The Kansas City Royals have acquired infielder Ben Zobrist from the Oakland Athletics, according to Ken Rosenthal. The return is not yet known. The Royals were said to be the most aggressive suitors for the switch-hitter, with the Mets, Cubs, and Nationals also said to be interested. The 34-year old Zobrist was hitting .268/.354/.447 with 6 HR 33 RBI and 1.1 fWAR in 271 plate appearances. He suffered a knee injury earlier in the year, but has hit .276/.367/.459 since returning. In five of the last six seasons he has been a 5 WAR player and is a lifetime .264/.354/.430 hitter.
Zobrist originally began his career with the Astros, but was dealt to Tampa Bay where he made his Major League debut. Last winter, the A's acquired him and infielder Yunel Escobar for infielder Daniel Robertson, catcher John Jaso, and outfielder Boog Powell. Zobrist has played primarily second base this year, but has experience all over the field. For the Royals he can start 3-4 times at second base, start 1-2 in the outfield, spell Mike Moustakas against tough left-handers, and even spell Alcides Escobar at shortstop.
Zobrist is a free agent at the end of the season. He earns $7.5 million for the year, or about $3 million the remainder of the season. The Royals have reportedly made Raul Mondesi off-limits for a player signed only for this year, but prospects such as Sean Manaea, Miguel Almonte, and Hunter Dozier could be in play.
EDIT: Jerry Crasnick reports the return is pitchers Sean Manaea and Aaron Brooks.