GM says Royals will “explore” a trade for Carlos Zambrano

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Yesterday during an interview with 610 Sports Radio in Kansas City general manager Dayton Moore said that the Royals will “explore” a potential trade for Carlos Zambrano, who’s currently pitching in the Venezuelan winter league.

Via David Kaplan of CSNChicago.com, here’s what Moore told host Mark Carman:

We would have to be interested. We would have to explore it because that’s what you should do. You should explore every opportunity. Carlos Zambrano is a heckuva competitor. Carlos Zambrano has had a lot of success in the major leagues. Carlos Zambrano is actually a very pleasant, easy going, classy person off the field.

Sometimes, as with all of us the competitiveness takes over and brings out qualities in us that we are not proud of. Obviously the Cubs grew tired of some of his outbursts but I believe in our coaching staff and we’ll always take a chance and a risk on certain players. We’ll see how that particular situation unfolds.

If the Cubs could unload the $18 million remaining on Zambrano’s contract and get any kind of a decent prospect in return for him they’d no doubt jump at the opportunity, but new team president Theo Epstein has indicated that they may decide not to simply unload Zambrano if it means eating most of that salary.

Moore and the Royals added rotation help yesterday in the form of Jonathan Sanchez, but they still have room for another veteran starter or two to help supplement the youth movement. Of course, it may all be a moot point because Zambrano has a no-trade clause and Kansas City presumably isn’t very high on his list of preferred destinations.

Hunter Pence is mashing for the Rangers

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Hunter Pence was thought to be on his way to retirement after a lackluster 2018 season with the Giants. As he entered his mid-30’s, Pence spent a considerable amount of time on the injured list, playing in 389 out of 648 possible regular season games with the Giants from 2015-18.

Pence, however, kept his career going, inking a minor league deal with the Rangers in February. He performed very well in spring training, earning a spot on the Opening Day roster. Pence hasn’t stopped hitting.

Entering Monday night’s game against the Mariners, Pence was batting .299/.358/.619 with eight home runs and 28 RBI in 109 plate appearances, mostly as a DH. Statcast agrees that Pence has been mashing the ball. He has an average exit velocity of 93.3 MPH this season, which would obliterate his marks in each of the previous four seasons since Statcast became a thing. His career average exit velocity is 89.8 MPH. He has “barreled” the ball 10.4 percent of the time, well above his 6.2 percent average.

What Pence did to a baseball in the seventh inning of Monday’s game, then, shouldn’t come as a surprise.

That’s No. 9 on the year for Pence. Statcast measured it at 449 feet and 108.3 MPH off the bat. Not only is Pence not retired, he may be a lucrative trade chip for the Rangers leading up to the trade deadline at the end of July.