KANSAS CITY, Mo.—The Kansas City Royals announced today that they have acquired outfielder Nelson Velázquez from the Chicago Cubs for right-handed pitcher Jose Cuas. Velázquez, who is on the 40-man roster, was optioned to Triple-A Omaha.
Velázquez, 24, has appeared in 13 games for the Cubs this season, slashing .241/.313/.621 (7-for-29, .933 OPS) with 5 of his 7 hits going for extra bases (3 home runs). In 90 career games with the Cubs since last season, he has collected 21 extra-base hits and 32 RBI in 238 plate appearances, while appearing defensively at all three outfield positions, including 225.0 innings in center field, 195.0 in right field and 78.1 in left field. In 74 games with Triple-A Iowa this season, he has batted .253 (74-for-292) with 15 doubles, 16 home runs, 7 stolen bases and an .803 OPS.
Over parts of six minor league seasons, he has posted a .256/.326/.462 (421-for-1647, .789 OPS) slashline with 76 home runs, 245 RBI and 245 runs scored. He was the MVP of the 2021 Arizona Fall League after guiding the Mesa Solar Sox to the AFL title with a .385/.480/.712 (40-for-104) slashline that featured 7 doubles, 9 home runs, 24 runs and RBI and 17 walks in 26 games.
A right-handed hitter and thrower, he was originally selected by the Chicago Cubs in the 5th round of the 2017 Draft out of the PJ Education School in Carolina, Puerto Rico, and was signed by Cubs scout Edwards Guzman.
Cuas, 29, signed as a minor league free agent with Kansas City in June 2021 and made his Major League debut with the Royals on May 31, 2022 in Cleveland. Jose was named the Tony Conigliaro Award winner by the Boston Red Sox in 2022, an award that is given to a “Major Leaguer who has overcome adversity through the attributes of spirit, determination, and courage that were trademarks of Tony C.”
He has appeared in 45 games for the Royals this season, posting a 4.54 ERA (21 ER in 41.2 IP) with 52 strikeouts (27.1 K%) and 36 inherited runners, which ranks tied for 5th in the Majors.