For me, today turned into a sad say as the MLB Trading Deadline wound down. It was announced that the KC Royals traded for outfielder Justin Maxwell of the Houston Astros. Maxwell has been hurt most of the season and most of his career.
I remember watching Maxwell come up through the Washington Nationals farm system and thinking “this guy is really athletic”. However, he has yet to be consistently productive (and healthy). People have been talking all over Twitter that he has good pop. Yes, he hit 18 homeruns last season for the Astros, but hit just .229.
Most expect Maxwell to platoon the rest of the season with left-handed hitting David Lough in right field.
This deal did not make sense to me when it first came out, but then I kept wondering, “so who did they give up?”
That is when I got mad.
The Royals traded right-handed starter Kyle Smith, who has spent the entire season in Wilmington. To me, he has been the Blue Rocks best and most consistent pitcher. Plus, he’s a really nice guy, great on Twitter, and pretty much answers any questions you have. Honestly, I think he was overlooked all season in Wilmington with guys like Kyle Zimmer and John Lamb in the rotation with him. However, overall, Smith pitched better:
5-4 in 19 starts (104.1 IP), a 2.85 ERA, 29 BB, 96K, and a .238 batting average against.
Smith doesn’t have eye-opening stuff, but “the ability to have four Major League average pitches,” MLB.com’s Jonathon Mayo said about Smith on MLB Network’s Trading Deadline coverage. He doesn’t turn 21 until September 10th, but he pitches well beyond his years. He has a great feel for pitching and knows how to get hitters out.
The deal doesn’t made sense to trade a legit prospect for a backup outfielder. However, the way the Royals struggle to develop young pitching, this deal may work out better for Smith. He goes to the worst team in baseball who is trying to build their farm system and field a team of home-grown players. He probably has a better shot at the big leagues in Houston and may even get a promotion to Double-A before this season ends (which he definitely deserved with the Royals).
*Oh and Smith was supposed to start tomorrow night for the Blue Rocks in Winston-Salem. It is going to be a long final month in Wilmington. It will be weird not seeing him in a Blue Rocks uniform again, but I’m sure he’ll like having spring training now in his home state of Florida.
BEST OF LUCK KYLE!