The MLB trade deadline is in about 5 hours at the time of writing this. At 3 pm today, no more trades will be allowed to be made in baseball. The Royals still have a few pieces that other teams will certainly be inquiring on and the Royals need to be open to listening if they want to give themselves the best shot possible at competing for a playoff spot in 2022.
I want to make sure I’m clear before we start talking about trades. No Major League Baseball team, in any situation, ever, ought to trade a player just for the sake of making a trade. I am 100% of the belief that teams shouldn’t trade players for less than they think they’re worth, and Dayton Moore has certainly showed us that he believes that as well. So when you see a category below that says “Must Go”, please understand that that exists with the aforementioned caveat.
The Kansas City Royals are currently 13-21. A 3-10 start essentially guaranteed that this team wouldn’t be in contention at the trade deadline this year. While the team has been better since starting 3-10, getting guys like Brad Keller, Jake Junis, Ryan O’Hearn, and Hunter Dozier back, they’re still just 10-11 over their last 21. The Royals currently possess the 5th worst record in baseball and need to be addressing some holes in the lineup to ensure that the losing stops sometime in 2021.
I have all the faith in the world in guys like Adalberto Mondesi and Nicky Lopez. I don’t think these current struggles last forever and I still think both can be borderline every day players on a playoff team. However, at their current rate, the Royals can’t just bank on that. They need to have a contingency plan in place in case one or both just never figure it out. It would be great if both Mondi and Lopez were guaranteed commodities, but they’re not. The Royals lineup currently has a few gaping holes that, without some reinforcements, don’t really have immediate answers in a worst case scenario.
With all of that said, let’s look at some guys that could and should be on the move today for KC, and what I’d look to get in a return if I was GMDM. Keep in mind, I don’t follow other teams organizations like I do Kansas City’s, so I don’t know exactly how willing every single team is going to be to make any kind of a deal. This is strictly what I might do if I was the Royals GM. Okay, here we go.
- Greg Holland
- Greg Holland can’t be on the roster tomorrow. There are going to be teams interested and there are going to be teams in need. When looking around baseball, every team in contention could use a guy like Holland in their ‘pen, but the Phillies, Cubs, and Astros have specifically large needs. I’d really like to see if Oakland would move a guy like Sheldon Neuse, a second baseman that has raked at AA and AAA over the last couple years, but I don’t know how much they’ll be in the market for a reliever. I’d probably ask the Cubs for a guy like Christopher Morel and see how far that got me. Their #11 prospect, a 21-year old 3B that has some good power potential and a great arm at third. But if I were GMDM, I’d try to put Holland in package with another arm…
Needs to be on the block, doesn’t have to go
- Jorge Soler
- Soler has one more year on his deal before becoming a free agent. Every single competitive team in baseball could use a guy like Soler in the lineup. The trick is finding a team that can either hide him in RF or has a spot open at DH. The Chicago White Sox come to mind as a team that would be a ton of fun to watch with Soler in the lineup. They currently have 5th worst wRC+ in baseball from the RF position, and the 4th worst from the DH. I don’t think you could get Andrew Vaughn away from Chicago, especially considering that Jose Abreu is only under contract through 2022, but it can’t hurt to ask. The Cubs are another team that could use an additional bat in the lineup, producing the 6th worst production from their DH. I don’t think it’s likely that Soler is moved, but I definitely wouldn’t rule it out either.
- Josh Staumont
- I’m not even going to bother trying to explain this with some of you, “We can never trade Josh Staumont!” folks. I think it would be fascinating as hell to see what you could pry away from the Cubs for a Staumont/Soler combo. We’ve seen what this Royals team is with Staumont and Soler. Still not very good. Neither is good enough to move the needle by themselves. But if you could get 3-4 big time pieces in return, you might legitimately be able to compete for a playoff spot in 2022. (Which, by the way, is when Soler is a free agent again. If you wanted to sign him, you could just do it then.)
- Scott Barlow
- See above.
- Jesse Hahn
- Jesse Hahn has been absolutely filthy in a short stint with KC this year. He’s the rare exception to the “trade your relievers” rule, as I think it’s actually possible for his value to go up if he can prove that he can stay healthy. Otherwise, see: Staumont.
You could at least answer the phone?
- Whit Merrifield
- Not happening. Though, I did hear that for the first time maybe ever, a team didn’t laugh and hang up the phone when told what his asking price would be. Again, not happening…probably.
- Danny Duffy
- I really don’t think the Royals will ever actually trade Danny Duffy. I am hoping to jinx myself. I will be more than thrilled to appear on Freezing Cold Takes later if it meant the Royals were able to get something for Duffy.
I think there are some folks that maybe don’t understand how far away the Royals are from ACTUALLY competing for the playoffs. They have the 5th worst record in baseball coming off consecutive 100+ loss seasons, the offense has been one of the worst in baseball, and most of their best prospects are pitchers. That’s not to say they CAN’T build a contender with their current pieces, it just might take a while. They could seriously expedite this process by trading one of Staumont/Barlow + Greg Holland today. Not to mention if they get a crazy offer for Soler. We’d all love to watch these guys stay in Kansas City to be a part of the next championship team in Kansas City, but the big caveat to that statement requires them to be competing for a championship. We know the current roster isn’t getting it done. So, what adjustments can they make to get back to contention? If they choose not to make any, and Josh Staumont goes all Ian Kennedy or Kelvin Herrera on us, they could potentially set this rebuild back two years.
Photo Credits – Ed Zurga / Getty Images