The Royals cleared space on their 40-man roster on Thursday, sending right-hander Brooks Pounders to the Los Angeles Angels in exchange for minor league pitcher Jared Ruxer.
The trade came on the eve of Friday’s deadline to tender contracts for arbitration-eligible players. It also offers flexibility before next week’s winter meetings, which begin Monday in National Harbor, Md.
Pounders, 25, made his major-league debut on July 5, posting a 9.24 ERA in 12 2/3 innings with the Royals in 2016. He also recorded a 3.14 ERA in 80 1/3 innings while starting and relieving for Class AAA Omaha.
In Ruxer, the Royals acquire a 24-year-old right-hander who posted a 3.08 ERA while pitching at two Class A levels last season. A former 12th-round pick in 2014, Ruxer attended Louisville and underwent Tommy John surgery just days before the 2014 draft. Ruxer returned to the mound in 2015 and had a strong start at Class A Burlington (1.44 ERA in 62 1/3 innings) before struggling in a more advanced Class A league.
Ruxer does not need to go on the 40-man roster, which means the Royals now have 39 players on their roster. The Rule 5 draft is next Thursday, on the final day of the winter meetings.
It’s the second trade of his Pounders’ career. A second-round pick in 2009, the Pittsburgh Pirates sent him to the Royals on December 7, 2011, in exchange for infielder Yamaico Navarro.