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.
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.
Dayton Moore has officially checked out of the Winter Meetings in Nashville and is on his way back to Kansas City. While nothing of major significance took place for the Royals, groundwork for free agents and trade partners have been laid out. The Royals checked in on R.A. Dickey, Jon Niese, Zack Wheeler, James Shields, Jeremy Hellickson, Jon Lester, Derek Holland, Anibal Sanchez, Kyle Lohse, Ryan Dempster, and probably another 20 names that we were never made aware of.
Aiming for Anibal
Zack Greinke is still a free agent, meaning that Anibal Sanchez, Kyle Lohse, Ryan Dempster, and basically every other available starting pitcher with top-of-the-rotation potential are still free agents as well.
Anibal Sanchez has been the Royals’ top free agent target throughout the Winter Meetings, but they’ll need to act fast after Greinke starts the domino effect if they want him on board. Many of the teams outside of the Greinke market, along with whoever loses the Battle for Zack (either the Dodgers or Rangers), have Anibal Sanchez at the top of their wish list.
It’s safe to say, Anibal isn’t going to come cheap.
Historically, the Royals have generally had to overpay free agents in order for them to come to Kansas City (ex: Meche- 5 years, $55 million; Guillen- 3 years, $36 million). Suffice it to say, Sanchez, or any other top free agent for that matter, won’t be here unless the Royals practically outbid everyone else.
Cross your fingers.
The Price Isn’t Right… Yet
The Royals are no longer discussing R.A. Dickey-for-Wil Myers with the Mets. But they did engage in some dialogue with them about possibly dealing Wil Myers for LHP Jon Niese and RHP prospect Zack Wheeler. Outside of Dickey and Johan Santana, Niese and Wheeler are probably the two most coveted pitchers within the Mets organization. If they were strictly talking Myers for them straight-up, Dayton was likely laughed out of the room. But Myers-plus could be interesting.
The Royals other major trade front still lies in Tampa Bay. The Rays are said to be wanting Myers + prospects for starter James Shields, which the Royals balked at. Shields is dominant and would automatically become the Royals’ ace.
And the Rays know that.
For them, it makes sense to hold on to Shields until the free agent market pieces begin to fall into place. Whoever loses out on Greinke/Sanchez/Lohse could turn their eyes toward Tampa, turning regular talks into a free-for-all.
Keeping Tabs on Dempster
Even though he turned down the Royals 2-year, $26 million offer, the Royals are still keeping tabs on righty Ryan Dempster. Given his age (35), the Royals think a two-year deal for $13 million a year is more than sufficient.
Adding a third year to the deal would peak Dempster’s interest and could be enough to sign him, but it doesn’t make sense for the Royals to pay $13 million to a 38 year old pitcher with a declining skill-set.
Regardless, he’ll be worth keeping an eye on – especially after Zack Greinke is off the market.
Mega Trade Talks Cooling
All of yesterday seemed to be spent speculating on a four-team mega trade between the Rangers/Rays, Diamond backs, Indians, and Royals/Mariners, with the main focus being Arizona trading Justin Upton for a starting shortstop – possibly Asdrubal Cabrera or Elvis Andrus/Jurickson Profar.
As of now, with the Gaylord Opryhouse Hotel in Nashville nearing emptiness, talks have cooled.
The whole deal is shrouded in mystery. Were the Royals/Mariners/Rays actually included in talks? Was it all speculation?
The Rangers covet Justin Upton, and if they don’t re-up Josh Hamilton, he’s their guy. Deals are still on the table, but it isn’t for certain exactly which, or even how many, teams are involved.
Rule 5 Draft
Baseball’s Rule 5 Draft took place in Nashville this morning. The Royals didn’t lose any players in the major league portion, but lost five players in the minor league portion of the draft.
- Triple A Phase
- Padres: Diego Goris 3B, Federico Castandeda RHP
- Pirates: Ethan Hollingsworth RHP
- Phillies: Brendan Lafferty LHP
- Reds: Ryan Dennick LHP
The Royals opted to pass on all of their selections, as taking a player in the Major League Phase would have required them to open a spot on their already full 40-man roster. They would also have to keep said player on their 25-man roster for all of 2013 if they didn’t want to risk losing the player to their former team for $25,ooo. All players selected in the Major League Phase requires the selecting team to pay $50,000 to the team the player was previously on.
According to ESPN and Baseball America’s Jerry Crasnick, the Royals have signed 3B Kevin Kouzmanoff to a minor league deal that includes an invite to Spring Training. Kouz will make $1M if he makes the big league roster. The deal also includes $300K in performance incentives. He can choose to opt-out of the contract if he isn’t in the majors by May 1st.
Kevin Kouzmanoff’s career started off with a bang in 2006 with the Cleveland Indians. On the very first pitch he had ever seen at the big league level, Kouz hit a grand slam – being the first player ever to do so. In the succeeding offseason, he was dealt along with pitcher Andrew Brown to San Diego for 2B Josh Barfield.
He had the best 3 seasons of his career thus far with the Padres (2007-09). During his time with the Friars, he had a relatively pedestrian average (.263) and a poor OBP (.309). (It should be noted that Kouzmanoff strikes out a ton and takes walks like Miguel Olivo) But his value was in his power (59 HR) and his glove (.966 Fld%). In 2009, he set a MLB record for Fld% by a 3B in a single season by committing only 3 errors in 309 chances (.990 Fld%). In the following offseason though, Kouz was again traded – this time to Oakland (along with 2B Eric Sogard for OF’s Scott Hairston and Aaron Cunningham). This was the beginning of a downward trend for the 3B.
In 143 games with Oakland in 2010, Kouz had a sickly slash line (.247/.283/.396), but still managed to produce a 1.2 WAR (mostly due to 32 doubles, 16 HR, and a .968 Fld%). In 2011, he played in 46 games with the A’s before he was shipped in August to Colorado for a PTBNL/cash. Ouch.
He managed to take part in 27 games with the Rockies at the tail-end of the 2011 season before being outrighted from the 40-man roster and thus electing free agency.
And that brings us to today.
This is most likely an insurance signing for Mike Moustakas. I would say, with how the everything currently looks, Kevin has a very small chance of breaking Spring Training as a part of the 25-man roster. But he does have value as a Defense-First, Power-Second, all-others-last role player. It’s another low-risk, low-cost signing by GMDM. And it, in all likelihood, won’t matter much.