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Royals deal Farnsworth, Ankiel for three

Royals deal Farnsworth, Ankiel for three

KANSAS CITY -- As the clock ticked toward 3 p.m. CT on Saturday, Jose Guillen sat in his jeans and polo shirt in front of his clubhouse stall. He idly wagged a bat off and on his shoulder and chatted with teammate Willie Bloomquist.


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Finally, when the clock read 3:03, Guillen checked the messages on his phone and removed his canvas shoes. He would get into his Royals uniform. He had not, as he anticipated, been traded by the Deadline.

However, center fielder Rick Ankiel and relief pitcher Kyle Farnsworth were dealt with cash by the Royals to the Atlanta Braves shortly before the Trade Deadline in exchange for three players.

The Royals received outfielder Gregor Blanco and right-handed pitcher Jesse Chavez, who will report to the Royals immediately, and left-handed pitcher Tim Collins, who'll join Triple-A Omaha.

Guillen? He could be dealt later but, because the non-waiver Deadline has passed, it'll be more complicated. He'll have to clear waivers first, but it's likely that the Royals will try to move Guillen to clear a lineup spot for Triple-A slugger Kila Ka'aihue.

Royals general manager Dayton Moore made it clear Saturday that he expects Ka'aihue to be promoted soon.

"He's got 24 home runs right now, and the bottom line is he's met every challenge necessary in Triple-A, and we do need to get him up here as soon as possible," Moore said.

Saturday's trade was the third made by the Royals prior to the Deadline, and the deals brought in a total of seven players geared to the club's future.

That future does not seem to include Guillen, who still plays right field on occasion but is usually in the designated-hitter spot. He leads the Royals in home runs (16) and RBIs (60), not numbers that crack the American League-leader lists but are by far the best on the club.

Guillen is headed into free agency and, no doubt, the 10th club in his 14th Major League year.

Bringing up Ka'aihue would mean putting him in Guillen's DH spot or using him at first base with Billy Butler at DH.

Blanco and Chavez are expected to join the Royals for Sunday's game against Baltimore.

Blanco, 26, a left-handed batter, was hitting .310 (18-for-58) in 36 games for the Braves. He also batted .286 for Triple-A Gwinnett in 44 games. Primarily a center fielder, he has enough speed to steal 16 bases in 23 attempts in parts of three seasons with the Braves.

Moore compared Blanco to David DeJesus, the Royals' star outfielder currently on the disabled list after right thumb surgery.

"Blanco has a chance to be a similar type player. Not necessarily the hitting skills that David has as far as centering the ball in different areas of the strike zone, but certainly as a defender, a better runner and a consistent stroke," Moore said. "Gregor, over the years, has hung in there pretty well against left-handers as well. He's just never got a chance to play right away."

Chavez, 24, was 3-2 with a 5.89 ERA in 28 relief appearances for the Braves this year. In three seasons with Atlanta and Pittsburgh, he's 4-7 with a 4.92 ERA in 116 games, all in relief.

"Statistically, he's had some rough outings this year, but we like his arm and we like his upside," Moore said.

Collins, 20, had a 1-0 record and a 2.29 ERA for two Double-A clubs, New Hampshire in the Toronto organization and Mississippi in the Atlanta organization.

"His statistics in the Minors are eye-popping. He's a power left-hander, built along the lines of a Billy Wagner with a hard overhand curveball and above-average and plus fastball at times," Moore said.

Collins was acquired by the Braves on July 14 in a five-player deal in which the Blue Jays swapped shortstop Alex Gonzalez for shortstop Yunel Escobar.

Ankiel had just returned to the Royals after a lengthy rehab assignment because of a quad injury with Omaha. Since his return, he was hitting .367 (11-for-30) with a home run and six RBIs in eight games.

"We knew when we signed him that he potentially would be a marketable player," Moore said. "Getting him back when we did opened up some doors, probably not as many as it would've if he'd have played all year, but we felt like we got a deal that was important for our organization."

In all, Ankiel played just 27 games for the Royals, with a .261 average, four homers and 15 RBIs. He was signed to a $2.75 million contract for this year with a $6 million mutual option for 2011.

Farnsworth, expanding his pitch assortment and improving his control, was having one of his best seasons, with a 3-0 record and a 2.42 ERA in 37 relief appearances. He was working under a $4.5 million contract this year with a $5.25 million club option for 2011.

"It's great for Rick and Kyle to join a team that is 3 1/2 games up in the pennant race and go there and send Bobby [Cox] out in style," Moore said.

On July 22, the Royals traded third baseman Alberto Callaspo to the Los Angeles Angels and acquired two pitchers -- right-hander Sean O'Sullivan, who was put into the club's rotation, and Minor League left-hander Will Smith.

On Wednesday, they dealt left fielder Scott Podsednik to the Los Angeles Dodgers and acquired two Minor Leaguers, catcher Lucas May and right-handed pitcher Elisaul Pimentel.

The three deals, in total, brought the Royals seven young players.

"We're very pleased," Moore said. "Five of them are pitchers that all fit as part of our future and give us depth. We've got a catcher that can [potentially] play with our Major League team and an outfielder that can play all three outfield positions."

Also, the Callaspo deal added pavement to hot prospect Mike Moustakas' road to a home at third base for the Royals. The trade of Podsednik, plus DeJesus' injury, opened the chance to evaluate Alex Gordon as an outfielder and also to give more playing time to Mitch Maier and now Blanco.

The Royals also made some Minor League moves, trading catcher Jeff Howell to Minnesota for future considerations and reassigning catcher Manny Pina from Omaha to Double-A Northwest Arkansas. That cleared the way for May to become Omaha's starting catcher. May homered in his first at-bat for Omaha on Saturday at Memphis.

Pitcher Aaron Crow was sent from Northwest Arkansas to Class A Wilmington. Crow, the Royals' top choice in the 2009 Draft, had a 7-7 record and 5.66 ERA in 22 starts. Left-hander Danny Duffy was moved from Wilmington to Northwest Arkansas.

Although the non-waiver Deadline has passed, more trades are possible. Over the next month, deals involving players on the 40-man roster cannot be made unless the players have already cleared waivers. A player exposed to waivers can be claimed by any team, and if there are multiple claims, the player would be offered to the team with the worst record.

At that point, a team has 48 hours to try to work out a trade with the claiming club or remove the player from waivers. A player can be pulled back from waivers only once, but if he clears waivers either the first or a second time through, a team can attempt to trade him to any club.

Guillen could be dealt under those conditions. Meantime, on Saturday night, he was the DH and batting fourth against the Orioles.

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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