Nearly two years have passed since the KC Royals sent cash to the Yankees for Ryan McBroom, a first baseman-outfielder with promising power but absolutely no major league experience. He’s had his big league chances with the Royals—they’ve put him on the active roster several times—but hasn’t been able to stick with the big club.
McBroom’s home runs and his ability to play first base and the outfield keep him on Kansas City’s radar. Although he hasn’t homered in nine plate appearances with the Royals this season, he’s clubbed 21 in 80 games for Triple-A Omaha, and never failed to hit at least 11 (with a single-season high of 26) in six minor league campaigns prior to last year’s short season, in which he managed six, including three as a pinch hitter.
He’s also otherwise serviceable at the plate with a .268 average in 164 career big league at-bats and .286/.351/.477 career minor league line.
But despite favorable offensive credentials, McBroom’s future with the franchise isn’t at all secure.
There doesn’t appear to be much room left for McBroom with the KC Royals.
Unfortunately, McBroom probably squandered his best shot at a long-term Kansas City roster spot last season. He and Ryan O’Hearn, another first baseman-outfielder with power, entered the 2020 campaign expected to battle for the first base job that no one had adequately filled since Eric Hosmer’s last game with the club in 2017.
But neither Ryan played well enough to earn the job, and Hunter Dozier effectively put both out of the running when he took over at first late in the season. And now, with O’Hearn suddenly rediscovering his major league stroke and the KC outfield somewhat crowded (the Royals can’t, or won’t, find room there even for Edward Olivares), McBroom’s prospects aren’t great.
Compounding his problem are KC prospects Nick Pratto and Vinnie Pasquantino. Like O’Hearn, first baseman Pratto is a rejuvenated hitter—15 homers, a .271 average and .404 OBP in 61 games at Double-A Northwest Arkansas earned him a promotion to Omaha, where his six homers, 17 RBIs, and .284/.379/.676 slash have him closing in on Kansas City. Those numbers are a far cry from his .191 2019 season at High-A Wilmington.
And Pasquantino, another first sacker, played his way to a promotion from Quad Cities to the Naturals by slamming 13 home runs, driving in 42 runs, and slashing .291/.384/.565 in 61 games for the River Bandits; he has four homers, 18 RBIs, and a .296/.378/.570 22-game line for the Naturals.
That leaves McBroom, 29, surrounded by younger first base prospects—Pratto is 22, Pasquantino 23—to whom the KC Royals are probably more committed.
What approach should the KC Royals take now with Ryan McBroom?
McBroom will be 30 next April, but that doesn’t mean he won’t have value when the 2022 season rolls around. His power, ability to get on base, and versatility can be valuable assets to a major league club; unfortunately, that club doesn’t appear to be Kansas City.
McBroom’s primary value to the Royals, then, is what he might bring in a trade.
A trade this season is, of course, basically out of the question. The big league deal deadline passed July 30 and, because McBroom is on the team’s 40-man roster, he can’t be traded at the minor league level.
The franchise’s recourse is to move McBroom in the offseason, a strategy that dovetails with General Manager Dayton Moore’s recently-professed notion (per The Kansas City Star’s Lynn Worthy) that winter trades may reap more major league-ready players. McBroom can finish the season with Omaha to avoid disruption of its roster.
McBroom should draw interest from other clubs, and Moore can seek a pitcher (a reliver would be nice considering Wade Davis, Greg Holland, and Ervin Santana aren’t prime candidates to return next season) or perhaps a bench bat in return.
Ryan McBroom’s prospects with the KC Royals are limited. The club should move him this winter.