The Royals have been active at the trade deadline thus far with more potential moves to come in the future. It remains to be seen whether Whit Merrifield, Michael A. Taylor, Hunter Dozier, Scott Barlow, or Josh Staumont remain in a Royals uniform after August 2nd. After the Andrew Benintendi trade today, JJ Picollo even stated a lot is going to depend on the market. “Over the next 24 to 48 hours, I think we’ll have definitely a more clear picture of who seriously wants to acquire some of the players remaining on this team,” Picollo said. “I don’t know where it’ll go. But again, if the players that are on this team are with us next year, it’s not a bad thing.”
The Royals have all of these guys returning unless they are traded. It seems like it will take them being blown out of the water to move a ton of these guys. I’d expect maybe one or two more pieces, like Whit Merrifield, to be moved before the deadline. With that said, let’s break down the moves the Royals have made so far.
Out the Door
Pick 1.35 in the 2022 MLB Draft (Atlanta Braves)
Andrew Benintendi, OF (New York Yankees)
Carlos Santana, 1B (Seattle Mariners)
In the Door
Drew Waters, OF (#8)
Andrew Hoffmann, RHP (#26)
CJ Alexander, 1B/3B
Beck Way, RHP (#12)
TJ Sikkema, LHP (#21)
Chandler Champlain, RHP (#30)
Wyatt Mills, RHP
Will Fleming, RHP
The first thing everyone should note is that the Royals have brought in five players who enter their top 30 for a pick, a 2 month rental player, and Carlos Santana. That’s a pretty good haul even if you aren’t overly excited about the players coming in.
The first trade for the Royals was sending Carlos Santana to the Seattle Mariners for two RHPs in Wyatt Mills and Will Fleming. The Mariners needed an extra bat and the 36-year-old Santana provided them some depth. For the Royals, their main goal was opening a spot for Vinnie Pasquantino. While Mills and Fleming didn’t crack the Royals top 30, they were both intriguing arms. Mills is more of a bullpen depth arm who has already made his debut in the majors. He is a side-armer with a mid-90s fastball and good frisbee slider to pair with it. He has decent strikeout stuff, but relies a lot on deception. His good spin creates a lot of swing and misses as well as ground ball outs. With some additional improvements to his command and control, he could be a decent arm out of the pen.
Fleming is more of a long term project. He’s got a very nice sinking fastball that has been up to 97-98 mph in the past with a go-to slider as his secondary. He needs to improve his curveball and changeup quite a bit to hit his ceiling. H
The second trade is where the Royals got the biggest prize of the deadline in Drew Waters. We all know about the swing and miss issues, but the tools are unbelievably good in Waters. Plus speed, plus arm, plus defense, plus power. He’s the type of guy you want to have Drew Saylor and company work their magic on to untap his full potential. For a team that was in desperate need for a centerfield prospect, Waters could be the guy. He is starting in Triple-A, but with the potential for more trades to come, he could be easily finding his way to the big leagues this year. He faced off against Jacob Degrom, who was rehabbing, and hit a three run oppo taco off DeGOAT!
On top of Waters, the Royals also got Andrew Hoffmann and CJ Alexander. Two very intriguing prospects. Hoffmann had been dominating hitters in the lower level and made his debut with the Royals in Double-A. We were able to talk to Hoffmann about his excitement of joining the Royals. He’s got a good three-pitch mix with pitches that are all average to above-average and has a funky/deceptive delivery that throws hitters off. Alexander has shown a good combo of power/speed for a corner infielder and has cut his swing and miss significantly this year. Another guy who could thrive under the direction of Drew Saylor and the Kansas City Royals player development.
Lastly, we have the return for Andrew Benintendi that came in just the other day. All three guys entered the Royals top 30 and you have to be happy with that return for a two-month rental type player. All three arms bring something to the table making them intriguing. TJ Sikkema has a lot of upside, but has been injured quite a bit over the last few years. With an above-average fastball and slider, he shows great command of the strikezone and has struck out 54 batters over 36.1 innings this year. Beck Way probably has the highest upside. An elite plus fastball paired with an above average wipe out slider. There is some bullpen risk there due to his lack of control, but he has the stuff that can play at the big league level. Champlain is the final piece who has three average to above-average pieces and is probably more of a floor than ceiling type arm. He throws a ton of strikes and has the makings to be a back-end type starter.
There are some exciting players that could have a real impact on the big league club in the next couple of years. There seemed to be a lot of chatter that the Royals were going to get a massive return for Andrew Benintendi and it seems many fans were upset by what they got back from the Yankees. I think they could’ve gotten a bigger return if they attached someone like Scott Barlow, but what you are going to get back for a two month rental with limited power isn’t going to be much. Fans should be extremely excited they got three top 30 arms in their system from the Yankees. Overall, I am satisfied with the returns the Royals have brought in for the three pieces above. It may not be the most exciting outside of Waters, but it is still impressive to see what JJ and company are doing this deadline. And there could be more to come shortly!