Royals ship Podsednik to Dodgers
Kansas City acquires two Minor Leaguers for outfielder
KANSAS CITY -- With the 2010 season slipping away, the Royals focused on the future when they traded left fielder Scott Podsednik to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday night.
Kansas City received two Minor League players, catcher Lucas May and right-handed pitcher Elisaul Pimentel. May was assigned to Triple-A Omaha and Pimentel to Class A Burlington.
Podsednik, hitting .310 in his first season for the Royals, had just extended his career-high hitting streak to 15 games in the Royals' 6-4 loss to the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday afternoon.
"This deal gives us catching depth with somebody that we trust as a leader and a winner and a young pitcher that is really advanced for his age," Royals general manager Dayton Moore said.
Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said the uncertain health of disabled outfielders Manny Ramirez and Reed Johnson led him to shift his trade attention to acquiring an offensive player this week. Moore said that he and Colletti first discussed the deal on Tuesday night.
The trade will have an immediate impact on the Royals' lineup where Alex Gordon will be installed as the regular left fielder by manager Ned Yost. Gordon, switched from third base to the outfield this year in the Minors, had played mostly right field since being recalled a week ago.
Mitch Maier, as well as Willie Bloomquist, figure to see playing time in right field with recently-returned Rick Ankiel in center.
Who will fill Podsednik's leadoff spot in the batting order is less certain for the Royals.
"There's not an obvious candidate," Yost said. "It might be Mitch Maier some days, it might be Willie when he plays, if [Chris] Getz plays it might be him. We'll just try to figure out what's best and try to get a set lineup."
Podsednik's spot on the 25-man roster is expected to be filled on Thursday, probably with an extra pitcher that will get the Royals through the upcoming Baltimore series, according to Moore. The bullpen has been chewed up in the Royals' recent 3-13 skid.
Moore also indicated that Omaha slugger Kila Ka'aihue, a first baseman, could be recalled soon.
"It's important for us to get Kila on our club and we feel like that'll happen at some point very shortly," he said. "I'm not saying it'll happen tomorrow but we expect it to happen soon."
The newest Royals have solid Minor League credentials this season.
May, 25, was hitting .296 with 11 home runs and 45 RBIs in 73 games for Triple-A Albuquerque. The right-handed hitter played for Royals coach Eddie Rodriguez last fall as Team USA won the 2009 IBAF World Cup.
"We're very fortunate because three years ago we didn't have a catching prospect in the organization and now we feel like we have three or four that we can go with," Moore said.
May was drafted in the eighth round of 2003 as a shortstop but switched to catcher in 2007.
"He's still developing behind the plate but he's very athletic and he's got the skill set to fulfill that role," Moore said. "Catching is very hard to develop and you can never have too much depth."
Pimentel, 22, was 9-3 with a 3.49 ERA in 17 games, including 16 starts, for Great Lakes in the Class A Midwest League. He had 97 strikeouts in 90 1/3 innings.
"His numbers in the Midwest League are eye-popping," Moore said. "He throws a lot of strikes and commands all his pitches. He's an advanced young pitcher."
Podsednik was available, in part, because a clause in his contract would enable him to void the $2 million club option on his contract for 2011 when he reaches 525 plate appearances this season which he surely will attain. That would enable him to enter the free agent market and seek a much higher salary and he's having the kind of season to do just that.
In 95 games, he had 121 hits -- he's just three shy of 1,000 for his career, along with 46 runs, 44 RBIs and 30 stolen bases in 42 attempts. He's considered a top-of-the-order igniter.
"Without the assurance we would be able to sign him long term going forward, we just felt it was the right time to move Scotty if we got a deal that we desired," Moore said.
No money was exchanged in the deal, he said. Podsednik is making $1.65 million this season.
"He's a very exciting player and he's very good for a team that's in a pennant race because he adds an element and a dynamic that gives a manager the opportunity to do more things," Moore said. "He's playing very well here of late, actually playing his best baseball of the year over the last 10 days and that's important as well for a team that's in a pennant race."
Colletti was happy with the deal.
"With Reed and Manny out, it's tough to tell when they'll be back or if there will be more issues the rest of the season," Colletti said. "This is a safeguard. Podsednik knows how to win and he can help us in a number of ways."
This is the Royals' second deal as Saturday's Trade Deadline approaches. Last Thursday, they dealt third baseman Alberto Callaspo to the Los Angeles Angels in exchange for pitcher Sean O'Sullivan, a right-hander who stepped in the Royals' rotation, and Minor League left-hander Will Smith.
"We like what we've done in the last two deals. They make sense for us," Moore said.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.