If there’s one player sure to be traded by the Royals, it’s Carlos Santana.
Whenever Kansas City engages in trade discussions this year, and other than Bobby Witt Jr., who the club won’t move under any circumstance, Whit Merrifield will be the first Royal mentioned. Closer Scott Barlow, infielder Adalberto Mondesi, catcher MJ Melendez, and a few others will be in the mix. Pitcher Mike Minor might be too, but the Royals like him and, although he’ll be in his contract season, good performance might tempt the club to try keeping him another year to help counsel and stabilize their inexperienced hurlers.
One tradeable player is, however, certain to be dealt before the season ends. Count Carlos Santana gone.
Why? Santana is in his contract year and a player the Royals will move sooner than they let Minor go—because the starting rotation is so green, and may remain so for the foreseeable future, the club might consider Minor’s experience and savvy too valuable.
But Kansas City has another first base option in Nick Pratto. He appears big league-ready after clubbing 36 homers, driving in 98 runs and slashing .265/.385/.602 between Double-A and Triple-A last season. Pratto’s time at first base will come this season, necessitating a move with Santana.
And now is the time, especially if, as expected, the owners and players make the universal designated hitter part of the new collective bargaining agreement. Santana is readily available if the change takes effect this season.
Even if the universal DH isn’t adopted for 2022, this is still the time to shop Santana. The Royals need to get the return value from a trade they won’t get if they lose him to free agency after the season.
Kansas City will trade Santana before 2023.
Salvador Perez will DH more, Brady Singer will have a third pitch, and Carlos Santana will be traded in 2022.