3 KC Royals trade targets the Yankees may watch this week

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KC Royals
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The KC Royals will listen to offers for center fielder Michael A. Taylor.

That Kansas City immediately went hunting for a center fielder when last season ended wasn’t surprising. A late August trade sent Brett Phillips packing to Tampa Bay when the Royals decided his .178 average in parts of three KC seasons rendered him unsuitable for the job. Bubba Starling proved he may never hit big league pitching. And the Royals seemed determined to play Whit Merrifield in right.

No, the quest wasn’t surprising, but how it ended was—Kansas City signed free agent Michael A. Taylor as November ended, a move few anticipated. Taylor’s defensive credentials fit the Royals’ center field profile, but his bat didn’t.

Fortunately, the move is working out. Although an 0-for-4 performance against Boston Sunday lowered his average to .229, he’s equaled his 2020 homer output (five) and driven in more runs (22) than he did last season. His glove has been superb.

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Because Taylor plays on a one-year deal, he’ll have value as a rental piece, which is what makes the most sense for New York because injured center fielder Aaron Hicks has this and four more years left on his current contract.

Whether Taylor can satisfy all the Yankees’ needs, though, is the question. He doesn’t have the power and the higher average they prefer. But he’s an excellent defender more than capable of handling center field in Yankee Stadium.

New York will probably sound out Texas about Joey Gallo, and Miami about Starling Marte, before exploring Taylor. But they’ll have their eye on KC’s center fielder this week.

And don’t be surprised if they consider Jarrod Dyson.