In his third trade in two days, Royals general manager Dayton Moore added another quality arm by picking up Jorge de la Rosa from the Brewers on Tuesday. In exchange, Milwaukee received Tony Graffanino to help an infield ravaged by injuries.
The Brewers are only on the fringes of contention in the National League, but they needed to do something after losing shortstop J.J. Hardy for the season with an ankle injury and third baseman Corey Koskie indefinitely with post-concussion syndrome. The situation worsened when Rickie Weeks hurt his wrist Monday.
Graffanino, 34, is capable of playing all four infield positions while providing a solid line-drive bat. He isn’t loaded with tools, but he has some gap power, controls the strike zone and owns some baserunning savvy. His range and arm are ordinary, and his soft hands are his best defensive attribute. This season, he has hit .268/.346/.409 with five homers and 32 RBIs in 69 games. This marks the second straight July in which Graffanino was traded by the Royals, who sent him to Boston for the stretch drive in 2005. After signing him to a one-year, $2.05 million contract in January, the Red Sox placed Graffanino on waivers in March after Mark Loretta claimed their second-base job. Graffanino will be a free agent after this season. He’s a career .268/.337/.396 hitter with 47 homers and 245 RBIs in 828 games.
De la Rosa, 25, never has lived up to the promise the Brewers saw when they grabbed him in the Richie Sexson trade with the Diamondbacks in December 2003. He throws harder than most lefthanders, reaching the mid-90s with his fastball, but he has been inconsistent with his secondary pitches and command. In 18 games (three starts) this year, he has gone 2-2, 8.60. He has a 31-22 K-BB ratio, .269 opponent average and four homers allowed in 30 innings. De la Rosa went on the disabled list in early June with a blister and cracked nail on his middle finger, and he has spent nearly a month at Double-A Huntsville on a rehab assignment. He won’t be eligible for arbitration until after the 2007 season. He owns a lifetime mark of 4-7, 6.23 in 61 games.
In addition to acquiring de la Rosa, the Royals also added Tyler Lumsden and Daniel Cortes for Mike MacDougal on Monday and Blake Johnson and Julio Pimentel for agreeing to take Odalis Perez earlier today.