Kansas City Royals: Potential Trade Targets

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Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder Andre Ethier (16) Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

With the Kansas City Royals 1/2 game out of 1st place on June 17, the team looks poised to be buyers at the trade deadline. GM Dayton Moore told the Kansas City star that owner David Glass would allow him to add payroll for a playoff push. Not so long ago, I wouldn’t have believed it.

After getting swept in late May by the Houston Astros, I began working on a piece in which I would detail the demolition of the Royals roster, and the fire-sale that should ensue.  I was going to give some opinions on who I thought should be dealt, and where they should go.  I guess I’ll just keep that one in the hopper, as the Royals have miraculously won eight straight games, and find themselves 1/2 game out of first place in the AL Central.

Now that the Royals appear to be in the hunt for not just a wild card, but also a division title, I guess I’ll do a 180 and provide some opinions on players I think the Royals should potentially target via trade between now and the July 31st trading deadline.

Let’s set some parameters though, and examine where the Royals could realistically look to improve.  The only two spots that make sense to me are third base and right field, which are currently being held down by an improving Mike Moustakas and Nori Aoki respectfully.

As much as I want to be a believer in Moustakas, I’m just not.  The offseason trade for Aoki was something I really liked, and thought would work out well, but so far has been nothing short of disappointing.  Back in the ’80′s, Royals/Cardinals/Phillies outfielder, Lonnie Smith, had a nickname of “skates” due to his defensive woes. Aoki reminds me of him.

I don’t think it is realistic to expect the Royals to go get an elite player via trade, so if you’re hoping to see a list of superstars on my list, you’re going to be very disappointed.  I’m trying to narrow my scope to what I consider to be somewhat realistic targets, and guys who would provide notable improvement to the Royals offensive output, all while not really costing a fortune in terms of money and/or prospects.

(Note: I will include a pipe-dream trade target, just for the heck of it.)

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Tags: Alex Rios Andre Either Ben Zobrist Featured John Jay Jose Tabata Kansas City Royals Marlon Byrd Martin Prado Matt Kemp MLB Trade Deadline Popular Trade Rumors

  • Tyler_KC_Fan

    These are all well and good….but who are they trading away? Our minors is shot, we don’t have a substantial amount of money to throw into the trade (even if Glass says we can spend more), and we soild have to give away more than we would in return. Any player who is considered a “rental” should be marked off. We are feeling the back lash of a rental now with Shields almost gone and Odorizzi and Myers playing well.

    I don’t think the Royals should make a move, as of right now. We might have a chance of making the playoffs but we have to keep in mind the return. Is 1 year of playoffs worth giving up players for rentals? If we make any move, it needs to be for a backup OF and utility infielder. No starters should be traded. I’m 100% aware that this streak won’t continue. The Royals will most likely go on a losing streak and the Wild Card is more realsitic than Division Champions. But giving away our starters we have for a couple more years for a rental till the end of the year is a terrible idea.

    I wanted to trade Billy because he was playing well below his pay, but he’s slowing catching fire now. Still not playing like a $8.5M player, but hers been hot and is staying hot. The only reason we trade Shields is if we are mathematical out by the ASB. Holland will stay till the end of the year because he’s one if the best closers in the league and Davis will stay because he’s the best 8th inning pitcher in the league. Moose isn’t going anywhere because he’s finally playing like we all hoped. Through the last 9 games he’s been batting .313 which is exactly what we wanted. If he continues, we might have our 3B we all wanted. Esky, Hos, Cain, Gordon, and Infante are going no where. Gold Glove defense and hot bats is what we need and that’s what those guys are. Salvy….well let’s get real, he will never leave KC. RF is the biggest question mark, and that’s just because Aoki isn’t the defender we hoped for. But he is a solid lead off hitter, but Dyson is showing that too. And you are joking if you think we will trade pitching, whether it be starters or relievers.

    So all in all, we don’t have the bodies to trade that won’t help the team more than hurt. Keep the team as is, unless something goes terribly wrong. Use the money on someone we have……like Shields.

