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Milwaukee's trade of Norichika Aoki to the Royals makes sense for the Brewers and for Aoki himself, MLB.com's Adam McCalvy writes. Khris Davis' emergence late last season means there won't be room for Aoki as a full-time player now that Ryan Braun's suspension is over, as the Brewers will go with an outfield of Davis, Carlos Gomez and Braun. Aoki's path to playing time will be clearer in Kansas City. "Everybody was on board with it," says Aoki's agent, Nez Balelo. "[Kansas City] was the best viable option. He’s going to love it there because he will get an opportunity to lead off and play every day." Here are more notes from the Central divisions.
- Royals infielder Christian Colon has switched agents from Scott Boras to Excel Sports, tweets Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.
- The Royals and Angels might make good trade partners, with the Angels sending second baseman Howie Kendrick to Kansas City in return for young pitching, the Los Angeles Times' Mike DiGiovanna tweets.
- Phil Hughes was surprised to receive a three-year, $24MM deal from the Twins, Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News reports. "Obviously the season I had was a disaster," says Hughes. "Coming into this thing, I was kind of expecting to just rebuild my value with a good year next year somewhere." The Mariners and Angels were among the other teams who bid for Hughes, but the Twins' offer of three guaranteed years won out.
- Now that the White Sox have signed Jose Dariel Abreu and re-signed Paul Konerko, there's less playing time available for Adam Dunn, writes CSNChicago.com's Dan Hayes. It appears Konerko and Dunn will platoon, with Konerko starting at designated hitter against lefties. Dunn hit .226/.327/.459 against righties last year, compared to .197/.296/.385 against lefties.
The Royals have designated left-hander Noel Arguelles and second baseman Irving Falu for assignment in order to clear space for additions to their 40-man roster, the team announced via press release. In addition to the pair of DFAs, right-hander Felipe Paulino has elected free agency after being outrighted. The Royals will add Lane Adams, Christian Colon, Cheslor Cuthbert and Michael Mariot to the 40-man roster.
The Royals signed Arguelles, a Cuban defector, to a five-year, $7MM contract back in 2009, but the southpaw never lived up to his lofty prospect status. Arguelles, 23, underwent shoulder surgery in 2010 and was hampered by groin problems in 2013. He has a career 5.12 ERA with 5.2 K/9 and 4.4 BB/9 in 300 1/3 minor league innings, none coming above the Double-A level.
Falu, 30, has outstanding Major League numbers, but they come in a tiny sample of just 95 plate appearances. Still, the switch-hitter owns a .337/.366/.427 slash line with the Royals — the only team for whom he's played at the big league level. Falu is a career .283/.342/.365 hitter in Triple-A.
Paulino, also 30, pitched to a 3.55 ERA with 8.8 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9 in 162 1/3 innings with the Royals from 2011-12 but had his 2012 campaign cut short by Tommy John surgery. His strong career strikeout rate (8.4 K/9) and respectable ground-ball rate (44 percent) make him an intriguing buy-low candidate.
Cory Luebke will undergo reconstructive elbow surgery on Wednesday, Dan Hayes of the North County Times tweets. The Padres left-hander hasn’t pitched in the Major Leagues since April 27th and had been undecided as to his next step. Here are the rest of today’s links…
- Jim Callis of Baseball America says Royals infield prospect Christian Colon will eventually move from shortstop to second base, where he can be a solid regular.
- Blue Jays right-hander Jesse Litsch says he has a "career threatening" infection in his shoulder, Barry Davis of Sportsnet.ca tweets. Litsch, 27, has spent the entire season on Toronto's disabled list. He posted a 4.44 ERA with 7.9 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 in 75 innings last year.
- Former MLB outfielder Bobby Kielty told MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes that he signed with the York Revolution of the independent Atlantic League. The 35-year-old has a career .296/.379/.503 batting line against left-handed pitching, but hasn't played in the Major Leagues since 2007.
- There's still no resolution in the Jairo Beras-Rangers case, Ben Badler of Baseball America writes. Texas agreed to sign the prospect for $4.5MM, but MLB's questions about his age remain unanswered. International sources tell Badler MLB can't sign off on the deal if it wants to seem serious about rule enforcement in Latin America.
- Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com wonders if the Rangers could be a fit for Roy Oswalt now that starter Neftali Feliz is on the disabled list (Twitter link). Click here for the latest Oswalt rumors.
