It wasn't long ago that Kila Ka'aihue seemed like a promising piece of the Royals' future. But the Hawaiian first baseman doesn't appear to fit into their long-term plans any more, despite the career minor league on-base percentage of .390 that has endeared him to the statistically minded. Kansas City designated the 27-year-old for assignment to create 40-man roster space for right-handed reliever Kelvin Herrera, according to Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star.
Ka'aihue has excelled in ten minor league seasons, posting a career line of .266/.390/.458 that includes a .272/.379/.433 line this year in his fourth stint at Triple-A. The 2002 draft pick has had some opportunities against Major League pitching, but has just a .216/.309/.375 line in 326 MLB plate appearances.
Though Ka'aihue has admittedly poor stats in the Major Leagues, he also appears to have been unlucky on balls in play (.242 BABIP). It won't be surprising if a small market team without a long-term answer at first base claims Ka'aihue or works out a trade for him (the Rays have an open 40-man spot; the Pirates don't).