The Royals have made their first trade of the off-season, sending minor league pitcher Kyle Bartsch to the San Diego Padres for outfielder Reymond Fuentes, according to Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star. Fuentes, 23, is a left-handed hitting centerfielder who was drafted in the first round by the Boston Red Sox in 2009. Fuentes was dealt to San Diego as part of the Adrian Gonzalez trade in 2010.
Fuentes hit .294/.363/.416 in 372 plate appearances across AA San Antonio and AAA El Paso, swiping 25 bases in 28 attempts. Fuentes had a fantastic 2013 season, hitting .330/.413/.448, mostly for AA San Antonio. Before this season, John Sickels had given Fuentes a C+ grade, ranking him the 17th best Padres prospect, writing:
I had given up on his bat but he proved me wrong last year, improved contact ability and thrived in Double-A/Triple-A. I wouldn’t expect him to hit .330 again but I think he can be a good fourth outfielder with defensive skills, speed, and occasional offensive contributions.
Fuentes is the cousin of former Royals outfielder Carlos Beltran. He will be added to the 40-man roster.
Kyle Bartsch was a seventh round pick by the Royals in 2013 out of the University of South Alabama. The 23-year old left-hander posted a 2.29 ERA in 55 innings for High A Wilmington with 52 strikeouts and 12 walks, all out of the bullpen.
The Royals pick up Fuentes as a nice depth piece because they had available 40-man roster spots while the Padres did not. Fuentes is still young enough to have some upside, while Bartsch is really organizational filler. Fuentes also has Major League experience, making 36 plate appearances for the Padres in 2013, hitting .152/.222/.152.
The Royals also announced they added SS Orlando Calixte and OF Jorge Bonifacio to the 40-man roster. That brings the total players on the 40-man roster to 38. The deadline to add players to the 40-man roster to be protected from the Rule 5 draft is midnight ET tonight.