  • Joel Wagler

    I like Zobrist out of this bunch, though Kemp, if LA paid most of his salary, would be great.

  • Larry Devore

    Odorizzi has a 2-7 record and Myers is on the dl

  • Paul

    Tyler, not sure what happened, but I had a fairly lengthy response to your post. I’ll try again.
    1. Royals minor leagues aren’t shot. They just don’t have guys on the cusp at the AAA level. Good amount of talent at the A-AA levels.
    2. Not sure what metric you’re using, but Odorizzi and Myers are hardly having a good season. Myers currently on DL as well.
    3. Not making a move RIGHT NOW is fine. Let’s see if Moose continues trending up for the next few weeks, and also see if Aoki can be more Milwaukee and less Kansas City. If not, then a move MUST be made.
    4. Is 1 year of playoffs worth trading prospects for rentals? Well, if you’re in the playoffs, you’ve got a legit chance at the World Series, right? If you make the World Series, you have a legit chance of winning it all, right? Not just yes, but HELL YES, I’d trade for some rentals if it meant the World Series trophy coming back to KC. These opportunities, as Royals fans well know, don’t come around often. You’d better be ready/willing to do whatever it takes to seize the moment.
    5. Sorry, I’m just not convinced Tiger are THAT much better than KC. They have more bats, for sure, but they’re very unstable at 3b/ss/OF/bullpen, as well as featuring a very mortal Justin Verlander. So, w/ that in mind, I’m not counting the Royals out of the divisional race.
    6. There’s nowhere for Butler to go unless he’s hitting well, and if he’s hitting well, there’s no reason for the Royals to trade him.
    7. If you’ll consult my list again, very few, if any, are rental players. Chavez is the only one that I don’t believe has an option or contract in place for next year–and that’s a good thing.
    8. For many of those players, they wouldn’t cost a bundle of top notch prospects. I have to think that a lot of their respective teams would be happy to just get out from under the contracts.
    9. I’d like to see Royals divert money toward keeping Shields, but tha’s not happening (which is why, I believe, they’re pursuing Jeff Samardzija). The Royals will have to compete w/ everyone else in the offseason for Shields services, and they’re not winning that bidding war.
    10. Sincerely, thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. Go Royals!

    • jimfetterolf

      #3 seems to have been fixed with the Dyson/Aoki platoon and Moose trending up. Valencia will be back if the platoon is needed, so we don’t really have glaring holes at the moment worth wasting prospects on.

    • Tyler_KC_Fan

      I’ve missed the debate on this site! FINALLY!

      My biggest point is, who are you going to give to get those players? We don’t have prospect that are far enough along to trade only them for these players, and we don’t have any depth.

      Zobrist is done after 2015 with 2015 being a team option at $7.5M. He doesn’t have wowing numbers by any means but they are better than Moose and Zobrist is a solid defensive 3B option. But would TB really trade away Zobrist? Forsythe isn’t a solid replacement for them and Rodriguez is also a downgrade. The only options I can see that the Royals can trade, prospect wise which is the only way to get TB to trade, is Colon and Gio. Colon has zero MLB experience and if he was a solid 2B he would have been called up before we signed Infante. Gio has had a lot of chances, yet hasn’t been able to prove himself. I think Zobrist would be a solid choice, but we have nothing for TB prospect wise, which is their big desire.

      Marlon Byrd would be getting $8M in 2015 and 2016. Lets keep in mind he will be 37 in 2015 and 38 in 2016. He has had quality BA in past years, but with his BA you would expect more RBIs. I don’t think Bryd would be a horrible option, but with his age the idea is a little less appealing. Philly might be a team that is willing the deal for anything, so what would you suggest we trade to Philly? I do understand that Aoki is under proforming, but why not give Dyson a shot? He has been doing pretty well when given the chance to play. He may not have the power that Bryd does, but who would we trade to get Byrd?

      Matt Kemp…all I’m going to say about him before moving on is he will get $21M-plus for the next 5 years. WAY out of the Royals payroll. So that one I do agree with you on this one being a pipe dream, but I’m not going to go to much into it because it will be a huge pipe dream.

