This all sounds great, so why trade Alexander?
As of now, Alexander remains a member of the Kansas City Royals for five more seasons. He won’t be this cheap once he hits arbitration, but he is relatively controllable. While he may project well over the next few seasons, we need to be realistic about where this team is headed and Alexander’s longevity in the league.
It seems imminent that the Kansas City Royals will be undergoing a retooling phase of sorts. Although some estimate that this could take as little as two or three years, Alexander may not pose as much value to the team when they are ready to win again as he does now.
For one, if the Royals are back in the thick of things in the American League, it will undoubtedly be thanks in part to a new wave of talent. It’s important to remember that Alexander will be on the wrong side of 30 at this point. And to consider that paying our young talent will be more important than retaining aging relievers. Also, take into account the generally short lifespan of relievers. Outside of the best closers in each generation, short relievers usually don’t have years upon years of continuous success.
The likelihood, as much as I hate to admit, that Alexander poses as great of value to the team in 2020 as he does now, is small. Even if Alexander keeps this up, the chance to acquire an integral piece of our next (hopeful) championship run outweighs the value of having a pitcher of his caliber during seasons that look to be bleak.
Furthermore — unless Alexander is even better next season — his value now is higher than it will be at next summer’s trade deadline. Moore needs to trade him while his value is at its peak. These are moves you have to make if you want to have a successful rebuild. It would certainly be sad to see him go. But a team who is just a piece or two away from winning may relish the opportunity to acquire an arm like this.