the dump's sportslog - baseball analysis


Leskanic to Kansas City for Obermueller and Machado

Kansas City Royals get: Curtis Leskanic.
Milwaukee Brewers get: Wes Obermueller, Alejandro Machado.

I guess this signals that the Royals will be buying and not selling as we approach the trade deadline, and for a franchise that's been mired in many consecutive losing seasons, that's a good thing. Curtis Leskanic's an upgrade to what's been a pretty lousy bullpen, and he'll certainly help. As much as some people have fallen in love with Mike "Mac the Ninth" MacDougal and his lofty save total (he's got 21 so far), he walks an awful lot of guys (20 in 37.1 innings while allowing nearly a hit per inning), and for my money, the Royals just acquired their best reliever and he's the guy I'd use in high leverage spots. Fortunately, since he's unlikely to be installed in the closer role, Tony Pena will be free to use Leskanic as needed, not just when the team's up by three or less heading into the ninth inning.

As far as the two new members of the Brewers' system are concerned, there's some upside here as these aren't worthless players. While Wes Obermueller is getting a little long in the tooth for a guy who's pitched just 7.2 innings in the major leagues (he's 26), he's performed adequately for AAA Omaha this season (10-5, 4.40 ERA, 108 hits and 42 walks allowed in 106.1 innings while striking out 62). Okay, that's not wonderful, but he's going to an organization that can use AAAA pitching and is in a position where they can give this kind of guy a chance to see what he can do in an extended tryout at the major league level.

That said, Machado's probably the more interesting of the two. He's a young (21-year old), fast shortstop out of Venezuela with limited power but decent plate discipline. Currently at AA Wichita, he's posted a .287/.368/.377 line thus far in 78 games, including 13 doubles, 5 triples and a homer while stealing 20 bases in 29 attempts. This doesn't appear to be a finished product by any means, but there's some reason to be optimistic, especially when you consider who the man is currently holding down the position on the major league level (Royce "Waa-ce" Clayton).

Leskanic's a good pitcher, but he's also a waste of resources (especially considering his $3.7 million salary, though I'm not sure if there's any money changing hands in this transaction) on a crappy team like the Brewers. A free agent at the end of the year, Machado's probably a better and more advanced prospect than you'd have gotten had the Brewers elected to let him become a free agent and gotten compensatory picks. At the same time, this clearly bolsters the Kansas City bullpen in the short term, and while they may yet regret giving up Machado (Angel Berroa's having an adequate year, but I'm not sold yet), it's defensible if they're committed to making a run at the AL Central title this season.