The Kansas City Royals are going to a trade deadline seller, but they are well-positioned to get good assets back in deals.
Entering Saturday’s action, the Kansas City Royals are in last place in the AL Central, 19.5 games as the calendar flips to June. So it’s a foregone conclusion they’ll be a seller between now and the July 31 trade deadline, and according to Mark Feinsand of MLB.com the Royals are shifting into sell-mode already.
Feinsand added that the Royals have let it be known virtually anyone on the roster is available, with Aldaberto Mondesi and Hunter Dozier at the top of the list of untouchables. According to Feinsand’s source, Whit Merrifield is the most intriguing trade candidate on the Kansas City roster.
Merrifield is having another solid season this year (.298, 28 RBI and eight stolen bases entering Saturday). He’s also versatile, seeing significant time at second base and in the outfield again already this year, with a team-friendly contract that has him making $1 million this year, $5 million in 2020, $6.75 million in 2021 and $2.75 million in 2022 (with a $10.5 million club option for 2023).
Outfielders Jorge Soler (14 home runs, .786 OPS going into Saturday) and Alex Gordon (.283, .873 OPS, 34 runs scored, nine home runs, 38 RBI entering Saturday) are also viable trade pieces for Kansas City. Gordon, as a 10-and-5 player, can veto any trade if he wishes.
On the pitching front, starter Danny Duffy (4.05 ERA in seven starts-40 innings-this season) and starter-turned-reliever Ian Kennedy (28:4 K/BB ratio and three saves over 23.2 innings entering Saturday) should get the most interest from contending teams.
If first baseman/DH Lucas Duda is able to return from a back issue soon, he may appeal to some teams as a lefty bench bat with power potential. Little-used outfielder Terrance Gore (six steals in 30 at-bats) could become a possible trade asset too. Reliever Wily Peralta is also trending the right way after a rough start to the season (3.46 ERA over 12 appearances in May), so as pitching becomes a priority for contenders there should be some interest there too.
The Royals may be trying to get a jump on the seller’s market by declaring themselves so early. But puts them in position them to get a better return in deals, since acquiring teams could have players for a bit longer this year.