The Royals make their second big trade of the week, acquiring Ben Zobrist from the Oakland Athletics in exchange for pitchers Sean Manaea and Aaron Brooks. The Royals reportedly outbid the Cubs, Nationals, and Mets for Zobrist's services, although it came at a price, with Manaea ranking as one of the best prospects in the system. Here's what the internet had to say about the deal.
Dayton Moore talked about the timing of his two big deals.
"I don’t think anybody is gonna execute a deal unless they’re as satisfied as they can be. When we enter into these types of discussions for a player we want we are very aggressive. We have a good idea of what we want and what we want to provide as far as the package goes and what they desire…No sense in stringing things out and creating unnecessary tension. If you know at the end of the day that you’re going to get to a certain place, you might as well get there."
He doesn't think the farm system is depleted.
Moore: "I feel really good that the top end talent in our farm system remains."— Matthew DeFranks (@MDeFranks) July 28, 2015
Ben Zobrist is excited to come to Kansas City.
"You’ve got to believe there’s going to be a lot more wins coming in the next couple months," Zobrist said in a conference call with reporters. "So I’m super-excited about it."
Ben's not on social media, but his wife, Christian music singer Julianna Zobrist, is.
Ned doesn't seem ready to use him optimally however.
Ben Zobrist is expected to join KC on Thursday in Toronto. He'll likely bat sixth, Ned Yost said.— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughStar) July 28, 2015
Ben Zobrist will start as an outfielder for the Royals, Dayton Moore says.— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughStar) July 28, 2015
Andy McCullough writes that the baseball world was stunned.
The maneuver stunned some rival executives with its aggressiveness and impressed others with its demonstration of the Royals’ resolve. This group finished last season 90 feet short of the tying run in the seventh game of the World Series. In the last few days, they jammed their poker chips into the center of the table, flipping a quartet of young pitchers in exchange for perhaps the two best players available on the trade block.
"It’s a very rare opportunity," manager Ned Yost said. "You try to take full advantage of it. You never know when the opportunity is to come again."
Billy Beane was happy with the trade.
Beane very pleased to land Manaea from KC. Says he's a guy he wouldn't have thought #Athletics could land given Zobrist a pending FA.— Joe Stiglich (@JoeStiglichCSN) July 28, 2015
One NL exec says prospect traded today who surprised him most was Sean Manaya: "Oakland did a really nice job...Got an impact player back."— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) July 28, 2015
Aaron Brooks was gracious upon departing.
As was Sean Manaea.
Aaron will get his chance to show what he can do soon, he is starting for Oakland on Saturday.
Sam Mellinger writes that the Royals knew they had to size this opportunity.
The Royals may someday regret not having one or some of those pitchers. Their farm system, always the most important thing for small-money teams like the Royals, is thinning. But at the moment, this is a hungry franchise taking the training wheels off and making a very clear statement about what’s important. It has been nine years since Dayton Moore was hired and the Royals — finally — started operating like a big-league organization. Most of those nine years have been about developing, and waiting, and patience, and more waiting. That’s all finished.
The Royals may very well have been good enough to advance in the playoffs with the team they had at the end of last week. But, sometimes, you know a burger will fill you up but end up going for the steak anyway.
Eno Sarris of Fangraphs likes the versatility Zobrist brings for October.
By being able to play both, the Royals not only insure themselves against further injury to some extent, but they also open up postseason roster possibilities. If they want to carry Terrence Gore again for the injection of speed he can provide, then Zobrist is primarily an infielder. If Omar Infante plays better going forward, and they’d rather have the patience and pop that Zobrist can show over many of their outfielders, then he can be counted as an outfielder....
If the Royals learned a lesson from last year’s World Series — other than stuff happens — it looks to be that the Giants’ versatility and Madison Bumgarneriness were keys to winning. With the additions of Ben Zobrist and Johnny Cueto, the Royals now have checked both of those boxes.
Steven Martano of Beyond the Boxscore looks at what Zobrist can provide.
