Unlike the Yankees, Dodgers and Mets, money is, and always has been, an object to the KC Royals. Spending big is not something Kansas City does easily or often.
Sometimes, though, a wise splurge is in order, and that may now be the case for the Royals. Their outfield boasts two Gold Glovers—Andrew Benintendi in left and Michael A. Taylor in center—but right field remains open. Kyle Isbel played decently there in two brief stints last season but might need a bit more seasoning, the club seems unconvinced Edward Olivares is the answer, and his questionable defense means right might not be the best of fits for Hunter Dozier.
Should the right field question remain unanswered for too long after the MLB lockout ends, many will want Whit Merrifield moved there. It’s a position he plays competently, but he’s presently more valuable at second base and really isn’t a long-term outfield solution. He’ll be 33 next month and eligible for free agency after next season (although the club holds a 2023 option), and he had the lowest average (.277) and OBP (.317) of his career last season.
The Royals have another choice: spend some money and land a star right fielder for a few years. The free agent market teems with possibilities, and three are especially good.
A former rival could switch from left to right field for the KC Royals.
For the seven seasons (2015-2021) he called the American League Central home, Eddie Rosario became a good major league outfielder. Although he batted only .254 in 78 games for Cleveland last season (more on that momentarily), he hit .277 with 119 homers in six campaigns with Minnesota and averaged almost 28 homers per season from 2017-2019.
Cleveland traded the somewhat struggling, lefthanded hitting Rosario to Atlanta at last July’s trade deadline. He regained his stroke, hitting .277 with seven homers in 33 games to help the Braves to the World Series. His MVP-winning explosion in the NLCS netted three homers, nine RBIs and a .560/.607/1.040 line in six games.
Rosario, primarily a left fielder but with experience in right, made $8 million last season. Although his NLCS performance is notable, it won’t boost his value significantly (especially considering his homerless .227 World Series), so he’s a right field solution the Royals might find affordable.