With the trade deadline being a week away, we may finally get to see some movement among players and teams. Among the players that could possibly be moved, Justin Ruggiano of the Chicago Cubs is a name that has been discussed.
According to Bruce Levine of 670 the Score in Chicago, the Kansas City Royals have shown strong interest in Ruggiano.
Ruggiano is a 32-year-old outfielder that has blossomed rather late in his career. His debut did not come until he was 25 years old and he got his first extended time at the age of 30. Although Ruggiano has not been a household name, he does have some talent and could bring value to a contending team.
Ruggiano is a life time .257 hitter and is coming off a season in which he hit just .222. Although his average was quite low, Ruggiano still managed to hit 18 home runs. This season Ruggiano is having a bounce back year, after missing some time early in the season with a hamstring injury, he is now hitting .291 in 185 plate appearances. The home run totals are low as he has only hit four, but he is making up for it by being a much better average hitter.
Along with power, Ruggiano can also add a certain dimension of speed to a team as he has had seasons of 14 and 15 stolen bases. He has not shown his base stealing ability in a Cubs uniform, but that could be due to the hamstring issues he had early in the season.
Aside from the bat that Ruggiano is capable of providing, he could also provide a contending team with a very good outfielder. Ruggiano has the ability to play all three outfield spots and can play them all very well. He has yet to make an error this season on 84 chances while constantly switching positions.
Although an acquisition of Ruggiano would not be a game-changer for the Royals or any contending team, it would give them a veteran outfielder that is versatile enough to play anywhere and can provide some power and speed. At worst, a team would be acquiring a player that can be a platoon player as Ruggiano hits lefties very hard and is hitting .304 against them this season.
As for the Cubs, trading Ruggiano will not do much but clear space for others to gain playing time. The Cubs will also not expect very much in return for Ruggiano by himself, but there have also been reports by Levine that the Royals may take a package of Ruggiano and relief pitcher Carlos Villanueva. Doing this should garner the Cubs a better prospect in return and make the trade an overall better transaction.