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KC trades Rosenthal to SD, gets OF prospect

Olivares joins Royals, ranked No. 22 by MLB Pipeline
@FlannyMLB
August 29, 2020

KANSAS CITY -- Royals general manager Dayton Moore said a little over a week ago that how Kansas City performed this past week would determine his direction as to whether to buy or sell before Monday’s Trade Deadline at 3 p.m. CT. Five out of six losses heading into Saturday’s

KANSAS CITY -- Royals general manager Dayton Moore said a little over a week ago that how Kansas City performed this past week would determine his direction as to whether to buy or sell before Monday’s Trade Deadline at 3 p.m. CT.

Five out of six losses heading into Saturday’s game against the White Sox made the decision easy for Moore.

The Royals traded perhaps the top reliever on the market, right-hander Trevor Rosenthal, on Saturday to San Diego for outfield prospect Edward Olivares and a player to be named. The acquisition comes two days after the Royals acquired infielder Lucius Fox from the Rays for outfielder Brett Phillips.

“We just haven’t won as many games as we would have liked,” Moore said of the Royals' 13-20 record. “We only have a month left to the season, and the standings don’t lie. [They're] a pretty good predictor of where we are right now. When you think about making up as many games as we need to make up, it is challenging. If we had two months to go, I’d feel a little bit better. [The trade] was an opportunity to make us better.

“By no means are we giving up hope. I think we have enough good arms in the bullpen to still make this interesting the last month.”

Rosenthal, 30, was signed to a Minor League deal last offseason, but he was quickly added to the 40-man roster in late March after a solid Spring Training. He has appeared in 14 games, posting a 3.29 ERA with seven saves.

Rosenthal was informed of the trade by manager Mike Matheny during the seventh inning of Saturday's 9-6 win. Matheny has a long history with Rosenthal, having managed him for several years in St. Louis.

“I can’t say enough of the player and the person,” Matheny said. “Just watching the pitcher he has evolved into now, despite all the struggles he has gone through, and just watching how he interacts with the guys down in the bullpen -- not just talking, but teaching. Hate to see him go, but would love to see him again.”

Matheny, along with several Royals players, are holding out hope that Rosenthal, a pending free agent, might end up signing with the Royals this offseason. Rosenthal is a Lee’s Summit, Mo., native.

“I think he truly enjoyed his time here,” Matheny said. “He loves wearing Royal blue. I’d love to see that work out somewhere in the future.”

Added veteran Alex Gordon, “He’s such a good guy. Obviously, we’re going to miss him. We let him know we want him back.”

Meanwhile, the Royals, who have a multitude of pitching prospects in their system, have been searching to add to their positional depth. Last month, the Royals traded reliever Tim Hill to San Diego for pitcher Ronald Bolaños and outfielder Franchy Cordero, a left-handed hitter who is on the 45-day injured list.

Olivares, 24, gives the Royals a right-handed-hitting prospect. He was the No. 20 prospect of the Padres system, per MLB Pipeline, and immediately moved into the No. 22 spot on the Royals’ Top 30 list.

In 127 games with Double-A Amarillo last season, Olivares had 25 doubles, two triples, 18 homers and 85 runs scored. He stole 35 bases to finish third in the Texas League, behind Royals prospects Khalil Lee (53) and Nick Heath (50).

Olivares will be placed on the 40-man roster and report to the team’s alternate training site at T-Bones Stadium.

Moore said Rusty Kuntz, who was a traveling instructor for the Royals last season and would have been the team’s first-base coach in 2020 if not for COVID-19 concerns, was influential in the decision to go after Olivares.

“Rusty Kuntz has seen him a lot,” Moore said. “When San Diego initially inquired about Trevor, Rusty said if you can get this guy Olivares, that would be great. And Rusty talked a lot about him. This one made a lot of sense for us. I wish we’d be adding at this point in time, but where we are right now, it made more sense to capitalize on an opportunity to get a talented player back -- someone who is athletic, can play defense, can steal bases, has developing power.”

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB.