Zobrist Continues to Reward Royals Fans

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When the Royals acquired Ben Zobrist back on July 28, I was beside myself with excitement.

 

There was not a more perfect fit available for what this Royals team needed than in what Zobrist can bring to the lineup and in the field with his versatility. While scrolling through social media for reactions, I was quite surprised at how much negative reaction there was to the trade.

Screen shot 2015-08-29 at 3.28.55 PM

And, there was these:

  • ‏@dlord64: I don’t like the Zobrist trade at all. Another rent player you gave up the future for. Rios and infante been decent lately too.
  • @Frank37393 : Oakland raped the Royals badly. Getting Manaea for Zobristis robbery.
  • CBS’ Jon Heyman said, “rival teams very impressed the A‘s came away with talented lefty Sean Manaea in zobrist trade.”
  • @truroyal15 said, “Giving up years of control in a lefty like Manaea for a rental player in Zobrist is just ridiculous.”

It will always blow my mind how fans in Kansas City, and many other MLB cities, get so attached to unknown players. Similar to the James Shields trade, I saw a LOT of disgust in having given up Wil Myers. Folks, I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – PROSPECTS COME AND GO, FLAGS FLY FOREVER. Prospects are just that. They are prospective star players.

The big boys in the Major Leagues play the game this way. Moving their “future” to be better today. Would anyone in Kansas City trade Wade Davis, our run through the 2014 playoffs, and eventual A.L. Pennant back for Wil Myers, Jake Odorizzi and Mike Montgomery? How many times have we been waiting for the next big thing here in Kansas City, only to be disappointed?

After an excellent debut with the Athletics organization (7 IP, 3 H, 9 K), Manaea has been inefficient and is allowing a lot of base runners. Manaea pitched beyond the fifth inning only once in his last seven starts in the Royals system (3.69 ERA, 1.389 WHIP). Manaea’s last four starts: 3.57 ERA, 1.588 WHIP, 36 baserunners in 22.2 innings.

None of this is to suggest that Manaea will never be a quality MLB starting pitcher. He could very well eventually be a high end player. We know Ben Zobrist is a high end player, and he’s been very much that since joining the Royals a month ago. In his 27 games as a Royal, Zobrist is hitting .343/.429/.539 20 runs, 8 2B, 4 HR, 13 RBI and 16 walks vs 12 strikeouts.

The trade for Zobrist was the right move, at the right time, and I hope those that were so hung up on Manaea are getting over it. It really makes no difference if Manaea ends up being a CY Young level talent in my mind. Opportunities to challenge for a World Series title are far more rare than the next “prospect.”

The Royals didn’t trade away Bryce Harper or Felix Hernandez. Guys that were believed by almost anyone, expert to novice, to be elite level talents. Manaea is in no way some sort of can’t miss guy. I’ll take my chances on the proven player, among the best in WAR in the Major Leagues over the past decade any time over a prospect.

Luke wrote earlier this week that finding a home for him will be easy when Alex Gordon returns from the DL. While most expected the move to be Zobrist at both 2B and RF when the move happens, which according to Ned Yost, is “reasonable” to that he will be recalled next week. This could happen as soon as Tuesday.

Yost also said today that, like Luke had hoped, Zobrist will primarily play second base when Gordon returns. Infante, has not found his stride at the plate all season, is hitting just .217, which if maintained would be the lowest of his career.

The versatile Zobrist, who can play all over the field, will likely continue to give others occasional days off as the Royals cruise to the division title, so Infante will still get some playing time. It might not be a bad idea to get him some AB’s against left-handed pitching.

And, the benching has already occurred. Infante was not in the lineup last night, nor is he this evening, with Paulo Orlando playing LF and Zobrist playing second.

Let’s go get another flag. #LetsGoRoyals #HEYHEYHEYHEY

***

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