Ben Zobrist to Royals: Latest Trade Details, Comments and Reaction

Joe Pantorno@@JoePantornoFeatured ColumnistJuly 28, 2015

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The Oakland Athletics traded infielder/outfielder Ben Zobrist to the Kansas City Royals in exchange for pitchers Aaron Brooks and Sean Manaea on Tuesday, the Royals confirmed.

Jane Lee of MLB.com reported that the Royals will receive cash from the A's to help offset Zobrist's salary.

Zobrist was in his first season with the A's after spending nine seasons with the Tampa Bay Rays. The two-time All-Star holds a career .264 average, and his ability to play multiple positions has always made him a valuable player. He will start as an outfielder for his new team, per Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star.

The 34-year-old is on the back side of a career that is seeing his power numbers decrease. He hit a career-high 27 home runs with a .297 average in 2009 but followed up that All-Star season with just 10 home runs in 2010. Zobrist came back with 20 long balls in each of the next two seasons, but he hit only 22 home runs combined in 2013 and 2014. He hasn't fared much better in 2015, hitting just six homers to date.

Still, the possibility that he could spark an offense was too good for Kansas City to pass up, as it now has one of the most versatile players in the league. Zobrist split his time between second base and the outfield for Oakland and has played every position except pitcher and catcher in his career.

Zobrist also has shown speed in the past, with 10 stolen bases or more in each of the past six seasons, though he has just one this year.

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With the acquisition of Zobrist and the addition of Johnny Cueto over the weekend, the Royals are making a strong push for a World Series crown after losing to the San Francisco Giants in last year's Fall Classic. Kansas City currently holds the best record in the AL Central and possesses an eight-game lead over the second-place Minnesota Twins.

Adding Zobrist gives the Royals a player who can fill multiple positions in various scenarios come October.

In return, the Athletics get prospects for the future, a hallmark of general manager Billy Beane's tenure in Oakland, with Manaea being ranked Kansas City's third-best prospect by Baseball America (h/t MLB Daily Dish).

Beane said he wanted to address pitching in a deal for Zobrist, per John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle, adding, "It's not the preferred side you want to be on. We've been on both sides. What we're doing now is necessary."

Oakland has been unable to do much with Zobrist this year, as the A's trail the division-leading Los Angeles Angels by 12 games in the American League West, and will hope Brooks and Manaea can be part of the club's future as it continues to look for a way to rebuild into a contender.

Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com


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