ed. update: The AP is reporting that the Royals will also receive cash to offset a portion of Freel's salary.
There's a school of thought that all out of nowhere trades such as this should be first taken as a sign of future moves. Given Freel's gritty gamer utilityman soul of baseball made of winning reputation however, can you really be so sure?
Freel, who signed a two-year deal with the Reds in 2008, was traded to Baltimore this off-season. Freel was praised up and down as a great character guy, glue guy, etc. Two months later he was unhappy with his lack of playing time in Maryland and was traded to the Cubs for next to nothing.
Ryan Freel is not a bad player, but he is not exactly good either. He has, or had, a reputation as a good hitter, which doesn't quite hold up. He can play a variety of positions and has a career OPS+ (JoePo's trendy new stat!) of 89. He has been an above average hitter once: in 2003 when he was, 27. Funny how that works
His defensive stats, however, have not been terribly impressive since 2006. The defensive stats for Freel are hazy, since he's played so many positions so irregularly for so many years. In general, I would say that he's probably still good at second base, and varying shades of non-horrible bad everywhere else.
He was a decent OBP-based guy until sometime around 2005. In 2009, I'm not sure he's a real asset, especially given his recent health problems, for an American League team.
So here we are.
Soon, Trey will have the opportunity to gaze into these eyes.