Trapped in one of their worst seasons in franchise history as baseball’s worst team, the Royals should be sellers at the trade deadline. They’ve got roughly six weeks to identify what players to trade and the list is shrinking after Vinnie Pasquantino’s season-ending surgery.
For the Royals to restock the farm system, here are three players I expect them to trade before the deadline on August 1:
3 Players the Royals Will Trade Before the Deadline
Salvador Perez – Catcher
Despite the organization’s insistence that it has no intention of trading the 2015 World Series MVP, Perez remains Kansas City’s greatest asset and most attractive trade piece.
Salvy is hitting .274 with a .816 OPS and 14 home runs while providing his usual clubhouse leadership and strong defense. He does have a no-trade clause, so the seven-time All-Star must approve any trade.
While it would be painful for Royals fans to lose their last connection to the World Series team, Salvy’s value should keep the Royals listening when teams come calling. Miami and Seattle are potential matches, though don’t be surprised if another team looking for a strong locker room presence and powerful DH bat expresses interest as well.
It’s worth noting that Perez exited Wednesday’s game with a left-hand injury but initial x-rays came back negative.
Aroldis Chapman – Relief Pitcher
Chapman is the most likely Royal to be dealt, as contending teams always need relief pitching and he doesn’t have the organizational ties that Salvy does.
The 35-year-old rebounded from a rough season with the Yankees last year to post a 2.70 ERA with 41 strikeouts to just 15 walks in 23.1 innings pitched thus far.
He hasn’t been shy when asked about being dealt either, openly welcoming a return to the upstart Reds. While I’m less certain that Perez will be traded, Chapman’s likelihood of being dealt feels somewhere in the 80-90% range.
Other than Cincinnati, the Rangers and Diamondbacks seem like obvious potential trade partners as contending teams with bullpens that rank in the bottom 10 leaguewide in ERA.
Nicky Lopez – Shortstop/Second Base
Kansas City’s logjam in the infield left the former Gold Glove finalist as the odd man out, as Lopez only has 86 at-bats through the first two-and-a-half months of the season.
It was just two years ago that Lopez hit over .300, and a contending team looking for a strong defender up the middle could still utilize his versatility to make a positive contribution.
Lopez is an elite defender, but he doesn’t fit the Royals’ timeline. Bobby Witt Jr., Maikel Garcia, Michael Massey, and Nick Pratto’s development are all a larger priority for Kansas City, while Nick Loftin and Samad Taylor are expected to get looks as well.
With so many younger players the Royals want to develop, it’s only logical to ship Lopez off at the deadline and recoup some value.