Way back on the first of this month the Royals dealt minor league reliever Carlos Rosa to the Diamondbacks for shortstop prospect Rey Navarro.
My initial reaction was, WHAT? That's generally been my reaction to everything the Royals have done so far this year. From demoting Mike Aviles, to releasing Juan Cruz, to sending Alex Gordon to the minors.
Upon further examination, it appears that the Royals are motivated by the belief that Rosa has simply regressed and is not as good of a pitcher as he was a couple seasons ago. That appears to bear itself out in the stats as his K rate has been in decline while his fly ball rate has been increasing. There is talk that he's lost a lot of the life on his fastball since moving to the bullpen and that he has trouble pitching in back to back games.
In return, the Royals are receiving a very young shortstop prospect. Navarro's range at short is apparently strong though by the numbers, he commits a lot of errors. That's not uncommon of course for someone his age.
Offensively, while his numbers can only be described as poor, it's worth noting that he is merely 20 years old and already playing in High A ball, a challenging level for someone his age. He posts reasonably (though certainly not great) strikeout and walk rates, which suggests he at least has some eye, and he also steals some bases. His offensive game is still extremely raw, but he has tools and the Royals are desperately thin at shortstop.
If the Royals are right, and Rosa's chances to be an effective big-league pitcher are in decline, and if Navarro can become a reasonable prospect over the next year or two, I suppose I could understand the move.
All things considered, I'd have preferred to take my chances with the 24 year old who has at least seen some success at AAA and throws 94. But it's probably not as bad a trade as it first seemed to me.