador Perez were elected by their fellow players as All-Star reserves. This will be the first All-Star roster appearance for both Royals.

Gordon and Perez are in the midst of very solid and productive seasons, both at the plate and in the field.

Photo Credit: Ed Zurga/Getty Images North America

Photo Credit: Ed Zurga/Getty Images North America

Offensively, Alex Gordon is currently 3rd among qualifying AL left fielders in batting average (.293) , OBP (.359), and OPS (.794), 2nd in hits (95), 4th in RBI (47), and 1st in grand slams (2). On the other side of the ball, Gordo has been even better, ranking 1st among AL left fielders in games started (81), total innings (704.2), total chances (160), putouts (152), assists (8), errors (0), and fielding percentage (1.000%). He ranks 2nd among American League left fielders with a 2.5 WAR.

Salvador Perez has been just as dependable for Kansas City this season. He ranks 2nd among qualifying AL catchers in batting average (.302), and hits (79), 5th in RBI (36), 7th in doubles (15), and 6th in total bases (110). On defense, Salvy ranks 3rd in games played (71), games started (67), innings (584.2), 5th in total chances (531) and putouts (486), 1st in assists (40) and passed balls (0). He currently ranks 3rd among AL catchers with a WAR of 2.3.

While Gordon has been mentioned in All-Star talks for the past few seasons (he was up for the final player vote in 2011), this is new territory for Salvador Perez. While many scouts and executives around the league believed that Perez would be an All-Star caliber catcher at some point in his career, nobody figured it would be this soon; after all, this is his first full season at the major league level. But he has already proven to everyone around the league that he is one of the more complete catchers in all of baseball. And what is even crazier is that he has so  much more time and room to become even better.

The 2013 All-Star game will mark the first time the Royals have had two players make the American League roster since 2003 (Mike Sweeney & Mike MacDougal) and the first time the Royals have been represented by two position players in the Mid-Summer Classic since 2000 (Mike Sweeney & Jermaine Dye).

The 2013 All-Star game will take place on Tuesday, July 16th at 7 PM CT on FOX.

Royals Sign Top European Prospect

July 2nd marks the first day of 2013 that teams are able to submit contracts to international prospects. The Royals decided to start their day with a bang.

According to Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com, the Royals and 16-year old Italian SS Marten Gasparini have come to terms on a deal for $1.3 million – shattering the previous record of $775K held by former top European prospect Max Kepler of Germany and the Minnesota Twins.

At 6', 175 lbs., Gasparini is commonly referred to by scouts as the best Europen prospect in history. (Photo Credit: MLB.com)

At 6′, 175 lbs., Gasparini is commonly referred to by scouts as the best Europen prospect in history. (Photo Credit: MLB.com)

Gasparini is considered to be the top prospect to ever come out of Europe. He is a switch-hitting shortstop renowned for his quick hands – both at the plate and in the field – and superb athleticism. While he possesses more gap-to-gap and line drive power than homerun power, his speed plays well enough on both sides of the ball to make up for it.

One of the few knocks against Gasparini is his lack of experience against premium competition and quality pitching. He has participated in international tournaments. He excelled in the 15U World Championship last summer in Mexico (.419/.514/.710, 1 double, 4 triples, 6 SB in 6 chances), but struggled in the 18U World Championship a few says later where he was the second-youngest player (note: he played CF for Team Italy in that tournament).

While he possesses great speed and soft hands, some scouts doubt his arm strength will allow him to stay at shortstop long-term; leading them to believe that center field may be his future defensive home. Other scouts note how well his defensive game has advanced in the past few seasons, leading them to believe that he has the ability to stay at short. Either way, he should end up at a premium position long term.

No doubt, Gasparini is as raw of a product as they come. But if he can excel against the advanced pro ball competition he’ll soon be facing, he has without a doubt the highest ceiling of any European prospect from this year’s class.

Go here to read Ben Badler of Baseball America’s outstanding piece on Marten Gasparini’s journey from a small town in northern Italy to the forefront of baseball’s international stage.

The Royals’ organizational talent at shortstop, which was fairly deep beforehand, has gotten even deeper. Gasparini will join the likes of fellow shortstop prospects Adalberto Mondesi, Orlando Calixte, Humberto Arteaga, and recent first round pick Hunter Dozier.

Royals Acquire Elliot Johnson

Meet Mr. Player to be Named Later.

Elliot Johnson may be the Royals' "grittiest" player since Jason Kendall. Ned loves grit.

Elliot Johnson may be the Royals’ “grittiest” player since Jason Kendall. Ned loves grit.

With Elliot Johnson, the Royals and Rays have completed the December 9th trade that saw the Royals give up Wil Myers and Jake Odorizzi (plus two others) for James Shields and Wade Davis.

Johnson, who will be 29 on opening day, is known more for his versatility on the field than his presence at the plate. Although he’s spent most of his time at shortstop (154 games), he’s logged time at second base (23), third base (7), left field (4), center field (2), right field (1), and first base (1).

A switch-hitter, Johnson took part in 123 games last season for Tampa Bay – managing a .242/.304/.350 slash with 10 doubles, 2 triples, 6 HR, and 33 RBI in 297 official ABs. He also managed to swipe 18 bases in 24 total chances.

