by Chris Kline
March 8, 2006
A pair of 36th-round picks swapped teams on Wednesday, as the Diamondbacks shipped shortstop Alex Cintron to the White Sox for righthanded reliever Jeff Bajenaru.
Cintron, a 36th-rounder in 1997, batted .273-8-48 in 330 at-bats for Arizona in 2005. He is currently playing for his native Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic. While he has good range, some scouts say he lacks first-step quickness at shortstop and is best suited for a utility role, one he should fill for the defending World Series champion White Sox.
Primarily a spray contact hitter, Cintron could be a valuable utilityman for Chicago while backing up shortstop Juan Uribe. The 27-year-old played 39 games at short for the Diamondbacks last year, but also spilt time at second and third base, making 23 starts at second and 32 at third.
In Bajenaru, who turns 28 on March 21, the Diamondbacks get a resilient arm out of the bullpen. The 36th-round pick out of Oklahoma in 1999, didn’t sign that year and returned to the Sooners for his fifth season, signing in 2000 as a nondrafted free agent prior to the draft. The White Sox’ No. 16 prospect made 61 appearances at Triple-A Charlotte in 2005, going 4-6, 1.41. Using a low-90s fastball and slider, Bajenaru has had a lot of success in the minors, but is an unproven commodity at the major league level. In two short stints in Chicago, Bajenaru is 0-1, 9.24 and has given up 19 hits in just 13 innings.
Cintron ranked as the Diamondbacks’ No. 1 prospect in 2001–in the inaugural edition of the Baseball America Prospect Handbook–while Bajenaru came in at No. 15 in the White Sox’ system that same year.