|The Royals cleared 40-man roster space, dropping to 39 players, with the trade that sent utilityman Yamaico Navarro to the Pirates just mere hours before the Rule 5 draft. Kansas City made a selection in the major league phase of the Rule 5, drafting lefty reliever Cesar Cabral from the Red Sox—and promptly selling him to the Yankees. The end result: The Royals have roster flexibility, more cash in their pocket and a pair of new minor league players, albeit with modest ceilings.
To acquire Navarro, the Pirates sent jumbo righthander Brooks Pounders, a 2009 second-round pick who pitched in the low Class A bullpen this season, and Dominican Summer League middle infielder Diego Goris to Kansas City. Both players are 21 years old.
|Brooks Pounders, rhp
Born: Sept. 26, 1990 in Riverside, Calif.
Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 262. Bats: R. Throws: R.
School: Temecula (Calif.) Valley HS.
Career Transactions: Selected by Pirates in second round of 2009 draft; signed June 18, 2009.
Despite an imposing 6-foot-4, 260-pound frame, Pounders does not throw with the velocity you might expect from a man his size. He throws from a three-quarters arm slot and possesses a three-pitch mix consisting of an average fastball that sits in the 87-90 mph range with good life, a below-average, high-70s curveball, and a big sinking changeup that could be average. Moved to a relief role prior to the 2011 season, Pounders' max-effort delivery plays better in the pen and allows him to keep his long levers under control. The 53rd pick in the 2009 draft, Pounders signed for $670,000, but the lack of a plus pitch will limit his ceiling to that of middle reliever.
|Diego Goris, ss/2b
Age: 21. Position: SS (28 G), 2B (23 G), 3B (12 G), 1B (11 G).
Born: Dec. 8, 1990 in Santiago, Dominican Republic.
Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 165. Bats: R. Throws: R.
Career Transactions: Signed as nondrafted free agent by Pirates, May 23, 2008.
Goris' production peaked in 2011 when he led the DSL with 93 hits and 136 total bases while ranking second in batting (.350) and doubles (20). Of course, he has spent each of the past four seasons playing against DSL competition, during which time he's hit .302/.338/.418 in 811 at-bats while playing all four infield positions. The Royals can renew Goris' contract for three more seasons, making him a solid utility infield option for the lower levels of their system (assuming he can secure a work visa).
|Yamaico Navarro, 2b/3b
Age: 24. Position: 2B (31 G), 3B (25 G), RF (8 G), LF (6 G), SS (4 G), CF (1 G).
Born: Oct. 31, 1987 in San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic.
Ht.: 5-11. Wt.: 170. Bats: R. Throws: R.
Career Transactions: Signed as nondrafted free agent by Red Sox, Sept. 23, 2005 ... Traded by Red Sox with RHP Kendal Volz to Royals for 2B Mike Aviles, July 30, 2011.
Navarro's scouting report, reprinted below, remains unchanged from July 30, when the Red Sox traded him to the Royals for infielder Mike Aviles. Navarro has two minor league options remaining.
Navarro was one of the best upper-level prospects in a Red Sox system that has been thinned out at the top by trades over the last couple of years. Signed for $20,000 as a shortstop out of the Dominican Republic in 2005, he fits best at third base but played six different positions at Triple-A Pawtucket this year. He has seen time at second base, third base, shortstop and left field in brief big league duty in Boston over the last two seasons. He had no clear opening to be more than a utilityman for the Red Sox, but may get a chance to star at second base in Kansas City because he has a higher offensive ceiling than incumbent Chris Getz. Navarro controls the strike zone reasonably well and has tremendous bat speed, so he has the ability to hit for solid average with as many as 15-20 homers per season. His strong arm is his best defensive tool, and he also shows some quickness and soft hands. His effort and conditioning waver at times, though he has gotten more consistent in those regards in recent seasons.