Most experts agree the KC Royals will not be a contender until next season and finding a player via the trade route could solidify those predictions.
While it appears that new owner John Sherman will be patient in opening his wallet for free agents, the KC Royals could make deals to bolster the talent without breaking the bank.
Before we get to who Kansas City should look at acquiring, they must also give up players in return. One obvious option would be Ian Kennedy. Switching to the bullpen last year rejuvenated his career and many teams making a postseason push look for relievers to shore up overworked bullpens. Since Kennedy is a free agent after this year the return value is diminished and his salary is steep but there will still be suitors if he puts together another solid spring and early summer.
Danny Duffy is another option. He has endeared himself to the Kansas City fans with his grit and it may not be a popular move but with two years remaining on his contract, the left-hander could be valuable to a contender. If he struggles to begin the year as a starter, the Royals would be wise to shift him to the bullpen to see if he can blossom in that role which would make it easier to deal him.
Signing for just under $3 million for one year, Maikel Franco has a chance to reestablish himself as a sought offer third baseman. A drop in OPS of 26 points from 2018 to 2019 kept many teams from knocking on his door. If Franco can turn into a “Dayton special” and tap into the success he had in 2015, ’16 and ’18, the KC Royals could get a nice return in a trade.
The rest of the trade bait would be young players who are not hurting the Royals with their salary and/or have not put up the statistics at the big league level that could lead to a decent offer. Or, for the right player, they could cut loose of one of their many talented minor leaguers who might be making their big league debut anytime in the next year or two. This would be the least popular (and most unlikely) as the future success of the team is attached to potential core players such as Daniel Lynch, Brady Singer, Jackson Kowar, Khalil Lee, MJ Melendez, and others.
What follows are three players that should be targeted to help propel the franchise back to the top of the standings.