David Lough was warned at the Winter Meetings that he might be traded. It came from his agent, who informed the outfielder that a few clubs were showing interest.
The Royals had acquired outfielder Norichika Aoki from the Brewers a few days earlier, making Lough expendable following his rookie season. On Wednesday, they dealt him to the Orioles for infielder Danny Valencia.
My introduction to Lough came yesterday afternoon via a phone call. He's an extremely pleasant, friendly guy who's eager to impress his new teammates and fans.
I'm going to use the time-tested (and yes, slightly lazy) Q&A format to pass along Lough's quotes. Later today, I'll provide any updates on Grant Balfour's status.
When did Lough find out about the trade and what was his initial reaction?
"I found out (Wednesday) around 4 o'clock. I think it comes as a shock for any player that's been in an organization since being drafted. I was with them for seven years and developed great relationships over there with the organization. But when a new opportunity arrives, it's time to take those opportunities and kind of seize them, and that's what I'm trying to do with my new club. I'm excited, ecstatic, to be with this team. I remember playing them last year. They made some great additions. I'm excited to play with them. I think they will be a very competitive team and we should expect everything, of making the playoffs and hopefully win the World Series."
Did he think a trade was possible?
"When the Winter Meetings started and they picked up Aoki, my agent got a hold of me and told me that some clubs were interested in me and to kind of sit back and just expect to go to spring training and do what I've always done. I try not to think about those things, try not to think about getting traded, but in the back of my mind, I was looking and seeing where I fit in with the organization. Once I got the phone call, then I knew that it was time to move on."
Is the timing strange for him, coming right after his rookie season?
"Yeah. I started to feel comfortable in the big leagues, being my rookie season. I thought that I brought a lot to the table with Kansas City and I felt that I helped that team win in many ways, but it's still a business, and at the end of the day you have to look and see what your best option is. And when I got traded over to Baltimore, I couldn't be more thrilled."
Does Lough consider himself a late bloomer as a 27-year-old rookie?
"I always felt that I put up numbers at Triple-A. Once you get to Triple-A, it's more of an opportunity just for your name to be called. I think everybody always works on some parts of their game and there's always areas of improvement, but I always thought I could play at this level, the major league level, and I waited for my shot. And I became almost the everyday starting right fielder for Kansas City. I can't say I was a late bloomer, but I just feel confident in my game and what I can do."
What does he offer to the team?
"I hustle, I work hard. I'm one of those gritty players where I will do whatever it takes to help our pitchers out, either going for a ball in the gap or throwing somebody out. I really take pride in every aspect of my game. I feel that I can still improve. I like to bring a lot of energy onto the field, as well as off the field in the clubhouse. I feel like I'm a great teammate. It's just one of those aspects of the game I feel like I have, and I will never lose that type of aspect, either. I'll always be a hard worker and give everything I've got when I step on the field."
What about his unusual splits, with a slightly higher average against left-handed pitching?
"I feel confident whether it's a lefty pitching or a righty pitching. It doesn't matter to me. Once you play this game for a very long time, you start to develop that comfort level, and I feel like I can hit either or. It doesn't really matter to me."
Does he know anyone on the team?
"Not really. I played against Chris Davis in the minor leagues a couple times. Other than that, not really."
Never been to Camden Yards, right?
"Right. Every player, I always asked when I first got called up what parks they liked to play in, and it seemed like Camden Yards was a player favorite. So I'm excited to be a part of that."