Royals Rumors: Alcides Escobar Could be Shopped

Kansas City Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar (2) - Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA Today Sports
Kansas City Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar (2) - Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA Today Sports /

The Kansas City Royals rumors are starting to heat up. One suggests the Royals might listen to any offers for Alcides Escobar.

As the Kansas City Royals have slipped out of contention for the AL Central, they’ve gone from potential buyers to possible sellers this trading season. A new rumor has emerged that maybe the Royals are ready to move on from Alcides Escobar.

Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball mentioned briefly in his Thursday column that the Royals might be willing to let Escobar go. He didn’t go into detail if he meant they would listen to offers now, or not pick up his option for 2017.

Top prospect Raul Mondesi was promoted on Tuesday to play second base and picked up his first hit and Run Batted In on Wednesday.

Escobar has struggled offensively this season, and he has a history of not getting on base at an acceptable rate. He sports one of the worst On-Base Percentages in all of baseball in 2016. His .286 OBP ranks him 153rd out of 159 qualified batters. Last year, he ranked 129th (.293) out of 142.

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He is dead last in the majors in Slugging Percentage this season, sitting at .314.

His career OBP is a lowly .297, and his Slugging Percentage sits at .341. He offers little power with just 25 career home runs. He has averaged 23 doubles a year in his time in Kansas City.

He is also one of the most durable players in the league. Has played in now fewer than 148 games since joining the Royals in 2011.

His biggest asset may be his speed, which has produced 159 career stolen bases. He’s been caught just 35 times.

As a defensive player, he is a joy to watch every day, though defensive metrics don’t love him all that much. This season, according to Fangraphs, his Ultimate Zone Rating is -1.8 and he has a -8 Defensive Runs Scored. Both of these are awful numbers.

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He tends to make some truly amazing, spectacular plays, and he seems much better than those numbers to the naked, untrained eye. He won his first Gold Glove in 2015, but still recorded a -1 in Defensive Run Scored.

Unless the Royals are blown away with an offer, they may choose to hang onto him for the rest of this year, and maybe next. The club has a very affordable option next year for $6.5 million, and they may decide to let Mondesi get acclimated to the big leagues during that time.

Mondesi has some warts of his own. He just turned 21 on Wednesday, and in five seasons in the minors, he has significantly more strikeouts (453) than base hits (408).

He still needs to develop physically and could use some time adjusting to the big leagues.

This isn’t that surprising of a revelation, but the timing is interesting. The Royals have seemingly changed their mindset. Instead of pushing for the playoffs this season, they may try to acquire players who can help them next year and beyond.

Heyman also mentions the KC Royals may try to deal Edinson Volquez, Kendrys Morales, and Luke Hochevar by the trade deadline, though all have mutual options after this season.

Early today, rumors leaked that the team might be trying to trade Wade Davis and Ian Kennedy in a package deal to cut some payroll.

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More Kansas City Royals rumors will probably emerge as the MLB Trade Deadline approaches. Check in for more rumors and updates. It could be an interesting next few days, and there could be several Royals on the move.