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Royals trade Brett Phillips to Tampa Bay for Lucius Fox

The Royals get a speedy shortstop with on-base skills.

Kansas City Royals v San Diego Padres Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

The Royals have traded outfielder Brett Phillips to the Tampa Bay Rays for shortstop Lucius Fox. The 23-year Fox hit .221/.331/.327 with three home runs in 119 games across Double-A and Triple-A for the Rays last year.

Fox is a switch-hitter who was named a Top 100 prospect by Baseball Prospectus before the 2019 season. He has yet to develop any power, but has good on-base skills with a 10.5 percent walk rate in the minors, and good speed, with 39 stolen bases last year. MLB Pipeline ranked him as the #26 prospect in the system, writing he has “rangy, above-average defensive shortstop with good hands and an above-average arm”. Fox was born in the Bahamas and was signed for $6 million by the Giants before they traded him in 2016 for pitcher Matt Moore.

Phillips joins his fourth organization, after never really finding much of an opportunity in Kansas City. He was acquired by the Royals in 2018 from the Brewers for Mike Moustakas, but played in just 84 games over three seasons, hitting .178/.256/.308. He showed great defensive metrics, particularly with his strong arm, but could never make enough contact to be a force offensively. He was out of options and found himself unable to crack a starting lineup that had Alex Gordon, Whit Merrifield, and Hunter Dozier, with Jorge Soler, Ryan McBroom, and Bubba Starling also getting time in the outfield.