Today's KC Star reports this morning that the Royals, with the first waiver wire claim, will probably snag Tony Graffanino to plug into a utility role once again. They have a spare $4-5MM with which to do so. Take that, Mets!
Furthermore, a new Royals source of mine (yes, they do exist) mentions that lefties Jimmy Gobble and Jeremy Affeldt are currently on the trading block. Mike Wood may also be available. According to the source, a deal might happen before the end of the week.
Affeldt is probably the most intriguing of the bunch. The 26 year-old has a 4.53 career ERA and 6.9 K/9 in 329 innings. He's currently slotted in as the Royals' fourth starter after relieving exclusively in 2005. According to RotoWire, the return of Mark Redman and Zach Greinke may push him back out of the rotation.
Back in November, Affeldt's name was tossed around in Kevin Mench rumors. The Rangers could still use a starter, especially one with Affeldt's extreme groundball tendencies. Although they already have a host of injury-prone starters in the current rotation. The Royals seem fairly committed to Emil Brown and his atrocious left field defense, but you have to figure they'd want Mench if at all possible. He could hit twice as many homers as Brown. Mench's $2.8MM salary could probably be squeezed into the payroll for 2006.
Gobble? Well he's fairly young and he won nine games once. He looked kind of promising when he was called up in 2003. Wood? It was nothing short of a miracle that he managed a 4.46 ERA with a 1.57 WHIP. Maybe he can keep it under 5 this year but I doubt it.