It’s no secret to anyone who follows the team that this season has been less than ideal. As of Memorial Day, the Royals sit 16 games below .500 and 17.5 games behind the Minnesota Twins. It’s days like these that make a rebuild tough to handle.
It’s also no secret to anyone who follows this team that Bubba Starling is nearing his big-league debut. Starling, who was picked fifth overall by Kansas City in the 2011 MLB Draft, has finally made his presence known in Triple-A Omaha.
During his time with the Storm Chasers, Starling has a slash line of .333/.444/.822 with three bombs and 18 RBIs. Starlings batting average is good enough for 12th in the Pacific Coast League.
Meanwhile, in Kansas City, Billy Hamilton is having a pedestrian season slashing .227/.309/.288 with only 10 stolen bases. Hamilton’s success on the basepaths has seemed to dwindle.
With the dog days of summer approaching and the trade deadline drawing nearer, it’s almost time to take a look at Bubba with the big league club.
In 2017, Billy Hamilton stole a career-high 59 bases on 72 attempts. The following year, the speedster only stole 34 bases on 44 attempts. So far this season, Hamilton has been outpaced by Adalberto Mondesi so far, but it’s hard to steal bases when you don’t get on base.
Because Hamilton is having a bad year at the plate, his trade value might not be as high as expected when he was signed. If the 28-year-old continues his pace, I would expect no more than a middle of the road prospect or cash in return for his services. Along with the prospect or cash in the trade, the Royals will get something bigger in playing time for Starling.
The trade would open up a roster spot in the outfield. Whether it is CF or RF, Starling will get the opportunity to log some valuable innings for the rebuild. Even if Jorge Soler gets playing time in RF, you can put Starling at DH so he still sees big-league pitching.
I’m sure that a World Series contender will take a long, hard look at Hamilton this offseason. Every team could use speed off the bench. I could see him adapting a Dyson-type role where he comes in and steals a bag when it matters.
They are going to trade Hamilton; they have to. If they want the rebuild to move forward Hamilton needs to go. If they don’t trade Billy then Dayton Moore and company will have to take a long, hard look in the mirror and either trade Bubba Starling, or call him up to start platooning, ASAP. If GMDM cares about the rebuild, we should see Starling in Royal blue very quickly after the 2019 trade deadline.
Photo Credits: Kent Sievers, Omaha World-Herald