Royals acquire Karns from Mariners for Dyson

Moore says righty will battle for No. 5 spot in K.C. rotation

Royals acquire Karns from Mariners for Dyson

KANSAS CITY -- The Royals on Friday traded outfielder Jarrod Dyson to the Mariners for right-handed starter Nathan Karns.

Royals general manager Dayton Moore said Karns, 29, will compete for the club's No. 5 spot in the rotation. The Texas Tech product was a 12th-round pick of the Nationals in the 2009 Draft.

In 2016, Karns went 6-2 with a 5.15 ERA for the Mariners in 22 games, 15 of those starts. Scouts say he has a plus fastball and plus curve. He had 101 strikeouts in 94 1/3 innings last season.

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Moore said the Royals attempted to complete a deal for Karns at last month's Winter Meetings.

"As is often the case, when two teams have mutual interest in a deal," Moore said, "you tend to stay on it."

Karns started the '16 season in the Mariners' rotation, then was moved to the bullpen. He finished the season on the disabled list because of a back ailment.

"Our medical people, [trainer] Nick Kenney and Dr. [Vincent] Key were comfortable with his health reports," Moore said. "He has had no restrictions with his offseason training."

Karns, who is under club control through 2020, had his best year with Tampa Bay in 2015, when he went 7-5 with a 3.67 ERA in 26 starts.

"I don't want to speak for [Mariners general manager] Jerry [Dipoto]," Moore said, "but I think giving up a player with that much club control was a hurdle."

Dyson, 32, became expendable when the Royals acquired outfielder Jorge Soler from the Cubs for Wade Davis at the Winter Meetings. The trade will ease the club's payroll -- Karns is in pre-arbitration and he will make somewhere near $550,000 this season, while Dyson is expected to make near $2.5 million in arbitration.

Moore on trading Dyson

Dyson hit .278 last season with 30 stolen bases. Moore said it was difficult parting ways with Dyson, who was instrumental in the Royals' run of consecutive World Series appearances in 2014 and '15.

"He's been a great leader for us," Moore said. "He is valued very highly in the industry. His stolen-base ratio was always very high and he was a great defender. And last year, he showed he could get on base."

The Royals, though, have depth in the outfield. Behind starters Alex Gordon, Lorenzo Cain and Jorge Soler are Paulo Orlando, Billy Burns and Terrance Gore, as well as prospects Jorge Bonifacio and Hunter Dozier. Utility man Whit Merrifield also can play all three outfield positions.

Karns will compete with Chris Young, Mike Minor, Matt Strahm and others for the No. 5 spot.

"[Karns] has a power arm that is hard to come by," Moore said. "It's an arm that could translate to the bullpen as well."

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.