D-backs deal slugger O'Brien to Royals

Outfielder heads to Kansas City in exchange for right-hander Lewis

Peter O'Brien has 166 home runs in 513 games over five Minor League seasons. (David Calvert/Reno Aces)

By Kelsie Heneghan / MiLB.com | January 3, 2017 11:29 PM

After spending 273 games in the Yankees system, Peter O'Brien was traded to the D-backs. And now, after playing almost the exact same number of contests (276) with Arizona, the outfielder is on the move again.

The Royals acquired O'Brien from the D-backs for Minor League right-hander Sam Lewis on Tuesday, both clubs confirmed. O'Brien had been designed for assignment back on Dec. 23.

"We've had a chance to see him play," Royals general manager Dayton Moore told MLB.com. "He's got big power potential. We wanted to add position player depth, especially with right-handed power. And this was an opportunity to do that."

Arizona's No. 7 prospect broke out in 2014 amid being traded at the deadline in a deal that sent Martin Prado to New York. O'Brien belted a career-best 34 homers in that campaign, despite the movement and a six-week stint on the disabled list to end the season. From there, the slugger continued to become a more well-rounded hitter. O'Brien drove in a personal-best 107 runs while hitting .284 for Triple-A Reno in 2015 before getting his first call to the Majors.

The 26-year-old spent this past season bouncing between Reno and the Majors, hitting .254 with 49 extra-base hits and 75 RBIs. O'Brien has gone 13-for-74 (.176) with seven homers and nine RBIs.

"We expect him to compete [for the DH spot] this spring," Moore told the site, "just like we expect all our players on the 40-man roster to compete. But we also are looking for depth."

O'Brien spent most of his time as a catcher with the Yankees, playing some games at third, first and right. Since joining the D-backs system, the Florida native has played all but 37 games in the outfield, splitting time between left and right across the three levels.

Lewis was signed as an undrafted free agent in 2012 and has primarily been used as a reliever. After spending his first three seasons in Rookie ball, the 25-year-old missed the 2015 campaign due to Tommy John surgery but returned in 2016 with impressive results. The 6-foot-4 hurler notched a 2.17 ERA with 33 strikeouts and three walks in 37 1/3 innings over 19 appearances for Rookie-level Idaho Falls, Class A Lexington and Class A Advanced Wilmington.

Kelsie Heneghan is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @Kelsie_Heneghan. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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