KC Royals Needs As The Trade Deadline Approaches
The KC Royals are 39 – 35 and 5 games out of first place in the AL Central. The Non-waiver trade deadline for 2016 is August 1st, 4 PM Eastern time. The KC Royals have some holes to fill if they want to make another championship run. But, what are the Royals biggest needs, and which players are expendable enough to trade and fill those needs?
The 2016 KC Royals are a decent, yet imperfect team. As recently as June 1st, the KC Royals were 2 games ahead in the AL Central’s battle for first place. The Royals have also been as many as 7 games back on May 10th. The Royals have had winning streaks as long as 6 games, and losing streaks of as many as 8 games.
The KC Royals have been as many as 8 games over .500. They have also been 2 games below .500 which was the first time the team was below .500 since July of 2014. In fact the Royals have had 4 losing streaks of 3 games or more so far this season, and 4 winning streaks of 3 games or more. So I think it is safe to say that the Royals are streaky.
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2016 has also had its share of injuries with Alex Gordon, Chris Young, Kris Medlen, Salvadore Perez, and Brett Eibner all spending time on the DL. Plus Mike Moustakas is out for the season with a knee injury.
However, 2015 had its share of injuries as well. Jason Vargas was lost midway through the season electing to undergo Tommy John Surgery. Closer Greg Holland was lost as well for the season with a similar injury, and Alex Gordon was lost for almost two months with a groin tear. So injured key players isn’t a new issue for the Royals to deal with.
Essentially, the only major differences between the 2015 Royals and the 2016 KC Royals are the losses of Ben Zobrist, Johnny Cueto, Ryan Madson, and an injured Mike Moustakas. I can make the case however that losing Johnny Cueto wasn’t a big loss, at least as far as the regular season goes, and Whit Merrifield is doing as well at 2B as anyone would hope Ben Zobrist would do. In fact, Merrifield is already worth 1.4 WAR in only 145 plate appearances.
The loss of Ryan Madson is being filled well enough by Joakim Soria now that he has found his groove so to speak. Essentially the only replacement not playing at or near the level of his predecessor is Cuthbert at 3B.
Obviously replacing departed and injured players is only part of returning to the fall classic. The retained players also need to perform as well and in some cases, that isn’t what has happened. Right now it just feels like the Royals are missing a piece or two and they will be right back in the thick of it in October.
As I see it, the holes are in the starting rotation and possibly the lineup. The bullpen is still talented and deep enough, and the defense is about as good as ever. A few roster tweaks could make all the difference.
Next: Four Decent Pitchers