2 key KC Royals pitchers head for West Coast teams

They came late, but a pair of trades have 2 Kansas City pitchers on the move.

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Not unlike last year, when the KC Royals slipped the Whit Merrifield deal with Toronto in with few ticks left on the MLB Trade Deadline clock, fans had a long wait before the club made their two biggest moves of this deadline period late Tuesday afternoon.

Yes, the Royals first teased those fans with the late-morning deal via which they acquired pitcher Tucker Davidson from the Angels for cash, but several hours passed before reports began bubbling up that they were trading closer Scott Barlow to San Diego and starter Ryan Yarbrough to the Dodgers.

The moves are now official. The Royals have called up pitchers James McArthur and Jackson Kowar from Triple-A Omaha to fill Barlow's and Yarbrough's former roster spots.

What are the details of the two late Tuesday KC Royals trades?

For Barlow, his move to the West Coast represents a geographical baseball homecoming of sorts. Barlow was first a Dodger: Los Angeles took him in the 2011 amateur draft, but he never made it to the majors with the club and signed a free agent deal with Kansas City after the 2017 season.

Until Tuesday, he was manager Matt Quatraro's closer. He'd fallen on some hard pitching times, though, and was 2-4 with an unsightly 5.35 ERA in 38 games this season. Expect San Diego manager Bob Melvin to give him an important bullpen role with the Padres who, entering Tuesday's action were in fourth place in the National League West, 8.5 games behind division-leading Los Angeles but only five back in the NL Wild Card race, which means their postseason hopes aren't unrealistic. Barlow isn't free agency-eligible until after next season.

Kansas City gets two pitchers, Henry Williams and Jesus Rios, for Barlow. Williams, 21 and a righthander, is in his first season of professional ball after being drafted by San Diego in the third round of last year's draft; he didn't pitch last summer while rehabbing from Tommy John Surgery. A starter, he was 1-5, 5.74 in 12 games at Low-A Lake Elsinore. Ranked by MLB Pipeline as the Padres' 10th-best prospect before Tuesday's trade, he'll begin his Kansas City career at Low-A Columbia.

Rios, 21 and a righty like Williams, was working in the Dominican Summer League with a 6-3 record and 6.38 ERA when Kansas City acquired him. The Royals will keep Rios, a reliever, in the DOSL for the time being.

Yarbrough moves on from the Royals to join the Dodgers where, boasting both rotation and bullpen experience over his six-season big league career, he offers manager Dave Roberts some flexibility and the club another year of team control after this season. Yarbrough burst onto the trade scene with the fine performances he's put in since his early-July return to major league from the Injured List. He leaves Kansas City with a 4-5 record and 4.24 ERA, and was solidifying himself as a reliable member of Quatraro's starting rotation.

The Royals aren't receiving any pitchers for Yarbrough. Instead, they're getting Triple-A infielder Devin Mann and minor league outfielder Derlin Figueroa. Mann, 26, was batting .307 with an excellent .402 OBP, 14 home runs, and 71 RBIs at Oklahoma City and will join Omaha. His career .270/.370/.464 minor league line suggests he may eventually give the Royals some sorely needed offensive help.

Figeuroa, 19, played two seasons in the DOSL before starting this season in the Arizona Complex League, where in 31 games he clubbed three homers, drove in 21 runs, and was hitting .237. Most impressive about him, though, is the .372 OBP he had when LA and Kansas City completed Tuesday's deal. He'll stay in the ACL with the Royals.

Barlow and Yarbrough are the second and third high-profile players the Royals have traded to a contender in the past few days. They sent utility man Nicky Lopez to Atlanta for pitcher Taylor Hearn last week.

Major league-level trades are now off the table for the rest of the season. Clubs can't make any such deals until a day after the World Series ends.

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