Just when you thought the trade deadline couldn’t possibly get any more exciting, the Pirates trumped every other move Wednesday night, landing Joe Blanton in a deal with the Royals.
Cash considerations were the reported return for Kansas City. Blanton had just been DFA’d to make room for Johnny Cueto on the roster.
Blanton had a 3.89 ERA and a 40/7 K/BB ratio in 41 2/3 innings for the Royals, making four starts and 11 relief appearances. The 34-year-old former 16-game winner announced his retirement in 2014 before coming back this year.
The Pirates likely will use Blanton out of the pen and hope that their big ballpark can keep his home run totals down. He could always start if needed, but Vance Worley is ahead of him in line should anything open up.
This sort of sounds like the kind of hyperbole you tend to hear at the trade deadline, but it also makes a ton of sense:
That is, if the Tigers wake up and realize that, yeah, the need to sell. Which you have to think they have given that they’re about to complete their third straight losing month in a row and now find themselves in fourth place.
How pitched a “war” can be for a rental is an open question — Price is a free agent after this year — but Johnny Cueto brought the Reds three solid pitching prospects, so you have to think that’s where it starts.
Not satisfied with acquiring Reds ace Johnny Cueto for three minor leaguers, now the Royals have pulled off another major trade for an impending free agent.
Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the A’s have traded 34-year-old infielder/outfielder Ben Zobrist to the Royals in exchange for pitching prospects Sean Manaea and Aaron Brooks.
Zobrist has played just about everywhere defensively during his career, but the A’s mostly used him at second base and in left field. Those two spots are areas of need for the Royals too, as left fielder Alex Gordon is out until September with a groin injury and second baseman Omar Infante has struggled offensively all year.
In addition to the defensive versatility Zobrist brings to the Royals he’s also a switch-hitter with a lifetime .784 OPS, including hitting .268 with six homers, 20 doubles, more walks (33) than strikeouts (26), and an .801 OPS in 67 games this season.
Kansas City has the AL’s best record and now the Royals have added a top-of-the-rotation, Cy Young-caliber ace and an .800 OPS switch-hitter who can play anywhere. General manager Dayton Moore is not messing around.
Manaea was a Royals first-round draft pick in 2013 and the 23-year-old left-hander ranked as a consensus top-100 prospect coming into the season. He’s been limited to just 32 innings due to injuries and has a history of health problems, but Manaea has top-of-the-rotation upside and 185 strikeouts in 153 pro innings.
Brooks had brief stints with the Royals in 2013 and 2014 as a reliever, but the 25-year-old right-hander has been a starter in the minors with a 3.81 ERA and 189/46 K/BB ratio in 246 total innings at Triple-A. He lacks big upside, but should find a role with the A’s soon.