The KC Royals sent a scout to see Oakland A’s players Rich Hill and Josh Reddick on Saturday, according to San Francisco Chronicle reporter Susan Slusser. Slusser, however, reported that the Kansas City Royals are not interesting in a reunion with Oakland A’s third baseman Danny Valencia.
Rich Hill and Josh Reddick would be something of a one stop shopping fix for the KC Royals deadline needs. The Kansas City Royals biggest weaknesses are in their starting rotation and the lack of a fourth left-handed bat in the lineup.
The 36-year-old Rich Hill has suddenly turned dominant when he converted to an overhand delivery instead of throwing side-arm last season. Hill returned from a long injury layoff to pitch 6.0 innings against the Pirates on Saturday, allowing 4 hits, 2 walks, and 2 earned runs with 6 strikeouts. He pretty much picked up where he left off before he pulled his groin muscle in early June. Hill is 8-3 on the season, with a 2.31 ERA and impressive 10.3 K/9.
Meanwhile, Josh Reddick missed a month of play, almost exactly concurrent with KC Royals left-fielder Alex Gordon. The 29-year-old Reddick returned to action on Tuesday, June 28 and is 5-19 with 1 double since his return. He was enjoying one of his best starts to a season before breaking his thumb in late May, slashing .322/.394/.466 through the first two months of 2016 with 5 home runs and 19 RBIs.
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With second year outfielder Paulo Orlando starting to cool off, a move to balance the lineup would make sense. Reddick would give the KC Royals three lefties (along with Alex Gordon and Eric Hosmer) and one switch hitter (Kendrys Morales). Reddick is also a strong defender that has won a right field Gold Glove in 2012.
The two teams make sense as potential trade partners, since the two front offices have a history of making deals. The Kansas City Royals traded outfielder David DeJesus to the A’s in 2010, in return for pitchers Vin Mazzaro and Justin Marks. Last season, the KC Royals swapped prospects Sean Manaea and Aaron Brooks for super-utility man Ben Zobrist.
Both deals seemed equitable at the time and in retrospect, which should give Kansas City Royals GM Dayton Moore confidence in discussing a deal with Oakland counterpart Billy Beane. The beauty of deals for Rich Hill and Josh Reddick is they are both moderate-priced rentals. Hill is on a one-year, %6.12 million deal, while Reddick is earning $6.57 million in the last year of his contract.
However, the KC Royals weren’t the only team with scouts at Saturday’s game. The Orioles, Red Sox, Cubs, Yankees, and Dodgers all had scouts in the stands watching the A’s take on the Pirates.
The KC Royals are in a better position to deal for deadline help than most expected at the beginning of 2016 due to breakthrough seasons from prospects like outfielder Jorge Bonifacio, third baseman Hunter Dozier, and first baseman Ryan O’Hearn.