And the player to be named much later in the Jason Grimsley-for-Denny Bautista is … Eli Marrero. Thank you, Kansas City.
The Orioles acquisition of the right-handed hitting Marrero on Wednesday not only gives them a major upgrade over stopgap backup Napoleon Calzado in the outfield, it's also the best kind of trade out there – one in which a team gives up nothing to get a useful part.
Marrero is just that for the O's, a useful part. Granted, his stats in Kansas City were awful – four homers, nine RBIs, a .159 batting average and a .222 on-base percentage in 88 at-bats – but consider the circumstances. In the punchless Royals lineup, Marrero often batted fifth or sixth, in front of the light-hitting likes of Angel Berroa, Terrence Long or John Buck. Inspired by his breakout 2004 season – 10 HRs, 40 RBIs, .320 average, .894 OPS – K.C. had Marrero miscast as a power hitter.
The Orioles won't make the same mistake. They'll bat him low in the order and use him in their outfield rotation along with Sammy Sosa, B.J. Surhoff, David Newhan and Jay Gibbons. All but Sosa bat left-handed; Marrero is a righty. When Larry Bigbie – who also bats from the left side – gets healthy, Marrero could find himself in a platoon with Bigbie in left field, getting starts against left-handed pitchers. Marrero has batted .314 against lefties over the past three-plus seasons, including .415 last season.
Marrero's real value to the Orioles – and to the fantasy owners – lies in his versatility. He has played all three outfield positions this season as well as nine games at first base. He broke into the big leagues as a catcher and could find himself behind the plate at some point, which would be a big boost to his fantasy value. Regardless, those in deep AL-only leagues will want to add him immediately.
And now a look around the rest of the majors:
Torii Hunter, Twins: Forget that miserable May. Hunter is batting .577 with 10 RBIs – one more than he had all last month – in six June games.
Carlos Zambrano, Cubs: Elbow woes appear to be in his past – too much computer time was the diagnosis – and he has posted a 0.93 ERA in his past four outings.
Chris Young, Rangers: Allowed more than two earned runs for the first time in eight starts last week, and his ERA rose to 3.03. Hopefully you rode out the early April rough spots.
Aaron Harang, Reds: Another young pitcher who's ERA is hovering around 3.00, Harang has become the Reds' ace by default. Shrug off his recent rocky start in the Rocky Mountains.
John Lackey, Angels: A cheap source of Ks, Lackey ranks sixth in the AL in strikeouts, right behind Santana, Johnson, Colon and Halladay. Who knew?
Chipper Jones, Braves: From a 4-for-38 slump to the DL to possible surgery, this hasn't been a good couple of weeks for Chipper. On a positive note, it opens a door for Andy Marte.
Clint Barmes, Rockies: Frontrunner for NL Rookie of the Year proves that taking the stairs isn't always good for your health. What a mess. Clean up on Aisle 3.
Casey Blake, Indians: With a .188 average, one of many hitters who contributed to Eddie Murray's ouster. Cleveland needs to take Casey's bat away and sit him on the bench.
Adrian Beltre, Mariners: The non-contract year Beltre is back with one home run in his past 20 games and an average that has dipped to .234. Maybe the Dodgers knew what they were doing after all.
Mike Maroth, Tigers: Talk about rotten luck. Five infield hits by the Orioles plus three Detroit errors prevented him from earning his first win since mid-May.