The White Sox have traded outfielder Melky Cabrera and cash to the Royals for pitchers A.J. Puckett and Andre Davis, according to a team announcement.
Cabrera, 32, returns to Kansas City, where he spent the 2011 season. He owns a .295/.336./.436 line with 13 homers and 56 RBI in 98 games for the White Sox this year, the last season of a three-year, $42 million contract.
Chicago will pay about half of the $5.1 million left on Cabrera’s deal this season, according to FOX’s Ken Rosenthal.
Cabrera is the fourth addition of trade season for the Royals, who netted pitchers Trevor Cahill, Brandon Maurer and Ryan Buchter in a deal with San Diego last week. He is the latest veteran to be moved by Chicago, joining ex-teammates Jose Quintana, Todd Frazier, David Robertson, Tommy Kahnle, Anthony Swarzak and Dan Jennings.
Cabrera has played exclusively in left field over the last four years, though it’s unclear who he will take at-bats from in Kansas City, where Alex Gordon plays left and Brandon Moss serves as the designated hitter. Regardless, his addition is the latest indication that the Royals are going all-in on one last playoff run with a core of pending free agents that includes Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar and Jason Vargas.
Puckett, 22, was the Royals’ second-round pick last year out of Pepperdine and ranked as the 13th-best prospect in the team’s weak farm system at the time of the deal. The 6-foot-4, 200 lb. right-hander has made 20 starts at Hi-A Wilmington this season, posting a 3.90 ERA in 108.1 innings.
Davis, 23, is a 6-foot-6 lefty who was Kansas City’s eight-round pick in 2015. He is 5-4 with a 4.83 ERA in 18 starts for Single-A Lexington this season and does not rank among the club’s top 30 prospects.