Braves Grab Ankiel, Farnsworth at the Deadline

The Braves strengthened their bullpen at the deadline with the pick-up of Farnsworth.

On Saturday, the Braves acquired Rick Ankiel and re-acquired Kyle Farnsworth in a five-player deal with the Royals. It’s a good deal given the team really didn’t give up that much in return.

The Braves will send Jesse Chavez, Gregor Blanco and Tim Collins to Kansas City as their part of the deal. Blanco was playing really well prior to being sent down last week, and will be missed. But he will never be more than a fourth-outfielder.

Collins is a guy who David O’Brien deemed a “5’7 lefty strikeout machine. He was recently acquired from Toronto as part of the Escobar deal. He’s got a good chance to end up in the Royals pen down the road.

For Chavez, this is the third time he’s been traded in less than a year. A month after being dealt from the Pirates to the Rays in November, Chavez was sent to Atlanta in exchange for Rafael Soriano . The right-hander carries a tidy 5.89 ERA in 36.2 innings.

Ankiel is an interesting pick-up. It’s a low-risk move given he is fully recovered from the quadriceps injury that has limited him to 27 games this season. For starters, he’s a tremendous athlete, which almost goes without saying given the path he’s taken to the big leagues.

After flaming out as a starting pitcher, Ankiel reinvented himself as an outfielder and hit 24 home runs in 2008. To go from a major league pitcher to a major league position player is truly amazing. It’s hard enough to make it to the show once, this guy did it twice, playing two completely different positions.

At 31, he’s hitting .264 this year with four homers and 15 RBI. He’s not likely to approach 20 homers ever again, but at the least he’ll play a great centerfield and be a good fit in the club-house.

The Braves picked up two quality veterans, both tremendously athletic and both with playoff experience, for next to nothing.

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