KC Royals: Lefty bat Brian Goodwin is quietly available

(Mandatory Credit: Amy Kontras-USA TODAY Sports Kansas City Royals)
(Mandatory Credit: Amy Kontras-USA TODAY Sports Kansas City Royals) /

Should the KC Royals’ hunt for a lefthanded bat include an outfielder they dropped in 2019?

The KC Royals’ so-far unsuccessful search for a new lefthanded bat took another hit with Friday’s news that the Padres reportedly managed to secure the return of free agent infielder-outfielder Jurickson Profar. Recent widespread speculation regularly linked the switch hitting Profar with the Royals, to whose lineup he could have added punch, and even more versatility than they already have.

Profar’s apparent decision further narrows the list of lefty or switch hitters Kansas City might seriously consider, which likely includes primarily players capable of taking over left field. Free agent Eddie Rosario comes to mind, but principal owner John Sherman might not green light spending the kind of money required to land him; Boston’s Andrew Benintendi could be the solution, but only via a trade.

There is, however, a less conspicuous candidate, one flying almost imperceptibly under baseball’s offseason radar. And he’s no stranger to the Royals.

Remember Brian Goodwin, the promising young outfielder the club suddenly dropped three days before Opening Day in 2019?

You should. Goodwin came to the Royals in a July 2018 trade with Washington (Kansas City gave up pitcher Jacob Condra-Bogan to get him). Goodwin spent parts of 2016 and ’17 with the Nationals, hitting .286 and .251 the two preceding seasons with 13 homers in 2017. He was hitting .200 with three homers in 48 games at the time of the deal.

The trade looked justified after Goodwin improved to .266 with three more homers and 13 RBIs in 27 games with the Royals. He seemed well-placed to battle for at least a reserve outfield spot in 2019.

But the Royals, in a move that still defies explanation, let Goodwin go the very same day they worked the ill-advised return to the major league roster of Lucas Duda.

Close followers of that day’s aftermath know that Goodwin quickly caught on with the Angels and didn’t waste time making the Royals’ decision look bad. He burst into the LA lineup immediately and was hitting .338 with four home runs when April ended; although he cooled down and missed some time with a wrist injury, he finished his first Angel season with 17 homers and a .262 average.

Duda, in his second stint with Kansas City, struggled to a .171 average before the club released him in late July. Advantage Angels.

Goodwin was hitting .242 with a 116 OPS+ and playing regularly last season when the Angels shipped him to Cincinnati in a trade deadline deal. The Reds were looking for outfield depth; Goodwin played 20 games down the stretch but managed only .163 with two homers. Cincinnati non-tendered him in December.

So, what could Goodwin bring to the KC Royals? Speed, for one thing, both on the bases and in the outfield (although he’s not a stellar defender), makes him as attractive to the club as it did in 2018. He can handle the bat and has power potential, as those 17 home runs with LA in 2019, and 13 in 74 Nats’ games in 2017, suggest.

Perhaps the Royals should give Goodwin a look. Whether he reciprocates may depend more on the number of other suitors he has than any desire he might hold to return to the team that surprised everyone by cutting him three years ago.

Ultimately, though, Goodwin is someone to consider but isn’t remarkably distinguishable from other lefty outfield bats already in the KC Royals’ fold. His power is, on the surface, perhaps greater than Franchy Cordero’s and certainly exceeds that of Khalil Lee and Nick Heath. He’s faster than Cordero, but not as swift as Heath or Lee, whose minor league On Base Percentages (.366 and .348, respectively) suggest they might reap more steal opportunities than Goodwin (.317 in five big league seasons, although he posted .342 in the minors).

Related Story. Should KC look outside for lefty bat?. light

Goodwin, who isn’t commanding much market attention, may not interest the Royals, or they him. But if Kansas City considered him once, he might end up on Royal radar again.

Next. Is KC grooming Tony Pena Jr. to manage?. dark

Time will tell if Kansas City adds former Royal Brian Goodwin to their wish list for another lefthanded hitter.