Royals Trade Diekman for Prospects, Call Up O’Hearn and Zimmer

The Kansas City Royals made a flurry of roster moves prior to tonight’s game with Cleveland, trading left-handed reliever Jake Diekman to the Oakland A’s in exchange for outfielderDairon Blanco and right-handed pitcherIsmael Aquino.  Kansas City also recalled right-handed pitcher Kyle Zimmer and first basemanRyan O’Hearn from Omaha (AAA) and designated first baseman Lucas Duda for assignment.

Diekman, signed as a free agent just prior to spring training, made 48 relief appearances for the Royals, going 0-6 with a 4.75 ERA. He has been particularly sharp in his last six outings, allowing just one run in 5.1 innings, while fanning 10 and walking only one.

Blanco, 26, has spent this season with Midland (AA) hitting .276 in 78 games with 13 doubles, 12 triples, seven home runs and 27 stolen bases.  A native of Florida, Cuba, this is his second year of pro ball in the United States, hitting .291 in 82 games for Stockton (Advanced-A) last season.

Aquino, 20, has been pitching this summer for Oakland’s team in the Arizona Rookie League, posting a 1-1 record and 4.58 ERA in 10 appearances (1 start). A native of Santo Domingo, DR, Aquino has struck out 103 hitters in 98.1 career minor league innings.

Zimmer, 27, made his first Opening Day roster this year, but made only three appearances going 0-1 with a 9.00 ERA before being optioned to Omaha (AAA).  With the Storm Chasers, he has gone 2-3 with a save and 4.38 ERA in 34 appearances (12 starts as the opener).  He has not allowed a run in all but one of his last eight appearances, with his most recent outing a 3.0-inning scoreless stint on Tuesday at Round Rock.

O’Hearn, who celebrated his 26th birthday yesterday, made KC’s Opening Day roster, hitting .188 in 56 games with six home runs and 18 RBI. He has batted .295 in 35 games for the Storm Chasers with nine home runs and 28 RBI.

Duda, who was with KC for the first four months of the 2018 season, returned to the Royals as a free agent at the end of spring training and hit .171 with four home runs and 15 RBI in 39 games.

Kansas City’s Reserve List is now at 35 players.