The Oakland Athletics traded Ben Zobrist and cash considerations to the Kansas City Royals for left-handed pitcher Sean Manaea and right-handed pitcher Aaron Brooks, the club announced. Manaea was the third-ranked prospect in the Royals System on Baseball America's preseason top 10.
A trade involving Oakland Athletics super utility man Ben Zobrist was said to be in the works this morning according to MLB.com's Jane Lee:
Sounds like the A's are deep in Zobrist talks and something could happen soon.— Jane Lee (@JaneMLB) July 28, 2015
Manaea, 23, was a supplemental 1st round draft pick in the 2013 draft out of Indiana State. He has jumped to Double-A in his second professional season. He did not play in 2013 to undergo hip surgery for a labrum tear that "isn't expected to hinder him in the long term," Baseball America wrote at the time. Manaea signed for $3.55 million in 2013, double the assigned bonus of $1,623,000 for that spot in the draft.
Manaea played a full season in 2014, but an abdomen strain limited him to extended spring training in 2015. He made one start in the Arizona Rookie League on June 24 before jumping to High-A on June 29 and then up to Kansas City's Double-A team on July 20.
Brooks, 25, was a 9th round draft pick in 2011 and is currently on the 40-man roster, so there are still 38 players that count against the 40-man roster limit. He has mainly pitched in Triple-A as a starting pitcher. In the last two seasons in Omaha, he owns a 3.81 ERA in 245⅔ innings, striking out 189 while walking 46. With the A's needing a starter for Saturday's game if Drew Pomeranz does not pitch, Brooks could be an option join the rotation.
Zobrist is the last of a trio of A's players that were widely expected to be traded before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, with starting pitcher Scott Kazmir and reliever Tyler Clippard. He is probably the most sought after player of the three, with recent reports making it easier to name who was not seeking Zobrist than who was.
We know of at least one offer the A's declined:
#Mets were willing to trade Rafael Montero for Zobrist. A's thought not enough.— Andy Martino (@MartinoNYDN) July 28, 2015
The deal's conclusion was first reported by Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The pitchers involved were first reported by Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com and Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Yahoo! Sports' Jeff Passan was first to report that "two pitchers [are] going back to Oakland."