Before this weekend officially arrives, Major League Baseball will have put the wraps on the game’s annual trade frenzy. The deal deadline is 3 p.m. CDT Friday and, while some teams have already completed trades they hope and trust will lock up playoff berths, the KC Royals have remained quiet.
They did, of course, make a trade of sorts last week when they acquired reliever Joel Payamps from Toronto for cash considerations. But it wasn’t a blockbuster, or even the kind of big newsmaker July deals tend to be.
So, will the Royals do anything with time ticking away?
If the myriad of media reports, both formal and informal, are correct, a pair of deals Kansas City may do will likely be unconventional, but otherwise logical—unconventional because one possibly involved Royal may carry a price tag many clubs won’t be willing to pay and another is on the Injured List with no certain return date, and logical because the time may be right to deal both players.
Is veteran Whit Merrifield close to being traded by the KC Royals this week?
That Whit Merrifield’s would be the first name mentioned in July trade speculation has been a sure bet for Kansas City trade rumor aficionados for the past few seasons. And with good reason. Merrifield is wonderfully talented, versatile, and reliable, and just happens to have an extremely team-friendly, affordable contract no contender should shy away from.
From the looks of things Sunday night, at least one team might be seriously considering Merrifield. According to mlb.com Executive Reporter Mark Feinsand, Seattle has interest in the Royal star:
As of this midday Monday writing, though, no Mariners-Royals deal has been announced, and none seems to be close to consummation. FanSided’s veteran baseball writer Robert Murray, in fact, reports today that nothing is imminent.
Neither report should surprise anyone. Any interest Seattle has in Merrifield is well-placed—the postseason is within reach for the Mariners, who enter today’s action against Houston seven games behind the American League West-leading Astro and just 1.5 games behind in the AL Wild Card race. But the teams not being close to a deal is understandable because any decision to trade Merrifield will be hard for the Royals, and they won’t let him go for a pittance.
The timing, however, seems right. Merrifield has another season left and a team option for 2023 on his current deal, which adds to his appeal to other teams, and the Royals are in position to exact a nifty return for him.
Whether the M’s, or any other team, is willing to pay a high price for Merrifield remains to be seen.
Danny Duffy is on the Injured List, but the KC Royals might trade him anyway.
Although the notion of teams—especially contenders—being interested in trading for injured players seems odd, there may be clubs checking in on Danny Duffy despite his presence on the Injured List for the second time this season.
A left flexor strain, the same malady that forced Duffy to the IL in mid-May and kept him there for over a month, caused Kansas City to return him there last week. When he’ll be back remains unknown, but that reportedly hasn’t chilled three West Coast teams’ interest in acquiring Duffy for the stretch run.
Duffy pitched quite well before his first visit to the IL, fairly well after his return and, despite his flexor issues, has been Kansas City’s most consistent starter this season. His 4-3, 2.51 ERA and 9.6 SO9 performance understandably attracts other clubs.
And trading Duffy, who’s playing out the last year of his contract, makes sense—the Royals can deal him away, re-sign him over the winter, and have him back in their rotation in 2022.
But what about his health? Interested teams could acquire Duffy, let him recover on their time, then presumably have him available for at least a few weeks—the most important weeks, in fact, for clubs battling in September for the right to play baseball in October.
What will happen with Merrifield and Duffy, and any other Royals other teams might be looking at, will be known soon. Friday’s deadline is closing in.
The major league trade deadline is Friday. Will the KC Royals pull the trigger on deals for Whit Merrifield and Danny Duffy?