      Andre Ethier is the same. He will be making over $17M for the next 4 years…which once again is way to high for the Royals. It doesn’t matter how much more Glass says he will let the team spend, we are spending the most right now with players who aren’t even at the max in their contracts. Money isn’t a freedom the Royals have, sadly.

      Alex Rios is a drama queen. Plain and simple. I don’t care what his stats are or what he may be able to bring to the team, their is a reason why the White Sox dumped him. He has a terrible attitude and if the team isn’t winning he is complaining, not hussling, not trying. He has a team option for 2015 for $13.5M. His attitude is one that will hurt the way this team functions and 18 HRs, 81 RBIs and a sub .270 BA isn’t worth it. Same reason the Yankees are trying to dump A-Rod, he’s drama. Not worth it.

      Jon Jay is a free-agent after 2017 and not worth a lot. So he is solid on the cost side of the game. He’s got solid stats, but not a HR hitter. He is similar to Dyson in some ways. Dyson is also cheaper. So is Jay worth the trade when we have someone similar to him already? Who are we going to give to STL for Jay, too?

      Jose Tabata is again, another Dyson. He doesn’t hit for power, he’s an outfielder with speed, but no power. So once again, is it worth the trade? What are we giving PIT?

      Eric Chavez is done after this year. His stats are a little better than Moose, but he almost seems to have less power. Only hitting over 10 HRs once in the last 7 years, doesn’t seem to be able to play a full season because he’s only played 100 games once in those 7 years. Chavez is also 36 years old. So he’s older, injury prone, and may be a little better than Moose if he actually plays. Is that really worth giving up prospects or starters?

      Martin Prado may be the best option. He’s the youngest of the listed, he has solid numbers and he isn’t to terribly expensive. He is worth $11M, while Moose has yet to break $1M. He is better offensively and could continue to be consistent while keeping him till 2017.

      ______

      I want the Royals to pursue Samardzija. I wanted them to try and trade for him this summer. I feel like he’s an underrated stud, just on a terrible team. I think they are going to trade Shields if he doesn’t extend before the All-Star Break and Samardzija would be a huge assest to the pitching rotation and we would have him till 2016. I would like to see it and the Royals sending scouts to watch him is promising, I just don’t know if it will actually happen.

      ______

      I’m really hoping you have something to say back because I love debating, especially when it comes to Royals. Makes me think more, dig deeper into players, and work on my debating skills!

      • Paul

        Tyler,
        Like I’ve said already, the Royals don’t have many attractive prospects at the AAA level, however, that doesn’t mean they don’t have coveted prospects. There are quite a few at tha A-AA levels.
        Putting that aside, what teams like just as much as prospects is salary relief, which is what dealing for most of these guys entails.
        Would TB really trade Zobrist? Yes. This is their m.o. When guys start getting a little long in the tooth, and expensive, they get dealt. And yes, the Royals have the prospects to get a deal done in this rhealm, if they wish. Of all the guys I listed, save Kemp, Zobrist would likely cost the most in terms of prospects.
        I understand your point on guys like Tabata and Jay. While I’m a fan of Dyson, I’m not willing to hedge our playoff chances on the CHANCE he COULD turn out to be a good regular duty player. I think we all like Dyson so much b/c he’s good at what he does, and fills that role of a 4th OF’er beautifully. I fear he’s the kind of guy that wouldn’t be nearly as effective if given regular duty. I could be wrong, but that’s why I wouldn’t mind seeing some proven players like Jay/Tabata. Either way, I’m not convinced that rolling w/ Dyson, or dealing for Jay/Tabata is enough. The Royals would need to do more…(i.e. Samardzija or Zobrist or Rios)
        Philly would absolutely love to just dump Byrd’s salary (or a large portion of it). They’re an aging and under-performing team, so it wouldn’t take much to net Byrd if/when they decide to sell him.
        As for Kemp, yes, he’s owed a TON of $. Yes, this is a pipe-dream. BUT just this offseason the Royals were prepared to pay Carlos Beltran more than $15 million/year. So, the difference between Beltran and Kemp’s salaries is roughly $6 million. What if the Dodgers are willing to pick up the tab for at least $5 million/year, if Royals pick up the rest? Really wouldn’t be much different than what they were willing to do for Beltran, and they’d be getting a younger, more complete player. So, I actually think the money thing could be figured out. The main problem is that if Kemp is performing, why would Dodgers deal him? They likely wouldn’t. The Dodgers would have to absolutely tank before considering a trade of Kemp, and I dont’ see that happening.
        I don’t really care if Rios has a crappy attitude about losing. I want my guys to hate losing. The idea is that the Royals would trade for Rios to CONTINUE winning. It’s not like we’d be trading for him, hoping he could reverse our fortunes from losing to winning. He’s simply be an additional ingredient to an already good recipe, so to speak. And, if that fails, and he truly is a diva, the Royals wouldn’t have to pick up next year’s salary option.
        Good talk,
        Paul

