KC Royals Midweek News, Views, Rumors and Takes

This week’s KC Royals Midweek News, Views, Rumors and Takes looks at how San Diego’s recent big deals might affect Kansas City.

Some Midweek musings about the KC Royals while wondering how negotiations are going between the players and clubs concerning what the 2021 season will look like:

Possible impact of Padres’ moves on the KC Royals.

Until Sunday, the Royals were probably, and surprisingly, the most news-making of major league clubs this offseason. But starting late Sunday, and continuing through Tuesday, a stunning series of moves by the San Diego Padres shoved Kansas City off baseball’s front page.

First, the Padres reportedly agreed Sunday to trade for Tampa Bay starter Blake Snell, a deal that plugs the rotation gap Mike Clevenger’s Tommy John surgery creates for 2021. The deal became final Tuesday, with San Diego giving up two catchers (Francisco Mejia and Blake Hunt) and two pitchers (Luis Patino and Cole Wilcox).

Then there was Monday’s news that the club will sign infielder Ha-Seong Kim, who the KBO’s Kiwoom Heroes recently posted, for four years at $25 million. Kim has a two-year slash of .307/.393/.500 since 2019; perhaps more impressive are the 56 bases he’s stolen in 62 tries, a 90.3 percent success rate. His signing will reportedly force Jake Cronenworth from second base to left field.

And to top all that off, the Padres Tuesday completed a blockbuster with the Cubs via which they’ll receive starter Yu Darvish and catcher Victor Caratini for pitcher Zach Davies, outfielders Owen Caissie and Ismael Mena, and infielders Yeison Santana and Reginald Preciado. The deal also costs San Diego $59 million of the $62 million owed Darvish on his current deal.

Besides Darvish’s $59 million, the $25 million they’re paying for Kim, and $1.4 million for Caratini, and unless the Rays agree to a salary share, the Padres will assume Snell’s $39 million contract. (The Darvish and Snell pacts both end after the 2023 season). Those hefty amounts will be offset, of course, by salaries saved by trading the former Padres to get Snell and Darvish, but those savings pale in comparison to the club’s new obligations.

Although the moves didn’t involve Kansas City, they could impact the Royals’ further offseason plans. The Padres’ additional payroll obligations might make it more difficult for them to sign closer Trevor Rosenthal, and improve KC’s slight chances to bring him back for 2021. And Kim’s acquisition may mean the Royals have a better shot at Jurickson Profar.

Rosenthal started 2020 as Kansas City’s closer and proved equal to the task with seven saves, 21 strikeouts in 13.2 innings, and a 1.171 WHIP before the club sent him to the Padres in a trade deadline deal that brought Edward Olivares to the Royals. Teaming Rosenthal with Greg Holland and Josh Staumont could give KC a lockdown bullpen back-end.

The versatile Profar can play the infield and outfield and has recently developed some power (20 home runs in both 2018 and 2019) and might be effective at the top of the lineup.

We shall see.

In case you missed it.

If you’ve been too busy with the holidays to keep up with the Royals, here are a few stories by our Kings of Kauffman writers you might have missed.

Shawn Bauman, keeping his always close eye on the club’s minor league affiliates and players, wrote about what some prospects did over Christmas, and also offered some thoughts concerning what acquiring Adam Wainwright might mean for the Royals.

David Scharff suggested Kansas City might want to focus on increasing club depth this winter and added a story about Josh Staumont’s 2020 success.

I asked if Mike Moustakas could return to the Royals and analyzed the Washington Nationals’ free agents.

That’s it for now. We’ll be back next week with more KC Royals Midweek News, Views, Rumors and Takes. Until then, stay safe and healthy and have a Happy New Year!