This week’s KC Royals Midweek Musings includes thoughts about trades, roster issues, old friend updates, and other odds and ends.
Some KC Royals Midweek Musings while wondering what, if anything, the Monday trade deadline will mean for the Royals:
Leave Whit alone. With many citing the “need” to trade him before his prime passes and the presumed potential plethora of prospects the club could reap in return, there is again speculation that this is the year Kansas City will pull the trigger on a Whit Merrifield deadline deal.
Although such deals have their place and time, teams like the Royals shouldn’t trade productive stars like Merrifield. This is especially true because Merrifield happens to be the best Royal and has been for at least a couple of seasons. He’s the perfect leadoff man—he’s a superb hitter, knows how to move runners and steals bases. He shows up in full every day, plays everywhere, has an excellent glove, and works hard.
Yes, the fact he’s under relatively inexpensive team control through 2022 is a double-edged sword: it’s a reason to hang on to him, and a reason other clubs would love his contract on their ledger. And yes, he’s 31 and probably doesn’t have another 10 years, or even five, of high yield left.
And this certainly isn’t the best time to get top value for Merrifield. Unless Major League Baseball lets them get away with including non-Player Pool players as “players to be named later,” teams can trade only members of their 60-man Pools this season, which means the prime trade targets of out-of-contention sellers—young prospects—won’t be as available as they’ve been in the past.
Trading Whit isn’t worth it. He’s the best bargain the Royals have and may ever get, their best player, and a favorite of his teammates and fans alike. He’s a pro, a player’s player, a role model the club needs as its young players arrive in The Show, and probably the role model when Alex Gordon moves on.
This isn’t complicated. Leave him be, as they say; let Monday’s trade deadline pass with Merrifield still a Royal. Kansas City needs him.
Other trades? After Tuesday night’s victory over St. Louis, Kansas City is 12-18, six games under .500 with exactly half the season left. A .500 record might be good enough to get the club into this year’s expanded playoffs, but evening their record will eat up valuable time unless the Royals rip off six straight wins. And play well the rest of the way.
So it is that KC is looking more like a seller than a buyer as Monday’s trade deadline looms. General manager Dayton Moore believes the Royals can make the playoffs and is willing to add pieces to make that happen; if his team isn’t winning, however, he may choose to move the most likely to be moved, such as one-year contract relievers Trevor Rosenthal and Greg Holland, both of whom are enjoying good comeback campaigns.
On the other hand, Ken Rosenthal opined in The Athletic Monday (subscription required) that Moore might consider the effect trading them might have on the Royals’ clubhouse and elect not to trade Holland or Rosenthal.
I like Ken Rosenthal’s thinking. This bullpen is worth keeping, at least for a while.
Perez and Duffy. Salvador Perez remains on the Injured List, placed there by the club while he deals with an eye issue that causes fluid to collect under the retina. He hasn’t played in over a week but is eligible to be activated this weekend.
Danny Duffy, who’s pitched well in this penultimate season of his contract, may become the latest member of the KC Royals’ rotation to miss time. This, from mlb.com’s KC beat writer Jeffrey Flanagan:
Kansas City can’t afford to lose Duffy. Although Brad Keller is pitching well since returning from an absence occasioned by COVID-19, rotation rookies Brady Singer and Kris Bubic are experiencing major league growing pains (they’re a combined 1-7) and Jakob Junis has been on the Injured List with back spasms, although he’s eligible for activation and may take Duffy’s spot tonight against the Cardinals.
Former Royals playing overseas. Another update on old friends Nori Aoki and Alcides Escobar, who are playing in Japan this season: both are hitting well with the Tokyo Yakult Swallows. Aoki has 10 home runs and a .317 average while Escobar has a homer and is batting .291.
Former Kansas City pitcher Aaron Brooks didn’t figure in the decision in his last start and is 7-4 with a 2.85 ERA for the Korean Baseball Organization League’s Kia Tigers.
Baseball-Reference simulation update. Since our last update, which found them 33.5 games behind the American League Central leading Indians in baseball-reference.com’s simulated 2020 season, the virtual KC Royals share the cellar with Detroit. Both clubs are 48-84 and 35.5 games out of first.
Although he’s batting only .199 through Tuesday, Ryan O’Hearn leads the Royals with 22 home runs. Whit Merrifield’s .316 average is the club’s highest. Danny Duffy has tied Jorge Lopez for the team lead in wins with seven. Ian Kennedy has 11 saves.
The Yankees, Indians, A’s, Nationals, Cardinals and Dodgers continue to lead their divisions.
The simulation is updated daily around noon.
That’s it for this week. We’ll be back next week with more KC Royals Midweek Musings. Until then, stay safe and healthy.