KANSAS CITY, Mo. — One of the last remaining pieces of the 2015 World Series champion Kansas City Royals is reuniting with a former teammate in Milwaukee for another pennant chase.
The Royals announced late Friday night that third baseman Mike Moustakas was been traded to the Brewers for two prospects.
Moustakas, 29, who resigned with the Royals on a one-year deal after a tepid offseason free-agent market, joins another staple of the club’s back-to-back pennant-winning teams — Lorenzo Cain, who signed with Milwaukee last winter.
In return, Kansas City landed outfielder Brett Phillips and right-handed pitcher Jorge Lopez.
Phillips, 24, is batting .240 with 12 doubles, seven triples and six home runs in 71 games this season for Colorado Springs, the Brewers’ Class AAA affiliate.
During 52 career big-league games with Milwaukee this season, Phillips has batted .257 with three doubles, a triple and four home runs — including going 4 for 22 with a triple in three major-league stints this season.
He’s a former sixth-round pick of the Astros in 2012 from Seminole High School in Florida and was traded in a package for Carlos Gomez at the 2015 trade deadline.
Lopez, a reliever, also has shuffled between Colorado Springs and Milwaukee this season. He’s 3-3 with a 5.65 ERA in 24 relief appearances at Class AAA, notching five saves in seven chances.
But with the Brewers, he’s been considerably better, posting a 2.75 ERA in 10 appearances.
Lopez, a former second-round pick by Milwaukee in 2011 from Caguas Military Academy in Puerto Rico, has struck out 15 in 19 2/3 big-league innings this season.
He features a fastball that has touched 97 mph with a curveball and change-up.
Phillips will take Moustakas’ place on the Royals’ 25-man roster, while Lopez has been assigned to the club’s Class AAA affiliate in Omaha.
Phillips entered 2018 as a top-10 prospect in the Brewers’ organization and Lopez was a top-20 prospect, so it's a decent return from the Royals' perspective for what amounts to a stretch-run rental for Milwaukee
Moustakas broke Kansas City’s single-season record with 38 home runs last season and was batting .249 with 20 home runs and a team-high 62 RBIs in 98 games this season.
While the Royals are sputtering, sitting 31-71 and on two games ahead of the Orioles for the worst record in baseball, the Brewers are 60-46 — 1 1/2 games behind the Cubs in the NL Central and atop the NL Wild Card standings by 2 1/2 games.
Moustakas, who was in New York with the Royals when the trade was completed, is expected to join Milwaukee in time for its game Saturday night in San Francisco, where he could face another former Royals postseason hero — Johnny Cueto, who is the Giants’ scheduled starter.
Moustakas slashed .251/.306/.430 with 184 doubles, 139 home runs and 441 RBIs in 934 career games across eight seasons in Kansas City, which selected him No. 2 overall in the 2007 draft.
Current Brewers third baseman Travis Shaw is expected to shift to second base, providing considerably more pop at that spot, to make room defensively for Moustakas.