The Royals may have found a cheap solution to their struggles against left-handed pitching by trading for Houston outfielder Justin Maxwell.
KC sent Kyle Smith, a minor-league pitcher who was at Class A Wilmington, to Houston to complete the deal.
Maxwell is a career .222 hitter but you wouldn’t know it when he faces left-handed pitching. In his career, Maxwell is batting .253/.370/.455 against lefties and is batting .302/.348/.488 in 46 plate appearances. The Royals are batting .233/.283/.328 against left-handed starting pitching as a team.
Early national returns on the trade are positive.
Maxwell/Lough platoon in RF looks like a pretty good, cheap solution for KC.
— keithlaw (@keithlaw) July 31, 2013
David Lough is batting a very good .298/.320/.447 against left-handed pitching, but there may be concerns about how Lough will perform down the stretch as he has never played a full season in the big leagues. Lough will also have to face adjustments from teams like Cleveland and Detroit who the Royals will play nearly a third of their remaining games against.
Still, there are a lot of questions that surround this move.
First, who will Maxwell replace on the 25-man roster? There is speculation either Chris Getz or Lorenzo Cain could end up on the disabled list but there is no indication that will actually happen. So who goes if not Getz or Cain? A relief pitcher?
Second, Smith was a top 11 prospect according to some prospect hounds. He had a sub-3.00 ERA in Wilmington and could have helped bring in a larger piece than Maxwell.
Third, the Royals still have a huge hole at second base. There is still 30 minutes left until the trade deadline but there appears to be nothing in the works.
Did the Royals hurt themselves in this trade? No, but the did overpay for a fifth outfielder who doesn’t have a spot on this team at the moment. We’ll see what Dayton Moore does on Thursday when Maxwell is expected to arrive in Minnesota with the Royals.