Kansas City Royals acquire Ben Zobrist from Oakland Athletics
The Kansas City Royals and Dayton Moore showed they were not done when they acquired second baseman/left fielder Ben Zobrist from the Oakland Athletics for pitchers Aaron Brooks and Sean Manaea. Manaea was rated amongst the top 100 prospects in baseball coming into the season according to Baseball America and MLB.com and currently rates as the Athletics number three prospect according to MLB.com after the deal. Brooks has limited exposure at the big league level, but is not nearly as well regarded.
What this deal means for Kansas City
Ben Zobrist was the perfect acquisition for the Royals at this point in the playoff chase. Alex Gordon is likely out until September, so Zobrist can slide right into left field and be an immediate upgrade over Jarrod Dyson. Zobrist hasn’t had a brilliant campaign, but his numbers hardly ever look brilliant. He is one of those players that is valuable because he can literally play every position and he does a little bit of everything. Since 2009, Zobrist has had at least 4.6 WAR in every campaign according to baseball-reference.com. He’s down to 0.8 WAR this season, but he also spent more than a month on the disabled list.
When Alex Gordon returns, they will be able to slide him over to second base where Omar Infante has been struggling for most of the season. Zobrist has hit ten or more home runs in every season since 2008 and has stolen ten or more bases every season since 2009. Unfortunately, he has only one steal this season, but those numbers may pick up in Kansas City.
What this deal means for Oakland
In the span of three days, the Oakland Athletics have added five prospects to their system in three separate deals. They may not be done. MLB.com may not be the end all be all of human existence, but their franchise top thirty is a pretty good indication of where each team might value their prospects. In these deals, they’ve added their third, eighth, eleventh, twenty-fifth best prospects in their system with these deals. Aaron Brooks is the only one that did not rate in the top thirty.
Brooks is already 25 years old and those guys typically don’t rate as prospects. Still, he has seven big league innings and has some impressive numbers in the minors. Brooks is a combined 42-32 at the minor league level and had a 3.71 ERA as a starter in AAA this season. Sean Manaea was a late first round pick last season, but has been limited this season to 31.2 innings, but he has a bright future and could be a factor as soon as the latter part of 2016 or early in 2017.
What this deal means for you
Ben Zobrist will continue to be eligible everywhere on the diamond. He is moving to a slightly better hitter’s park and there are more productive hitters in the Royals lineup. The biggest difference will likely come in the speed department as the Athletics are generally against trying to steal bases. The Royals are a little more active on the basepaths, so he might pick up several stolen bases before the end of the season. The biggest impact will likely come in runs and RBI since he has better hitters around him in the lineup.