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Reactions to the Trevor Rosenthal/Edward Olivares trade

The Royals seemed to get good value.

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San Diego Padres Summer Workouts Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

The Royals have been a pretty active team on the trade market. On Saturday, they executed their third trade since baseball resumed from hiatus, sending reliever Trevor Rosenthal to the San Diego Padres for 24-year old outfielder Edward Olivares and a player to be named later (likely a low-level reliever, according to Jeff Passan). Olivares hit .283/.349/.453 with 18 HR and 35 stolen bases in Double-A last year, and has appeared in 13 Major League games this year. He was originally signed by the Blue Jays out of Venezuela but was traded for Yangervis Solarte in 2018.

Let’s see what the baseball world had to say about the trade.

Jeffrey Flanagan writes that Edward Olivares came highly recommended from Rusty Kuntz.

“Rusty Kuntz has seen him a lot,” Moore said. “When San Diego initially inquired about Trevor, Rusty said if you can get this guy Olivares, that would be great. And Rusty talked a lot about him. This one made a lot of sense for us. I wish we’d be adding at this point in time, but where we are right now, it made more sense to capitalize on an opportunity to get a talented player back — someone who is athletic, can play defense, can steal bases, has developing power.”

Alec Lewis writes that Dayton Moore was specifically looking for a right-handed bat.

“When you look at some of our outfielders that are going to be competing for spots in the future,” Moore said, “we’re very left-handed dominant, which is fine. If we’re going to be dominant on one side, I’d rather be left-handed. But we needed to get more of a balance there. … We felt Edward Olivares was a guy that made a lot of sense for who we are right now and what we plan to look like in the next one to three years.”

What does that mean for Whit Merrifield and Hunter Dozier?

Ben Clemens at Fangraphs gives his evaluation of Olivares.

For that bullpen upgrade, the Royals received an interesting return. Edward Olivares is the kind of prospect the Royals have historically coveted: he has plus straight-line speed and good instincts on the basepaths, and you can dream on his athleticism helping his other skills play up. He has also posted mid-teens home run totals for three straight years, though we remain skeptical that he’ll be able to translate that power to the majors. If the power doesn’t translate, he still projects as a fourth outfielder, acceptable defensively in center and a plus in the corners. He scuffled in limited playing time in the majors this year, but his underlying numbers look totally fine, and that surely didn’t figure into either side’s evaluation of the deal. He’ll slot in at 27th on the Royals’ list after this trade.

Clint Scoles at Royals Academy offers his take.

The defense needs some help recognizing balls off the bat, but Rusty Kuntz should help iron that out. His speed and arm could leave him as a plus defender. If he reaches his ceiling with that bat, something like .270/.330/.450 and combines the defense, the Royals could be getting a 3 WAR player. More than likely, he settles in a little less and combines as the lesser platoon in the outfield—possibly a 1-1.5 WAR player with irregular playing time. With Kyle Isbel and Khalil Lee coming, he makes sense as a platoon option should they struggle versus left-handed pitchers.

Here is a pretty in-depth report on Olivares from Prospects 365, highlighting his batting stance change.

Shortening the swing path without sacrificing too much (or any) power is increasingly crucial as pitching continues to trend towards a high fastball/low breaking ball attack plan. And if we can safely assume these changes assist in minimizing being exposed by the best pitchers in the world, we can also infer these changes are especially helpful for hitters with high swing rates and aggressive approaches. Acuña had a single-digit walk rate and a 25.3 K% in his rookie campaign before altering his stance and swing prior to last season. Olivares has a career minor league walk rate of 6.8% (with an adequate 17.7 K%) prior to 2020. Optimizing contact rates simply makes sense for players with aggressive approaches and excellent hand-eye coordination, which Olivares appears to epitomize. And while it’s not the focal point of the adjustment, a steeper pre-pitch bat angle (with significantly lower hands) and a more efficient swing path can also lead to increased natural loft throughout the zone. Olivares has yet to post a FB% greater than 35.0% since being traded to the Padres, so I’m extremely interested to see if he elevates the ball more frequently and more consistently this summer. Perhaps there’s more power in this profile than we’ve evaluated to this point?

The Royals made out pretty well in the Baseball Trade Value simulator.

ESPN prospect evaluator Kiley McDaniel seems to like the deal.

Rosenthal had more than one suitor.

It is not unreasonable to think that Rosenthal could return next year.

Finally, Rosenthal had some nice words from the organization on the way out.

Rosenthal had it for most of this season and we wish him the best of luck in San Diego!


How would you grade the Trevor Rosenthal/Edward Olivares trade?

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