Just when you thought the Kansas City Royals were strong enough, they got a little stronger today.
Two days after acquiring Cincinnati ace pitcher Johnny Cueto to headline their starting rotation, Royals General Manager Dayton Moore added depth and professionalism by trading for Oakland’s Ben Zobrist, who had been targeted by many of the top contending teams.
The price was steep, however, as the Royals parted with left-handed pitcher Sean Manaea, one of the jewels of their farm system. Aaron Brooks, who has struggled in numerous call-ups to the Royals and has been toiling at Omaha, was added to the deal.
Zobrist was hitting .268 with Oakland with 6 homers. He’s expected to back Omar Infante at second base and give Alcides Escobar a few breaks at shortstop. He also can play third base and the outfield.
According to ESPN's Stats & Information, only three position players (Miguel Cabrera, Robinson Cano and Adrian Beltre) have accumulated more wins above replacement (WAR) than Zobrist since 2009.
Parting with Manaea couldn’t have been easy. Just 23, he was selected by Kansas City with the 34th overall pick in the 2013 draft out of Indiana State. His professional debut was delayed by a torn labrum in his hip. Since his debut in 2014, the left-hander has gone 8-9 with a 3.23 ERA in 32 starts.