Could the KC Royals have an eye on this Oakland All-Star?

A former Royal is someone Kansas City might consider trading for.
Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports
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Brent Rooker, lost by the KC Royals to Oakland two winters ago, has carved out a comfortable niche for himself as the Athletics' regular designated hitter. His first-inning sacrifice fly gave the A's their second run of the game Tuesday night and, although it's hard to say they wouldn't have beaten the Royals without that run — they won 7-5 — Rooker driving it in marked another instance of his knack for punishing the team that cast him off in November of 2022.

Rooker has done quite well for himself after the A's plucked him off the waiver wire, where he'd been after Kansas City designated him for assignment in a move that bore all the indices of a Rule 5 Draft-related move. He played only 14 times for the Royals.

He's fared pretty decently in Oakland since then. Playing 58 times in the outfield and serving as the the club's designated hitter in 76 others, the righty-hitting Rooker slammed 30 homers and drove in 69 runs last year, and his .246 average, while not flashy, was still five points above the major league average. He earned a spot on the American League All-Star team.

And after going 1-for-3 against the Royals in Oakland Tuesday night, and although he's not as hot now as he was in May when he clubbed six homers and hit .330 with a .407 OBP, he's slashing .255/.335/.509, leads the A's in RBI with 42, and is tied for the team lead in homers with 13. Not the gaudiest of numbers, to be sure, but they're far better than anything Kansas City's outfielders are doing at the plate.

Which all makes him someone who might be on KC general manager J.J. Picollo's trade deadline radar.

Should the Royals be considering a reunion with Brent Rooker?

Good question, especially considering Kansas City isn't getting enough offensive production from its current outfield corps. Yes, Rooker is more DH than outfielder for the A's, but he has considerable outfield experience as a pro and shouldn't be summarily dismissed as a potential Kansas City corner outfielder.

But whether KC is taking a close look at Rooker during its current three-game stop in Oakland is unknown. They certainly could be.

Don't, however, expect to see Rooker rejoin the Royals. The potential fit just isn't that good.

Why? He can play the outfield, but not that well. Excellent defense is a Royal trademark, and Rooker isn't a great candidate to enhance it — in parts of five big league seasons, he's never posted positive OAA numbers, and registered -5 last season. His career fielding percentage is only .976.

Rooker's glove, then, should give Kansas City too much pause. Instead of an outfielder who occasionally DH's, he's a DH who occasionally takes a turn in the outfield. The Royals already have enough capable bats sharing their DH slot.

The Royals were once interested enough in Rooker to trade for him, but not intrigued enough to keep him. He shouldn't be on Picollo's trade deadline list.

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