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Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Goodbye Super Joe, Hello Angel

Well, the Royals claimed Tony Graffanino off of waivers from the Red Sox yesterday and released "Super Joe" McEwing. They also claimed right-handed reliever Steve Andrade from the Padres.

With the acquisition of Graffanino and Andrade and with Esteban German still in camp competing to be the utility infielder, that means they also put Chip Ambres on waivers to make space on the 40-man roster. So essentially Allard Baird has reversed the deal he made last season and for which I and others have praised him since I would imagine somebody will want to pick up Ambres.

Ambres isn't spectacular by any means but at age 26 he could still become a very useful player while Graffanino is what he is - a 34 year-old backup second baseman making considerably more money. So now the Royals have two second baseman they can deal at the deadline, which is ok, but despite hitting .180 in spring training (small sample size alert) Ambres seems to still have some upside.

On the Cubs front Baseball America noted today that Angel Pagan appears to have won a backup outfielder job in part because of the retirement of Marquis Grissom. Pagan also won the Ron Santo/Billy Williams Rookie of the Spring Award for the Cubs by going 15-37 with 4 homeruns.

What I don't like about this is that now the Cubs outfielders include Juan Pierre, Jacque Jones, Matt Murton, Angel Pagan, and John Mabry with Michael Restovich waiting in the wings. Ugh. Pagan certainly hasn't shown in the minors that he's ready for the majors with little power, a poor walk rate and strikeout to walk ratio, as well as poor stolen base percentages combining to make him the poor man's Grissom. The end result is that the Cubs got younger but not any better.

Also, as currently configured, that means the Cubs outfield may just vie for the worst production in the majors in 2006.

Jim Hendry, meet Chip Ambres.

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