Not content to acquire an awful player from the Royals at the deadline, the Braves got two! Rick Ankiel and Kyle Farnsworth. In exchange, the Braves give up reliever Jesse Chavez, outfielder Gregor Blanco and prospect Tim Collins, who just came over from the Blue Jays in the Yunel Escobar deal.
Ankiel hasn’t been particularly useful for over two years and he’s been hurt most of this year. He has played a lot of centerfield but he’s not good enough to be a centerfielder anymore, if indeed he ever truly was. He has some pop, but he doesn’t know how to get on base and hasn’t hit for average basically ever. You’ll recall that his pitching career effectively ended when he went all Steve Blass on the Braves in the 2000 NLDS. I guess Atlanta was forced to trade for him eventually on a “you broke it, you bought it” theory.
I called him terrible, but that’s not fair: Kyle Farnsworth has actually been good this year. A 2.42 ERA and he’s been walking far fewer battersand giving up fewer homers this year than he ever has. I won’t say he’s gotten smarter, but maybe he’s gained a certain kind of wisdom over the past year or so. Or maybe he’s just been lucky. It’s worth noting that this is his second stint with Atlanta, and his first stint — back in 2005 — was highly successful.
Chavez is a tomato can, so good riddance to him. Blanco has been nothing more than a fill-in for Atlanta and never will be much more than that. He really doesn’t have any place in Kansas City either, unless of course the Royals are looking for new and exciting ways to block Alex Gordon. Losing Tim Collins irks me. He is an utter monster strikeout machine and I think he could be pretty good as a major league reliever. He’s short, though, and apparently every general manager is obligated to discount the performances of short pitchers due to some blood oath. I don’t get it.
Ultimately the Braves get an outfielder — which they needed — but not necessarily a good one (update: intellectual honesty compels me to admit that, yes, Ankiel is probably a better option than running Melky out there every night). The interesting thing will be seeing whether the Braves still think Ankiel can play center (he can’t) or if they’ll play him in right and put Jason Heyward in center (better, but it scares me).