The KC Royals added a right-handed power bat on Tuesday afternoon by landing OF Peter 0’Brien from the Diamondbacks in return for pitcher Sam Lewis.
The Kansas City Royals official website tweeted out the news:
The 26-year-old Peter 0’Brien slammed 50 total home runs the his last two AAA seasons, including slashing .254/.295/.505 with 24 dingers at Reno of the Pacific Coast League last season. O’Brien joined the Diamondbacks organization as a catcher after Arizona drafted him in the third round of the 2011 draft.
The former Bethune Cookman collegiate player has transitioned to the outfield while playing some first base the last couple of seasons. Frankly, Arizona has been trying to find a defensive position for the 6’4″ 235 pound 0’Brien.
In return, the Royals dealt 25-year-old reliever Sam Lewis to Arizona. Lewis pitched at rookie league Idaho Falls, A Lexington, and A+ Wilmington last season after missing the entire 2015 season due to Tommy John surgery. Lewis posted an impressive 1.62 ERA in 44.1 innings pitched across those three levels, with 39 strikeouts.
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One reason O’Brien could be more valuable to the Kansas City Royals than the Diamondbacks is that KC can use him as a full time designated hitter if his power bat eventually plays at the major-league level. The Diamondbacks called him up in both 2015 and 2016, but 0’Brien only hit .174/.228/.446 with six home runs in 79 plate appearances.
Kansas City general manager Dayton Moore continues to bargain hunt this winter. 0’Brien could emerge as a designated-hitter in Kansas City, but I’m sure the Royals front office isn’t counting on him. Still, if O’Brien could provide a cheap source of power, Moore will have scored a coup. However, O’Brien is more likely to serve as minor league depth in 2017.
O’Brien doesn’t bring a whole lot of name recognition to the table, but he can put the ball over the fence. That skill is valuable in an offensive environment that has favored the long-ball the last year-and-a half.