Jul. 29, 2016
Kansas City Royals: Time to Sell
The 2016 season has not been as friendly to the Kansas City Royals as 2015. So far this season the Royals are struggling to keep their head above water, currently sitting in third place in the AL Central with a 47-49 (.505) record. The Royals currently trail the Cleveland Indians by 8.0 games within the division and are 5.0 games in back of the AL Wild Card lead. Kansas City does not look like a team that is capable of winning the World Series in 2016, part of which may be due to the season ending injury to Mike Moustakas.
The Royals are, at best, a mediocre team this season. It may be time for the Royals to look at the possibility of selling at this year’s trade deadline and look to receive some prospects in return for their soon to be free agents. Currently the Royals are a little short on the prospect side of the game; this stems from the two trades to acquire Johnny Cueto and Ben Zobrist before the deadline last season. The Royals gave up five pitching prospects to close the two trades that catapulted them to a World Series victory in 2015.
The Johnny Cueto trade cost the Royals three pitching prospects in Brandon Finnegan, John Lamb and Cody Reed, while the Zobrist trade cost the team two more in Sean Manaea and Arron Brooks. Despite these trades being for the best in 2015, in hindsight the Royals could have called upon any of these prospects to help them this season – it is important to note that four of the five traded away are currently pitching for their new teams at the major league level.
At this point in time it makes sense for the Royals to trade away players who will be free agents at season’s end. These players include RP Luke Hochevar, DH Kendrys Morales and SP Edinson Volquez. Kansas City will have a number of suitors if these players are made available before the trade deadline on July 31st. There are a number of teams looking to add to their ranks.
Teams looking for starters: Detroit Tigers, Texas Rangers, San Francisco Giants, Miami Marlins, Los Angeles Dodgers, St. Louis Cardinals, Boston Red Sox, Seattle Mariners, Baltimore Orioles.
Teams looking for relievers: Chicago Cubs, San Francisco Giants, Tampa Bay Rays, Detroit Tigers, Arizona Diamondbacks.
Teams looking for left-handed bats: Chicago White Sox, Cleveland Indians, Detroit Tigers, Houston Astros.
While there are currently no substantiated rumors linking the Royals to selling, it is the right decision for the ballclub’s future well being. The next 7-10 ballgames will likely play a crucial role in determining what the Royals front office decides to do. It is clear that the Royals are not the same team as it was over the last three season. The contrast is starkest when one looks at the 2015 team, which was able to battle back from deficit after deficit to win a World Series title. It seems that now is the time for the Royals to sell. While this would all but guarantee that they miss the playoffs, trading for prospects would better the team for the foreseeable future.
I feel as though the Royals are a team that still has a "championship window" even if they were to decide to sell at the 2016 deadline. The team currently has a core of young players signed beyond 2016 that includes Alex Gordon (signed through 2019), Mike Moustakas (2017), Salvador Perez (2021), and Yordano Venture (2019). Eric Hosmer is another player I believe to be a crucial piece of the Royals' roster, and although he is only signed through this season, I believe the Royals' front office will pursue extending the star first baseman's contract. If the Royals can get a decent return on the above listed players entering free agency, combined with a core of young talent, they should be able to remain a threat in the American League for years to come.