KC Royals: Making the case, New York Mets free agents
By Shawn Bauman
Could a veteran give a young KC Royals’ infielder a challenge and the confidence to be the player he needs to be?
This opinion may be sacrilege among the Royals faithful, but Brian Dozier could be a useful signing. After being cut loose without playing a game for the San Diego Padres, Dozier only appeared in a handful of games for the Mets before being released—yes, not truly a New York free agent but the Mets are the last team he played on.
The year 2019 was solid for Dozier as he clubbed 20 bombs and reached base at a .340 clip. His defense unexpectedly struggled but prior to that, he was reliable at second base. Could signing him spur Nicky Lopez on offensively? We know how good a glove Lopez has but he has not hit well at all in the majors.
The market for Dozier is uncertain but he did make $9 million while in Washington two seasons ago. In a perfect world, this is the year Lopez shows his bat can produce but if Kansas City ends up in the thick of a playoff race, Dozier’s offense could prove valuable.
Other available infielders include Eduardo Nunez, Todd Frazier, Jed Lowrie, and Gordon Beckham. Neither Lowrie nor Beckham took the field in 2020 and are not worth looking at. Frazier would not fill a role as third base and DH are already covered. Nunez could be the utility infielder the team needs but his health is a concern.
The big name that jumps out is Yoenis Cespedes. Not having played more than 50% of a season since 2016, completely missing 2019 and only being a DH in 2020, it appears his days of roaming the outfield may be over. With no place to play him and no guarantee he would last long, the KC Royals need not pursue Cespedes.
While Jake Marisnick is probably a cheap option with some power, his career OBP sits at only .281. he one thing Kansas City needs to add to its lineup are people who know how to get on base. This player is not the answer.
It’s the same for Juan Lagares. On top of not being able to reach base often, his defense and speed have decreased as he has reached age 30. It is a no go on this outfielder.
Could Melky Cabrera make a third go-round with the Royals? His career numbers are good and in 2019 he had a .992 fielding percentage with the Pittsburgh Pirates. However, he tried out and never made the Mets major league roster for 2020. Not a great sign.
Or Cabrera could have one last career revival, much like playing with Kansas City gave him new life in 2011. It also could turn out like his stint with KC in 2017 which had nearly a 40 point OPS+ drop from the last time he was in town. Cabrera might be worth a minor league invite, but do not get attached to him in a powder blue uniform.
There could be a few potential surprises that would fit into a KC Royals roster from the Mets. As long as the price is not too high and they do not cut into the younger studs’ playing time, they’re worth considering.