At this point in Zobrist's career, teams pretty much know what they're getting from him offensively. He is a .260/.350/.430ish hitter with some (but not a lot of) pop, which is a significant upgrade over the general awfulness the Royals have tossed up the middle so far in 2015. Due to his solid defensive versatility and offense, Zobrist has been worth at least 5 fWAR each season from 2011-2014. For the first time in his career, he is walking more than he is striking out, a generally rare feat. After a slow start and an injury, Zobrist has become his regular self. He is projected to provide around 1.3 fWAR for the rest of the season, which is pretty much 1.3 fWAR more than the Royals were getting at second base.
Keith Law is skeptical the Royals even gave up that much.
Whether this is a good return for Oakland or a great one depends on what version of Sean Manaea they're getting. While Eric Longenhagen saw great velocity when Manaea made a rehab start in Arizona, I saw Manaea just two weeks ago, and he couldn't hold that velocity at all, pitching at 89-91 mph in the fifth inning before he was pulled. He hides the ball well and his slider is consistently above-average, but the changeup is too firm and he's now missed time in pro ball with hip labrum surgery (dating back to college), a strained abdominal muscle, and a groin injury, limiting him to 153 innings over the 24 months since he signed (all coming since the start of 2014). The deception and the slider are probably enough for him to be a starter even with a fastball that's just average, assuming he can handle the workload, but more towards the back of a typical rotation than the front of one.
OK, arbitrary endpoints, but here are the top 20 MLB players by Wins Above Replacement since 2009: pic.twitter.com/6PUrJRZOZx— Rustin Dodd (@rustindodd) July 28, 2015
It sounds cliche and sugary, but if KC doesn't do well in playoffs, the fans will *still* remember this was a team that went for it.— Dan Szymborski (@DSzymborski) July 28, 2015
Dayton Moore #Royals GM clearly understands that this is the window for them to win the World Series and he’s not afraid to pay the price— Jim Bowden (@JimBowden_ESPN) July 28, 2015
The biggest fear I have as a Royals fan is that a key hitter gets hurt before October. Zobrist means they have a backup everywhere except C.— Rany Jazayerli (@jazayerli) July 28, 2015
Ben Zobrist almost ended up in Kansas City in 2001 to attend Bible college.
Anxiety and depression almost drove him from the game at one point, much like it did for Zack Greinke.
He was also once college roommates with - Ned Yost, Jr.
Zobrist once kicked Elder Ned Yost, who was on the couch watching NASCAR, out of his college apartment so BZ could cook dinner for his wife.— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughStar) July 28, 2015
.@Royalsreview BEN ZOBRIST: Zest Ribbon or Bronze Bits? Need a ruling.— WetHotAmerican Alex (@AlecSphere) July 28, 2015
Zobrist had the nickname "Zorilla" in the past. I don't know if that's better than Z-Man.— Brandon H. (@BHIndepMO) July 28, 2015
Fans loved it.
I've sat through too many god damn prospects and watched them blow up in my face. I want to hang a flag at the K... #TeamGMDM— JKuhn (@h8rproof82) July 28, 2015
Dayton Moore this week. pic.twitter.com/IvWKBerjli— Kev (@KevinMcGannon) July 28, 2015
I'm seeing talk of an overpay for Zobrist. Maybe. But you can't put a price on what the #Royals are setting themselves up to do.— Kevin Agee (@Kevin_Agee) July 28, 2015
I haven't seen a Kansas City team go all-in at the trade deadline since.....welp, really, I've never seen this........i'm scared.....— Flubber McGee (@FlubberMcGee) July 28, 2015
For arms, #Royals still have Zimmer, Almonte, Blewett, Griffin, Fernandez at the top of the list. There's still talent there.— Hunter Samuels (@HunterSamuels) July 28, 2015
I'm an artist. pic.twitter.com/tCXC7o1G66— sean, not an ass (@theparmaSEAN) July 28, 2015
Of course, not everyone loved it.
My initial reaction to giving up Manaea for Zobrist is that the #Royals way overpaid for a light hitting utility guy— Steven Spector (@StevenSpector10) July 28, 2015
@royalsreview what I take away from this is the royals are out of money.. Gross over pay just to get cash back... Makes me sick.— Jeremy (@dfeziggy) July 28, 2015
What did you think?