At this point, we all know that the Royals are looking for another starting pitcher and a corner outfielder. Yet, they are also thought to be against their spending limit after the signing of Jason Vargas. Although the Royals are still in play for Carlos Beltran, they are likely to need make moves in order to be able to fill out any holes in the lineup.
As it happens, there may be another team that is in need of moving players due to salary constraints as well. The Tampa Bay Rays find themselves in an interesting place with players such as David Price, Jeremy Hellickson and Matt Joyce, among others, eligible for arbitration. Price has been the subject of trade rumors for most of the past year, and may well find himself on the move. However, instead of trading Price, it could be that the Rays look to move Hellickson and potentially Joyce as well, given their depth in both the starting rotation and in the outfield.
Although Jeremy Hellickson had a rough 2013, going 12-10 with a 5.17 ERA, his season was not devoid of encouraging signs. Hellickson did post his highest strikeout to walk rate of his career, and his pitching rates were close to his career averages. Where Hellickson ended up being victimized last season was through the batted ball, as he had a batting average on balls in play of .308, far above what he had given up in his career.
Matt Joyce could also be a potential buy low candidate. Although he was an All-Star in 2011, Joyce has yet to pull his batting average above .250 in any other season. Yet, he has still displayed a power stroke, hitting 35 home runs over the past two seasons. With the Royals in need of another power bat in the middle of the lineup, Joyce could be an option. He may just need a change of scenery.
The Royals may not have the same level of prospects that they needed to acquire James Shields, but they may not need them in order to acquire Hellickson and Joyce. There are still several solid prospects in the system, and they may have enough to be able to both players.
If the Royals find themselves unable to sign Beltran or another starting pitcher, they may look to a trade in order to take care of any holes in their roster. Should that be the case, the Tampa Bay Rays may, once again, be a viable trade partner.