KANSAS CITY, Mo. — There’s at least one ecstatic Royals fan after the trade deadline came and went Wednesday afternoon with the Royals making only one relatively minor deal:
That would be Royals pitcher Ervin Santana.
Santana, a free agent after this season, had been rumored as a likely candidate to be traded. But Santana expressed a desire in recent weeks to stay in Kansas City.
Santana even started a countdown Wednesday on his Twitter account — “Less than 8 hours left…” and “Twenty minutes left until trade deadline!!! So far so good!!!”
Finally, at the 3 p.m. trading deadline, Santana tweeted, “Yessssssss!!!!!! Lets go get em!!!!!”
Santana remains a Royal for now, and the club also added right-handed-hitting outfielder Justin Maxwell in a trade that sent minor league right-hander Kyle Smith to the Houston Astros.
Royals general manager Dayton Moore indicated two weeks ago that he wasn’t about to throw up the white flag to the 2013 season by selling off pieces of the roster, and he remained true to his word.
Instead, Moore became somewhat of a cost-effective buyer, picking up Maxwell, although that move on the surface seems a curious one.
Maxwell, 29, is a gifted defensive player who can play all three outfield positions and perhaps add a little pop to the lineup. He hit 18 homers in 124 games in 2012 for the Astros.
Maxwell has battled injuries this season, suffering a broken hand in April and a concussion in June. He only recently returned to the lineup and is hitting just .241 with two homers and eight RBIs through 40 games.
But the curious part is just where Maxwell fits on the 25-man roster, and at what other player’s expense. The Royals have said Maxwell will join the club for Thursday’s day game in Minneapolis and that a corresponding roster move will be made then.
The Royals might have to put center fielder Lorenzo Cain on the disabled list. Cain injured his groin in Chicago over the weekend and was not in the starting lineup again Wednesday night.
Manager Ned Yost said Tuesday that Cain was available to pinch-hit, but Cain remained on the bench during the Royals’ 7-2 win over the Twins.
It’s also possible the Royals will put second baseman Chris Getz on the disabled list. Getz injured his knee last Thursday against Baltimore and has not started since.
If neither Getz nor Cain winds up on the disabled list, and the Royals don’t send down a reliever, it would mean that Getz, who has options, could be sent back to Omaha.
Shipping Getz to Omaha would mean the Royals believe that veteran Miguel Tejada can play the majority of the team’s remaining 59 games at second base. It would also mean the Royals are ready to use Mike Moustakas again in a full-time role at third base, where he had been platooning lately with Tejada.
If Cain isn’t put on the disabled list, Maxwell likely will assume a platoon role in right field with David Lough.
Maxwell is just a .203 career hitter against right-handers, but is .253 against left-handers. And in 2012 he did have a .387 on-base percentage against left-handers.
Smith, 20, was a fourth-round pick by the Royals in 2011. He was 5-4 this year with a 2.85 ERA at Class A Wilmington. He was ranked as the Royals’ 12th-best prospect by Baseball America before the 2013 season.
You can follow Jeffrey Flanagan on Twitter at @jflanagankc or email him at email@example.com.