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Royals trade Tim Hill to the Padres for RHP Ronald Bolaños and OF Franchy Cordero

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The bullpen situation has started to clear

Pitcher Tim Hill #54 of the Kansas City Royals pitches during an inter-squad scrimmage as part of summer workouts at Kauffman Stadium on July 10, 2020 in Kansas City, Missouri.
Pitcher Tim Hill #54 of the Kansas City Royals pitches during an inter-squad scrimmage as part of summer workouts at Kauffman Stadium on July 10, 2020 in Kansas City, Missouri.
Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

In a bit of a surprise move, the Kansas City Royals traded left-handed reliever Tim Hill to the San Diego Padres for right-handed pitcher Ronald Bolaños and outfielder Franchy Cordero on Thursday night.

After being drafted by the Royals 963rd overall in the 2014 MLB Draft, Tim Hill made his MLB debut in 2018. The left-handed reliever and cancer survivor was quietly one of Kansas City’s best bullpen arms over the last two seasons, where he pitched in 116 games and threw 85.1 innings with a 4.11 ERA and a 22.6% strikeout rate. Hill, 30, was death to lefties as a Royal, who only hit .211/.276/.248 off of him.

In return for the highly effective situational lefty, the Royals receive a younger bullpen arm in Ronald Bolaños. Bolaños, 23, made his debut with the Padres in 2019, pitching 19.2 innings and starting three out of his five games. Historically a starting pitcher, Bolaños is likely to be shifted to the bullpen full-time in Kansas City.

The Royals also received Francy Cordero, 25. The toolsy outfielder spent most of the last two years on the injured list, but has 273 MLB plate appearances since his debut in 2017 with a triple slash of .240/.306/.431. Cordero has some pretty big strikeout problems, but those problems are accompanied with some serious power.

With the current bullpen looking cramped, the Royals seem to have made a decision to cash in on a trade chip they had who might have otherwise prevented other younger talent from being on the roster. At the same time, they’ve acquired a 23-year-old pitcher and a 25-year-old outfielder with raw talent if not necessarily the production to go along with it. Bolaños seems unlikely to make the MLB roster this year, but Cordero is in play to make one of the backup outfield spots.