The Aoki trade: Dayton Moore conference call notes
The Royals and General Manager Dayton Moore held a conference call with reporters Thursday morning following KC’s acquisition of outfielder Norichika Aoki (pronounced: nor-EACH-kah AH-okee) for left-handed pitcher Will Smith.
The first questions revolved around how this trade impacts additional offseason possibilities. Moore feels that his team is improved, but doesn’t feel that the offseason is complete, saying that the situation is fluid. The Royals will continue to pursue players through trades and free agency.
Moore noted that Aoki can play all three outfield positions. The Royals see him as an above-average right fielder who has enough athleticism to play center field. He runs very good routes in the outfield and is a smart, instinctive player. Aoki played all three outfield positions in Milwaukee, with most of the work as a right fielder.
Moore said that new third base coach Dale Sveum likes Aoki’s abilities after seeing him play against the Cubs the last two years. Aoki figures to be KC’s leadoff hitter, which will move Alex Gordon more toward the middle of the lineup.
Smith, 24, spent parts of the last two seasons at the Major League level, making 16 starts in 2012 before moving to a bullpen role midway through 2013. Smith excelled in the bullpen role, holding batters to a .170 average. Moore said that all deals come with a cost and you have to give up quality (players) in order to acquire quality.