        • Tyler_KC_Fan

          Like I said, I don’t think it matters what Rios does. He’s a cancer in the club house and he’s a ticking time bomb. Trading for someone like that is a horrible idea, in my opinion.

          Trading for Zobrist and Samardijza may be our best bet, but I don’t know how many times I can ask this, but who are you trading? It’s easy to say, “trade for _____ and the team will be better.” But not having an idea of who has enough value for a player is the biggest thing left out in all these talks. Yes, our Triple-A does not have the prospect talent as in previous years. But going down to Double-A and even Single-A ball, we really don’t have those types of players. Are you really wanting to trade away our recently drafted players? From what I can see, Sugar Ray, Dozier, Dwyer, Zimmer, Colon, and Gio are our only players worth anything. Trading away Zimmer is trading away a future starter for the team. Sugar Ray, maybe an option. Dwyer is not worth much. Colon has not been given a chance and might amount to something, but he is a big unknown. Gio has been given plenty of options and has yet to capitalize on any of them. You can say, trade Double-A talent, but who exactly do we have that has the leverage or trade value we are looking for?

          Tampa and Cubs want prospects. The Cubs have been quoted saying they will trade Samardjiza if they get a crop of “almost ready” prospects, along with already starters. Tampa is notorious for trading for future prospects as well. So the two teams that give us the best options for players primarly want prospects. Which, unless you know something about the minor league system the Royals have that no one else does, we lack that leverage with our minors.

          The Royals will in now way, shape or form make a trade with LAD to get Kemp or Ethier. Yes, they were about to give Beltran a huge contract, but that doesn’t mean we will do that again. I’m not saying we won’t, but I highly doubt they will. But do you really think LAD will eat $5M-$7M for the next 4 years? Spend anywheres from $20M-$28M on a player they don’t have anymore? Because I highly doubt it. And once again, who are we giving LAD that will make them better than they already are? Besides the generic “someone from our minors” or “they need to drop cash so they won’t be picky”. Giving away a power bat like Kemp and Ethier isn’t going to come cheap or easy.

          I’m all for making moves to improve the team. I don’t see much on our team that we can trade away to get more valuable parts though. Whether you believe it or not, our minors aren’t full like it used to be, Shields and Butler are the biggest trade pieces the team has, and we aren’t going to spend outragous amounts of money on a player. I would love for a move, but I don’t see it actually happening.

          • Paul

            Well, Tyler, it isn’t that difficult to look up each team’s top 25 (or more) prospects. Also not hard to cross reference those guys w/ where places like Baseball America or Baseball Prospectus has them ranked. The Royals do have talent, but I refuse to go to the trouble for you and name every good prospect the Royals have.
            Heck, even the national media guys say we have enough to get a deal done. We’ll just have to agree to disagree that the parts are there to get a deal done.

            As for Kemp, I’m not sure why you’re hung up on that. I’ve said it was a pipe-dream. Enough said.

