The Padres’ remaining three free agents don’t offer much that the KC Royals need.
Back in late 2017, when Eric Hosmer’s departure from Kansas City was all but certain, the Royals probably could have used Mitch Moreland. Unlike Hosmer, Moreland really didn’t hit for much average; like Hosmer, however, he had power (20-plus homers in three straight seasons and four of the previous five), could play first base well, having won a Gold Glove with Texas in 2016, and was a free agent.
But even if the Royals were serious about Moreland, they were waiting for Hosmer and, in the interim, Moreland signed with Boston for 2018 and made the All-Star team for the first time as Hosmer began his tenure in San Diego.
The Padres executed a number of midseason moves in 2020 to strengthen themselves for their ultimately successful run for the playoffs; among the transactions was a trade deadline deal with the Red Sox to secure Moreland, who was hitting an uncharacteristically high .328. Moreland played 20 games down the stretch but fizzled to .203 for San Diego, although he went 4-for-8 in the postseason.
He’s again a free agent but, with Hunter Dozier’s emergence at first base, and Ryan O’Hearn and Ryan McBroom waiting in the wings, the Royals shouldn’t be searching for another first sacker. Moreland also has nearly 50 games in right field, but Kansas City has more outfielders than they can count. Moreland, then, isn’t someone the club should pursue.
The Royals also need to supplement their rotation and could consider Garrett Richards, a 32-year old 10-year veteran right-hander with a 47-41 career record. His two best seasons were with the Angels in 2014 and 2015, when he went 13-4 and 15-12. Since then, though, he’s 8-12, a record most attributable to two separate elbow surgeries, including the Tommy John procedure. There are other starters out there, including many with more recent success and without histories of elbow issues.
Jason Castro would be useful to the KC Royals as a backup catcher and a left-handed bat off the bench. He has more historic power than current Kansas City backup backstops Cam Gallagher and Meibrys Viloria, but his career .230 average and the fact he’ll be 34 in June suggest he wouldn’t be a great upgrade over either Royal.
The Padres took one of Kansas City’s star free agents in 2018. Will the KC Royals do the same to San Diego this winter? Time will tell.