To start the year the Kansas City Royals had questions about what to do at first base. After signing Lucas Duda, it seemed the Royals had one goal in mind. However, the Royals seemed to have failed to achieve their final goal.
When looking back at the original signing of Lucas Duda, it seemed obvious that the Kansas City Royals were going to use him for prospects. Similar to what the New York Mets did last year with Duda, I’m sure the Royals thought they could potentially replicate that this year.
In fact, the Royals made a couple moves like this during the offseason. The only difference was the Royals were actually able to flip some of those players for prospects. Jon Jay was traded to Arizona for Elvis Luciano and Gabe Speier and Mike Moustakas was traded to Milwaukee for Brett Phillips and Jorge Lopez.
As the month of July cycled through and the trade rumors for Duda failed to become a thing, the hope was maybe August could bring something more. As August continued to count by, Duda trade rumors were silent.
As August 29th started coming to a close, it almost seemed as if the Royals were going to have to hold onto Duda all year or release him if they wanted to bring up a younger player in September who isn’t currently on the 40-man roster.
But as news broke that Duda had been traded, the return was less than impressive.
The Royals and Lucas Duda experiment failed
The Royals received a massive return of “cash” for Duda from the Atlanta Braves. If the Royals received the remaining amount from Duda’s contract then they got just about $300,000 for Duda.
Which means, yes, the signing of Duda this offseason is an absolute failure.
If you were thinking that the Royals wanted to hold onto Duda until the August waivers started coming to an end, and only receive money in return when he was signed back in February then you would be lying to yourself.
The Royals hoped to find a team that would want him in July/August and would be willing to give the Royals a low-level prospect that has upside. Similar to the Jay trade.
As his tenure with the Royals comes to an end, Duda will have hit .242/.310/.413 with 12 doubles and 13 home runs. While that isn’t all that bad, his power numbers dropped significantly from 2017 to 2018. By the end of the year in 2017, Duda had 28 doubles and 30 home runs. I’m not sure he is going to be able to replicate that by the end of September.
While it doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things for this year, the Royals having Duda might have hurt them in some ways. Because they had Duda, Hunter Dozier missed out on the first chunk of the year (yes I’m aware he was injured in Spring Training, which most likely prevented Dozier form being called up sooner as well).
The signing of Duda may have also prevented the Royals from giving Ryan O’Hearn a chance sooner than his August call-up. And who knows, maybe Frank Schwindel would have received his chance at being in the big leagues had it not been for Duda.
At the end of the day, the Royals paid Duda to hold back the younger players from getting a full chance all year. While those extra games may not have provided the Royals with much, it could have given them something more beneficial than a potential return of $300,000.
Maybe if Duda would have never been injured the Royals could have received a prospect in return? Perhaps if Dozier wasn’t injured in Spring Training he would have had a full season of development, and O’Hearn and Schwindel could have seen big league action sooner.
While I am aware that it most likely wouldn’t have altered the season in any way having or not having Duda, this isn’t what the Royals had in mind when they signed Duda. When you look at the big picture and what the Royals intentions most likely were, this contract and move as a whole seems to be more of a failure than anything else.
What do you think? Can we look back at the Royals signing of Duda and call it a failure? Let us know below!