KC Royals: 3 moves Kansas City must not make yet

(Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports)
(Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports) /
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KC Royals, Danny Duffy
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Two key KC Royals are playing out their contracts. Don’t trade them now.

This is “contract year” for Danny Duffy and Jorge Soler, a pair of established Royals who can make major contributions to the success the club hopes to achieve this season, and which almost a month atop the American League Central suggested is possible. Without extensions, their current deals will end whenever this season ends.

The temptation will be, as it always is in such situations, to capitalize on the players’ present value by trading them for prospects before the campaign concludes—once their contracts are up, Duffy and Soler are free agents, and the Royals’ only return if they sign elsewhere is draft compensation. Dealing such players away for other players is often the better choice.

So, assuming Duffy and Soler are playing well as the July 30 trade deadline gets closer, contending clubs will come calling, and Kansas City will listen. But if the Royals are among those contenders, they’ll think twice before unloading Duffy and Soler for prospects when the two veterans could contribute to a KC stretch run.

But those are issues for July, not now. Nevertheless, Duffy is pitching some of the best baseball of his career, and teams in need of starters—especially lefthanders—will test the Royal waters soon (if they haven’t already). General Manager Dayton Moore might listen attentively to teams offering offensive help, which Kansas City could use, and his stable of hot young starters knocking on the major league door might sway him to move Duffy for an immediately helpful bat.

And despite his early season slump, Soler is showing signs of heating up. He drove in six runs with a homer and double against Detroit Tuesday and appears increasingly comfortable at the plate. His power alone, and propensity to start slowly and gain momentum, will draw attention.

Duffy and Soler are likely early trade targets but, for the present, the KC Royals needs to say “No.” Duffy leads the club with four wins and, even after giving up four runs to Detroit Wednesday, still owns a sub-2.00 ERA at 1.94. He has yet to pitch badly and will be needed if the Royals make the short jump back into contention. It’s the same with Soler: he should snap out of his funk soon, his power is valuable, and he’s playing passably in right field at a time when the lineup is uncertain.

Although it may be later, now isn’t the time to trade either player.