The Braves have acquired first baseman Lucas Duda from the Royals for cash considerations, as MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan reported Wednesday afternoon:
Royals have traded Lucas Duda to Atlanta for cash considerations.— Jeffrey Flanagan (@FlannyMLB) August 29, 2018
Duda, 32, has had a rather pedestrian season with the Royals, posting a .242/.311/.415 slash line with 13 homers in 341 plate appearances. He was limited at midseason by plantar fasciitis and spent five weeks on the DL, but he seems to have rounded back into form during August, posting a solid .260/.318/.468 line with four homers in 21 games.
With Freddie Freeman being the Braves’ everyday first baseman (literally, he’s started every single game), Duda will be a left-handed power bat off the bench for Atlanta down the stretch. He’s historically struggled in that role, posting a career .194/.329/.355 line with two homers in 76 pinch-hit plate appearances and a career .202/.309/.383 line off the bench. He clearly has a lot of raw power, though, so perhaps he’ll provide better results as he settles into a bench player’s mindset.
The Braves have been very active making transactions over the last two months, and Duda was the second player they added Wednesday — earlier in the day, they claimed catcher Rene Rivera off waivers from the Angels. Since the beginning of July, they’ve also added starter Kevin Gausman, relievers Brad Brach and Jonny Venters, and outfielder Adam Duvall (as well as reliever Darren O’Day, who is out for the year).
While the measly return of cash considerations is certainly less than the Royals hoped to get for Duda when they signed him to a one-year, $3.5 million contract in February, it’s better than nothing, and moving Duda allows them to give more frequent opportunities to young players such as Ryan O’Hearn, Hunter Dozier, and perhaps Triple-A first baseman Frank Schwindel, who has 24 homers and an .843 OPS at Omaha this year.