Kansas City Royals Trade RP Will Smith to Milwaukee Brewers for OF Norichika Aoki

Sep 8, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Milwaukee Brewers right fielder Norichika Aoki (7) heads onto the field during their game against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

It may not be Carlos Beltran, but the Royals have made a significant addition to their team.

Kansas City has traded relief pitcher Will Smith to the Milwaukee for outfielder Norichika Aoki, in a deal that was first mentioned by Royals Revival.

The move gives the Royals a true leadoff hitter who can get on-base, steal bases, and play a solid outfield. Last season he hit .286/.356/.370 with 8 home runs, 20 stolen bases, and 20 doubles. With a walk percentage of 8.2% and strikeout percentage of 5.9%, Aoki was one of only four players in baseball last year to walk more than he struck out.

Dayton Moore says this give the Royals the opportunity to move Alex Gordon to the middle of the lineup to help bolster run production.

So what does this mean for the prospects of signing Carlos Beltran? Apparently nothing, according to Jon Heyman and Ken Rosenthal.

 

Adding Aoki, who will make $1.5 million in 2014 and will become a free agent after the season, means that if the Royals do acquire Beltran then Billy Butler is almost certainly going to be traded. The projected starting outfield would feature Gordon in left, Lorenzo Cain in center, and Aoki in right field, with Beltran at designated hitter. This would leave Butler without a place to play.

But until Beltran makes his decision, the Royals still have Butler at DH, and the potential of Aoki in right field with Bonifacio at second base represents a huge upgrade for the Royals lineup over the Chris Getz/Elliot Johnson/David Lough/Jeff Francoeur/Justin Maxwell combination the Royals were throwing out there.

Kansas City is definitely better after this move.

Topics: Kansas City Royals, Norichika Aoki

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