The Royals wasted no time Thursday in pulling the trigger on their first major off-season move by acquiring slugging first baseman Mike Jacobs from the Florida Marlins for reliever Leo Nuñez.
The deal comes one day after the conclusion to the World Series, when Major League Baseball generally imposes an embargo prohibiting clubs from making any significant announcements.
The Royals and Marlins have been in talks regarding a deal for several days.
Jacobs is a left-handed hitter who provides the Royals with some much-needed punch for their lineup. He hit a career-high 32 homers this season in 141 games, although he batted just .247 with a .299 on-base percentage.
The Royals haven’t had a player hit 32 homers since Jermaine Dye had 33 in 2000. José Guillen led the club this season with 20.
Jacobs, 6'3" and 215 pounds, has a .262 average with 80 homers and 247 RBIs in 421 career games over four seasons. He was ninth-round pick by the New York Mets in 1999 and went to Florida as part of the November 2005 deal for veteran first baseman Carlos Delgado.
Florida made Jacobs available because he is poised for a major salary jump as he enters his first off-season of arbitration eligibility. He made $395,000 last season but could jump to $2 million or more in 2009.
Nuñez, 25, was 4-1 with a 2.98 ERA last season in 45 games. He fits better into Florida’s salary structure because he is not yet eligible for arbitration, which positions him for only a modest raise from $405,000.
The trade raises several issues within the Royals’ existing roster. It suggests the club is not convinced either Ryan Shealy or Kila Ka'aihue are ready for regular duty and appears to recognize veteran Ross Gload was overexposed.
Source: Kansas City Star
Many Keys to this deal is the Marlins are probably going to put Jorge Cantu at 1B next year and put Dallas McPherson at 3B with Wes Helms spliting the duty there. McPherson batted .275 and his 42 home runs were the most in the Minor Leagues -- at any level -- this past season. They also have Double A - 1B Gaby Sanchez, a 25-year-old who batted .314 with 17 home runs and 92 RBIs with the Carolina Mudcats.