Both organizations agreed to swap players. The Brewers sent off OF Norichika Aoki, while the Royals agreed to send LHP Will Smith in return. This is a move that will benefit both teams in the long run.
Aoki has been a bargain for the Brew Crew these past two seasons after coming from Japan. The 31-year-old outfielder posted a .287/.355/.399 in that span while providing solid defense, speed on the basepaths and the ability to get on base at a consistent clip. Aoki will likely leadoff for the Royals, filling a need for Kansas City as their top of the lineup posted an OBP that barely surpassed the .300 mark.
In return, the Royals cut ties with a 24-year-old pitcher that has been both a starter and a reliever in the last two years. Smith owns a 4.76 ERA in his career, but his numbers improve drastically working out of the pen, where he posted a 2.45 ERA and a 6.33 K/BB ratio. He’s a solid arm that will definitively improve the Brewers’ bullpen, but the greater value for Milwaukee comes in the outfield.
The departure of Aoki means that star outfield Ryan Braun will move to RF, while the LF spot will be taken by slugger Khris Davis, who impressed with his play after Braun’s suspension. Davis hit 11 homers in 56 games this past campaign. The trade isn’t a blockbuster move, but it’s hard to argue against it. Both teams will end up taking advantage of this deal in the present and in the future.