Less than 24 hours before the 2022 MLB trade deadline, the Kansas City Royals' stove is beginning to heat up along with the rest of baseball. Originally reported by John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 FM and later confirmed by Alec Lewis of The Athletic, Kansas City is trading third baseman Emmanuel Rivera to the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for RHP Luke Weaver. Per the Royals, a corresponding roster move will be made when Weaver reports to the big-league club.
Rivera, who had played in 63 games for the Royals in 2022, was sporting a slash line of .237/.284/.399 with 22 RBIs at the time of the trade. He was thriving against left-handed pitching, however, hitting .288 with nine extra-base hits and only eight strikeouts. Rivera, a primary third baseman in Kansas City was sitting at a minus-2.8 UZR with minus-four Outs Above Average heading into Monday. He ends his Royals career with 92 games played, a .243/.294/.378 line and an 87 wRC+.
Weaver, a 28-year-old who will be 29 this month, has spent his career with the St. Louis Cardinals and the Diamondbacks. The former first-round pick from back in 2014 boasts a career 4.76 ERA with a record of 24-36 spanning across 4311/3 innings. He comes over to Kansas City with an additional year of club control for 2023 before being set to hit the free agent market in 2024.
This season, Weaver's ERA is an inflated 7.71. With that said, his 2.69 FIP indicates that a great deal of bad luck could be in play and his .434 BABIP allowed seems rather unsustainable. The veteran right-hander is posting a 10.47 K/9 — good for 19 strikeouts in 161/3 innings — and has been almost exclusively a relief pitcher for Arizona this season despite having plenty of experience as a starter. He primarily goes to a fastball-changeup duo to work with, although he has a cutter, curveball and sinker in his pitch mix as well. Weaver ranks in the 78th percentile in all of baseball in fastball spin rate, per Baseball Savant.
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