The Royals acquired Gregor Blanco as part of the Tim Collins trade this year at the deadline. Collins was really the centerpiece of that deal, while relief pitcher Jesse Chavez and outfielder Blanco look like nothing more than thrown-ins. I don't really think there's much to be said regarding Chavez, but is Gregor Blanco a part of any semi-interesting version of the future?
(Seriously, was Atlanta thinking with that trade? Frank Wren, everyone! What a model franchise, let's hire someone from there! They had three Ace starters fifteen years ago.)
Blanco will be 27 years old in 2011, and he'll still be set to make the league minimum. So those are both positives, after a fashion. But will, even with his cheapness and sexy baseball age, he actually be worth playing? Well, after multiple rhetorical questions, let's look at the numbers:
Blanco does what he can to slap singles and walk, and that essentially is the entirety of his game. Um, this is a prototype the Royals have tried more than once in the last five years. A .317 slugging percentage at the Major League level is pathetically impressive, especially since Blanco has decent speed.
A .350 OBP, however, while still not actually that good, does make him something of a modern day Rickey Henderson on the Royals. Thanks to his modest power surge in 2010, Blanco has been about break-even as a hitter this season. Remember folks, OBP is life. Because Blanco really can't drive the ball at all, there's a possibility that he cannot maintain the OBP he needs, but that hasn't happened yet.
Another point in Blanco's favor is his decent defense in centerfield. All told, he's been about a 1.4 WAR player in 2010. For the league minimum, for a bad team, that's perfectly acceptable.
And so, that just about answers our primary rhetorical question. For 2011, Blanco should probably be some part of the Royals outfield formula. We know, barring a trade, DeJesus will be somewhere in the outfield. We also know that Moore will likely look to have some version of a "power bat" in the outfield, because as a GM he generally thinks like a casting director. In addition to DeJesus and Power Bat, Blanco's probably not a bad option as the CF. Sadly, I must say, he's probably a better pick for 2011 than Mitch Maier. Barring some major step forward, he's also a better CF than Jarrod Dyson. Assuming that by mid-season of 2011 DeJesus has been traded and the Royals have begun to promote a few pitchers to the Major Leagues, it would be sorta nice to see the Royals go with an all-defense OF (maybe Dyson, Blanco, and Mitch?) to help the young arms out. So of course, that means, it'll be Fields, Blanco and Betemit instead.
Anyway, for me, this means it's time to embrace Gregor Blanco. He's not totally useless, the Braves gave him away for whatever reason, and he'll probably be on the team next year.