The Royals have traded outfielder Michael A. Taylor to the Minnesota Twins for two minor league pitchers according to several reports. The Royals receive 25-year-old left-hander Evan Sisk and right-handed pitcher Steven Cruz in return.
Cruz is a 6’7’’ Dominican-born pitcher who features a fastball that can hit triple digits on the radar gun. MLB Pipeline ranks him as the #28 prospect in the system while The Athletic ranks him #40. This year he had a 5.14 ERA with 72 strikeouts in 56 innings of relief at Double-A Wichita. MLB Pipeline notes he can struggle with command, evidenced by his 5.6 walks-per-nine-innings rate this season. They write his fastball has “riding life” to it and he also throws a hard slider.
Sisk is a 25-year-old lefty acquired from the Cardinals organization in a 2021 trade for pitcher J.A. Happ. The South Carolina native dominated at Double-A with a 0.95 ERA before he was moved up to Triple-A St. Paul where he continued to excel with a 2.08 ERA. In 63 innings of relief overall, he had 76 strikeouts, but also with a high walk rate of 4.1 per-nine-innings.
Taylor was in the last year of a two-year contract that will pay him $4.5 million. He has been one of the best defensive outfielders in baseball in his time in Kansas City, winning a Gold Glove in 2021. The 31-year-old got off to a good start with the bat last year, but slumped in the second half to hit .254/.313/.357 with nine home runs. With the Twins, Taylor will serve as a fourth outfielder to back up talented but oft-injured centerfielder Byron Buxton. Rumors of Minnesota’s interest in Taylor was reported last week with the Royals said to be seeking pitcher Josh Winder.
This trade opens up playing time for Drew Waters, who impressed in his short time in Kansas City last year, and Kyle Isbel, who has hit .226/.281/.361 in 134 games.
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