The Kansas City Royals have acquired UTL Ben Zobrist from the Oakland Athletics, according to an official press release by both organizations.
The Royals will be sending back RHP Aaron Brooks and their third-best prospect LHP Sean Manaea. The A’s will also be sending cash considerations to Kansas City. Zobrist, 34, has a .268 batting average with 6 homers, 33 RBIs, 20 doubles, and can play virtually everywhere. He also brings vast experience to a team whose core is mainly made up of young, rising stars.
Kansas City, who pulled the trigger on a very shocking deal this past weekend to acquire RHP Johnny Cueto, give up yet another two pitching prospects, with the key player here going back to Oakland being lefty Sean Manaea, ranked the third-best prospect within the Royals’ organization prior to this season as well as being ranked the 56th best prospect in the league by MLB.com coming in to 2015.
Manaea, 23, comes with injury risks. He’s missed some time in the minors due to groin issues. Manaea, a flame-thrower, also possesses a very highly-regarded change-up, with his only problem at this point being maintaining his health throughout an entire season. A first-round pick in the 2013 amateur draft, Manaea has played in the rookie league, Single-A and Double-A so far this year, pitching in a total of 7 games, with a 3.69 ERA, 39 strikeouts in 31.2 IP.
Brooks, a lower-level prospect, has actually played, very briefly, in the big leagues. In just 2 innings and 2 thirds last year, Brooks allowed 13 earned runs before being demoted. The Royals brought him back up in May this year, he pitched a clean inning but allowed 3 runs in 3.1 innings as a reliever after that. He was sent back down to Triple-A, at which point he appears to do a whole lot better. Brooks, 25, has been a pitcher during his entire professional career, but also played as a catcher prior to being drafted.
With this move, the Kansas City Royals have made it clear that they are all in to win it all this season after falling short of the big prize last season against the San Francisco Giants. With key players set to either leave the team or become too expensive for the organization to retain, the Royals understand that it is now or never for the faithful fan base to enjoy the thrill that winning a championship is.