The KC Royals could use another lefthanded hitter, but Washington’s free agents may not be satisfactory fits.
There’s a place for a lefthanded bat, preferably one with power, in the middle of Kansas City’s lineup. Unfortunately, the Royals may have to search somewhere other than the Nationals’ free agents to find it. Eric Thames, Brock Holt and Asdrubal Cabrera (who also hits from the right side) each have their shortcomings.
If power is the priority, Thames has the most among this trio. He hit 12 homers as a rookie in 2011, and nine the next season, before playing three years in the Korean Baseball Organization League where he slammed 124 (and slashed .293/.349/.451) over three years. Thames returned to the United States and hit .241 with 72 homers in three seasons with Milwaukee; he played 41 games for the Nationals last season and slashed .203/.300/.317 with just three home runs.
Despite his power, there isn’t a place for him in the Royals’ lineup. He’s primarily a first baseman, but Kansas City already has Carlos Santana, who has power of his own, is a better all-around hitter, and gets on base more. Thames’ glove is below average in the outfield, and he wouldn’t displace Jorge Soler as DH.
Holt’s .268/.337/.369 nine-year career line is serviceable, and he’s done everything in the majors but catch, but 23 career homers prove he has no real power. Should the Royals require the services of an additional versatile player, however, Holt warrants a look, but he’s not an everyday fit for Kansas City.
Cabrera switch hits, can play every infield position, and has homered at least 20 times in three different seasons. Washington relied heavily on him in last year’s short campaign—he put in 25 games at first base, 17 at third and DH’d 11 times—and hit eight homers and drove in 31 runs in 52 games. Cabrera can still hit, but KC needs a lefthanded bat who’ll play every day. Unless things change, there isn’t a regular infield position open.
The Nationals have a lot of free agents, but the KC Royals should seriously consider only Sean Doolittle.