Royals GM Dayton Moore told John Sickels of Minor League Ball that it takes time to develop prospects and turn them into major leaguers. Moore says he understands fans' concerns about the Royals' recent history of losing and shares their excitement about the players currently in the Royals' highly touted system. Here are the details:
- Moore says players can take a few years to develop, pointing to Billy Butler. The Royals extended Butler earlier in the year because he has improved every year and they "think he's about to take that to another level."
- Hitters take time to develop, since it's hard for them "to develop beyond their level of competition." In other words they need to face good pitching to learn to hit it.
- The Royals are "very optimistic" about Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer, partly because the two top prospects have experienced failure.
- Moustakas "can stick at third base, no question," according to Moore, who likes the infielder's arm and body control.
- Hosmer and Moustakas could push Kila Ka'aihue into a reserve role, but the Royals say he's capable of more. "We think he can hit .240-.260, hit 20-25 homers, .370 OBP," Moore said. "It will be a nice problem fitting all these guys in the lineup."
- Christian Colon, the team's top pick in 2010, "can be an Orlando Cabrera type at short, or a Placido Polanco if he moves to second," Moore said.
- Moore says the Royals need more speed and athleticism. The GM says his ideal team would have a center fielder like Adam Jones or Torii Hunter - someone with speed, defense and power.
The Royals officially signed fourth overall pick Christian Colon today and assigned the shortstop to their Carolina League affiliate. Colon receives a $2.75MM bonus, but no major league deal, according to Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star (via Twitter). Keith Law reported the deal Wednesday on ESPN.com's draft Twitter feed.
The 21-year-old shortstop becomes the highest of this year's draft picks to reach an agreement so far. MLB.com's scouting report praises the Cal State Fullerton product's "outstanding makeup and leadership ability," along with his ability to play "above his tools."
Rival executives told ESPN.com's Buster Olney that Colon's skills could bring him to the major leagues by next year. After the draft, Colon told reporters that he is confident in his ability to play in the majors before long. The Scott Boras client said he's open to playing second base or short, depending on the Royals' preference.
Fourth overall pick Christian Colon says his game is polished enough to take him to the majors before long and he's not the only one who thinks so. Rival executives told ESPN.com's Buster Olney that the Cal State Fullerton shortstop could reach the majors by next year. The Royals have to sign Colon for that to happen, and the 21-year-old says he hasn't thought about the terms of or timeline for a deal.
"I haven't talked to anybody about it," he said. "[The Royals] know that I'm ready to go. They know that I want to play."
ESPN.com's Keith Law suspects that the Royals have the framework of a deal in place with Colon and his agent, Scott Boras. Colon isn't concerning himself with the negotiations, but the Royals have already earned points for style.
"I think the Kansas City hat looks really good on me," Colon said.
The shortstop likes watching Elvis Andrus and Derek Jeter, but some project him as a second baseman. Colon grew up watching Roberto Alomar and now likes watching Martin Prado, so he says he's open to a positional change.
"I see myself as a shortstop," he said. "But if the Kansas City Royals see me as a second baseman, then I'm all for it."
Colon, who says he has become stronger since the Padres drafted him in 2007, repeatedly referred to himself as a "born leader" during this afternoon's media conference call. He could soon join recent first rounders Billy Butler (2004), Alex Gordon (2005), Luke Hochevar (2006), Mike Moustakas (2007), Eric Hosmer (2008) and Aaron Crow (2009) in the Kansas City organization.
College shortstop Christian Colon was always the Royals' top choice at #4, writes Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star. The Royals told Dutton that links to Yasmani Grandal and Chris Sale were a smokescreen.
The Royals' assistant GM of scouting and player development, J.J. Picollo, told Dutton the team feels Colon's price is within reason. Colon is a Scott Boras client, but he may sign quickly and head to A ball. ESPN's Keith Law says, "I believe the Royals' selection of Colon at #4 indicates that they've already worked out the parameters of an agreement." Rival executives tell Law's colleague Buster Olney Colon could be in the Majors as early as next year.
Baseball America writes that Colon profiles as a "future big league regular, best suited as an offensive second baseman." Picollo, however, explained that reports of Colon having limited range and speed stemmed from a broken leg last year.
Picollo will be on the clock again shortly, as the Royals pick fourth in the second round today.