Kansas City Royals Should be First to Pull Trade Trigger

Kansas City Royals center fielder Lorenzo Cain (6) - Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
Kansas City Royals center fielder Lorenzo Cain (6) - Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports /

The Kansas City Royals have the worst record in baseball and have to start seriously considering when is the right time to break up this roster.

There are several players on this Kansas City Royals‘ roster that have done so much for this organization and this fan base. The core of this group of players will go down as one of the most beloved in Royals’ history.

The time is rapidly approaching, however, for this team to be dismantled. It has always been inevitable. The success of these players in winning two American League pennants and a World Series ensured the team would not be able to retain many of the pieces.

The Royals re-signed Alex Gordon before the 2016 season to a long-term deal and inked Danny Duffy to a hefty long-term extension this past offseason. They may be able to afford one more of this core group beyond this season, but probably not more than that.

Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar, and Jason Vargas are all free agents after this season. Three of those players should have value right now. Hosmer, because of his awful start, and Escobar, because of several other shortstops who might be on the market, probably aren’t at the peak of their value at this time.

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Still, it might be time for general manager Dayton Moore to hit the phones and find teams in need of the assets he has to sell. Sooner might be better than later.

If you accept it will take at least 90 games to make the playoffs, the Royals would have to win 60 percent of their remaining games, to earn a spot in the postseason. While that is not impossible, it would be very difficult to see this team recovering quickly enough to win at that pace the rest of the season.

The Royals are in dead last in the American League Central but only six games out. That is certainly a deficit they could overcome if they turned things around immediately. The odds, though, have to be stacked against them based on their performance thus far.

So when is it too early? If the Nationals called today to ask about Lorenzo Cain, should Moore consider fielding an offer and maybe even pulling the trigger? What if the Nationals ask about Kelvin Herrera, who will become a free agent after the 2018 season?

Related Story: Nationals Have Interest in Kelvin Herrera

The market could dictate value for some of these players. The Nationals lost Adam Eaton for the year with a knee injury. Cain could fill that hole for the rest of the season quite nicely. Washington’s bullpen could use help at the backend. Herrera would be a nice fit, too.

Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports thinks the Nationals and Royals make the perfect trading partners.

"Not only could Kansas City offer center fielder Lorenzo Cain, about whom the Nationals inquired this offseason before dealing for Eaton, the Royals also have Kelvin Herrera, who could fortify the Nationals’ bullpen in the eighth or ninth inning, depending on Shawn Kelley’s performance."

Mike Moustakas is off to a good start and could help teams at third base. Jason Vargas has to be an attractive option with all the injuries that are stacking up around the league among starting pitchers.

The problem is that it is too early for some teams to trade prospects when they don’t know if they are going to be contenders or pretenders. An injury is dictating that the Nationals might be in the market for an outfielder. Some teams might just want to wait and see how things play out for a few more weeks.

Several other teams might start shopping players, too. The Blue Jays are almost as bad as the Royals, and they have some attractive pieces. The Giants are struggling, and the Mets are falling to pieces. All have players other teams might value.

The Royals should try to beat those teams to the punch. Try to make some deals now, before you have to compete with other sellers.

Trades do not happen in a void. You must have an interested partner to make a deal, but Moore wouldn’t be doing his team any favors if he waits too much longer to pull the plug on this season.

No one likes to rebuild. Royals fans endured one of the longest, worst rebuilding processes ever. Moore has his work cut out for him again but now is the time to build up the Royals’ minor league system with smart, beneficial trades – and the sooner, the better.