The Royals are acquiring Ben Zobrist from the Athletics in exchange for left-hander Sean Manaea and right-hander Aaron Brooks, as first reported by Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com. We reported earlier in the day that Kansas City was expected to be in on Zobrist until the end of trade negotiations.
Zobrist joins Scott Kazmir (Astros) and Tyler Clippard (Mets) as Oakland's veterans to be traded so far this season. Zobrist is the second major addition for the Royals, who sent three top left-handed pitching prospects to Cincinnati in exchange for Johnny Cueto over the weekend. The moves represent a win-now mentality for Kansas City, a team that has now sacrificed top prospects Manaea, Brandon Finnegan, and Cody Reed within three days.
Zobrist will likely fill the Royals' left field void in the absence of Alex Gordon, who is missing significant time due to injury. The new acquisition can replace Omar Infante at second base once Gordon returns, and has the ability to play all over the diamond for Kansas City. He has drawn significant interest from the Pirates, Mets, Yankees, Nationals, Cubs and Giants so far this offseason, but Kansas City has known to be the most aggressive club.
Manaea, 23, is currently ranked as the second-best prospect in the Royals' organization, according to MLB.com, and was the 34th overall pick in the 2013 draft. The southpaw was ranked by Baseball America before the season as the 81st prospect in all of baseball, due to a plus fastball and strikeout ability that had him in consideration to be the first overall pick two years ago. Injuries have hurt Manaea throughout the early part of his career, as he has posted a 3.23 ERA in 32 starts over two seasons. Manaea has made appearances at three levels of the Royals' system this year, posting a 3.69 ERA in seven starts.
Brooks, 25, was Kansas City's ninth-round pick in the 2011 draft and has spent the majority of the last two seasons with Triple-A Omaha. He has posted a 6-5 record and 3.71 ERA in eighteen appearances (seventeen starts) with Omaha this season.