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Oaks begins Royals career at rookie program

Pitching prospect dealt from Dodgers on cusp of big leagues
MLB.com

When he got the call, right-hander Trevor Oaks was in the middle of MLB's Rookie Career Development Program, preparing to begin his Major League career with the Dodgers. Once the call was over, he started preparing for his career with the Royals.

Oaks was traded Thursday night to Kansas City as part of a three-team deal, ending a four-year stint in the Dodgers' organization just as he was on the cusp of the big leagues.

When he got the call, right-hander Trevor Oaks was in the middle of MLB's Rookie Career Development Program, preparing to begin his Major League career with the Dodgers. Once the call was over, he started preparing for his career with the Royals.

Oaks was traded Thursday night to Kansas City as part of a three-team deal, ending a four-year stint in the Dodgers' organization just as he was on the cusp of the big leagues.

Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi broke the news to Oaks through a phone call that came during dinner of the pitcher's first day at the RCDP.

"I didn't know what they were calling about," Oaks told MLB.com. "I thought they were asking if everyone showed up or something like that, because one of the guys wasn't able to make it. It was Farhan, our GM, and he just said, 'Hey Trevor, we traded you today to the Kansas City Royals.'"

Oaks was added to the Dodgers' 40-man roster this offseason to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft, and it appeared he would reach the Majors during the 2018 season. To prepare him, the Dodgers sent him to the RCDP.

Located in Leesburg, Va., just outside Washington, the program is a joint effort between MLB and the MLB Players Association to prepare players nearing the Majors for the challenges they will face off the field, such as media training and financial planning.

Video: Royals adds potential starters in Oaks, Mejia

Now ranked as the No. 19 prospect in the Royals' system by MLB Pipeline, Oaks is already seeing changes at the program. He was soon moved to the American League Central group of players, and he has selected 34 as his jersey number with Kansas City. That number is a step up from what he had while in camp with Los Angeles.

"With the Dodgers, it was 88, so I thought it was like a batboy. So I'll probably not pick that number again," Oaks said with a laugh.

Oaks will soon report to his first Spring Training with the Royals, where he hopes to improve on his numbers from last season.

Oaks posted a 3.64 ERA in 84 innings with Triple-A Oklahoma City, striking out 72 and walking 18. He missed large chunks of July and August with an oblique injury. He said his most important thing to work on is staying healthy, but there are things on the mound he wants to improve as well.

"Last year, I kind of had some troubles with my sinker, that's been my bread-and-butter for my career," Oaks said. "This offseason, it's been really good and I've made some good adjustments and really figured it out again. So I'm excited to show up to Spring Training with a fresh start in a new organization and show them what I'm all about."

Jack Baer is a reporter for MLB.com.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Kansas City Royals, Trevor Oaks