Should the KC Royals consider two Arizona free agent outfielders, one of whom once played for the club?
For one outstanding season, it looked like Yasmany Tomas would live up to the reported six-year, $68.5 million contract Arizona gave him in late 2014 to begin his major league career in its outfield. Tomas played in Cuba before signing the deal, then made his big league debut in 2015 and hit .273 with nine homers in 118 games.
But it was the next season that allowed Arizona to believe its money was well-spent: Tomas slugged 31 homers, drove in 83 runs, and added 30 doubles in 140 games.
That, however, was it. To say Tomas has struggled since is to understate the obvious—hampered by injury and surgery that stole much of his 2017 season, he’s hit only eight homers and batted .232 in the majors and didn’t play in the big leagues at all in 2018. Although he still hit minor league pitching well (14 home runs and .262 at Triple A in 2018, and 29 homers , 82 RBIs and .301 in 2019), he didn’t play in 2020, the last year of his mega-deal.
He also hit four homers in one Triple A game in 2019:
Now, with one excellent major league season and a couple of promising minor league campaigns to his credit, Tomas is searching for a team looking for an outfielder with some power. But if he’s seeking a new contract commensurate with his Arizona pact, he needs to look past the KC Royals, who aren’t about to pay such money to any free agent, especially one with only a single decent big league season on his resume.
But what if Tomas is willing to take far, far less for the chance to play in The Show? That shouldn’t make any difference to the Royals, who already have several promising young outfielders still trying to prove themselves. They should pass on Tomas.
That leaves Jon Jay, a familiar name to Royals fans. Jay played 59 games for Kansas City in 2018, hitting .307 as an outfielder before the club traded him to Arizona in June for Gabe Speier and Elvis Luciano. He’s a reliable backup, something KC really doesn’t need considering its crowded outfield, and his lack of power (37 homers in 11 seasons) and age (36 before Opening Day) won’t help his case if he’s interested in returning to Kauffman Stadium. Jay isn’t the outfielder the team needs.
Arizona’s free agents don’t give the Royals much to choose from, but Mike Leake might be someone they could use.