The White Sox traded Melky Cabrera to the Royals on Sunday in exchange for two pitching prospects.
Right-hander A.J. Puckett and left-hander Andre Davis will join the Sox farm system as part of the deal. The Sox will pick up part of Cabrera’s remaining salary.
Cabrera played for Kansas City in 2011 and will have a chance to contribute to a playoff contender for the rest of the season. However, he said he was sad to leave his teammates on the Sox.
“Honestly, I wasn’t expecting this,” Cabrera said through an interpreter as he stood outside the Sox locker room. “Because I love the city, I love the team, but at the same time you are seeing what’s happening around the team with all the moves. … I knew it was a possibility for this to happen.”
Puckett, 22, was the 13th-ranked prospect in the Royals’ system. He was 9-7 with a 3.90 ERA in 20 starts with Class A Wilmington. The 6-foot-4, 210-pound hurler earned a selection to the Carolina League All-Star Game this season.
Davis, 23, was 5-4 with a 4.83 ERA in 18 starts with Class A Lexington. At 6-foot-6 and 230 pounds, he is averaging 9.1 strikeouts per nine innings this season.
Sox general manager Rick Hahn said Puckett and Davis were “interesting arms” who would bolster the organization’s pitching depth. Puckett was the Royals’ top pick (second round, No. 67 overall) in 2016, and Davis was an eighth-round pick in 2015.
“As we’ve made no secret about, this is about preparing ourselves for the future,” Hahn said. “Puckett (features) strong pitchability, three-pitch mix, commands the ball to both sides of the plate. Clean delivery. He’s a guy that’s good to add to our mix of young arms.
“Davis is a lefty that could project for the starter role or the relief role.”
Cabrera, 32, hit .295 with 13 home runs and 56 RBIs in 98 games during his third season with the Sox.
The Sox activated Leury Garcia from the 10-day disabled list to take Cabrera’s spot on the roster. Garcia will lead off and play left field Sunday against the Indians.
Hahn acknowledged that the Sox might not be finished trading ahead of Monday’s deadline.
“We’re going to keep on with our conversations and see if they lead anywhere,” Hahn said.