            Beyond laughable that you think Butler is one of our most valuable trading chips. I got news for you, Butler is probably one of our least coveted players in trade. Guarantee Royals get more calls on, or know teams have more interest in guys like: Sal Perez, Alcides Escobar, Eric Hosmer, Greg Holland, Wade Davis, Lorenzo Cain, Omar Infante, Danny Duffy, Yordano Ventura, James Shields (who you mentioned already), Alex Gordon, Jason Vargas, etc….Need I go on?

            Even when Butler is hitting well, he has a very limited market. AL only and DH only. Really dwindles the trading pool.

            Have a good day,
            Paul

          • Tyler_KC_Fan

            So the top prospects in the Royals system are…

            #21. Kyle Zimmer who is injury prone right now and the best pitcher the Royals have. Unless they are 100% sure they don’t need any other pitcher besides Chen and they will get Samardjiza, why would they trade him away.

            #30. Raul Mondesi – “He is an above-average runner and while he doesn’t hit for much power now, scouts expect that to change as he matures. Defensively, Mondesi has a strong arm and good infield actions. He is a good bet to stay at shortstop and has the potential to be an above-average defender.” From what I’ve read and heard on the radio, Mondesi is a young star in the minors for the Royals. The future for the Royals at SS once Esky loses a step. So trading him away might make sense since Esky isn’t falling off yet, but once again, trading your best option at a position isn’t smart. Maybe they can find a way to get him to playing 3B and see what happens, I don’t know.

            #77. Jorge Bonifacio – “Bonifacio has good bat speed and drives the ball well to all fields. He is still learning how to unlock his raw power in games. He has average speed now, might lose a step as he fills out. He is a solid outfielder and has a strong arm.” So once again, our best OF prospect should be someone we trade? Whether you believe it or not, Wil Myers would have been a vital part to the team. The OF problem wouldn’t exist, we would have had a ROY RF (the position we need help the most in) and if you remember Myers struggles last year to start but then caught fire. Fully expect that to happen again.

            #100. Sean Manaea who was the 34th overall pick in last years draft. A LHP that has a great fastball, breaking ball that makes his fastball even better. Quality LHP are very difficult to come by, so selling our best option is probably not the best idea.

            Then we have Miguel Almonte, Hunter Dozier, Bubba Starling, Jason Adam, Orlando Calixte, Elier Hernandez, etc.

            Zimmer is hurt right now, not very appealing. Bonifacio is Double-A. Manaea is in Wilmington and just got out of surgury. Dozier just got promoted to Double-A. Starling is still in Wilmington and struggling, not exactly a big prospect. Adam is in Double-A and struggling hardcore. Calixte, someone I have never heard of, is in Double-A and doesn’t have impressive stats at all. Hernandez, again, never heard of him, is young and doing alright but still in Lexington. So, besides the injury proned, under proforming players, and 3 Top-100 prospects we have, what makes that look sellable?

            I’ve been looking around and can’t find anywhere that our propsects that are involved in trades or thought to be great trade bait. So either I’m not looking in the right spots or it’s not out on the internet.

            The Matt Kemp comment, you made the comment about the Dodgers eating some of the money in a trade with them. Simply stating my opinion.

            Also, my comment about Billy being trade bait is simply because the Royals wont trade Hosmer, Gordon, Cain, Escobar, Perez, Davis, Infante, Ventura, Vargas, Duffy, should I go on? Holland, Shields, and Butler are the only 3 players that make sense to trade that wont make the team take 3 steps back. Butler does have a small market, but that hasn’t stopped teams calling being interested before the year starts. Shields to TOR seems more likely, but only if Samardjiza is being traded to the Royals. Zorbrist would be ideal out of any trade options to improve 3B, but at what cost to the team?

            I understand that playoffs are never guaranteed and if you have a chance to make the playoffs you take the shot. I just done see the pieces to the puzzle as high the quality trade bait as you have them.

  • unclejesse40

    I would like to see us go with Gordon LF, Dyson CF and Cain RF. That’s a very good defensive outfield and heck they are all hitting the ball pretty well. I would like to see what Dyson can do playing more often. Unless there is an injury I just don’t see any of these happening.