White Sox trade Melky Cabrera to Royals for two pitching prospects

The White Sox traded left fielder Melky Cabrera to the Royals on Sunday afternoon for right-handed pitcher A.J. Puckett and left-hander Andre Davis.

Cabrera, who had been in the starting lineup for Sunday afternoon’s game, said he was somewhat surprised he was traded to Kansas City, where spent the 2011 season.

“I wasn’t expecting this because I love the city, I love the team,” Cabrera said through a team interpreter Sunday afternoon. “But at the same time you are seeing what’s happening around the team with all the moves, just try to block all those things, but I knew it was a possibility.”

Puckett is the Royals’ 13th-ranked prospect, according to MLB.com. He’s 9-7 with a 3.90 ERA in 20 starts with the team’s Class A affiliate.

Davis is 5-4 with a 4.83 ERA and 87 strikeouts in 18 starts with Class A Lexington.

Cabrera, in the final year of a three-year deal with the White Sox, is batting .295 with 13 home runs, 17 doubles, 56 RBIs and is tied for the major-league lead in assists with nine.

He hit .287 with 39 home runs, 219 RBIs and 194 runs scored in 407 games with the Sox, who signed him as a free agent in December 2014.

The White Sox will pay half of the approximately $5 million left on the 32-year-old’s contract.

“He has been outstanding for this organization since he put on this uniform, not only for his peorfmance in the white lines but for what he did in the clubhouse,” White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said. “He’s a great ambassador for the game, very enthusiastic, passionate player and he’ll be missed.

“That said, as we’ve made no secret about, this is about preparing ourselves for the future.”

Hahn said talks with the Royals heated up during the last 48 hours. 

The GM also said the Sox might not be done dealing.

Cabrera was the sixth player traded by the White Sox in the last 11 days.

The trade deadline is 3 p.m. Monday.

pskrbina@chicagotribune.com

Twitter @ChiTribSkrbina

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