The KC Royals made a statement with the acquisition of Franchy Cordero and that’s that they don’t see much of a future for Bubba Starling or Brett Phillips in their outfield.
Even with the MLB season being delayed, Kansas City Royals fans had a pretty good idea what the team’s outfield was going to look like in the 2020 season.
More than likely, Alex Gordon would be the left fielder, Whit Merrifield would man center field, and Hunter Dozier would get the nod in right field. Two of those three players are also infielders, but were put into the outfield because of the uncertainty of Brett Phillips and Bubba Starling, who otherwise could have been in center and right.
Phillips was acquired during the 2018 season from the Milwaukee Brewers and has largely disappointed. He didn’t see many at bats last season due to there not being a spot for him on the roster.
Starling is a much more well-known name, having been the fifth overall pick in the 2011 MLB Draft. We all know about his struggles in the minor leagues and the fact that it took him eight years to make it to the big leagues despite many hoping he’d be around to help the team contend in 2014 and 2015.
Phillips and Starling are honestly the same kind of player – A good defensive outfielder who struggles to hit Major League pitchers.
Phillips has hit just .169 in 177 at bats through his season and a half with KC while Starling really struggled at the plate, batting just .215 in 186 at bats last year.
With Starling turning 28 at the beginning of August, his time to prove he can provide something with this organization is nearing the end. The Royals called him up because he was raking in the minor leagues and they knew fans wanted to see him play at the K. It’s doubtful they saw him in their future plans by that point.
Phillips was acquired two years ago to become the next hopeful in center field, but it just hasn’t stuck and probably won’t now.
Acquiring Franchy Cordero from the Padres is proof that the Royals are ready to move past these two and it’ll take dominant seasons from either player for them to be able to stick around.
The KC Royals made a statement with this trade.
Dayton Moore stated that even though the Royals felt confident in their outfield prospects, but Cordero put them over the top in that department. He mentioned Seuly Matias, Khalil Lee, and Kyle Isbel in this group, all young prospects who could make their debuts in the next few years.
Cordero looks to be a nice option to replacing Gordon in left field when he’s ready to retire. He’s spent time all around the outfield and has actually played center field the most, but he’s still seen a lot of time in left.
When this trade initially went down, I compared Cordero to that of Jorge Soler. Both were players the Royals traded for and were injury prone players at the time of the trade. Soler was banged up a lot in the first two years in Kansas City, but showed how powerful he can be when fully healthy.
That’s the hope for Cordero here. He’s 25 years old, can play any spot in the outfield, and has a ton of power and upside. There’s a lot more untapped potential there than there is with Phillips or Starling at this point, as neither can hit very well.
It wasn’t looking good for Bubba Starling and Brett Phillips to stick around with the Kansas City Royals very long anyway, but the writing is definitely on the wall now with the Franchy Cordero trade.