The KC Royals are looking for a left-handed hitter on the trade market, according to Boston Globe reporter Nick Cafardo. Colorado Rockies corner outfielder Carlos Gonzalez would be the best fit for the Kansas City Royals’ needs.
Thirty-year-old Carlos Gonzalez is a career .292/.348/.574 hitter with a 121 OPS+ (21% better than league average adjusted On Base Percentage Plus Slugging). He hit a career high 40 home runs last season, and is slashing .317/.362/.561 so far in 2016 with 16 dingers and 43 RBIs.
He’s a clear impact bat that hits from the left side, even though he shows a significant home and away split due to playing at high elevation in offense-friendly Coors Field for half his games. Even so, Gonzalez is still a career .255/.313/.442 hitter on the road, and is slashing .293/.346/.447 away from Coors Field this season.
Pretty much any way you cut it, Gonzalez can flat out hit. Plus, Gonzalez is also putting up better than average defensive numbers in right field at 0.1 dWAR. Over his career, he’s a slightly below average -1.0 dWAR over nine big league seasons.
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Gonzalez has around $9 million remaining on his contract this season, and is signed for $20 million in 2017. Though the price might be a bit steep for the Kansas City Royals, it’s not unreasonable for a player of his caliber.
Of course, with left fielder Paulo Orlando slashing .359/.385/.465, the KC Royals have little incentive to make a move. However, Orlando lacks Carlos Gonzalez’s long track record of production. Add in Orlando’s .455 BABIP, and you have to wonder how long he’ll continue to produce at this level.
Adding Gonzalez would give the Kansas City Royals solid hitter at no. 1 through no. 8, presuming Whit Merrifield and Cheslor Cuthbert don’t hit the rookie wall, much like they enjoyed last season after landing Ben Zobrist at the trade deadline. The KC Royals would also have a perfectly balanced lineup with three left-handed hitters and one switch hitter.
While Oakland’s Josh Reddick and San Diego’s Jon Jay will cost significantly less in both salary and prospects, Carlos Gonzalez is the best fit if you consider pure performance. Gonzalez is also signed through 2017, which would take the KC Royals up to their expected player exodus that winter.
Overall, I believe general manager Dayton Moore would be better advised to bolster his rotation rather than add a position player. But, who knows? Maybe Moore will help out both like he did in 2015 by landing Johnny Cueto and Ben Zobrist.
KC Royals fans can only dream he does so, even if it would likely strip his farm system.