Royals rumors around the league indicate the team is interested in right fielders Jay Bruce and Nick Markakis, according to Boston Globe Reporter Nick Cafardo.
If true, these whispers suggest that Kansas City Royals general manager Dayton Moore is looking for offensive help for his team. However, I doubt this report is due to Alex Gordon‘s injury on Sunday, since Cafardo posted his story soon after Sunday’s game. I doubt Cafardo got a live update from his sources.
The news is interesting given that Paulo Orlando is currently crushing the ball. Though I am sure that Dayton Moore is just testing the waters in case a move becomes necessary. He also has to know that Orlando isn’t going to keep hitting anywhere close to .377/.397/.525 for a full season.
I suggested that Braves right fielder Nick Markakis was a fit a little over a week ago. Markakis brings a proven ability to get on base as well as a solid glove in right. The downside is that he’s got almost no power at age 33, and has over $22 million remaining on his contract.
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Jay Bruce, on the other hand, is having a good season at the plate for the Cincinnati Reds (.270/.327/.518 with 8 HR and 28 RBIs); but plays such poor defense that he’s putting up a negative bWAR (wins above replacement). Bruce has $8.1 million remaining on his contract with a $1 million buyout on a $13 million club option for 2017.
Money wise, the 29-year-old Bruce makes more sense; but his defense isn’t going to play well in the KC Royals big outfield at Kauffman Stadium. In the end, I think Jay Bruce is a better fit for the Kansas City Royals need. Not only is the money better, he’s an insurance policy that can DH if Kendrys Morales can’t figure out how to get going from the left-hand side of the plate.
Bruce should be obtainable since the rebuilding Reds have been trying to deal him all winter without much luck since he suffered through a poor season at the plate in 2015. With Bruce’s stick bouncing back through the first seven weeks of 2016, his demand should pick up.
The question is what the KC Royals could offer to teams after clearing out a lot of farm system depth in last year’s trades. One possibility could be renewed interest in formerly slumbering prospects right fielder Jorge Bonifacio and third baseman Hunter Dozier, who are both hitting at AAA Omaha after running-in-place for two seasons. Twenty-five year old starter Brooks Pounders has also emerged after two seasons mostly lost to elbow and shoulder injuries.
The KC Royals and Reds made a splash last year in the deal that brought Johnny Cueto to Kansas City for the 2015 stretch run, and filled out the Reds pipeline with three lefty pitching prospects in Brandon Finnegan, John Lamb, and Cody Reed. The two front offices have proven they can work together so a Bruce deal wouldn’t be surprising.