In parts of three big league seasons (200 games), Johnson has managed a .223/.283/.338 line with 31 XBH (17 doubles, 4 triples, 10 HR) and 24 stolen bases. He has a career K:BB ratio of 3.79.

For his career, he is a much better batting left-handed (.252) than right-handed (.183), so a possible platoon with Chris Getz is out of the question.

Elliot would make a great utility-man for the Royals, as he has the ability to hold his own defensively at just about every position outside of pitcher and catcher. That, coupled with the the fact that he’s a switch-hitter who is a smart base runner, make him all the more valuable to a team short on impact role players.

To make room for Johnson on the 40-man roster, the team shifted starter Felipe Paulino to the 60-day DL. Paulino is still recovering from Tommy John surgery and will likely be out until after the All-Star break.

Royals Claim George Kottaras, DFA Tony Abreu

George Kottaras

George Kottaras

The Royals have announced that they have claimed catcher George Kottaras off of waivers from the Oakland A’s, who had designated him for assignment last week after the received catcher John Jaso from the Mariners as a part of the Michael Morse trade.

Kottaras, 29, played in 58 games last season for the Brewers before being dealt to Oakland in exchange for reliever Fautino De Los Santos. While with Oakland, he took part in 27 regular season games, as well as four playoff games.

He didn’t fare too well offensively last season, posting just a .211 batting average. But George does possess the ability to take a walk (.351 OBP in ’12) and has enough power to be a threat (36 doubles and 24 HR in 592 career AB).

In order to make room for Kottaras on the 40-man roster, the Royals opted to designate utility infielder Tony Abreu for assignment.

In 2012, Abreu hit .257/.284/.357 in 22 games; splitting time at second, third, short, and DH.

As it stands right now, Kottaras and Brett Hayes figure to be the primary options for backing up Salvador Perez, with Max Ramirez and Manny Pina figuring to get a few looks as well in spring training.

Royals Sign Miguel Tejada

The Royals made very odd and thought provoking news when it was announced that they had reached an agreement with free agent and former AL MVP Miguel Tejada.

Miguel Tejada

Miguel Tejada

The deal, of the minor league variety, is worth $1.1 million and comes with up to $400K in bonuses. Although he isn’t on the 40-man roster yet, he will be as soon as a spot opens up.

Tejada stated:

“I’m very pleased with this. The contract with the Royals is a done deal. I’m going to try to help this team and their younger players. I’m so happy because this is what I was aiming for, a chance to get back to the majors.”

Tejada spent last season with the Orioles Triple-A affiliate. In 36 games, he hit .259/.325/.296 with 5 doubles and 18 RBI and got a majority of his defensive reps at third base. His last experience at the major league level came back in 2011 with the Giants. He managed to play in 91 games that season, but looked nothing like a former MVP or six-time All-Star. He managed to hit a meager .239/.270/.326 and split most of his defensive time between third base and shortstop.

At 38 years old, Miguel Tejada is instantly the oldest player within this organization at any level.

Dayton Moore has been saying that he has been looking for a backup shortstop this offseason who is more glove friendly at the position than Irving Falu and Tony Abreu. Is Miguel Tejada, a 38 year old former shortstop converted to third base because he’s gotten too slow for the position, the answer?

Being a career .285/.336/.457 hitter with 304 HR, 463 doubles, and 1282 RBI, I can’t find enough reason to believe, even at 38, that Miguel Tejada can’t hit at the major league level. I’m sure he could even fill-in a few times a week at second and third base and be at least adequate. But when it comes to being a glove-first shortstop, which is what GMDM said he was looking for to backup Escobar, Tejada has never been and never will be. This move smells an awful lot like the move the team pulled off last winter when they decided to bring back Yuniesky Betancourt on a one-year deal to serve as the “utility” guy.

Not only did Yuni bomb in the field, he became a clubhouse cancer due to his lack of time in the starting lineup. His bat had just enough pop in it to keep him playing every few days, while his defense was nothing short of extremely awful. He only filled in at shortstop once and third base  for the Royals in 2012. He made an error.

Miguel Tejada is a great clubhouse guy with a lot of fun energey and brings a ton of experience to this team. He could even provide this team with some power off the bench. I’m not meaning to rag on this signing, as it could hold value. It just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense at the present time.

Royals Agree To Terms With Endy Chavez

For now at least, Endy Chavez’s career has come full circle.

Endy Chavez

Endy Chavez

The Royals and veteran outfielder Endy Chavez have agreed to terms on a one-year minor league deal that assuredly comes with an invite to spring training.

Chavez, who will be 35 by the time next spring rolls around, made his major league debut with the Royals back in 2001.

A career .269/.309/.367 hitter across 11 seasons, Chavez is known more for his play in the field rather than his ability at the plate. He’s compiled a career WAR of 4.1 while playing significant time at each spot in the outfield.

He spent 2012 with the Baltimore Orioles, compiling a .203/.236/.278 slash line with 8 extra-base hits (6 doubles, 2 HR) in 64 games. He was mostly used as a late-inning defensive replacement, logging 213 innings in left field, 146 in right field, and 6 innings in center.

Since he’s a left-handed hitter, Chavez could possibly serve as a platoon-type partner with Jeff Francoeur in right field.

The Royals have made a habit this offseason of signing veteran players who seem to be in the twilight of their respective careers, signing Xavier Nady, Willy Taveras, George Sherrill, Dan Wheeler, and now Endy Chavez.