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Royals trade Aroldis Chapman to the Rangers for pitcher Cole Ragans and a minor leaguer

The Royals also get outfielder Roni Cabrera.

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Kansas City Royals v Tampa Bay Rays Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images

The Royals have traded reliever Aroldis Chapman to the Texas Rangers for left-handed pitcher Cole Ragans and outfield Roni Cabrera. Ragans will be assigned to Triple-A Omaha.

Ragans has pitched 64 13 innings in the big leagues with the Rangers as a starter and reliever over the past two seasons. He made nine starts last year with a 4.95 ERA and 6.1 strikeouts-per-nine-innings, but has struggled in the bullpen this year with a 5.92 ERA and and improved strikeout rate, but a high walk rate, and was optioned to the minors two weeks ago.

The 6’4’’ lefty was a first-round pick in 2016 out of high school in Florida, but he underwent Tommy John surgery in 2018, and reinjured himself shortly after returning, requiring a second surgery. He returned in 2021 and was a participant in the Futures Game before having a very solid 2022 campaign in the upper minors with a 3.04 ERA and 113 strikeouts in 94 23 innings.

Ragans threw 92 mph as a starter, but has amped that up to 96 out of the pen this year. He has a plus change up and also throws a cutter and curve. He seems likely to be a candidate to step into the Royals rotation soon.

Roni Cabrera is a 17-year old outfielder in the Dominican Summer League who was not ranked in the top 30 prospect for the Rangers by MLB Pipeline. A right-handed hitter who stands 6’1’’, he was hitting .320/.469/.620 in 15 games.

The Royals signed Chapman last off-season as a reclamation project, hoping they could turn him around and flip him for prospects. He regained his velocity and was regularly throwing 100 mph, but still had some command issues. In 31 games with the Royals, he posted 2.45 ERA with 53 strikeouts in 29 13 innings, the second-highest strikeout rate among relievers.

The Royals had reportedly begun shopping Chapman to teams earlier this month, looking for creative deals that would package him with someone else to increase the return. Alternatively, they hoped to trade him early in the summer to maximize a return. Chapman was signed to a one-year, $3.75 million deal with incentives, and will be a free agent at the end of the season.

The Royals also activated pitcher Amir Garrett from the Injured list and promoted pitcher Alec Marsh. They optioned pitcher James McArthur to Triple-A Omaha.


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