Now that the draft is out of the way, we can get to who are the real contenders and pretenders this season as we approach the All-Star break. This is important because 1) figuring out who is going to be good (and not) this year is fun, and 2) the trade market and in particular, the trade deadline are going to become hotter and hotter topics as we figure out which team is which.
The Kansas City Royals are in a weird place. Some of the deals they signed this past offseason pointed to at least delaying a long-rumored rebuild and they drafted a whole slew of college players in the draft....many of which should be able to contribute in the next year or two. However, they are also 21-40 and do not appear to have the financial means to retain the good players that they do have beyond this season. Many have assumed that the Royals will begin to embrace their rebuilding status soon and perhaps the deal they struck today will be the continuation of that process.
The Royals have traded Jon Jay to Arizona for two minor-league pitchers — RHP Elvis Luciano, 18, and RHP Gabe Speier, 23. Luciano will got to Burlington; Speier to Northwest Arkansas.— Rustin Dodd (@rustindodd) June 7, 2018
Jon Jay is a bit of a journeyman at this point in his career as he bounces around the league, but he has been good for the Royals this season as he has slashed .307/.363/.374 and posting a 1.1 fWAR in 59 games with the team. For sending him to the Diamondbacks, the Royals get minor league RHP Gabe Speier, who has a career 3ish ERA in the minors as a reliever and has been in several trade packages over the last couple of years, as well as RHP Elvis Luciano who has not appeared in a game in 2018 and has yet to play above rookie ball in his minor league career.
As for the Diamondbacks, this is a sign that they want to hang on in the playoff race as long as they can despite a pretty horrific May after a great start to the season. They are currently in first place in the NL West and with AJ Pollock on the mend and Paul Goldschmidt presumably going to turn back into a good hitter again, they are trying to shore up the production from their outfield.