Tuesday afternoon, the Kansas City Royals made another move to bolster its roster for the postseason, trading two minor league pitching prospects for Oakland A’s utility man, Ben Zobrist.
Having already made the move to acquire Johnny Cueto, the addition of Zobrist is widely considered a stellar one for GM Dayton Moore and the Royals.
Batting .268 with an OBP of .354, 6 home runs, and 33 RBI’s through 67 games, Zobrist will be able to play multiple positions, giving the Royals added depth in both the infield and outfield. It’s likely Zobrist and Omar Infante will split time at second base, while Zobrist will also spell shortstop Alcides Escobar, third baseman Mike Moustakas, and the Royals outfielders as needed.
The move signals another step towards making sure the pieces are in place for Kansas City to make another run at a World Series title. The window for KC appears to be wide open with all but Billy Butler and James Shields back from last seasons runner up.
Interestingly, the Royals and A’s have had several run-ins this season on the field, sparking an intense rivalry which dates back to last year in the single-game wild card battle which saw the Royals come back in the late innings to defeat the A’s and go on a historic run to the World Series, coming just short of a title against Madison Bumgarner and the Giants.
Cueto was the star addition for Kansas City leading to the trade deadline, but Zobrist could potentially become the more impactful long-term piece to what is already a solid lineup for Ned Yost. Although he will be a free agent at the end of the year, the Royals have expiring contracts of several players on its roster and may look to resign Zobrist and Cueto to long-term deals.
The prospect most fans will hate to see leave the organization is former first-round pick Sean Manaea, considered a top 5 pick but due to a hip injury, fell to pick No. 34.
Until Alex Gordon returns from his groin injury, Zobrist will likely take over left field duties, then upon his return or if Infante continues to struggle, will become the regular second baseman in the lineup.
Needless to say, Yost has plenty of options with his lineup moving forward and most pundits consider the Royals to be the favorites in the American League.
A team to keep an eye on, which is also making its own noise prior to the trade deadline, is the Houston Astros. Already acquiring Scott Kazmir from Oakland, the Astros are said to be among the teams seeking to add Cole Hammels from the Philadelphia Phillies.
The Royals are currently in the midst of a 10-game road trip, taking the first against the Cleveland Indians. Two more games are slated against the Sox before heading to Toronto to take on the Blue Jays.
Tickets are available, home and away, for all Royals games at Tickets For Less. Find the perfect ticket packages for friends and family for the next home series at Kauffman Stadium, beginning August 7 against the White Sox.
The first game in the series is scheduled for a 7:10 pm start. Night games at the K are perfect for family outings. The sun will set behind the visitors bench, which is located in sections 125-108.