KC Royals general manager Dayton Moore intends to reduce the payroll for 2017 while still keeping the playoff window open.
Moore told Kansas City Star beat writer Rustin Dodd that standing pat in 2016 was a mistake and that he hoped to reduce the payroll from last season’s franchise-record $135 million. Those two facts suggest that Moore will look to trade a core player this winter.
However, the problem with this idea is that the vast majority of the Kansas City Royals trade assets had sub-par seasons in 2016. Dealing Alex Gordon, Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer, or Lorenzo Cain this winter would be selling low. Dealing Jarrod Dyson won’t bring back enough value to significantly alter the team.
Danny Duffy had what appears to be a breakthrough season in 2016. But, trading him would leave the KC Royals in need of an ace. I doubt Moore will find a better rotation headliner available this winter in what will be a tight market for pitching.
So, just who can Dayton Moore deal that could accomplish his twin goals for this winter?
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Not only does this move bring back significant value, it also clears one heck of a lot of payroll. Trading Davis and Soria would clear $18 million off the books in 2017.
You don’t deal Davis and Soria without getting a young pitcher with upside that is ready to make his major-league debut in 2017. Such an acquisition frees up Matt Strahm to pitch as a reliever next season. It also strengthens the rotation and leaves extra money for Dayton Moore to sign help this winter.
The beauty of such a move is that Moore can sign Greg Holland to a one-year, prove it deal to replace Davis.
As bad as Joakim Soria was in 2016, his 4.05 ERA was still slightly better than league average in 2016 (ERA+ of 109). A big market team like the Dodgers that doesn’t much care about payroll won’t blink at taking Soria in a deal to get Davis. Soria is a bounce-back candidate who will at least eat some middle relief innings.
If Soria reverts to his career-norm, the team will have built a super-bullpen. If he does not, they at least land a premium closer in Wade Davis. Heck, $18 million isn’t that much more than the annual salary Davis would command by himself on the open market.